Motherhood

Over-Mothering

 

This is a concept that came into my consciousness this summer. I had a very stressful period this summer, in my professional life, that all started because I spoke up and said, you know, “this situation is not working for me anymore.”

At the same time that was going on, the urge to night wean my almost 2 year old daughter, Penelope, and the desire to start creating some boundaries was beginning to peak. It was the same feeling of “this is not working for me anymore” but like with the other situation, it was taking me a long time for me to articulate my thoughts and have the courage to speak up and follow through.

I have a hard time, sometimes, when I am listening to messages from my intuition/higher self, or whatever you want to call it, deciding whether they are coming from a victim/fear place or healthy/whole place.

So sometimes it takes me a long time to act till I am clear. And when I am really unclear about what is going on, why I am feeling the way I am or why things are happening a certain way in my life, I make an appointment with an energy healer.  A lot of energy healers are also intuitives or psychics and can give a little guidance on the situation.

I think it is really interesting, when you are going through some sort of Journey or Ordeal , you can see it manifested or playing out in multidimensional ways or layers in your life.

Anyway, after I finally got up the courage to night wean Penelope, with the help of an energy healer to make it all clear, I realized I had been the realm of over mothering and my hesitation about night weaning her was my resistance to change and let go.

I was also resentful of having to nurse her at night and get up so many times for the last two years. I was exhausted and not taking care of myself. I knew things were out of balance but I wasn’t sure how to get them back on track without loosing my foundation of attachment parenting values.

Before this summer, I didn’t think it was possible to over-mother. But after re-reading Louise Hay’s book, You Can Heal Your Life, and paying attention to where she believes that breast cancer is a physical manifestation of resentment and anger at yourself for over mothering your children, I realize that over mothering is very possible, especially if you are devoted, attached parent.

I have been and still am, a huge supporter of attachment parenting, but now that Penelope is almost two, I am in the process of bringing my mothering energy back into balance and creating a more healthy and age appropriate boundaries with her.

She has been sleeping by herself for a couple of weeks now. It has been ah. mazing. She was totally ready and did not cry or wake up once. I will do a post next week about the logistics, but it was a smooth process.

I am very proud of myself for allowing her some independence and letting her go a bit. I think that part of being a good mother is knowing when to step back, give them space and let them grow up.

So I guess the other moral of the story is, that it is ok to stand up for yourself, and say “this is not working for me” and do whatever you need to do to be happy, take care of yourself and make yourself more of a priority. There is a way to do that and still honor your children and be an attached and authentic parent.

Have you ever noticed yourself in the over-mothering realm? What did you do to put things back into a healthy balance?

 

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  • Ayana
    November 10, 2011 at 9:30 PM

    I did not know there was a such thing as over-mothering. I think that I am probably guilty of it. When I do too much and not take care of myself – and I get cranky, I just blame myself for being so *weak* and resolve to get stronger… That is pretty ridiculous, now that I think about it!

  • Anonymous
    November 11, 2011 at 7:01 AM

    I would venture a guess high red meat consumption will get you to cancer quicker than over-mothering…

  • Cotton Bottom Mama
    November 13, 2011 at 3:28 PM

    Stephanie, thanks for this post! It is so important but so hard for some mothers to take care of themselves without feeling guilty. We matter too! This was a great reminder and feels like such a supportive post. Too many attachment moms tend towards judging rather than offering support. Love your blog and find it incredibly inspirational.

  • Anonymous
    November 14, 2011 at 12:22 AM

    Isn't it amazing that we can pay someone to tell us what we want to hear or buy a book to help justify something.

  • Anonymous
    November 14, 2011 at 12:25 AM

    You said here that she didn't cry or wake up once but on your facebook you talked about her waking up many times with your husband and how she would cry out at night.

  • Stephanie
    November 14, 2011 at 2:51 AM

    @Anonymous 1…I feel like your comment is hurtful and judgmental, this blog is a positive place of people helping other people. I would love for you to keep your negative energy to yourself.
    @Anonymous 2…The nights I would sleep up stairs to get some rest after I had night weaned her and my husband would sleep with her, she would wake up and say Mama, but she wouldn't full on cry. He would cuddle and comfort her. Same thing when I was in the bed with her after we night weaned, she still woke up and called out for me. After I left the room and she slept on her own, by watching her on the video, I realized she was rolling around like crazy and she must have been bumping into us and waking herself up. Because the very first night, she didn't wake up at all till morning, it was amazing!

  • Cullybaby
    November 14, 2011 at 3:53 AM

    Hi! Just found your blog and love your honesty and sharing. It's good to check ourselves and listen to our instincts, even when unsure. I want to do best by my daughter too. I'm loving attachment parenting but appreciate awareness of falling into over-mothering (although my husband may believe I already do!) Keep it up and thank you!

  • miamihoney
    November 14, 2011 at 4:53 AM

    Glad you were able to figure ot what works best for you and your family. I do believe the desire to please others (kids, spouse etc) can be super draining and the more of us who stand up and say that it is not easy or that we need something for ourselves the better off we all will be/ Kudos Mommy 🙂

  • Anonymous
    November 15, 2011 at 1:18 AM

    I thought attatchment parenting says that you give a child comfort and safety by letting them sleep with you until they choose to sleep on their own, not forcing them to sleep by themselves. I wouldn't give up anything to not have my children with me.

  • Stephanie
    November 15, 2011 at 4:57 AM

    @CullyBaby…thanks so much for your positive feedback!
    @Miamihoney…it can be so draining if you are not careful and keep it all in balance and take care of yourself. Thanks for the kudos!
    @Anonymous…the API website doesn't have any strict guidelines about when children should sleep on their own, only that they should not be left alone to cry it out. My daughter just turned two, so we shared a bed for two years and I did enjoy it very much, however exhausting as it was, but this works for us. We still nurse to sleep and immediately upon waking, so we get lots of cuddle time through that.

  • Anonymous
    November 15, 2011 at 11:09 PM

    Steph you should start approving comments instead of letting someone with nothing better to do come in and waste your time AND your readers time.

    And just so they can't track me and waste my time… I'll leave this comment "anonymously." But you should have no problem knowing who this is… kisses girl!

  • Anonymous
    November 17, 2011 at 10:07 PM

    I was just trying to help you be aware of something so you wouldn't regret it later on. I have also heard of children resenting their parents for forcing them out of their bed too early. I would watch for anger issues. Most of the time a child will choose to sleep on their own from ages 3-5.

  • Stephanie
    November 17, 2011 at 11:14 PM

    @Anonymous…thanks for letting me know. But I am aware, and I didn't force her out. If she would have cried for one minute, I would have aborted the attempt. She was totally ready, didn't cry a peep, when I left after nursing her down, but not totally asleep, nor did she wake up once. I know the average is 3-5, but Penelope was ready at just before 2. There has been no change in her personality, she is just as she was before when we were sleeping together. I made the transition very slowly and she made the transition like a champ.

  • Morrison Manor
    January 7, 2012 at 3:23 PM

    My son is 20 mos old rt now & we're going through this VERY same thing!!! I am sooo tired!! But I am an avid believer in attachment parenting & I don't want to put him in his own bed if he NEEDS to be in ours with us. Please share with us how you did it. Thanks SO much for this post!! Ive ordered the book & it's on the way! (had it overnighted! Ha)

  • Stephanie
    January 8, 2012 at 3:05 AM

    @Morrison Manor…big hug to you then! Life has been busy with the holidays and this new pregnancy, but I wil get the follow up post up ASAP, promise! Glad you ordered the book, you will love it!

  • Jennifer
    July 5, 2012 at 3:26 AM

    I am a total helicopter mom. I’ve even noticed that I do it with other people’s kids. It is crazy.

    • Stephanie
      July 5, 2012 at 2:03 PM

      Lol. Well, at least you are self aware! 🙂