I’m not talking babies breaking their hearts and becoming a wet mess of tears and snot if heaven forbid you need to leave the room for a wee.  I’m talking the gut wrenching separation anxiety that happens to mum’s when they leave their small people overnight.

I know that as a parent there are times when you long for a day off.  There are the days when you would run for the hills screaming merrily skip out of the door in a bid to avoid being asked another question. Days when you long to finish an adult conversation without being asked to wipe a small persons nose or butt.  The days when we wistfully remember a time when the only shadow we possessed was ours, and it didn’t cling to our leg with a vice like grip.

But the reality is that leaving our small people can be stressful.  Will they be OK?  Can anyone else interpret a point and grunt in the same way as you?  Can anyone else kiss a bump and make it all better like you do?  And what about you?  Will you be OK?  I mean can you actually remember how to have a conversation with someone about something more interesting than Cbeebies or Batman?

A recent 2 night trip away on a hen weekend saw me go through the following 7 stages of separation anxiety:


Separation Anxiety


Stage One – The Preparation

I’m so frickin excited.  Foot lose and child free.  I can wear earrings without fear of them being ripped from my ears.  I can use that cute little handbag that hasn’t seen the light of day since 2009.  Maybe it’s not fashionable any more.  I could get a new little bag just for the occasion.  While I’m at it I’ll get the big one some Lego and a cuddly toy for the little one. Just a little treat for them both.  Not in any way are these guilt gifts.  

I’ve never left the little one for this long before.   Look at his little face.  I’m going to miss him so much. What if he misses me too much. What if he cries for me and I’m not here.  He might think I’ve abandoned him and never get over the rejection.  OK Get a grip.  You are leaving him for two nights with his Daddy.  It’s going to be fine.  He’ll have fun, you will have fun. What if he is poorly or hurts himself?  STOP.  What am I doing?  Just concentrate on that new bag. Maybe you should get a new top too to make yourself feel better.  Ohh nail varnish.


Stage Two – The Goodbye

New top on and clutching little bag ready to go.  Have I got my phone?  Why do I feel so nervous?  It’s not like I have never been out on my own before.  In about half an hour you will have a glass of wine in your hand and two whole days to be you.  Just You.  Who is me? I’m not sure ‘tequila girl’ exists anymore.  I’m more practiced at nappy changes than I am slinging shots now.  Come on you can do this.  You deserve some time off.  Kisses goodbye, final instructions to husband (along with the 10 page essay I have left him) quick exit. Let’s go.  Do not cry.  Do not Cry. Think about the mascara.  DO NOT CRY.  It’s OK, I’ll just have to re-do my make up in the car.  Have I got my phone?


Stage Three – The Adjustment

This feels weird.  I feel like I’ve forgotten something and I feel 2 stone lighter.  I’m not carrying anything!  No baby, no toys, no bags of crap stuff.  What do I do with my arms? Seriously, I’ve forgotten how to be ‘natural’ with empty arms.  Do I just hang them by my side casually?  Do I place one hand on my hip in a nonchalant pose?  Quick someone pass me a drink before my arms start doing the actions to wheels on the bus just so they have something to do.  Stop rocking from side to side, you look demented.


Stage Four – The Homesick Pangs

This is nice, the wine is flowing, I’m enjoying myself.  I’m trying really hard not to talk about the small people too much.  I wonder what they are doing right now?  Maybe I should check my phone again?  No, stop it.  They will be having their bed time stories.  Aww I miss them. Maybe I could just sneak a peak at a few photos on my phone and give myself a small people fix.  Man my kids are cute.  Oh look a text from the husband; the kids are fast asleep, they had a fun afternoon and he hopes I’m having a great time.  I feel better now.  He’s the best.  I miss him too.


Stage Five – Rediscovering Me

Check me out.  I am having proper grown up conversations about stuff going on in the real world.  No one has mentioned superheros or asked me to wipe their butt.  I am dancing to songs sung by actual bands rather than chipmunks, and it’s 11:30 and I am still awake, and there are no pajamas in sight!  I’ve still got it.  I am so D-R-U-N-K.


Stage Six – Back to Reality

I am dying.  I’m never drinking again.  I am too old.  Or too out of practice.  Probably both.  I do not miss hangovers.  Although sitting here in the sun with a cup of tea whilst I wake up is an easier way of dealing with it than having the small people bounce on me a stupid O’clock in the morning.  Ahhh the small people.  I’m so excited to see them.  I can’t wait for the cuddles and kisses.


Stage Seven – The Homecoming

Oh my, when did they get so big?  These hugs are amazing.  I can’t breathe, but they are amazing.  How have they grown so much in two days?  I swear their hair is longer.  I actually missed the noise!  Wow, going away sure makes you feel loved and appreciated.  I might cry again!  There is no where i’d rather be than here.  Could you maybe get off my leg now?


Missing my mokeys

Man I missed these monkeys.


Is it just me who goes through this separation anxiety?  To see more about on this topic, you might want to take a look at an article BetterHelp published about the signs of separation anxiety here.


This post was featured on Huffpost



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Claire Kirby

44 Comments on The 7 Stages of Separation Anxiety

  1. Haha! love this. Call me heartless but I skipped the homesick part when we left our tot for a weekend this summer. As our trips away from him, or even evenings or days are so few I squeeze every last minute of enjoyment out of it. I’m already counting down the sleeps until our next mini baby-free time in January!

    Thanks so much for linking up to #fartglitter x

  2. Pingback: Suburban Mum | Read with me - June roundup
  3. Aww, I’ve just been through this when I went to Tokyo a few weeks ago. it felt so sad, and on the second day I was horrible home sick, it almost hurt I was so desperate to see my boy. But then I reached stage 5 and it was fab for the rest of the week!! Haha 🙂 Great post, thanks for linking up to #TheList xx

  4. Absolutely not. I can totally empathize with every you have said.
    My young went on Brownie camp this weekend. I’ve been a total mess. The worst bit is not being able to hold n kiss goodnight. make sure she safe.

    Thanks for sharing and a great post.

    Sa xXx

  5. Every point of this is so so true. I first left Zach when he was about six months old, for a hen weekend. I missed him loads but remembering who I was, was fantastic. I have had to get used to leaving him now as I have to go away for work. I was in the USA last year for 10 whole days. It was wonderful to be there but good god I was so desperate to get home. When they picked me up from the airport, I literally burst into tears upon seeing him. Boy do they grow quickly when you’re not there!! Great post lovely and thanks so much for linking with #TwinklyTuesday

  6. I miss the little one when I’m not around (which is barely ever to be honest!), but I wouldn’t say I have a separation anxiety. The missus had a hen do when Baby L was around 10 weeks old – the preparation saw her spend every waking moment expressing so that I had enough milk to feed the little one. I think it was around 50oz that she managed to pump out of those bad boys! Very impressive!

  7. You know the funny thing I’ve never been a mum who needs to feel needed or who feels guilty having me-time. I remember the first day my then 19 month old started nursery, far from crying I skipped off for a coffee almost singing with delight. But then I went away to Miami for 4 days for my 40th. She was then almost 4 and her brother was just over 1 year old.

    How. Much. Did. I. Cry
    Lovely post #fridayfrolics

  8. i love this! can so relate to this feeling, I will be going through this next week for Britmums!I try not to feel guilty but it does start to creep in. x

  9. lol – I’m not brave enough to try it. I am running a marathon on Sunday and that will be the first time I have been away from all four children. I will be gone around 6 hours…don’t talk to me about preparation lol #FridayFrolics

  10. Oh bless, I don’t have kiddies but totally appreciate how overwhelming it must feel to be separated from them (my husband feels this way when go away and leave our dog ;). I was very honoured earlier this year when one of my girlfriends spent her first night away from her baby girl at my place, I really wasn’t expecting her to but it was very lovely x #TheList

  11. Haha. This is brilliant! I’d be a stressy nightmare (& leave a TWENTY page essay!) But then it’s moot anyway: my youngest has decided that Mummy will not leave her side under any circumstances for more than 10 seconds (she’s in that stage!) #FridayFrolics

  12. Oh this is so true. I had a similar experience venturing out for the first time without baby or husband in tow. Was marvellous… For about two hours. And then a) remembered they existed and b) missed them.

    Thanks for hosting #fridayfrolics! x

  13. You summed it up perfectly. I could relate to each of these so well – although we still haven’t had the chance to take an overnight vacation from parenthood. Someday! 🙂

  14. Yep, yep, and yep – mine are three and five now but I still get all funny about leaving them! Brilliant post #fridayfrolics

  15. I am away at the moment and have totally been experiencing all of those – about to enter homecoming stage so you are definitely not alone here! x #FridayFrolics

  16. I completely understand how you felt. I have 3 under 5 I haven’t left them much but I do feel very empty without them. #brillblogposts

  17. I completely know what you mean. I would love to get away for a day or 2 without kids, but in reality I know that I will be fretting and worrying that she will be ok. The welcome home is deaf the best though! 🙂 #twinklytuesday x

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