Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Separation anxiety of a single mum

Salam, for the past few days I have come to the realisation that my babies are grown ups now, and they don’t really need me anymore. I always thought that it takes forever for a child to become independent and not rely on their parent anymore. I mean, I always assumed that once a  parent, you always have responsibilities and will always find yourself busy doing one thing or the other for your child. Growing up, I remember that even at the age of 18, I still had to have my mum take my clothes out and even spoon feed me breakfast in the morning cos I would refuse to it otherwise.  Even later on in life, I  remember when my sister became a parent and how even more than 10 years after being one, she’s always busy looking after and taking care of her children.
When I had my daughters, I knew we would have some tough time coming, and I needed them to be independent and be able to do things for themselves, so from the start itself, I tried to encourage them to do things by themselves as much as possible, I avoided picking them up unnecessarily so they would not make it a habit, I refused to do things for them which I knew they should be able to do, and slowly they started doing things by themselves. By the time my daughters were about 7/8 months, they could feed themselves without any help, obviously it would get messy, but I refused to hold the spoon as I believed they could do it, and having had 2 children so close in age, I realised that I couldn’t be in two places at the same time. If they were to have a tantrum I would avoid contact with them at that particular moment and leave them to deal with their tantrum the best way they can. They soon realised I guess that tantrums or no tantrums they are not going to get anywhere and Alhumdulillah they don’t really bother  fussing about for no reason as it would not get them the attention they want. It is hard to ignore, it is hard to pretend you don’t hear it when that’s all you can hear, but somehow Alhumdulillah I managed to do it, it was easier to think for the long term instead of the short term. Have I paid attention to them , they most likely would have calmed down, but it would also have encouraged them to have more tantrums, which I guess would eventually get on my nerves.
By the time they were two; they were both out of nappies and could go to the toilets on their own. Well, they still need some help with cleaning themselves at times. I am proud of their achievements, as any parent would be.
Now, my 2 year olds and 3 year olds can both dress and undress themselves; they can put their shoes on and take them off and also, they tidy up after their mess and help clean up the house when I ask them to. Every night, before going to bed they will actually clean and tidy the whole house, including my room. Subhanallah, they are amazing. I am not trying to blow my own trumpet or theirs but I have come to acknowledge the fact that they probably are more ahead of their years now. They probably take on more responsibility than I did in my late teens. This was my aim from the beginning. We only have each other for support, and their might come a time when we can’t  be there for each other for some reason or the other, so one would need to rely on oneself. I just did not expect this to happen so soon. Every morning when they wake up the get their breakfast (I just put a tray of their cereals and milk in their room), have some play time and wait for me to wake up. They brush their teeth by themselves and go to the toilet and sort themselves out, when they are done with their breakfast, they put it in the sink. When I wake up, they would start tidying up their room and put their clothes on for nursery. It truly amazes me that they don’t need me anymore. I do feel a bit worthless. I mean they are only 2 and 3, they should still need me, shouldn’t they? And now, they have even taken to remind me to take my bag, phone and even get my shoes so I can get ready quickly Subhanallah. Like I said, I couldn’t feel anymore proud of them but I do question myself, was I not hasty in making them so independent, so self reliant that I have taken away something from them which other children of their age have. Maybe I over thought it and might have been a bit pushy and have ruined something in their childhood unknowingly. Maybe, I tried to teach those lessons about how hard life is too early along the line. Would it have repercussions in the future? I mean it’s hard to say, they seem normal, they play like any other child would, they do the same activities other children of their age do, but I do know they also know about responsibilities towards our house and towards each other. They look after each other, they comfort each other, they help and support each other, they also do fight but I have seen them protecting each other against strangers when they felt a stranger could pose a danger for their sibling and have physically fought with people when they thought those strangers could be endangering their siblings’ lives. Is that normal? Or have we become such a solid family unit with 3 adults instead of 1?
Recently, I went to visit a friend and stayed with her for a few days. I could clearly see my kids future in her kids. Yes, we all have different personalities, but I am sure she would agree that our parenting styles and ideologies are quite similar. She has been a single mother for about 10 years now, and also has 2 kids, and is a real role model for me. I have always looked up to her, never thinking that one day, I would end up in a similar situation. Being around her and her kids, I realised how strong her family unit is, they were not mother and kids anymore, they were all on the same level, they each protected each other and had their own ‘adult’ role to play in the family unit. Tabarakallah, she’s an amazing super mum with super kids. I also realised that her kids were way ahead in maturity for their age, they were very responsible kids, and even though similar to my kids they engaged in activities for their age, they still thought way ahead of their age and would respond to things in the way a sensible adult would.
In no way, I am saying that’s what going to happen to us, but for some reason I could relate this to my family’s future. I just wonder though, did we not take away their innocence and naivety by making them aware of life? I am not talking about her, just for myself.
I am also struggling with the fact that my children do not need me anymore, maybe I just feel left out. We do engage in a lot of family activities up till bedtime. Maybe, it’s just I fear to be lonely without them, and I am unable now to see them grow and be independent. For the past few nights I struggled to go to sleep, I’m starting to dread the silence after the kids go to sleep, I actually wish they would wake up and ask me to do things with them. I never realised how lonely my mum must have felt when we all left the house for uni etc. For the first time, I can relate to my mum when she used to say how lonely and incomplete she felt without her kids. They do say a woman is incomplete until she becomes a mother, so maybe it’s a woman is incomplete until she feels needed by her family. I’m actually wondering what would I do when they are a bit older and have a lot of ‘work’ to do for themselves, would they neglect me?


  1. Your babies will always need you! They will need you for cuddles, hugs, guidance, advice. You cook and you clean and you wash their clothes and make sure they get dressed and tidy up. They might do some things on their own, but that is all thanks to you. I am so amazed that they do so much at such a young age, masha'allah. I intend to raise my baby when it is born inshallah the same way. I can't stand spoilt kids and being independant is never a bad thing alhamdulileh!

  2. Thank you. I think i am just having a quarter age crisis lol. Inshallah ur kids will be much better than mine. I just miss having a baby lol.