A "good enough" mom muses about alpha moms, adoption, computers, the State Of The World, Internet quirkiness, and the Kosmik All
Owner of a lonely heart
I have always liked being alone. One of my favorite things to do is to go hiking in the woods by myself, far away from anyone else, then find a good rock or stump to sit on, and listen to the wind in the trees, the birds chirping, the rustles of small creatures through the underbrush. When I was a child, I liked to hide away in my room. I would lie there daydreaming, or buried in a book, or just sitting at the window and staring out at the world. It's a physical need. If people get too close to me physically, I edge back; I don't want them impinging on my space. If they persist, I get tense and edgy. Crowd scenes send my edginess into hyperdrive. Don't touch me unless it's on my terms. I can, if pressed, get hostile. If I am stressed, you can multiply all of this times ten, times one hundred. "Getting away" is how I recharge; the classic hallmark of an introvert in all the Myers-Briggs tests. I test out as INTP consistently, and have ever since I first took the MBTI. (Though every once in a while, I test out as INFP instead). OmegaDad, though very introspective, is much more of an extrovert. He is an excellent salesman. He connects with people. He does some of his best work through schmoozing and networking even though he's in the sciences. OmegaDotter...I don't know. All I know is that she is extremely needy and clingy, and that being alone is one of the most horrible things she can experience. Whether this is innate or a result of being one-of-many in an institutional setting is a big question. With all the discussion of attachment and bonding and attachment issues on all the various international adoption venues, I don't see much discussion about situations where the types of the primary family players are vastly different. In other words: What do you do when you're a loner and your dotter is needy, and you are the focus of that need? The two needs here collide. When the dotter is needy, she does everything that pushes all my "need to be ALONE!!" buttons. She pushes. I retreat. She pushes more, because she feels abandoned. I get uptight and tense because she's pushing, touching, needing. She gets uptight and tense because I'm retreating, backing off, not wanting to be needed. She needs me. I need to get away. OmegaDad functions as a buffer between us (bless you, OmegaDad!). When he's home, the ebb and flow of need is muted, bounced between the two parental units. When I need to be alone, he can take over, and vice versa. But due to work pressures, OmegaDad has been going out in the field every other week. This leaves the dotter and I to perform our push-retreat dance all alone--with the added factor of "daddy is abandoning me, I really need you!" playing a great (though unstated) role. Add in my recent stress from work, and it turns into a pressure cooker for both of us. Add in a sudden awareness of scary situations in previously loved movies (who woulda thunk that "Mary Poppins" could scare a child into tears all of a sudden?? It never did before!), and what you've got is a disaster. All of this is why I'm posting at 3:30 a.m. (So I can be ALONE!!!) Anyone got any bright ideas? Aside from, say, counseling, which is suddenly high up on my agenda?
posted by Kate @ 7/13/2006 03:03:00 AM  
10 Comments:
  • At 7/13/2006 07:45:00 AM, Blogger Miss Cellania said…

    Boy, do I relate! Yet another reason I a insomniac. Try doing this with no husband and TWO clingy kids! They spent 8 nights at their cousin's home last week, and it was WONDERFUL! Sure, I love them and was glad to see them, but it was nice to get the batteries recharged, both at home and on the road. Probably won't happen again til next summer.

     
  • At 7/13/2006 08:12:00 AM, Blogger art-sweet said…

    No good suggestions, just a big fat I relate. My partner and I play out this dynamic ALL THE TIME. She was abandoned by her dad as a young child, and reacts to stress by clinging. I react to stress by hiding and not wanting to be needed.

    On second thought, here's a suggestion that I'm pulling out of my arse. I don't know that Dotter is ready for this developmentally, but I do find it helpful in these moments to articulate what's going on.

    I know it's scary when daddy is away. He is coming back. Let's look at the calendar and count how many days until he's back. Have a small gift (dollar store!) for her to unwrap each day he's away. Take pictures of the pile so she can see it's getting smaller.

    Then say: I want you to know that mom needs some time by herself but she will never abandon you. I will play with you in ten minutes. (Set a sand timer or other visible way for her to track the passage of time.) And obviously, follow through.

     
  • At 7/13/2006 09:07:00 AM, Blogger Vinegar Martini said…

    I can relate. Unfortunately my 'alone' time is the two hours in the car for my commute to and from work. Not ideal but it's my time - I even turn off the cell phone now.

    As for advice - perhaps if you and DD took a small hike together - it's not 100% alone time but it's getting you out and her connected to something you enjoy?

    beats sitting in bumper to bumper traffic, right?

     
  • At 7/13/2006 01:41:00 PM, Anonymous Theresa said…

    Another one who can so relate to this. This past year especially I have been struggling to find a balance between dd who is 4 and very needy and my parents, mostly my mom who has always been VERY needy but relied on my dad whom she is now trying to care for. Sandwiched? More like drawn and quartered! I fantasize about escaping to a retreat house near here all by myself to do nothing but sleep-and maybe go for a walk.
    Oh I hear you OM:)
    I did leave a message yesterday for a counselor so I don't keep venting all my caretaker frustrations onto dh.

     
  • At 7/13/2006 04:56:00 PM, Blogger MomEtc. said…

    I've been getting into the same kind of trouble. I usually post after Pippi has gone to bed....which is sometimes rather late. I end up sitting at the computer until the wee hours and then I'm tired the next day.

    Anyway, I've always been the kind of person who needs time alone. I can commiserate.

     
  • At 7/14/2006 10:28:00 PM, Blogger ¬©Jac said…

    I've been trying to teach Heathen Son about personal space. It is going over really well if you consider "really well" to be hardly at all. I tell him I need personal space, and he tells me he needs a hug and a kiss, and who am I to deny him those things? ~sigh~

    What about a special box of toys (sticker book stuff, coloring book, etc) that you only pull out when you need space?

     
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About Me
Name: OmegaMom
Home: Southwest
About Me: Middle-aged mom of a 4-year-old adopted from China. Love science, debate, good SF and fantasy, hiking, music of almost every style. Lousy housekeeper. "Good enough" mom.
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