A lifestyle and career blog for working moms.

What’s in a Name?

Does my son know I'm his mother? About a week ago I was picking D2 up from the half-day toddler program at Montessori and just making chit chat with his teacher. I asked her how he was doing. “He’s doing great” she tells me, “but he keeps asking for someone named Eva. Who takes care of him in the afternoon?” I tell her Eva is his nanny who has been with our family since he was two and half months old. She looks at me sympathetically, head cocked to the side and says, “He asks for her all the time.” I say well he’s very attached to her. From my point of view it’s no big deal. But all of a sudden I started feeling just a bit defensive.

I’ve since started to notice that D2 asks for Eva a lot these days. On the weekends, which she has off, he pretends to call her on the phone. When she leaves for the day, he’ll ask me in toddler-speak where she is,  ”Eva car?” “Eva outside?”. Any time he sees a red Toyota Corolla he thinks it’s her. For some reason this attachment doesn’t bother me that much but Dr. D. has given me the hairy eyeball more than once on this issue.  Occasionally, he’ll needle me and say something like, ” I wonder if I ask D2 who his mother is what he’ll say?” or “Do you think D2 knows you are his mother?” My answer is always the same. Don’t be silly, of course he knows I’m his mother. Stupid question. But then I get that little voice of doubt in the back of my head. He knows, right?

Do I feel like a bad mother because my son adores his caregiver and spends a significant amount of time with her every day? No. Do I wish I had more time with him every day myself? Yes.  Do I wonder how it looks to other people (like D2′s teachers) when my son talks about her so much? Sometimes.  But I’m thrilled that my son has someone he loves and trusts so much. I can go to work every day knowing he is safe, happy and well-cared for.

My friend Blessing over at Working Mom Journal has written a lot about working mother guilt and the challenges of childcare. I’ve always said that I don’t feel guilty about working or the choices that I’ve made to make sure that D2 has a wonderful and fulfilling childhood. I’d feel worse if I honestly thought I wasn’t a good mother but I know I am. I make sure all of the time we do have together is quality time from getting him ready in the morning, to story time every night and lots of time together on the weekends. We also co-sleep (And yes, I know all about the controversy surrounding this often-done but little discussed practice in the US. But I don’t care.) and so I go to bed and wake up each morning with my son’s little face right near me. I’m sure this all sounds like I am justifying my choices but really, I’m not. I just wish I didn’t care so much about what other people thought about this issue.

So, this past weekend D2 and I were doing our normal weekend Target run and a couple stopped to fawn over him. He gave them a huge grin, pointed to me and said, “Mommy!” That’s right. I am. My son knows who his mother is and at the end of the day, that’s all I need.

7 Responses to “What’s in a Name?”

  1. Kajsa

    Parenting is such a tricky business…are they too coddled, or too removed? Endless judgement from myself, and it seems, others. Arden has been home sick the last couple of days and her constant need to have me with her at all times was frustrating (Mama, I’m going upstairs come with me, Mama I’m going to the bathroom, where are you?, etc.). I have prided myself on being a stay at home mom, loved the time with her, made the conscious choice that I wanted to be the one to raise her, no one else being called mom by mistake. I neglected to factor in the fact that I live near my close family, and for months following the divorce we lived with my parents. She is their only grandchild. I thought that their hands off “parenting was my job” stand on things meant that I was doing all the work. Took pride in it. Let me tell you, my parents have been out of the country for almost 3 months and I have never appreciated their help more. Being a single parent means being on all the time, cooking dinner every night, making breakfast and lunch every morning, doing all of the laundry, doing all of the art projects, cleaning up all of the art projects, teaching her to read, going on the outings when I feel sick because there is no one else to do it, reading stories every night and rubbing her back til she falls asleep. She rolled out of bed the other night and hit her mouth on the nightstand and knocked a tooth out (it was already loose), dealing with the blood, the skinned knees, the sad day at Kindergarten. My point is that I don’t think any of us can do it alone, at least not as well as we can do it with others help, in whatever form that comes. And Portia, there is always, ALWAYS only one mom, mommy, mama.

    Reply
    • Cynthia Benin Lemus

      TEARS!!! Sniffle! Sniffle! Great posts Portia and Kajsa! Raising a family is supposed to be a communal responsibility, but in this country, especially among the middle class, it can feel a bit isolating and there are many emotions attached to care of children. First, D2 knows your his mom, and you are right to ward off some of the feelings of anxiety. Remember your post about a second baby? Everyone has an opinion, but the only reality that matters, is your own. You know your house, husband and child, so be confident. D2 is sooooo lucky to have so much support. Kajsa- I was a single parent for 8 years and I KNOW!!!! I felt like I was always picking up my daughter, dropping my daughter off, waiting for my daughter… Community is crucial. I take heart in the fact that when I really needed help, it was there. Same blessing to you!

      Reply
      • bossmomonline

        Cynthia – I totally agree. The American focus on independence is out of whack. One of the things I loved about living in China was seeing how you had two (sometimes three) generations living under one roof. I’ll never forget a co-worker who’s young daughter was cared for his parents during the day. I asked him didn’t he miss her and he said no because he knew she was being well-cared for by his parents. As for being a single mom, I bow down. Being a mother is hard period. But doing it on your own is a Herculean task. Community is key and it’s up to us to nurture those bonds.

        Reply
    • bossmomonline

      Kajsa, I felt so many emotions when I read your comment. It made me a bit teary. My god, no we can’t do it alone for sure. Dr. D.’s mother was living with us up until she suddenly passed away this past January. She was such an incredible source of help and support for me. When she died, not only did it leave me feeling emotionally bereft, but all of sudden, all of the little things she used to do to help me were back on my plate. I’m not complaining but we have no idea how important help is until we don’t have it anymore. Thank God you have your parents near as you transition into a new life. I regret that we don’t live closer to family (though that has its own issues). In any event, thank you for another heart felt comment. It really touched me.

      Reply
      • Kajsa

        Thank you for your posts, they bring up thoughts and help me think some things through. I forgot to mention that I think co-sleeping is great. I did it with Arden, and she although now she falls asleep in her own bed, it is a rare night that she doesn’t crawl in bed with me in the middle of the night. I’ve done all the research, and understand that this will stop when she is ready, as long as she knows she has her own space at her age. It is a wonderful feeling though.

        Reply
  2. Blessing

    I just shed a tear reading this because this is exactly how I felt couple months ago. I think that D2 knowing who is caregiver is, is a good thing. This early stage are for developments and when Camille was about his age last year, she was more attached to my sister who was always home. Its the capability to attach to someone else other than their parents and its nothing to worry about. If anything, be glad that your son have developed neuro-pathways to identify the everyday things. And just like you mentioned, he knows the nanny comes and goes and is always in the look out for her. Eventually he will develop that sense of attachment with his teachers at pre-school, friends, etc and realize that its normal to like people. Camille now has friends that she mentions all the time but at the end of the day, she is always glad to see Mommy and cuddle. Thanks for the honorable mention. On the positive side, Eva is doing an amazing job if D2 misses her that much :)

    Reply
    • bossmomonline

      Blessing, I totally agree. Eva IS doing an a amazing job and I’m very lucky to have her. I do like what you say about D2 developing an attachment to pre-school friends as well. I’m seeing inklings of that already with a friend of his and one of his teachers, Ms. Amy who he talks about all the time too! It’s so good to see that other moms experience this same sense of both anxiety (does my child really know I’m his mother?) and relief (thank god he’s so happy and well-adjusted).

      Reply

Leave a Reply


*

Basic HTML is allowed. Your email address will not be published.

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS