Our baby has always been afraid of strangers -we attributed this to him getting sick & hospitalized very young and we were literally told by docs NOT to take our baby anywhere out of the house for 8 weeks (we were so scared we even asked the doc if it was ok to kiss our baby)! But as he grew older and we started taking him out, we noticed he gets startled easily, cries if someone gets too close to him to smile and look at him, and will scream if picked up by anybody else. He gets acclimated to people only if we wear him and after an hour he gets curious and wants out, and then he will be friendly and even play with a guest.
For his one year birthday party we went to a restaurant with about 12 guests at the table and our son cried about 90% of the time even worn in the wrap!
Now, the situation: I work from home - always have, and plan to always do this. However, I'm a high-strung, type A personality. I TOTALLY related to BrendaK's thread, because I felt like how she felt! We live in CA, have a big mortgage, and there's no way that we can afford NOT to both bring in income. My husband works in a very narrow industry, which translates to "we need to stay in this area so he will have a job". I on the other hand can do a lot virtually, and have adapted and built a business so that I can leverage a lot of web technology.
I needed me-time too, because I was getting stressed more and more as our son becomes mobile and extremely active. He gets into everything. (omg while i was typing this, he had taken down a box of kleenex and proceeded to rip all the tissues out and destroy them) I was getting more and more tired - and I felt like I really needed help during the day - I wasn't able to do much business work even at the computer. I started arguing more with my husband, and he began dreading coming home depending on how stressful of a day I had.
I thought the solution was: have my mom come help me for 6 or 7 months. She is now here and staying for 7 months.
I also listened to my mom's advice and on the 3rd day she was here, we totally disrupted our baby's routine and she forcibly took him (i.e. while he was screaming bloody murder) out of the house in order to "get him used to separation from mommy". Before the end of the week we back-pedaled and began to acclimate him more gently, by keeping the routine mostly the same while my mom stays nearby. He slowly got used to her presence, even smiling and playing with her.
But he still will scream bloody murder if he loses sight of me for too long, or if he thinks I'm about to leave. He ended up being more clingy than he's ever been, probably because he got terrified that he'd lose me. I want to be with my baby too - separation is hard for me too - but I also want at least 2-3 hours during the day of uninterrupted time to myself and to work because I need to!
When I'm nearby, my baby can play independently on his own, and if he wants to get into mischief (like the box of kleenex he has successfully destroyed), he is fine having me out of sight because he knows I'll stop him! So I don't think it is a matter of him being 100% unable to do anything on his own. I believe it's a matter of helping him feel secure while at the same time, giving me the time I need to work and take care of myself.
Where and how do I make this transition? It's really easy to start second guessing ourselves when everyone has advice and most contradict each other. I want to hear from people who practice attachment parenting and know how I feel and what I'm talking about, instead of advice like "just leave for an hour and let him get used to it". Since my mom is here, I want to work with her and the baby on the best way to transition this.
Thank you soooooooooo much for reading this and for whatever help and wisdom you can offer!