Codependent Mother

Does This Make Me a Good Mom… Or a Codependent Mother?

Mom Jeanine
October 17, 2011


Good Question, hot topic, Jeanine Edwards

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Later today I’m leaving for my second business trip in a month. My daughter is staying with my parents while I’m away. We’ve only been apart 1 day, but already, I miss her like crazy.

I’ll only be gone for 2 days, but it seems like 2 months. It’s not that I’m worried she won’t be taken care of or that something will happen to her–I just miss being her mom. My mother told me it’s totally normal to miss your kids when you’re separated, but a friend of mine begs to differ. She thinks I have a codependent relationship with my daughter.

I was a little offended when my friend suggested this, but as time has passed, I can acknowledge there’s probably some truth to what she said. Being my daughter’s mother is my most cherished role in life. But I don’t think that necessarily makes me codependent–I think that makes me a good mom.

You decide, though. What kind of mom do these 10 things make me?

1. I cry when we’re separated. When I left my daughter yesterday, I cried for 10 minutes on the train. When my parents called to check in later in the evening, I cried again.

2. I get teary eyed when someone mentions her name and she’s not with me. I was coming home from dinner last night and my boyfriend asked when I was going to pick her up. Cue the waterworks.

3. I won’t vacation without her. If it was financially possible for me to bring my daughter and babysitter on this 2-day trip with me, I probably would have. This time was unavoidable, but when I travel for pleasure, I never do so without my little girl.

4. I pass the time in the airport looking at pictures of her. I got to the airport super early on my last business trip. Instead of passing out on the floor or walking around the shops, I just listened to music and flipped through old pictures of my little girl I had saved on my computer.

5. I have to close her closet door because I get sad seeing her little clothes. Before bed last night I found myself getting emotional because I was staring into my daughter’s closet. I considered sleeping in the living room so I wouldn’t have to see all her stuff in the bedroom.

6. When we’re apart, I have to speak to her every day. Multiple times a day. By video chat if at all possible.

7. I just don’t sleep as well when she’s not in the bed with me. I know it sounds crazy. I should sleep better when there aren’t little feet in my back. But I’m so used to having her in the bed with me, it’s a little unsettling to be in that big bed all alone.

8. I bring her back tons of souvenirs. They’re all worthless little trinkets and tchotchkes that I know I shouldn’t waste my money on, but I feel like I need to come bearing gifts for being away from her.

9. After I’ve been away, I always plan some mommy and me excursion we wouldn’t otherwise take. This weekend, for example, once I back from this trip I’m taking her to an apple orchard. I don’t particularly like apples, but I think she’ll have fun and I feel like I “owe” her.

10. Did I mention I miss her? Like, a lot. Like I can’t even enjoy the break or the free trip to a place I’ve never been because I just wish she was with me.

Okay, so what’s your take? Totally normal, all “good” moms feel these things? Or codependent? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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  • Tracy
    October 17, 2011

  • I’m totally agree that being a mom is my most cherished role in life and my most important job. Because I believe that, I know that I can’t spend as much time with my kids as I want. Let me explain. If I let my children comsume every moment of my life, I am teaching them that they should let me and eventually their children consume every moment of their lives. When will they learn to be their own people? When will they learn to explore life? Enjoy the things around them? I think that part of being a good mother means knowing when to be there 100% and when to let go (let’s face it, I am probably still there 100% in my heart, but they don’t need to know that). Your love for your daughter is beautiful, but put her in your place – where to do want her to be at your age? What do you want her to be doing? Experiencing? Will she be able to do that with you being who you are and so reliant on your relationship with her?

  • Judy Clark Bradley
    October 17, 2011

  • While it is normal to miss your child when separated, I really think you may be a little overboard. She should never have to feel like she can’t do things apart from you to avoid hurting you or having you upset – and she may feel this way as time goes on if you really are this obsessive when you are away from her. Part of being a good parent means preparing one’s child to face the world on their own one day, and this is done in little steps over the child’s growing up time with you. You certainly wouldn’t want to make her feel incapable of doing things on her own. A little time apart is healthy – as long as she is in a safe place and well cared for. She needs to know you see her as capable and that you will be there for her when she needs you. I raised 10 children and I hated to be apart from them too. I dreaded the end of school breaks or summer vacations, but not excessively or it would have made them feel guilty for looking forward to seeing their friends and having fun, growing toward the day when they would leave home on their own. Good luck – you sound like a loving mom!

  • Ange
    October 17, 2011

  • I hate leaving my children. I would home school them if I thought I could do a good job of it. I worked part time up until May of this year – everyday I worked there was at least one point in that day that I would get tearful because I missed them.

    I think it is and can be a natural thing. I think it doesn’t make you a co-dependent just like I don’t think people who don’t go through these things are bad parents. Everyone is different and everyone has a different relationship with their kids.

  • Crystal
    October 17, 2011

  • Tah dah you are totally normal. Next!

  • Joselyn
    October 17, 2011

  • I feel the exact same way about my children. I love my boys. I only leave them with their grandparents if it is absolutely necessary! You are a great mom!

  • Stephanie
    October 19, 2011

  • I think this is way overboard! It’s one thing to love your child, but it’s another to take it as far as this. You need to step away and get your identity back, as a woman and not just a mom. You are going to smother your daughter, not to mention, she’s going to grow up being dependent on you instead of being her own person as she should be. To be quite honest, your post creeps me out. It reminds me of the movies on lifetime, where the mother murders her daughters husband because “no one could love her daughter like she could”. I think you might need to get some professional help with this.

  • Abby
    October 20, 2011

  • I agree with Tracy – you don’t want a child who’s 20′s, 30′s, etc still clinging to you because that’s what you’ve made her life out to be. She needs to learn to be an independant, strong woman – that’s what she and our world needs. I have a 5 year old son that I can’t imagine my life without (and that was hard to realize because it wasn’t the best of circumstances when I found out I was pregnant with him). He is my entire life – I’m no longer considered Abby, I’m “Jake’s Mom”. And that’s ok. But as much as I want him around all the time, I cherish my time at work as “adult time” with adult conversations. I think a lot of why I am so determined for him to be independant and have his own space, friends, etc is because I want him to know who he is and not just who he is with mommy. He plays with friends, watches tv, or plays in his room by himself and never sleeps with me (unless it’s a really scary monster or bad thunderstorm (also very rare)) because I’m scared that he’ll be 16 and still wanting to sleep with mommy. That’s a little crazy… Plus (and I hope you don’t take this the wrong way) but it sounds like you’re single (as am I) and that you’re replacing having a man in your life with your kid – it’s not a bad thing, I’m perfectly happy being a single mom, but it’s not my son’s responsiblity to fill a void in my life – I have to do that myself. You say you can’t sleep without her, that you hate the big bed all to yourself – I’m sorry, but it’s sort of selfish. I’m sure she loves it, and it’s very special bonding time, but she is going to have to learn to sleep in her own room, allow mommy to have “mommy time” and so on. :)

  • Connie
    November 12, 2011

  • Well since I had my 7 years old I don’t work anymore. I’m a full time mom. My husband is a pilot and I love to join him 4 or 5 times a year. He flights to other countries and I don’t feel any guilt when I take 2 or 3 day trips just my husband and me. I enjoy it and I think that helps to appreciate my kids even more when I come back. I miss them a lot but I also love to have some time just for me, like shopping or having a nice dinner or relax by the pool on my own. I don’t feel the way you do at all, I know my kids are safe and spending a great time with their grandparents too, so everybody is happy.

  • Kristan
    November 16, 2011

  • A little overboard.