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First day leaving DS at childminder's was a disaster...

(18 Posts)
AnnaLiza Tue 09-Oct-12 20:32:32

....and I was so upset to see him so distraught that I'm seriously considering not going back to work but fear I may regret it later.
He's 8 months old and baby DC3 but with a big age gap to the other two. I love my job but it won't make much difference to us financially whether I go back or not considering childcare and cost of getting to work. If I don't go back, however, I will probably never be able to get back into it so it's not a decision that I am taking lightly.
I've always known that DS would be my last child and I am trying to enjoy him to the fullest and at the same time to learn from my mistakes as a parent. I do believe that children benefit from the confidence of having their needs met and for this reason I try not to let him cry and to be always available for him. For example, unlIke my other two children, DS3 is still breastfed at 8 months (and no plan to stop soon!) and we co sleep. I feel this is my last opportunity to "get it right" as friar as humanely possible.
For this reason, the idea of him getting distressed before he gets used to being left doesn't feel right. On the other hand I wonder if I'm being ridiculous and would really appreciate other people's perspectives!

annh Wed 10-Oct-12 08:09:16

Was this his first full day or a settling-in period? It's quite normal to have some tears when little ones are first left - would you have felt better if he had just waved you off happily? I also don't think you can equate extended breastfeeding and co-sleeping to "getting it right". Surely you got it right as best you could and knew how for your older children at the time? Give your baby a chance to settle in over a few sessions and review then how he is settling.

AnnaLiza Wed 10-Oct-12 14:18:24

Yes exactly, I got it as right as I knew best at the time and given my young age when I had my other two DCs. However in hindsight I think breastfeeding and cosleeping are better and this is what I mean.
To answer your question, I was gone for only one hour and he cried inconsolably for half of it. He was very upset,

Rockchick1984 Wed 10-Oct-12 15:41:53

For me, my decision to be a SAHM was heavily influenced by DS not liking being left with anyone else around the time I needed to start putting him in childcare. He's now 18 months and in all honesty would be fine anywhere now, although it has turned out to be the best decision all round for us! Would it be worth looking into a career break as an option, if the only thing stopping you going back to work is his reaction to childcare? I know where you are coming from with not wanting to let him cry, me and DH loosely base our parenting around attachment parenting philosophies and DS isn't ever left to cry as I don't see any benefit to either him or me smile

Rockchick1984 Wed 10-Oct-12 15:43:04

Here you are entitled to 13 weeks unpaid parental leave, however many businesses also offer 12 month sabbatical which could be worth looking into?

ProudNeathGirl Wed 10-Oct-12 15:47:58

I think tears are to be expected on a first day (though neither of my two DDs cried at childminders. (Pre-school - floods of tears, CM - big smiles).

Hard though it is as a parent, I'm sure you're doing the best thing for him and you - he'll soon get to understand that you are coming back, and will be so pre-occupied with all the fun he has at the CMs he won't miss you a bit.

I took the attitude that the sooner our DDs realised that parents aren't always available, the better. I have always made a point of leaving them with people - you never know when you're going to have to because of some emergency, and knowing they are happy to be left makes emergencies a little bit easier to cope with.

AnnaLiza Wed 10-Oct-12 17:38:43

rockchic exactly! That's how I feel. I try not to have him cry if I can help it. I wasn't trying to be smug about my parenting choices hmm
Career break would be great but I would seriously struggle to go back even in one year's time.
I don't know what the answer is. I'm so busy at home every day that I would also struggle with the house being untidy or dinner not cooked. On the other hand, I am not the sort if person who's satisfied with being at home in the longer term (although I may have changed - who knows?)
Yes him being upset is a major factor. I know it sounds silly, but...

Rockchick1984 Wed 10-Oct-12 18:09:04

It's not silly, you need to do whatever works best for your family! Personally I would never have thought I'd be happy as a SAHM, but once I actually considered how much I'd enjoyed my maternity leave, and how settled and happy DS is, I decided it would be the best thing all round for us. DH can focus on advancing his career as he's not coming home to a massive list of jobs to do in the evening (although he's fab and will help out if there's things I've not had time for) and I'm now studying so that when I decide the time is right for me to go back, I can move into an area I've always been interested in but never had time to study for.

All children are different, and therefore you have to parent them in a way that works for you and them. Doesn't mean one way is 'better' as long as its right for you. My friend went back to work full time when her son was 5 months old, she barely sees him during the week but she is happy with this arrangement. Personally I can't think of anything worse! Try to imagine yourself in 12 months time, in the 2 scenarios of working or SAHM. Obviously by then you would be past any settling in issues at CM, do you think you could be happy/fulfilled without your job?

RubyrooUK Wed 10-Oct-12 21:54:27


I can empathise a lot with you as I had to settle my co-sleeping, breastfeeding, bottle refusing at nursery at 8mo before returning to work full time. In my case, I needed to return to work, not only for much-needed money but also because I work in an incredibly competitive field where going part time is not an option.

I think if you want to be a SAHM, that is totally fair enough. Only you know if really your heart is in going back to work or you really want to be at home. But I will write about the bit I know - settling a baby at childcare.

My son was incredibly clingy from birth. Literally bf every 45 minutes, hated other people holding him etc. We co-slept out of necessity and he refused bottles completely so even expressing was not an option.

His first few sessions at nursery were VERY hard. He did cry. Nursery called me back after 30 mins the first time, then an hour, then 90 minutes. This was hideous and made me feel very sick, but DS saw me come back for him each and every time. I always came back and soothed him.

The nursery were very supportive. They said it was normal for him to cry as he had such a strong bond with his mother, but were looking from the start for distractions. They asked me for music he liked, books he liked, anything that would help them distract him from missing me. This made me feel like he was not being left to cry; he was actually being cuddled all the time, he was just upset. This helped me and them feel a bit more in control.

(They also gave him yoghurt between meals as he wouldn't take bottles and did all kinds of stuff that made him feel settled.)

I also did three weeks settling in every day. This apparently was mad, but I did point out that I knew my baby and I thought a gradual build-up of time at nursery would be the best way to go. It meant that by the time I actually had my first day at work, I was not crying in the loos all day. I even made my mum come and stay so he could do shorter days for the first couple of weeks after I went back to work. This also helped, I think.

I also gave myself a deadline, which helped. I said to myself that I would try two months. If DS and I found it unbearable or he still wasn't settled, that would be it for me with work. I would do anything else.

It took a while but I noticed that while DS cried when I dropped him off or picked him up, I could see that afterwards he stopped and picked up a spoon or book. I started to realise that he was not spending all day crying as I had feared. (Plus whenever he did feel sad, he was just cuddled all the time as the nursery is family run and sometimes people just seem to have their arms full of kids the whole time.)

A few weeks later, I noticed that sometimes he was clearly having fun when I arrived. My shoulders started to drop a little. I felt that perhaps this whole thing was workable. I kept bf until 16mo and I really believe that for both me and DS, keeping on cosleeping and bf was a sort of anchoring experience that made sure that he knew I loved him and was coming back for him every day - no scientific evidence obviously but I felt it was important and lovely for us.

Now he is two and he is thrilled to see me when I come to pick him up. And he still hugs me tight when I leave, but now he also wants to carry on dancing if he is busy when I arrive and just get me to join in. When I ask him if he has had a good day, he says yes (and he is quick to tell me when he doesn't like something!).

So if you do choose to go back to work, will it mean your baby crying? Probably a bit, but that doesn't mean being left to cry. And it really improves quickly. I asked DS the other day if he remembered being a baby in the baby room (he still has the same staff looking after him) and he said no, but wanted to go and be a baby. I will always remember that time, but has it affected him? I don't think so.

Good luck. I don't think you should worry about getting everything right all the time. Nobody does or can. My baby loved sleeping up cuddled to me; my friend's baby only liked sleeping in a good amount of space. So what is right for one child isn't right for others - you can just do your best.

Best of luck, whatever you decide!

AnnaLiza Wed 10-Oct-12 22:14:00

Wow! What a journey you had! Thank you do much for sharing it with me.
You have given me hope and made me realise that getting him used to being left is just another phase in my baby's development.
I still don't know what I'll do but thank you so much!

Svrider Wed 10-Oct-12 22:17:27

I would be a Sahm if at all possible envy
I'd go for it
There's plenty of time "to get used to been left" when he starts school
Good luck with whatever you decide

RubyrooUK Wed 10-Oct-12 22:20:15

Sorry for the essay! I got carried away. blush But even if you decide going back to work is not for you, it is such an emotive time. Good luck.

MMMarmite Wed 10-Oct-12 22:23:20

Difficult decision. It would be a shame to lose your career just because of this short time. Could your partner take a career break for a few months, to be a stay-at-home parent until your youngest is a bit bigger? Or both of you work part time? Are there any other ways you could stay up to date without going into work each day?

jellybeans Wed 10-Oct-12 22:24:42

I was in same position years ago and gave up work with DD2 onwards. Never regretted it.Am doing an OU degree and few voluntary roles but don't miss paid work. If you want to do it SAH is great smile

AnnaLiza Thu 11-Oct-12 09:05:21

MMarmite DH's job is what pays the mortgage and all the bills so for him not not work - even for a short period of time - is just not an option. His salary is x 7 mine! You can see what I mean when I say that my money doesn't make any significant contribution to the household's finances.
Jellybean I did exactly what you describe after DS2. I took a career break, studied with the OU and volunteered at the same time. By the time I finished my degree, I had a job offer straight away and I've been in that sector ever since. So I have done SAH before (for three years) but I was younger and keen to prove to myself that I could establish myself in my field.
Fast forward to 8 years later and while I still love my job, I'm also a bit disillusioned with it given the current political climate (but that's a whole new thread!).
Maybe I've changed and I would be happy longer term staying at home...maybe I'd really miss my job and the socialising...But thank you so much everyone for replying. It's really good to hear other people's perspectives on this!

MMMarmite Thu 11-Oct-12 13:23:22

Ah I see, sorry my suggestion was no use.

Good luck with your decision. It sounds like both choices have a lot of positives, which is a good place to be starting from.

Thorpster Fri 12-Oct-12 10:32:02

It might be worth giving it 2 weeks with the CM and make it really positive and upbeat when you drop off (even if you then cry in the car like I did) nearly every one I know who had a similar experience said it got better quite quickly.

Of course it's going to be unsettling at first, but I think it's great to give children the chance to develop bonds and trust with other people and to feel cared for by others.

Good Luck with your decision.
ps What have work said to you? Have you asked to extend yourML?

AnnaLiza Fri 12-Oct-12 15:34:25

He's at home with his dad at the moment (had a dentist appointment) and apparently he's whinging quite a lot but is not properly upset. I'm thinking that a solution could be to leave him with a nanny and have a very long "getting to know her" period even though the nanny would b paid more than me! In any event, I'll try again with the childminder next week.
I hadn't thought about asking for extended maternity leave because it would be just postponing the problem plus doesn't separation anxiety only get worse the older they are?

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