Do you ever feel TOO connected? I have been talking with many of my young parents about being a bit too connected to their little ones. Now don’t get me wrong, good parents are connected to their children, but it cannot and maybe should not be 24/7, day in and out.
It is important for parents and children to learn independence from one another, and it begins shortly after a baby is born when you realize that as new parents you need a break for an hour or two, maybe to go to dinner, a movie or the book store to pick up the latest parenting book. (so stay tuned from The Kid’s Doctor).
But while you go out and the baby is either with the other parent, grandparent or babysitter, you do not need to be in constant communication to check in 15 minutes after you leave. In that case there really is no break. If you get a phone call, or text 10 minutes after leaving because the baby is crying or spit up or won’t go to sleep, which in turn makes you anxious, so you turn around to come right home, then the whole point of a break is moot.
This came up again the other day when a young mother told me that she was so exhausted and had a 6 week old baby at home. Her sweet husband treated her to a mani/pedi which she anxiously looked forward to. She left her husband with a bottle of pumped breast milk and headed out the door for an hour and half break and maybe a nap in the spa chair. But, shortly after she settled in, she kept getting texts about the baby. The more texts she got the more anxious she got and then wished that I had never even left. I just “knew I had to be there!”
When I brought up the fact that life seemed a bit simpler and maybe even more relaxed prior to constant cell phone communication she and her husband both paused for a moment. What? No way! But after realizing that an hour break while their baby was in the care of another responsible adult might be just what the doctor ordered.
In the olden days a trip to the grocery store ALONE was a treat, and I knew that the baby would still be there when I returned. Daddy could not call to say that our sweet baby boy had cried for 10 minutes, they just muddled through together. While I was in a sleep deprived stupor at the grocery store, I was also enjoying languishing in the produce department trying to decide whether to buy iceberg or romaine lettuce. It was a break of sorts!
So, maybe try an hour away from your baby without a phone call or text! Make a pact with your spouse or sitter and take a break. It does wonders for everyone to figure out that baby, mother and father can all survive.
Try it and let me know how it goes.
That’s your daily dose for today. We’ll chat again tomorrow.