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DD (4) upset about me going out to work

(16 Posts)
giddly Thu 05-Nov-09 10:26:43

I've worked two days a week since DD1 was 8m old (she's now just 4), and she's never had any problems being parted from me or with various childcare arrangements we've had over the years. For the last few years I've mostly worked from home (even though she was in childcare those days). However, a few months ago DH was made redundant and I needed to increase my hours. I'm now working 4 days a week, and for two of those I leave the house at 8am and get back about 6.30. DD1 seems to be finding this really hard and cries most mornings when I leave. I nearly always see her morning and evening, and the only real change to her routine is DH (who she adores) is getting her ready in the morning, taking her to preschool, taking over from our nanny when she finishes and giving her her tea. DH also looks after the other two days I work from home when she's not in pre-school, although I'm around.

Last night she woke up crying and when I went in she said she was scared I wasn't there, didn't want me to go to work and missed me. She then said "Are you still my Mummy?". I feel gutted, to be honest, and so upset she still feels like this after a few months. I try and spend as much time as I can with her, and do things just her and me when possible. I was wondering if taking her to see my workplace might help? She's perfectly happy when I'm at work and she's either in pre-school or with our nanny, so there's no problem with this -it just seems that on some level she feels abandonned.

Changing my working patterns aren't really a possibility at the moment.
Any thoughts of how I should handle this?

giddly Thu 05-Nov-09 10:46:36

Bump for any ideas?

nigglewiggle Thu 05-Nov-09 10:51:17

I just wanted to reply to tell you that my DD (3.5) was all upset yesterday because I don't go out to work (at the moment). Apparently they had been talking about jobs at pre-school and she wanted to know why I didn't work. She wanted to know when I was going to go back!

So don't feel guilty, they're not happy whatever you do. It's probably just a phase that will pass. smile

giddly Thu 05-Nov-09 10:55:29

No, you can't win can you Niggle!

FimbleHobbs Thu 05-Nov-09 10:58:12

Definately take her into work, it will be really reassuring for her (assuming you are not a coroner).

If she has never seen it she will have no idea where you are and what you are doing so I guess it could feel like you have vanished.

I take my 3 & 4 year old in sometimes at weekends if I need to pick something up or work for a little bit, they will watch a video in the conference room and drink hot chocolate out of the machine. They also pop in during the week sometimes and so they know the people I work with etc. Plus I tell them simple/boring bits about my day.

Could your husband sometimes bring her to pick you up at the end of the day?

giddly Thu 05-Nov-09 11:02:01

Thanks, Fimble. It's an hour commute each way so DH can't really come to pick me up. She used to come regularly to work with me when she was little as she went to the attached nursery, but she hasn't been for a while and I think she's probably forgotten. Will take her down when I get a chance and show her round.

saadia Thu 05-Nov-09 11:09:43

Have you explained to her why you are working? I started a PGCE this year and my dss go to CM now a few days a week. I think it helped them to settle knowing why I had to go ("Mummy needs to learn how to be a teacher and it is hard work" etc and then focus on how they are helping by being good at CMs and getting ready on time etc.).

Also you could involve her in your workday - eg choosing what you will wear that day or decide what you will have for lunch. MY dss are older though (7 and 5) so these strategies may not be as effective with a younger child.

giddly Thu 05-Nov-09 11:13:55

Thanks Saadia. My job is a bit abstract so difficult to make it real for her, and I really try to avoid saying mummy needs to go to work to make some money as DH is already feeling pretty grim about being redundant. I'll try the getting her more involved in my day bit.

onepieceoflollipop Thu 05-Nov-09 11:15:07

She is possibly reaching an age where she is becoming aware that some parents work, some don't, some work part time etc etc and she may just be sussing out the situation.

My dd1 was a bit like this when she started school full time. (her "new hours" meant that she didn't see so much of me if I was working a weekend/lots of late shifts; I am a nurse)

A bit like saadia we have fairly "simple" discussions about why I work. Mainly financial as she understands that. She enjoys holidays (I'm talking 4 nights at Pontins not luxury holidays) and the odd meal in a Harvester/trip to Soft Play. If I didn't work none of this owuld happen.

She will gradually adjust to the new arrangements. Also, both of my dds are very close to my dh/their daddy. (he does the tea and bedtime routine a lot, also lots of weekends) In a lot of the families dd knows, the mummy doesn't work but the daddy has to work so late that he often doesn't see the dcs from one weekend to the next.

giddly Thu 05-Nov-09 11:31:21

I think you may be right, onepiece. WE live in a very "traditional" rural community where generally the fathers work all day and the mothers are either SAHM or part time. DH is usually the only father doing the pre-school drop-off, so she probably is realising our current situation isn't the "norm" for our area.
You're quite right about the advantage of her seeing her dad though - Before he was made redundant he worked really long hours and rarely saw her during the week, so it definately is a cloud with a silver lining. I'm just suprised she seems so upset by a situation that I would have thought she would have seen as relatively positive - i.e. seeing not a huge ammount less of me while seeing a whole lot more of DH.

ShinyAndNew Thu 05-Nov-09 11:39:03

Dd1 didn't like it when I went back to work a few months ago. I had left work previously due, in part, to her being very unhappy. But also many other reasons.

After work on Sat <pay day> we go to the second hand dvd shop together and choose a new dvd and some popcorn and me and her have a 'girly' saturday night. It makes her feel a bit better about me working. And it means she knows that even though I work there will still always be time for her.

onepieceoflollipop Thu 05-Nov-09 11:43:05

That's nice Shiny. Occasionally I try and finish a bit early (not always possible) and dd1 loves it if it is just me and her. Just little things, we go to the newsagent and she buys a snack bar and holds my hand.

giddly Thu 05-Nov-09 11:50:42

Those are nice ideas, thanks

megonthemoon Thu 05-Nov-09 11:54:07

When my dad was busy with work and we were finding it tough (he had busy phases where he had to travel or work late), he would bring something 'special' home for us as a surprise and make a big deal before he went about us guessing what he might bring back. It made him being at work more fun somehow, and we had more excitement about him being away and what it might mean for us so we didn't miss him. The 'special' presents were literally a bar of soap from the hotel or something random from the stationery cupboard like a box of rubber bands or highlghter pen! What it was didn't matter - it just made him being busy and away more exciting for us! Could you maybe do something like that? Have one of your days at work each week where it becomes a game about what you are doing that day and discuss what exciting thing you might bring home for her from the office this time so she is excited about you going to work?

FimbleHobbs Thu 05-Nov-09 14:09:41

Forgot to say, before you take her to visit your work it would be nice to make sure you have an up to date photo of her on your desk or a picture she has drawn or something so she can see you are always her mummy even at work.

One thing my 3 year old likes to do is choose what necklace I am going to wear 'all' day (if her choice is a bit odd I just have to remember to make sure I am wearing it when I get home!). My job is hard to explain to a child so I tend to focus on things like 'my computer broke today and I had to get it fixed' or 'we had a lot of visitors at work today and they all had sandwiches at lunchtime'.

I can see why you don't want to focus on the money-earning side of working - can you explain that you need to go to work to help people? I don't know what you do but I am sure you help people somewhere along the line.

The other thing is I tend to be quite matter of fact & positive now 'no I don't want to go to work today either but I'll be home later to read you a story' rather than too apologetic which I think I used to be.

Hope some of this helps and try not to let it get you down.

giddly Thu 05-Nov-09 17:26:41

Some really good suggestions here - thanks. Will try and get her to be more involved with my work preperations, and will certainly put a picture up before she comes so she knows I'm thinking of her.

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