Esmé has been extremely clingy lately, but also very fussy/whiny, and today I kind of lost it. I was on my hands and knees, hurrying to pick up all the pieces of food she threw off her tray before she could come over and eat them off the floor and I just started crying. Amid thoughts of wishing I had more ‘me’ time, it struck me that separation anxiety could possibly be worse for parents than it is for the children.
If you google ‘what is separation anxiety,’ the response you will receive is: anxiety provoked in a young child by separation or the threat of separation from their mother. They address the many symptoms of what is like for children, even teens, and how you can deal with it. However there is surprisingly little information on what separation anxiety means as a mother, so I thought I would shed a little light on the situation.
Separation anxiety for mothers is: the overwhelming feeling of panic experienced when there is a sudden loss of all personal space due to a small child plastering him or herself to your legs, arms, chest, back, or head (sometimes many of these all at once) during all waking hours of the day; also the feeling of needing to pull out all of your hair, or at least whatever hair your child has not pulled out already, because you can’t remember what it is to pee without a toddler wailing outside the bathroom door; also the feeling of early arthritis in your wrists due to carrying a toddler in one arm, while you perform all basic household duties with the other; also having mixed feelings of gratitude to be loved so whole-heartedly, happiness to be needed so fiercely, and sadness because you will likely never be needed this badly ever again (See figures below for visual aide).