I am Debby Burton, and I am a Momma Addict.
My story may empower you to have a self-reflective moment or perhaps provide some useful tips for your upcoming parenting decisions. I dreamed of motherhood for as long as I can remember.
I took care of my dolls “to share with my daughters” and still have them in my attic! (Clearly, de-cluttering needs to be a new hobby of mine). Anyway, it seems that I have been destined since childhood to slowly transition into a full-fledged Momma Addict!
Aren’t most mothers involved in their children’s lives, and don’t they seek to rear successful happy kids? Yes, this is true. No clear line exists that a Momma Addict crosses; however, at some point, you realize that most moms are not doing what you are doing.
What makes a Momma Addict different from others moms? I believe that each of us has a different story. In fact, I believe armies of women exist today who are not aware that they, too, are indeed Momma Addicts!
Since the birth of my first child, every fiber in my body remains on high alert to guide my children forward. I walked along side of my daughters, frequently holding my breath as they navigated life’s obstacles. Most addicts do not know exactly when they shifted from being a normal “user” to becoming a person who cannot go a day without a fix. This is true for a Momma Addict as well.
The 3 Stages of a Momma Addict
1. Saying the word addict:
The word addict gives off a negative vibe. Addiction means you have lost perspective on what is normal. Alcohol addiction is a well-known problem and can be easily understood. Most of us can acknowledge that drinking a nice glass of red wine each night is on the normal side of usage. However, drinking a full bottle of wine each night may not quite be normal. I wish it was this clear for a Momma Addict.
There are varying degrees of alcohol addiction. One type includes the functioning alcoholic who appears normal as she runs a multi-million dollar company. Another addict type is the spiraling alcoholic who can no longer hold a job and loses relationships because of the uncontrollable addiction.
Momma Addicts also exist with a wide range of addiction levels. The severe ones sabotaged others for the benefit of their own children.
But what about those of us who do not seek to harm anyone else’s chances? What if we just constantly seek to help our child maximize her opportunities? At what point does this behavior cross over the line from normal to addiction?
Frequently, addicts do not know they are addicted until they try to quit. This was the exact situation where I recently found myself. I reached a point where I had to admit that I have been involved in my parenting role just a little (perhaps a lot) deeper than normal.
2. Accepting that a true addiction is present:
As an empty nester, I proudly sat back to reflect on the successful launch of my daughters into a prestigious university, Georgia Tech. At this time, my husband and I started to refocus attention on our personal wants, needs, and goals.
I had entered unknown territory trying to define what I personally wanted. My wants, needs, and goals had been tied directly to my children for over 20 years! It is common for parents to find that becoming an empty nester can be a rocky transition period. The process is simply magnified for Momma Addicts.
I am a physician who has run her own private practice. We are financially secure and do not have an expensive lifestyle to maintain. The great bulk of our spending has been on our children…because raising children is quite an expensive habit!
To this day, my brain frequently drifts back to figure out how I can support my daughters as they continue their climb to stability and happiness. My husband gently nudges me to wean the girls out of our family decision-making tree. Spending money on ourselves has been very low on the priority list. I was struggling to accept that it was my turn!
Slowly, I started to find the beauty in my empty nest and reclaimed my personal identity and get my own groove back!
3. Beating the addiction:
I fully realize that my husband has been an important player in the success of our children; however, he is not an addict. He is simply a proud, loving and supportive father who can answer a text, email or phone call with no strings attached and no mental anguish after his task is done. I envy his easy approach to parenthood, but I am just not built that way.
Outwardly, I appear to have moved forward and adjusted to my empty nester role. I look very much like the functioning alcoholic CEO running a successful company; however, I remain addicted. I continue to be a secret Momma Addict to young 20-somethings who do not need my daily input.
I am proud of my accomplishment when a few days to go by without contact. But, a simple text or phone call leads to my heart racing and brain springing into action ready to assist, guide or console. The Lawnmower Mom was ready to help assess life obstacles! It is as if an alcoholic has taken one tiny sip of wine, and all the urges rush back.
I love every moment of being a mother and cannot imagine my life any other way; however, I finally recognized the need to achieve a better balance with my role in my children’s’ lives. This blog started as my parenting reflections and allowed me to acknowledge things I did well and things that did not go as well as planned.
Now, Dr. Momma has blossomed into a content creator: a blogger, soon to be podcaster (JULY 2018)! Who would have thought? I have fully embraced my own life; consequently, I feel that I am in Momma Addict remission.
My blogs and posts include real stories from my life; therefore, I apologize in advance for the potentially embarrassing stories that I will share about my daughters. But hey! This blog is for me and not for them!
I also apologize in advance to any friends, family members, and acquaintances who recognize themselves in the stories. Please understand that your involvement in our lives impacted us in some way. Your actions led me to continue on a certain path or showed me that I did not want to go down that path.
Thank you for joining my journey! I will be adding many more posts to highlight parenting and healthcare tips, so be sure to consider subscribing to my blog to avoid missing a post!
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