M.W. asks from Bellflower, CA on January 02, 2007
Worried About How Being a Working Mom Will Affect My Infant
I am due to have my first baby in March and am planning to return to work in May (when she is about 2 months old). I keep feeling so guilty already about leaving her with somebody else during the day. I have found some great daycares already, and I do feel good about our choices, but I still get sad about it once in a while and doubt myself. I would appreciate some advice/encouragement from working mothers. I just want to be sure I am not going to traumatize my baby by working away from home.
So What Happened?™
After looking at a few different places we found a wonderful daycare ran out of a church right down the street from our home (not even a block away). We put a deposit down so hopefully we will get a spot. We have two in-home day cares we will be looking at this month that also seem great. So in case the church day care doesn't work we will have back-up. I am feeling much better about having the baby in day care after reading all the responses and finding some great places that will take great care of my little one. Thanks everyone.
M.H. answers from Seattle on January 02, 2007
I don't have much to add to what has already been said, but I also had to go back to work after 6 weeks. My son has been fortunate enough to be watched by family members since my husband and I have both been at work, but I sometimes wish he were in daycare instead. My son has no interaction with children his own age, or even close. He is now a year old and just stares at other kids when he sees one...he's fascinated! I think daycare is a wonderful thing, even for mothers who don't work. It can help give some time to yourself during the day for an hour or two. But believe me, as everyone else has said, your feelings are completely normal and understandable. Most mothers go through the same exact thing when having to go back to work. Just hang in there and find the best daycare you can provide for your child and it will be rewarding :)
L.L. answers from Seattle on January 10, 2007
I was fortunate enough to be able to spend 9 months with my son before going to work, but i felt much the same as you seem to. A lot of people say that 'staying home with your children is best for them', and I used to think that, but now, I think the opposite is true. Your children will always have you there for them. For the good times and the bad. But, being in daycare, they are exposed to other children and begin to learn at a very young age how to interact with other children. This is even more important as an only child! When I first took my son to daycare, he had had 9 months of me and him and no one else but grandma...it took a year before he felt comefortable interacting with the other children. And now, at 2 1/2 and still in the toddler class because he isn't toilet trained, he pushes the little ones around and hits them. Some of that is "just being 2", but I think that had I started him in daycare earlier, that he would be exhibiting more acceptable behavior towards the other kids in his class. I sometimes still feel guilty about not being "at home" with my son all the time, but i remind myself of the good I am doing him by having him at daycare. It may help a little to refer to the daycare you choose as a "school". After all, you child isn't just with the sitter, they are being taught how to interact with others their age. My best advice would be to cherish the time you have at home...every minute of it! and to cry about it when you need to. Good luck.
A.W. answers from Portland on January 03, 2007
I know exactly how you feel. When I had my first son he was almost 3 months old before I had to go back to work and when I did go my husband was the one home watching him so it wasn't so bad. I did call on my lunch and I made my hubby put the phone next to him so he could hear my voice and I could hear him. It really helped a lot. Then I moved when my son was about 7 months old to another state and this time he HAD to go to daycare by this time I was already 3 months pregnant with my second son, so finding a great daycare was very important, because they had to take both boys. I found her and everything worked out great, especially because I can call her anytime and she tells me how things are going and I still get to talk to my boys. It will be hard but once she gets older and she starts playing with the other kids and the toys the crying stops and like everyone else said seeing your children run to you and give you a hug is the greatest feeling in the world.
M.D. answers from Los Angeles on January 11, 2007
I am a mom of a 15 year old daughter and 13 year old son. I worked outside the home until my daughter was 8. She was in home daycare 3 days a week and with my mom 2 days a week. when my son came along, they went 4 days a week to daycare and 1 day to my mom's. Both of my kids are so great. They are strong confident individuals. Ironically, I am now a stay at home mom who runs a daycare and it is funny because being able to totally relate to the feelings a mom has helps me in my daycare. Babies and young children adapt so quickly. They are very capable of being happy at daycare, but still totally aware of who mom and dad are and where home is. They learn to get along with other people and not be so afraid if mommy or daddy are not available for them. They learn to be flexible and take life in stride.
Ultimately, I believe that if a mom can stay at home, it is a great choise, but I totally believe the children can be raised by both parents and daycare provider and be well-adjusted and happy children. I wish you all the best as you journey on.
C.W. answers from San Francisco on January 02, 2007
Congrats on your first baby! I had my first baby, a son, 6 months ago. unfortuneately, I had to go back to work at the end of October. I had the hardest time putting him in daycare. I procrastinated until the week before I had to be at work, on finding him a daycare!!!! It's the hardest thing but it's harder on you that it is your baby. In my case anyway. Now, 3 months in to it, it's just part of my routine but I still miss him everyday and can't get home fast enough to him. I just found out my daycare is closing so now I am going through it all over again trying to find him a new daycare. Best of luck to you!!
A.H. answers from Phoenix on January 03, 2007
At first your baby wont realize what is going on so don't be worried about her not missing you becuase they can't show emotions for a while. but when she is about 7 months old maybe 9 months you'll come to pick her up from day care and she will see you in the door way and give you the best feeling in the world. my kids are 2+3.5 and when I started back to work my daughter was 1 and I was pregnant with my son. she would run to me with the biggest hugs I ever had and a smile on her face. My son went to day car after 2 months old and when he got old enough to crawl he was crawling to me so fact that I'd cry with joy. he missed me all day and he'd hug me and hold on to me so tight. he'd give me this smile like. I'm glad your back!. Even now when I walk in to pick them up they yell "Mommy!" and run to me with open arms. it's the greatest feeling in the world tyo know someone missed you all day. and it's the best part of my whole day. but I must impress this on you. now matter how much she crys when you drop her off. you have to leave right away becuase she wont stop until your gone. Find a day care that has a one way window so you can watch her after you leave. she will stop crying almost right away. they are great teachers and if you find the right daycare they will help you cope with leaving her. it's better for you to just hand her over and leave and not come back until your done with work. if you don't your just gonna make it worse for the teachers and harder on the baby and yourself to leave. I know it's sad but you gotta do it. belive me she will be fine and you'll get a much needed mommy break.
N.V. answers from Los Angeles on February 04, 2007
The job of a parent is to provide for the needs of the child. Selecting a qualified person to care for your child's needs while you work IS providing for your child and will not damage your relationship. Do you have a degree in child development? In education? Are you infant CPF certified? Have you passed a first aid class? Most likely the answer to these questions is NO. By putting your child in a quality care environment you are giving them the benefit of people who can answer YES to these questions and give you peace of mind knowing your child is stimulated, cared for and SOCIALIZING. I am a single mom, work full time and only stayed home the first two month's of my daughter's life. She is almost 3 now, extremely bright, well socialized, and we love eachother beyond all measure. Yes, she spends a majority of her waking hours with others, but I have provided those "others."
K.O. answers from Portland on January 02, 2007
This is such a terrible feeling to have as a Mother. I think we all get it when we are forced to be in any position to have to choose between providing the obvious worldly needs and also providing the nurturing and bonding needs of our babies.
I had to go back to work with 2 of my 6 children and I have to say that they did adapt. I think it is just how you spend the time you DO have with them that makes the difference. They will learn that it is just part of their world.
I do think that you just need to spend a lot of time finding the right person that will give that ONE ON ONE care. Daycare FACILITIES usually do not have enough people for your babies needs to be met as if you were right there. That is what you want while they are this young. If you can find a stay at home Mom that can love her and only her, that would probably be better for her...at least until she is about 1 year old. Then, the social interaction with others in a daycare situation could be good. (minus all the colds etc.)
You and your baby will be fine! We are an adaptable race. I'm sure she will not doubt your love for her. Just love her when you can and if possible, work part time.
Take Care and HAPPY NEW YEAR!