I am a mother to a 14-month-old girl. I wrote a previous post
about being overwhelmed with school, work, and motherhood. I recently brought my daughter to a developmental specialist because she wasn't walking yet. She observed her, and although the walking wasn't an issue, she was very
concerned about the relationship I have with her.
My daughter doesn't say "mama". When asked "Where's mama?", she doesn't even blink an eye. She points and babbles, so the pediatrician doesn't think it's autism. My daughter is perfectly fine when I leave the room. I could leave for hours, days, and when I come back, I will be lucky if she even looks at me. She doesn't kiss me or hug me, although she is perfectly capable and does it to her toys.
She prefers everyone else over me. Sometimes, even a friendly stranger. She screams when I take her away from her auntie, my mother, or daycare provider. She will, when I am in the room, crawl up to anyone else except for me, and climb up their leg to be picked up. Even cling to their leg when I try to pick her up.
Even as a newborn, I've never felt she preferred me over anyone else. I never felt like we really, truly bonded.
I work full-time. I leave at 7:30am to drop her off at daycare, and she drops her off at 630 at night. I have to drive a little to get her to daycare, because I don't start work until 9. I travel for work about once every month or month and a half for 3-5 days. I have class one night a week (3 additional classes from getting my Bachelors degree). I am putting therapy on hiatus because I need to spend more time with my daughter.
I think I'm too quiet around her. I play with her, but doing a running narration of everything to interact doesn't come naturally at all. I feel like I lack maternal instincts. I am beyond clueless--I don't instinctually "know" anything at all. My daughter is resentful already and is apparently having attachment/abandonment issues. I feel like a complete failure as a mother. As a human being. I play with her, but I don't feel like I do it well, as I see other mothers do. I do silly things to get her to laugh. I try to be cuddly but she pushes me away (she is cuddly to just about everyone else).
My confidence is shot to hell. I feel like I should have given her up for adoption to a loving SAHM with a real family. Instead she has an overwhelmed, scatterbrained, unprepared ding-dong who had to be taught how to hold a baby. My schedule is so jam-packed that I've caused attachment issues in my daughter.
Deep down, I still don't truly feel like a mom. I'm bored crawling around my apartment for an hour, making silly faces to elicit a smile. I love alone time. When she is cranky, I am in the worst mood--I just think about running far, far away. When she is in a good mood, I enjoy being around her. But I just feel so rejected. FWIW, I've never hit her, and I rarely ever raise my voice. Maybe 2-3 times in her existence. I come off as a little cold and distracted sometimes (just comes natural) but I always try to make eye contact, smile alot, and cuddle.
What do I even do now? She has a great, loving, close relationship with her daycare provider, who is the one that watches her while I'm away. I was considering leaving my apartment, which I love, and living in some crappy apartments closer to her daycare so it will buy me a few more hours a week with her and cut down on travel. I love my job and I really don't want to leave. I just don't see myself quitting and living off welfare for the rest of my life so I can stay home. Do I find a crappy job that barely pays the bills so I can spend more time with her?
I know it's a loaded question, but I feel like a crappy parent in an unfit situation. I don't know one other parent (of an infant/toddler) whose child hates them. What do I do now? How do I bond with her? How can I get her to like me?