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Feel sick at the thought of going back to work and leaving DS

(20 Posts)
Gangle Sat 23-Aug-08 21:59:37

DS is nearly 5 months and I am trying to decide when to go back to work. I had originally said I would take 6 months but have told my boss I want to push this back by 5 weeks and go back in early November rather than early October, mainly because October feels too soon and I think 6 months is a difficult time to leave him as I want to start weaning him then. I have also made a flexible working application to work 2 days a week from home and have asked to take 1 day per week holiday for the rest of the year so would only be in the office 2 days a week until DS is 9 months. However, I am really really struggling with the thought of leaving him at all. We've found a great nanny share but I just feel that noone will look after him the way that I do and that I am going to miss out on so much and that he needs his mummy. I want to cry just thinking about it. Not going back is not really an option as we need my salary. Does everyone feel like this and does it get easier to leave them as they get older? The whole idea is just so heartbreaking. I've spent almost every minute with him for the last 5 months and just can't see how I can leave him. He also won't take a bottle so I'm panicking about how he will have his milk when I'm not there. Sorry for moaning, bit emotional today.

oi Sat 23-Aug-08 22:03:01

Yes, lots of people feel like that. First of all, you have to accept that no-one will do it just like you. In fact, believe it or not, some things they may do better, a lot of things they may do not exactly the way you do it but you know what, babies are totally adaptable things.

Tanya Byron wrote something lovely about going back to work the other day in the Times. I'll look for it in a minute (think it applied to nursery but had some lovely anecdotes in it).

Also, work on the bottle. You don't want to have anxiety about the feeding but that's something that can click v quickly. Also, you're not working v long each week so it will go fast.

oi Sat 23-Aug-08 22:06:06

will cut and paste as it's part of an article. Sorry for length.

How to avoid the sorrow of parting

Mothers going back to work often have an almost overanxious relationship with their child, because they are counting down to their last days together.

Being a parent is about preparing your child for leaving you as an adult. But this move to independence can start from a very early age. So if your child is going to be away from you as a baby, you must be very relaxed about leaving her with a friend for a few hours, with granny or for sleepovers.

If you have done that by the time she gets to nursery, she understands the idea of separation better than children who have been held very close by their anxious mothers, who are living with the guilt of the impending separation.

Once you have decided to go back to work, you must not infuse your child with your emotions. It's difficult. But it's difficult the first day that he goes to school, the first time that he goes camping and the first time that he goes on a bus alone. If you leave in tears, you make it stressful for your child and for the nursery staff.

Don't give the key workers chapter and verse on your child's likes and dislikes.

One of the positives about nursery is that children become adaptable and flexible, so you must expect things to be done differently from home. And that's not a bad thing.

Fifty years ago, children were in and out of other people's houses. It was normal. That was the way communities worked. Every house was different but your parents picked you up at the end of the day, they put you to bed, they loved you and the world was great. Now we have adopted “zero-risk parenting” and hold on to our children so tightly that we fear any shift from our routine. Instead we risk producing neurotic adults.

As Hillary Clinton said - quoting an old African proverb - “It takes a village to raise a child”. But we have lost that village, so nurseries have become the modern equivalent. If a child sees that you are relaxed with the staff, there is a consistency in his or her life. If, however, he sees you going in frothing at the mouth because Johnny has been bitten by another boy, he will be anxious - so it's about being relaxed while ensuring that the standards remain your own.

As long as the core relationship with you is consistent - and when at home your energies are devoted to your children - they will probably thrive at nursery.

Pendulum Sat 23-Aug-08 22:08:58

Poor you. I think a lot of people feel like this. After 5 months looking after your DS round the clock it's not surprising that you can't bear to leave him and can't imagine how it will possibly work.

HOWEVER, IMO (having returned twice after mat leave and watched many of my friends go back too) the anticipation is far worse than the reality. It is hard to imagine at the moment how life will be be for you and your child when you are working, just as it was hard to imagine what life with your DS would be like before he was born. But people are amazingly adaptable. The most important thing is that you have found childcare you feel happy with. I would definitely recommend doing a longish transition period where your DS spends a little time with the nanny to get him and you used to the arrangement before you start back at work.

Do you enjoy your job? You may be surpised to find that you are very happy to be back, and with a good arrangement by the sounds of it. It is a leap of faith, I know I can't say anything to convince you but please know it's not unusual to feel this way and it doesn't mean it will not work.

Pendulum Sat 23-Aug-08 22:10:24

BTW my DD would not take a bottle (even of EBM) until 7 months but now happily glugs down 8oz at a time. If you search the archives there's loads of tips on how to make the transition.

Gangle Sat 23-Aug-08 22:10:27

thanks Oi. Those quotes make me feel a lot better although my instrinct at this stage is still to say screw work and to hang onto my baby forever!

Gangle Sat 23-Aug-08 22:15:06

thanks Pendulum. Have planned a transition period of around a month - expensive but worth it to ease DS into it. On the feeding point, I will just have to take it as it comes. I have tried EBM and, yesterday, cool boiled water, but he's having none of it. Maybe once he starts weaning he might be more open to it. The main way I am reassuring myself at the moment is by thinking that I should give it a go and if I really hate it I can try to reduce my hours or find a part time job. I did used to love my job, was never out of the office! How life changes once you have a baby!

GivePeasAChance Sat 23-Aug-08 22:18:33

If it's too early for you - can't you extend your maternity leave? Despite what you have said to your boss - things change. You thought you would be ready and you are not. I agree with the Tanya Bryon article, but if you are not at a stage to not pass on your emotions, another 6 months off may be the answer. By which point you may be chomping at the bit to get back !

Gangle Sat 23-Aug-08 22:24:00

Would love to Peas but would be very difficult to manage financially. Have thought several times that 9 months, ie going back in the new year, would be much better but was trying to accomodate my boss by going back earlier. If they refuse my flexible working request to do 2 days per week from home then will consider going back in Jab though will probably go bankrupt in the process!

Gangle Sat 23-Aug-08 22:26:03

Another reason to go back in Nov is that we have the nanny share starting mid Oct and don't want to mess the other family around too much.

ILikeYourSleeves Sat 23-Aug-08 22:29:36

I totally know how you feel Gangle. My DS is nearly 10 months and I'm going back in end Oct, I am seriously dreading it!!! I feel sick at the thought of it, I'll miss him so much but I think it's a lot to do with that I've realised I really don't like my job or some of the people I work with. I couldn't wait to leave and a years mat leave seemed so long but it's just gone in soooooooooooo fast I can't believe it Plus my boss is now PG and going off on ML for a year from Dec and I'll need to act up while she's off so that's making it all worse- I feel so de-skilled at my job and useless, I can't remember anything and I'm worried I'll be 'outed' as a fraud when I return!

I just want to win the Lotto so I can stay at hime with DS forever (only got one number tonight tho, d'oh) but i do know that it's good for him to go to nursery too. At least I'm going back P/T, is that an option for you?

Big hugs for you, I know how you feel x

GivePeasAChance Sat 23-Aug-08 22:30:21

It's hard I know - and admire your loyalty to your boss.

TheOldestCat Sat 23-Aug-08 22:36:15

Hey Gangle.

I felt just like you when I went back to work (DD was 6 months). But, as others have said, the anticipation was far worse than the reality.

Yes, I found it hard initially - and I have wobbles even now, over a year later. But DD is happy at nursery and I just get on with it, knowing I'm working to provide for her.

I work full time, but two days a week at home and it's brilliant - I'm able to work flexibly so I can see much more of her (ie I leave the office early on the days I'm in to pick her up by 5, then finish any work off after she's in bed). It's tiring, but worth it.

Anyway, good luck - and enjoy the rest of your maternity leave.

oi - thanks for the Tanya B stuff, it's FANTASTIC. I heart her.

Pendulum Sat 23-Aug-08 22:37:36

You may well find you still love your job (I do).

6-7 month is a good time to go back from your DS's point of view as peak separation anxiety sets in nearer 9 months. Also from your point of view it is better to go back sooner as that perception of being deskilled and lacking confidence only increases with time. It will not take you long to get up to speed, I actually find my brain is sharper and I work more quickly and effectively since having children because I have become a master of prioritising and multi-tasking.

Gangle Sat 23-Aug-08 22:44:14

thanks all. Ilikeyoursleeves, I feel just the same as you! Keep wishing we could win the lottery or move abroad where cost of living is less. Pendulum, completely agree with what you say about lack of confidence - am sure it will only get harder and harder. I already feel I won't be able to do my job and it will only get worse with time.

oi Sat 23-Aug-08 23:32:16

ah well the wishing to win the lottery won't go away. I still feel like that now!

Glad you like the Byron article. I enjoyed it too.

Inki2008 Sun 24-Aug-08 21:44:27

Hi, ladies, i go back to work on 1st Oct part time (4 half days a week) and i feel like bursting into tears whenever i think about it which is more as the time creeps closer!!! DD is 7 months now and is already getting panicky and cries when i leave the room... i have found a brilliant wonderful childminder whom i have the most trust in, and I love my job but i still cant push the thought out of my mind that i will miss out and no-one will be able to rock him and cuddle him like i do.
I also am relying on the lotto (i just bought my first ticket today)!!
anyone got any advice for the first day apart, should i leave him with his own blanket, or a special toy?? sad

pippylongstockings Sun 24-Aug-08 21:52:56

The worry is much worse than the reality I have found both times.

I found once back at work you are so busy trying to function like the previous normal adult you once were, who can actually do a job then you don't have the time to over stress about what your lo are doing.

Is that just me ?

Oakster Sun 24-Aug-08 22:19:53

hi, I had a similar problem - I went back to work when my ds was 7 months old and was heartbroken at leaving him and worried sick as he had point blank refused bottles despite me trying every day from when he was 3 weeks old.

My top tips would be:
-some taster sessions for an hour or so with your childcare provider a couple of times a week for a couple of weeks before starting work if possible
- for the first couple of weeks use some annual leave to just work mornings so that you are free in the afternoon
- the bottle thing sorted itself out for me about the smae time as weaning (I think he just got used to having other things in his mouth), but also try the breastflow bottles (can be bought in mothercare) and a dummy or short breast feed before the bottle

Going back to work in the end was fine, I felt like my left arm was missing for a few weeks but ds is really happy in nursery and like most working mums we need the money! I agree 7 months is better than 9 in terms of the separation anxiety to go into childcare -by the time ds's separation anxiety kicked in he was already settled at nursery and it made life a lot easier that it was familiar people I was leaving him with.

Good luck!

AbricotsSecs Mon 25-Aug-08 07:48:17

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