C.S. asks from New York, NY on May 24, 2010
Working Mom and 3.5 Year Olds Adjustment
There are so many factors my head is spinning. I starting working 1 year ago, when daughter was 2.5 and son was 8 months. We have a great nanny. I work 4 days (away 11 hours). One year later and my daughter is still asking every night if I am going to be there in the morning. And the last few months she is telling me she doesn't like it when I go to work. She loves the nanny and I am confident it is not a bad environment at home. She has lots of activities during the day when I am working. I was with her the first 2.5 years...is she just a kid that needs her mom home?
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A.S. answers from Boca Raton on May 24, 2010
I regret every moment that I spent working when my kids were that age. They are now 16 and almost 13, and they can still remember negative things that happened during that time period (not that they dwell on it because neither of them are "whiners" - these are just things that have come out in conversation). I never realized - at the time - how much they truly loved having me home. I didn't think it was that "important" since little kids don't require PhD's to "teach" them. But I have come to believe that kids really need a parent if possible - that's the age where so much internal development occurs.
My children are fine and well adjusted, but if I knew then what I know now, I would have never done it the way I did.
Children are resilient - remember that. I would guess that you are doing the best you can for your family. If there is no option to stay home then don't beat yourself up - just try to make the best of it (and make sure there isn't a latent issue with your nanny).
Good luck. You sound like a caring mommy.
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D.P. answers from Pittsburgh on May 24, 2010
Well, she is probably old enough to remember when you were there at home with her. The change is where this is coming from. My 7 yo still asks me about the work days--and I only work 2 days per week and I drop him off at school and hubby is home when he gets home.
I'm not saying your working is good or bad. It just IS. I'm sure it's upsetting to you when she asks that but I guess if you have to work (or even just "want" to work) then you just need to explain that you work on WXYZ days and you're home on ABC days. And keep repeating it.
Are you really saying you'd like to be at home? If so and you can do it financially, why not?
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S.H. answers from Honolulu on May 24, 2010
Yes she is just a kid.
At each age juncture throughout childhood... a child will go through different manifestations of "separation anxiety" and needs for "bonding." This is normal.
And developmental based.
It is also good, that she expresses her feelings with you. Encourage that. Always. That also helps a child feel 'validated' and that her Mom understands... which is important for a child.
Also ask her why she doesn't like when you go to work. Although it may seem obvious, it will help her articulate her feelings too. Letting her 'vent' it or just to confide in you. It is positive.
A great book is: "The Kissing Hand." You can read the reviews of it on Amazon.
I'm sure your daughter is fine, but she is 'missing' you... my kids are 7 and 3.5, and they 'miss' their Daddy going to work. Still. Everyday. They are not in "angst" about it, but they simply miss him. Its okay. Tell your girl that.
Or, make little cute notes for her, which you leave at different places in the house for her to find... like a surprise for her. Something special for her, from you while you are at work.
You might also ask your Nanny, how she handles your girl or what she says to her, if your girl tells her she misses you. I think acknowledgment of her feelings are good... then simply saying that Mommy will be home soon. Or that she can call you at your lunch break etc. Some kids like that. My kids like calling their Daddy sometimes.
Again, I'm sure your girl is fine... and she is expressing herself, rather than tantruming about it. So that is good. Allow her to say how she feels... and talk with her. No matter how repetitious it may feel (to you), for a child, it is comforting.
all the best,
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D.W. answers from Indianapolis on May 24, 2010
Don't be so hard on yourself......I, too, am a working mom. We had an in-home (at our house) babysitter until our second child was born. Our son was 21 months, and I returned to work a few days before his second birthday. Our daughter was 9 weeks when we put her into day care.
Our son doesn't transition well. He gets comfortable and has a hard time adjusting to new environments. His sister is just the opposite.
I have a feeling that your daughter is just getting aware of the world around her and what's going on. Our son asks just about every morning, "Is today a go-to-school day or a stay-at-home day?". He always wants me to put him to bed and thinks it's a treat to have me pick him up or drop him off even though my schedule (vs. my husband's) makes for a longer day.
I'd work through it and give her some special time to look forward to in the time you have with her. So, if it's Friday, perhaps pick something to do together early in the week so she can look forward to it.
As much as we put our kids first, I think a lot of us working moms feel guilty and feel like we need to justify why we choose (or have to) work. In my case, the week after putting my kids into a day care facility, I was diagnosed with cancer and went through 5 months of chemo. Having them in day care was a Godsend as I'd never have been able to take care of them on my own while recovering. Work also gave me a sense of purpose and a distraction to the gravity of being a young mom with kids and a possibly life threatening disease.
Good luck! The silver lining is that you know exactly how much she loves you, needs you and wants you to be a part of each day.