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How do you leave your child in another's care?

(29 Posts)
Sarochenka Tue 09-Aug-11 13:17:34

My baby is eight months old. I would like to go back to work in a few months and yet the idea of a stranger- or anyone else but my husband, really- looking after her or even holding her makes my eye start twitching. How do you mentally start to accept the idea that other people probably aren't going to harm your little one?

I'd love her to go to kindy and school and play on bikes in the park with her little mates later on but now know it'll be terrifying. I didn't expect to feel this way before she was born. But afterwards, it took me weeks to go out with her in the pram, as I was terrified others were going to try to steal her, she was so beautiful. Yes, total nutjob, I know.

Also, would you let your child go to a nursery where there was a male careworker? You hear so many horror stories.

StillSquiffy Tue 09-Aug-11 13:27:24

Your last sentance has alienated me and will probably alienate everyone else on this thread.

Next time you post try not to be so bigotted.

BranchingOut Tue 09-Aug-11 13:28:42

Well, its all about trust.

Once you find a carer you can really depend upon then everything does become so much easier.

You mention 'kindy', but I don't think it sounds as if a nursery setting is for you at the moment. There is always the option for her to go later. My toddler son is starting nursery now at nearly 2. Up till now he has always been cared for at home by an ad-hoc nanny, whom we just paid by the hour.

Why not look into a nanny, nanny share or a childminder?

The key thing is personal recommendation. Begin asking around and see if somebody has a nanny or childcarer who wants to do extra work. If you get somebody lined up now then it is so much easier to then think about going back to work.

The list of things I worried about relating to my son would probably stretch half way down the page - and I still worry about some of them! But time rolls on and as they get older you begin to worry less.

Danthe4th Tue 09-Aug-11 13:34:16

You need to think about having a nanny who will work with you in your home, then when you feel ready have a look at childminders in your area. You don't sound ready to try a nursery.
Some of the best staff I have met in a nursery and a local playgroup have been men, they have so much to offer, please don't rule them out.
You need to visit what is on offer in your area and see what you think.

FeelingOld Tue 09-Aug-11 13:44:55

I think we all have anxieties about leaving our babies with others, even if its with grandparents/aunts and uncles etc but i think your anxiety goes a little futher than 'the norm' (thats only in my opinion, have never heard that any of my family and friends were afraid to take baby out in pram for fear of them getting stolen unless they were going to leave them outside a shop or something) and that you really have to look at why you feel this way.
I was lucky that when mine were very small i had my parents and my husbands mum who looked after them while i worked part-time and i think after i got over the initial separation anxiety (mine, not my kids), it was a positive experience for them.

Do you feel apprehensive about members of your familly or close friends holding your baby?
Have you ever left your baby with anyone other than your husband?
If not i think you would benefit from doing so even if its just for half an hour.

I am now a childminder and i have been for 7 years and i know of 2 couples who work together as childminders (couples as in husband an wife) and i would have no qualms leaving my children with them, they are super dads and excellent childminders.

If you think about the dangers in life too much you would never leave your house. My kids are older now, 16 and 11 and it scares me to death that my 16 year old goes off and does so many things with her friends but you have to weigh up the 'real' dangers not the 'what ifs' and let your children grow.

I know its hard but if you really want to go back to work you need to take small steps towards this.

sancerrre Tue 09-Aug-11 13:49:25

Mine's 8 months and I think I would feel the same as you in your position. A nanny would seem to be the solution at least to start off with.

Regarding the male nursery worker, did you see the programme a few weeks ago on how important Dad's are? It might still be on iplayer. It showed how Dad's / men play with children in different ways and teach them different things (than Mum does). I see this with SAHDs at playgroup too. So I would see a male nursery worker as a definite plus.

RitaMorgan Tue 09-Aug-11 13:50:16

Do you hear so many horror stories? I don't recall many - I can think of more female childminders/nursery nurses being accused of abuse than male.

Your anxiety sounds more than normal to me - I would speak to a GP about it. It's not normal to worry about people stealing your baby or even holding her. It sounds like these thoughts are negatively impacting on you.

exoticfruits Tue 09-Aug-11 13:51:54

I was with you until the last sentence. Men should have equal opportunities and there is no reason at all why you can't have male nursery workers-we need far more of them-although why any would try with that sort of comment is beyond me.

Parenting is all about letting go. Obviously at 8months all your baby needs and wants is you-but later on it becomes damaging. It takes a village to raise a DC. Start in small ways-e.g. leaving with Grandma and working up in age appropriate ways.
You have to keep your own fears out of it-wrapping in cotton wool is damaging.

Strix Tue 09-Aug-11 14:15:00

We all have anxieties when it comes to our kids, but yours seem a bit extreme. hmm

I think you need to separate your needs from hers. And then put hers first.

boombangabang Tue 09-Aug-11 14:19:10

The most recent high-profile case of abuse in a nursery was by females. I havn't heard of any male childcare workers being involved in abuse.

Children are awfully hard work, I always wonder why people would want to steal them at all, no matter how beautiful they are. You do sound awfully paranoid, perhaps to the point of it being a problem - I agree with Rita - go to see your GP maybe?

Strix Tue 09-Aug-11 14:20:03

Incidentally, my baby is eight months old. He is cared for five days a week by au pair / nanny / childminder. I love when I walk in the door in the evening and he jumps up and down with excitement in his little walker. I go pick him up and we have a big grin and a cuddle. I'm not overwhealmed by feelings of guilt and I don't spend any time at all wondering if someone has been mean to him. The au pair / nanny is great and so is the childminder.

We have a happy and healthy network of carers going for DS (and his older two syblings). This is I believe normal.

JinxyCat Tue 09-Aug-11 17:03:47

@Sarochenka - I think it's quite normal to be a little nervous about letting your precious little one go to other people, and only you know how big a problem it is for you.

Hopefully your comment about being worried someone is going to steal the baby was a slight over-exaggeration, as if it's a real one - then perhaps you might want to think about talking to someone (a friend, your GP) about why that worries you so much as it's not a common occurence (although I'm sure your LO is adorable)

I would agree with the other comments, maybe it would be good to start with small steps to make sure that you're comfortable leaving your LO with someone else for increasing periods of time - maybe after spending some time thinking about exactly what your fears are, and how someone could demonstrate that they're not going to fulfil those IYSWIM.

A nanny/childminder/nannyshare definitely sounds like the best way to go if you are nervous about leaving your LO - as nurseries will have a larger number of staff for you to feel comfortable with (although your child would have a primary caregiver of course) - but it may be more expensive.

Also, I'd agree with the other points - there's no reason to be more (or less) suspicious of male childcare workers than females. A few bad apples from either sex shouldn't be taken to be indicative of the majority - and there are lots of good reasons that a male childcare worker would be good (already quoted above).

Good luck - being a parent isn't easy, and I have this nasty feeling that we all continue to worry, just about different things (my fears are currently about my son running into the road after his scooter/ball/whatever) - and we all have to find a way of managing those fears which works for us.

nannynick Tue 09-Aug-11 18:06:32

I would suggest you get to know a local childminder. Have you met any at baby/toddler group? If you and your DD get to see someone say once a week over a few months, you may be happier to consider leaving your DD with them.

A nanny is a costly option. As a nanny (I'm a bloke - so should that be Manny) I usually care for 3 or 4 children, not just one. I care for a 9 month old baby, also a girl as it so happens. I have known her since very young... can't remember exactly, probably a few days old. She was 4 months old when I cared for her all day.

>How do you mentally start to accept the idea that other people probably aren't going to harm your little one?

I am not a parent, I am not a mother... so I don't know how you deal with it mentally. I would suggest though that you adopt the attitude that people are not going to harm them. You seem to be thinking the worse will happen, when the chances of that are very very small.

Children are more likely to be harmed by their own parents than by someone outside of their family. In today's news, a mother has been sentenced for killing her own two young children. Just because one mother does that, does not mean all mothers will do that. Same I feel goes for childcare workers... just because someone has done something, does not mean all will. Cases you hear about are rare. So try not to worry about it. Assume the best in people, not the worst.

Dinosaurhunter Tue 09-Aug-11 18:21:37

In my opinion being protective of your child is very normal . I was due to go back to work when my son was 4 months but I was not prepared for the way I felt about leaving him , I felt sick to my stomach ! So instead I stayed at home with him made lots of friends and done lots of social things and he started nursery age 3 . He starts school in September and I will now go back to work !
I do understand that for some people not working is not up for dissusion but I sometimes feel woman are made to feel silly and negative if they don't want to leave their babies.

Karoleann Tue 09-Aug-11 18:28:15

I'd start slowly.......arrange for a babysitter (a friend's nanny is always a good start) and have a night out with your husband when the baby's alseep. You can go out very locally for a couple of hours.
If you're going down the nursery route, you can get nurseries with web cams so your can check everything's okay. Active Learning nurseries in London all have web cams.
If you're going to have a nanny, employ her to start a month before you go back to work, then you can start to leave her gradually.
Feeling anxious that something will happen to your child(ren) is normal.

Jasbro Tue 09-Aug-11 21:19:36

I think your anxiety could be hormonal, perhaps a variation or type of post natal depression. The feelings you have are normal, but they are extreme, so you do need to find a way to get past them, either alone or with the help of your GP. You know with your head that you have to let her go, don't you? It is nature, and to go against that is detrimental to your child's healthy development.

Even if you did decide not to go back to work, you would gradually need to let your child spend some time away from you for both of your wellbeing. But if you are sure you do want/need to go back to work, you need to start building a relationship with a child carer now. A childminder may be the best choice, as you can get to know them, and then gradually build up leaving your daughter for short periods of time until you get used to it. Childminders are usually mothers themselves, and this may help you feel more secure. As a childminder myself I treat the children I look after as I would my own child. I understand mothers fears when they leave their children for the first time, and I will try to allay these by sending them texts or photos to reassure them. However, more than anything I want them to learn to trust me. I really don't think that watching your child on a webcam is going to help you learn to let go, I think it will feed your fears.

It is natural to want to protect your child from harm, but you have to remember there are risks from all directions. My brother nearly died as a child when he was taken ill with a serious infection. He was at home with my parents when he was taken ill, and yet my parents were helpless to save him from the danger that threatened his life. The psychological harm you can do to your child by being overprotective is not as dramatic as the fears you have, but it is real and it will affect their whole life.

Good luck, I hope you can find a way to move forward. I have no doubt that your relationship with your child will only deepen and grow when you can happily learn to spend some time apart.

Ophicleide Tue 09-Aug-11 21:29:28

Sarochenka, I think it's completely normal not to want your baby of your sight for a single second. She's only eight months old!! I would wonder why anyone would be happy at the idea of a baby of that age being looked after by anyone outside the family. I don't think I had mine looked after by anyone until they were more like 3 and 5 blush.

Everyone is different. Do you absolutely have to go back to work? If not, just enjoy your baby. The natural thing is for separation to happen gradually, at a pace that suits the individual child, and if you have no reason to force it, then don't. Mine are all now at school and are happy to go with other people (and I'm obviously happy to let them go - though am still not keen on them being driven by other people).

If you do really want to work/have to work, I wouldn't go for a nursery. If I'd wanted mine looked after by anyone else, I'd have gone for a CM (would never have been able to afford a nanny, which would have been my number one alternative). There were several CMs who used to take children/babies to our local playgroups, and it was very clear which ones were really good and which ones weren't.

we all have anxieties about leaving our children I didnt think I would so worried about it but I was and actually its fine, you do all the checks and go with your gut instincts we chose a childminder and thats what we felt was best he has been going 2mths now and its fine, no I dont like leaving him but I dont worry about him all day I do think about him but know he is in safe hands.

Your comment about male care workers is unfair men and women can both be abusers as well as both being brillant childcarers - I think your comment you are happy to leave with husband so then you cant be worried about leaving with a highly qualified and experienced and police checked male care worker.

VeronicaCake Wed 10-Aug-11 09:42:27

On the male thing - firstly you don't hear many horror stories. There was a tragic story involving a male nursery worker in Birmingham who was convicted of abuse a few weeks ago. Before that the last big scandal involved three female workers at the Little Ted's Nursery in Portsmouth in 2009. These things hit the headlines because they are rare. Sexual exploitation of very small children is unusual because hardly anyone is that fucked up.

It is completely normal to worry about finding good childcare. But as other people on this thread have pointed out most of us get there. It isn't as hard as it sounds, you need to feel you can trust the other carer/s, that they will listen to and respect your views, and that your child seems settled and happy in their care (although it is normal for children to take a while to settle and to experience some separation anxiety at first).

There is a plus side too. DD spends 3 days a week with a CM whom she adores. She has made friends with the other children there and we often bump into her new friends when out and about. Her life is enriched by these new experiences and she is learning that there are other adults besides her parents whom she can trust to care for and protect her. I think her confidence has grown as a result. She is learning about sharing, waiting her turn and being gentle around other children which are things I couldn't teach her by myself.

Ophicleide Wed 10-Aug-11 16:51:05

"She is learning about sharing, waiting her turn and being gentle around other children which are things I couldn't teach her by myself."

I'm sure you could, VeronicaCake! Mine are mostly quite good at all the above, despite never having been looked after by anyone else until they went to school ...

VeronicaCake Wed 10-Aug-11 20:56:39

Where did I say that children looked after by their parents don't learn these things? Since DD is currently an only child a nice upside of going to the CM for her is that she gets to play with other children. I was trying to reassure the OP that using additional childcare can be a positive rather than a mere second best to parental care.

You may not have meant to be patronising and I apologise if I am being oversensitive but I happen to have very severe uncontrolled epilepsy which means I cannot care for my daughter independently. I am incredibly grateful to have decent childcare nearby since the only other option would be for my husband to give up work to care for DD.

thebody Wed 10-Aug-11 21:34:11

goodness me love!!first of all we have all been there.. i remember actually wanting to poke out the eye of an angelic looking 8 year old because she sneezed over my precious baby at a wedding and I thought he would get flu...

dear son is now a strapping 21 year old and incidentally he didnt come to any harm from this sneeze!!!!!!

what you are feeling is totally normal if a little hormonal.. no problem.. you are programmed to protect your baby...

however please remember.. most people who choose to work with children(like me as a cm) actually do like children!!! yes we are a strange breed.. granted...

if your post is serious and you do have to return to work then you have to get a grip, deep breath and do your staff work, decide on a nursery or cm and get references.. and choose the best child care for you..

as regards to male workers.. just read some of nanny nicks posts.. suffice it to say you wish you would be so lucky to have him as nanny to your child..

good luck with your choices..

thebody Wed 10-Aug-11 21:38:33

and to last two brilliant posters.. this isnt a sahm issue verses working mum issue.. both of you are right in what you say but both obviously have differnet lives/ needs.. support ladies.... please...for mums as a whole...whatever your choices or values or needs....

EllieG Wed 10-Aug-11 21:45:57

I was exactly the same - went back to work and felt like my heart was breaking when my DD was 1. I took a long time on the induction (they usually do 1 week induction, I asked for a 3 week phased period where I took her for a hour at firs then built up slowly). I visited LOADS of nurserys and CM so when I found one I liked I knew that I could be confident leaving her in their care. i plumped for a nursery because I couldn't find a CM I had a really good recommendation on, and my DD is very confident and sociable and always has been, and I thought she would thrive in a very stimulating environment. If she had been shy I think I would have used a CM - they have to be quite robust to manage nursery. Be guided by your LO and spend a lot of time exploring the various options.

They did lovely things for me - they knew I was so sad leaving her, and she used to cry when I left, on second day when I came back to pick her up they showed me lots of photos they had taken of her playing and laughing so I could see she was OK, bless them. They also were very patient with me calling them up when I had got to work and checking she was OK (which she always was). My 3 year old DD is now an enormously happy, confident and sociable little girl who likes her carers and loves her best friends.

Your LO will be OK. So will you. Your bond will not be broken because you have to work and though she may struggle leaving you at times, it won't cause her any damage providing she is getting warm and positive care.

Ophicleide Wed 10-Aug-11 22:51:06

Apologies, Veronica. You said, "She is learning about sharing, waiting her turn and being gentle around other children which are things I couldn't teach her by myself." I was merely saying that I thought you were doing yourself a big disservice by saying that your daughter could only have learnt those things by being looked after by someone else.

I think we're all on the same 'side', in that we all think our babies are the most precious, marvellous things in the universe, and we're all reassuring the OP that it's perfectly normal not to want to let her baby out of her sight - but at the same time, she and her baby will be fine once it finally gets to that stage, whenever that might be.

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