Separate. Yes? No? Oh, decisions!

When I was a new mom, I had a dilemma.  See, I’m a performing musician, and when my son was maybe 4 weeks old, I got a call for a gig.  This was a dilemma for me because I was following an attachment-parenting model from the get-go.  As part of this, my son and I were together all the time, and he was usually in my arms (in a sling) or sleeping beside me, nursing on demand at will.  You practically couldn’t fit a dime between us most of the time.   It felt good and right and all was absolutely well.

Content, in arms.So, this show comes along, and it means, if I take it, I’m going to be separated from my son for several hours.

Feeling confused and unsettled about the whole thing**, I called a friend/mentor, Sandy, to discuss this with her.  And, she was emphatic.  She advised me not to do the show.  I cannot recall the specifics of the conversation, but I do remember the gist.  She pointed out that since I was already following this model of parenting, my son would have a great deal of difficulty with the separation at his tender age, not having any ability to prepare for it or understand where I was or when ~ or even if ~ I would return.

Of course, things do come up, unavoidable-type things.  But, this show was very avoidable (as are most things, when you come right down to it).  And, the thing that we had going, the communication, the connection, well, that was too good to allow a gig get in the way.  I declined the show (the first time I would EVER turn down a show  for ANY reason, and I mean ANY reason), and stayed home with my son.  It felt good and right to listen to that little voice in my head, what many folks call “mother’s intuition” (see below for more on this incredible parenting gift).

Why am I telling you this?  Well, I’m inspired to because of a great article from Natural Child Magazine about separation anxiety.  I’d love to hear what you think, and of course, let me know if you have any questions or dilemmas that you need a thought partner to sort out!

Thanks for reading!!

** Feeling confused and unsettled is a clear message from a parent’s greatest gift, commonly referred to as “mother’s intuition” (although, any loving parent ~ mother or father ~ receives the gift as part of the new-child “package,” along with the disrupted sleep schedule, stained clothing, tolerance for cleaning bodily fluids, etc.).  It’s that voice in your head that helps you identify the right thing to do, and the right thing not to do.  When I was in my La Leche League leadership training, my mentor and I had this lovely correspondence.  She said, “Mother’s intuition is an interesting thing.  It’s the tiniest whisper when you first get it.  But, the whisper gets louder and bolder and easier to hear the more you listen to it.  Conversely, it gets fainter and quieter and harder to hear the more you ignore it.  Until it practically goes away.”  I’ve never forgotten that most beautiful pearl of wisdom she gave me all those years ago.


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