August 11, 2010,
M.. asks from Anchorage, AK on August 10, 2010
How to Get over My Fear of Leaving My Daughter to Go Back to Work
I am feeling very anxious, and hoping some of you ladies could give me some advice. I have a 24 month old daughter. I became a SAHM when she was 5 months old. Since 5 months of age, I have never left her with anyone except my husband. I don't trust strangers to watch her, and we moved away from home for my husbands job so we have no friends or family around. Truthfully, I wouldn't even trust a friend to watch her. I am one of those mom's that thinks no one can take as good care of her as I can. I have lots of irrational fears about leaving her with anyone. Well, after a year and a half of living away from home (and hating it) we are moving back home in a few weeks and I could not be happier! I have kept in touch with my old boss all this time, and she has been bugging me to come back to work. And I WANT to go back! Being a SAHM has been a hard transition for me. Don't get me wrong, I adore spending time with my daughter and I love the fact that I got to spend the first 2 years with her full time. But it has also been very lonely and isolating for me to stay home. I have told my boss that when we move back home I will come back to work. I don't HAVE to go back, I WANT to go back to work. I need the adult interaction! My FIL has offered to watch my daughter, so I won't be leaving her with a stranger. I will also work in the evening after my husband gets home, so it will only be my husband or my FIL watching her. But I am still freaking out about leaving her! I am afraid that they won't watch her as closly as I would, and something bad could happen. I know that they will take good care of her, but for some reason I have all these irrational fears.
Before anyone suggests it, I do see a therapist. I have talked to her about my fears of something bad happening to my daughter and she thinks I have these fears because I lost a lot of people in my life. Some to freak accidents. I don't want this fear to stop me from going back to work. I am really excited about it! But I am afraid that the whole time I am at work, I will be worried about my daughter because someone other than me is watching her. Has anyone else felt this way? How do you reconcile these feelings and get on with life? Thanks mamas!
L.G. answers from Boston on August 10, 2010
been there, done that - except I went back when my daughter was only 12 weeks. try to think about all the terrific experiences she's going to have being exposed to other people and places. i used to flip out when my husband would bundle her up in the car and take her visiting all over (when she was like 2 months). but he was absolutely right to do it - and even though he and others may love her/protect her/treat her differently than i would - they are looking out for her and will be just as careful about her being safe.
i think the most important thing is to realize that you are a better mom because you work - because you have other interests and a job that challenges your brain and allows you to interact with other people (grown ups!). it makes the time you spend with your daughter more precious and therefore i find i'm more attentive and excited to be with her than if i were with her 24/7. oh and all the wonderful experiences she's having. things i would never do with her. gymnastics and yoga and arts and crafts, etc.. good luck. you'll do great!
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L.W. answers from Cincinnati on August 11, 2010
I think we all feel that way to a certain extent. I remember the first time I left my 3 month old with people I never met. I called that day just to "check" and every time they were like "shes fine". It got easier and easier each day. After a week or 2 it just became part of the routine. I think, since you are not in a hurry, break your daughter (and yourself) before going back to work. Go drop her off at FIL's house and leave to go do a few errands for a few hours (clean the new house, paint, organize or unpack) give yourself a couple weeks before diving back into work. I think you will find its very nice having a break. Because come on, EVERYONE needs a break. You can also look at this a 1 on 1 bonding time with Grandpa. After a few days, you should ask your daughter how she likes spending time with Grandpa and if she wants to color him a picture for spending all that fun time. You will see really fast how much she likes being around him and if she is happy (which I am sure she will be, I would love to be with Gpa all day getting spoiled :) then that will ease your mind that she is being well cared for.
I will say eventually you will need to let your strings looser. It ok to be protective of your child but you can also hinder them if you keep them TOO close. Giving children some freedom always helps them learn skills to becoming a productive member of society. As my hubby and I say "give them enough rope to hang themselves so they can excel or learn from those mistakes" Good luck
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M.H. answers from Dallas on August 10, 2010
Hi, I don't have any good suggestions for you just wanted to commiserate. I worry constantly about my daughter. I worry about what might happen, what could've happened, etc and thats while she's in my care! The irony is I never had a desire to have kids and now she is all I think about and dream about. And I don't have any "issues" related to losing anyone, death, etc. I think it may have to do with having only one to focus on. If we had more (which I don't intend to do) maybe you tend to worry less as you don't really have the time to obsess about things you can't control.
PS. I work full time and my daughter attends preschool. Just give it a chance and you'll relax as you realize she is safe with other caregivers.
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M.C. answers from Cleveland on August 11, 2010
It is perfectly normal to have anxiety about leaving your child with someone that is not you or your mate. I am not sure if you ever reconcile these feelings, but the key is finding the "right" person. We went through 3 babysitters before I found someone that I am completely confrontable with. One was even my FIL. He loved the kids, but he didn't give them enough structure. He let them do whatever they wanted because he was grandpa and didn't want them to be mad at him. I understand his point of view, but I also need to know that the individual who is watching my children is going to listen to what I say versus what a 4 and 2 year old tell them. We tried a daycare facility and did not have a good experience. We also tried a woman that I found on Craig's List. She also loved the kids to death, but would feed them ice cream for breakfast and loose their shoes/shorts/diaper wipes/etc. Then I found a woman who was advertising in the paper. I never thought I would allow a stranger to be responsible for my children, but it has worked out wonderfully. We visited her home 3 times prior to leaving the kids there. We eased into the transition by doing a view hours/days at a time and later even did surprise early pickup times. We have never found anything that concerned us.
I do have to clarify that as a parent I am not always thrilled about some of the happens at the babysitters. After all this woman is not me and therefore cannot handle everything in exactly the same manner as I would. That was the hardest thing to reconcile with myself. However, she is great with the kids. She follows every instruction I give her and she keeps the kids safe. That is what I am paying her to do. I am not paying her to be their parent. She just can't be. That role is already taken.
Of course you are going to think about your child when you go back to work, you have been with her every day for two years. I have been back to work for 3 years now and occassionally I think about my kids, but it is more jealousy that I am not home than worrying about their safety. They key is finding the right person even if it isn't family and the anxiety will wear off.
I also needed the adult interaction. I stayed home with my son for six months and really started feeling isolated from the outside world. Then when I had my daughter, I stayed home for 3 months. I do have to mention that I am fortunate that I only work 3 days a week. It is enough that I get to mingle with the outside world and still get to spend time with my children.
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D.P. answers from Pittsburgh on August 10, 2010
No one watches a child the way a mom does but that's OK. Different does not equal wrong. Let her enjoy this new relationship with her Grandpa. paps totally ROCK! How sweet of him to watch her for you. he did OK with your hubby right?
I think it's the kind of thing that will get easier in time.
You cannot be connected to her 24/7. This seems like an awesome opportunity to be in the care of a close loved one while you test the separation waters. Be blessed by that wonderful gift.
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J.G. answers from Springfield on August 10, 2010
It's really not easy. The first day might be really hard. Hopefully you'll come home to find her really happy and excited to see you. When I see my kids right after work, sometimes they are really happy to see me and it just brings me to tears and makes me feel so special. Sometimes my son looks up at me and says "Go away!" because he's having so much fun and doesn't want me to take him home. (We've talked to him about saying it in a nicer way, but truthfully it makes me laugh! I know I've done the right thing.)
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S.T. answers from Washington DC on August 10, 2010
i don't know how to fix it. but i can tell you that your fears are affecting your daughter. for HER sake, work on overcoming them so that she can go forward into her life without underlying psychological terrors that have been inadvertently planted by your conviction that she will be in danger without you.
i hope you are able to do so, and enjoy your new work opportunity.