Ever since my son was born, I have received lots of advice from everyone and their mother. Some of it has been helpful, some of it has been useless, most of it has just been plain annoying.
The biggest criticism I have received, and continue to receive, is that I’m “too attached” to my child.
This has always bugged me for a few reasons:
- My relationship with my child is none of your business
- I shouldn’t feel sorry for raising my son to feel secure and loved in our relationship
It started when he was a newborn. Family and friends saying I held him too much and I was going to spoil him. That’s literally the worst piece of “advice” anyone can ever say to a mother, and if you’re someone who passes judgement like that, stay in your lane. How dare you make a mother feel guilty for nurturing her child. I cringe when I think about those times and the guilt I felt as my newborn slept on my chest.
Since the birth of my son, I have been endlessly smitten and thrilled about being his mother. Why should I feel bad for letting him seek a warm place to rest on my chest?
Listen, I don’t take my job as a mother for granted and I sure as heck don’t regret being “overly attached.” Especially after experiencing two pregnancy losses this year. I may never get to experience another newborn phase and I am so glad I soaked in every waking minute with my baby.
What I’m trying to say is that life is short and the baby phase is even shorter. Mother to mother, I wish every child could experience having an attached mother. Someone who is there to rub their head and caress their cheeks. Someone who is there to kiss those baby lips.
My son is the most proudest and most precious part of my life and I am not sorry about that.
Unfortunately, there is a general fear and persistent myth that if we focus on building this kind of relationship with our kids, we may hinder their growth as independent and self-sufficient beings.
But the truth of the matter is: Attachment doesn’t slow down growth, it fuels it.
When you consider the big picture, the ultimate goal in raising a child is to help them become their own separate person, right? We should want them to have their own mind, set their own goals, form their own reasons, make their own decisions, think for themselves, know their boundaries and create their own intentions. But what we need to be asking ourselves is this: What do we need to do to make sure our kids do grow up like this?
Children can’t be too attached, they can only be not deeply attached.
Attachment is meant to make our kids dependent on us so that we can lead them. It is our invitation for relationship that frees them to stop looking for love and to start focusing on growing. When kids can take for granted that their attachment needs will be met, they are freed to play, discover, imagine, move freely and pay attention.
It may be paradoxical but when we fulfill their dependency needs, they are pushed forward towards independence. It is security in the relationship that frees children and allows them to let go of us; attachment isn’t the enemy of maturity but insecure relationships will be.
At the end of the day, the most important lesson is this: Children don’t need to be pushed to separate or to grow up. What kids need most are deep relationships and to be freed from their hunger for connection. And by golly, I will do everything in my power to make my child feel that way.
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9 thoughts on “I’m Not Sorry for Being an Overly Attached Mama”
I am 29 years old and I am so grateful for my mother she is my best friend and we talk every day and every moment I can I tell her how much she means to me. I want to utilize my time with her now since god has bless me to have her next to me I’m going to make the best of it. And one day when I have a child of my own I hope to have the same relationship with my child.
Great points. As a mom of a teenager I agree that they will have no problem detaching themselves when the time is right. They need those deep connections so that they feel confident enough to venture out into the world because they know there is always a safe place to land if need be. We are their safe place. Thanks for sharing!
This seems to suggest that only mama’s attachment fuels growth, but attachment to others is not only important for growth, it is important for helping with separation anxiety and social anxiety. It could be that anyone who tells you, you hold your child too much, is possibly saying…” you leave others little opportunity to form important attachments.” They might also be saying that your child doesn’t require constant physical contact to feel loved or secured – Your presence and care is enough (YOU are enough). So perhaps these words aren’t as ill spirited as you interpret them to be. It is all about balance: yours and babies’. Either way, enjoy every day.
Thank you for allowing me to see a different point of view. Of course, I am there physically and can hear the tone of others when they say these sly comments (so I know they’re ill willed) but if the body language/tone was not there- then I MAY agree with you there. Regardless, I appreciate your opinion and comment. 🙂
I am one to always play the devil’s advocate but this is something that has been researched and proved and has changed dramatically in the last 20 years. So when older/ uninformed generations say you’re holding your baby too much 90% of the time they aren’t asking to hold your baby and they usually confirm that with a “you’re going to spoil him/her” or “my kids turned out okay and i put them in their crib to cry”
Our goal as parents should ALWAYS be to do better then our parents did because no parent is perfect and we should learn from their mistakes.
Attachment is proven again and again to be the most important part of child development. And although social relationships are important- children only have the ability to form attachment with one PRIMARY caregiver (Yes- even when both parents are present in their life) so it is important it is a deep attachment. This article is absolutely beautiful- but more importantly it’s not just another mom blog post based on opinion. Every point the other made could be backed by science. Trust me, I am Mary Ainsworths granddaughter.
AMEN AMEN AMEN! I’m agreed that times have changed and more research has come to light and a lot of the older generations don’t understand that or believe it.
I love it! It’s like you read my heart! ❤ Wish I could steal back a few of those moments in time when I got to snuggle my littles.
I absolutely love this! I am told often that I need to stop walking over to my son as he’s playing and giving him kisses and that I need to let up on him a little because we are attached to eachother. We all parent differently and I am not going to stop letting my son know how much his momma loves him and is rooting for him! Why try so hard at such young ages to get them to grow up, they have their whole life ahead of them to do that and I’m not going to push these moment forward but enjoy each second of them, period.
OMG! You kiss that boy as much as you want!