I didn’t intend on publishing a Working Mama Mondays post today but after this afternoon I felt I should.
Today I experienced that which all working mom’s hope they won’t experience but probably will.
Today my daughter cried and writhed and yelled when my sister-in-law left. And then she hit and scratched at my face in anger.
Today my daughter basically communicated to me that she wants my SIL instead of me. Or at least in that moment she did.
I guess I knew it could happen but truly I didn’t really think it would. I suppose I thought she was too young to express those things. Honestly, I didn’t worry too much about it because I didn’t think my daughter would actually prefer my SIL over me. I knew they were close, I was thankful that they got along so well, but I always assumed she’d prefer me over her. I mean, I am her mother. I sincerely thought that at almost one years old, I would remain my daughter’s everything. Now I’m quite sure that I’m not.
A few weeks ago I would have assumed it was just a random outburst. Today I’m convinced it was a sincere expression of my daughter’s feelings.
In the past weeks I’ve learned that my daughter is capable of much more, emotionally and physically, than I gave her credit for. Lately I’ve spent more time observing her and am cognizant of how much she sees and understands. I recognize what her reactions mean and I’m more in tuned with what she’s trying to “tell me”.
Today she was trying to tell me that she was sad her Tía was leaving (tía means “aunt” in Spanish and it’s the word we use for Isa’s true aunts – my sister and my SIL) and she felt compelled to take it out on me. I know that the hard smacks to my face and the violent squeezing of my cheeks and mouth were not random physical acts but purposeful communications of anger and disappointment.
My daughter wanted, at that moment, her Tía more than she wanted me. To say it was devastating would be a severe understatement.
I have to admit, I spent a few moments wallowing in the painful injustice of it all. I writhed against the unfairness of having to work and being forced away from my daughter all day. I sadly reminded myself that it was good for my daughter to have a deep connection with her care taker, who loves her very much not just as a nanny but as an aunt. I gave myself a second to not give a shit about whether or not it was okay, screaming in my head that it just plain sucked. And then I stopped all the back and forth and I took responsibility for my emotions. I did so begrudgingly at first and then with a quiet measure of acceptance.
It hurts for my daughter to want her Tía over me. I can accept that without trying to run from it. I am accepting that right now, as I type this. And I know my daughter loves me and I know I will always be her mother. I know that my head can and will assure me that everything is going to be alright and that my heart will fail miserably at hearing this. I know this and I will accept it.
And I will accept that this sucks and take responsibility for the way it makes me feel.
Oh my. I’m glad today was a Mindful Working Mama Monday, otherwise I’d be in some deep emotional dog doo.