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Return to work and behaviour?

(4 Posts)
Weebeastiebaby Wed 10-Aug-16 14:15:27

I have one ds who is 14 months old. I returned to work when he was 8 months old, starting off on part time hours and have gradually increased to full time. This consists of 3x long shifts (7.30am-9.30pm) with occasional night shifts. Not ideal but I figure it means more full days off at home. While I work ds is with either dh (who also works shifts but on different days) or MIL. He is also occasionally left with my sister, brother in law or stepfather. He gets on well with all these family members, is delighted to see them and behaves beautifully for the entire time he spends with them.
The problem is, since starting full time hours his behaviour when with me has been different. He's very clingy, anxious and upset. Constantly wanting to be picked up (then immediately put back down) won't play with his toys or be in a room alone and being more attached to his dummy, bottle etc. This is only when I am alone with him. As soon as a family member appears he wants to be held by them and cries when they leave and doesn't want to be left with me.
Is this normal or does it show that he is being left by me too often or for too long periods? I'm thinking of getting him into a nursery for one afternoon a week but wonder if this would make it worse by adding another carer into his hectic week.
It's making me feel stressed at work and I can't enjoy the time I spend with my son either as his behaviour makes me frustrated. Any suggestions?

Writerwannabe83 Wed 10-Aug-16 16:42:29

I'm guessing your in the nursing profession or similar?

I'm a nurse and went back to work when DS was ten months old. I started of going back for 2.5 days (two long days and an early shift) but then eventually worked back up full time: 3 x 07.30-20.30 shifts.

I was worried that DS would really struggle with me being away from him or three days but he adapted fine. I was made to feel guilty about my work choice: "How can you not see your child for 3 days a week?" Etc etc but like you I weighed it up and thought that yes, for 3 days a week I don't see him (bar 45 minutes in the mornings) but I get four full days with him a week which is more than a lot of full time working parents get. My DS went to a childminder two days a week with my DH doing pick ups and drops off.

Although DS was fine initially I have definitely found that as he gets older the more he is struggling with being away from him. When he hit 18 months or so he started to get very clingy with me, cried if I even left the room etc and I think because at that age they have an awareness of time, whereas babies don't, and in his head when I left a room he had no idea whether I'd be back in 10 seconds or be gone for 24 hours. I do think it's quite unsettling for them.

DS is 2yrs 3m and he is much better now but he is still very clingy to me when I'm home. He understands now though that mummy has to go to work and I will see him the next day but he still gets very upset when I do go to work.

I may be wrong, but it may be far more beneficial for your child to solely be in nursery when not with you as opposed to being passed around various family members. Children his age need good structure and routines and he will be struggling with the issue he has to go longish periods without seeing his mum but he will also be confused about the fact he has no idea where he will be or who he will be from day to day. It may be very overwhelming for him and I imagine he doesn't feel very secure in this set up.

My son has always knew he was either with me or his childminder and now he's in nursery he knows he's either with them or with me. It gives him a secure base and means he only has two main caregivers as opposed to being passed around a variety of people with no set routines.

I understand why you'd be worried about adding in another carer but actually, putting something more solid into your child's routine may really benefit him.

Weebeastiebaby Wed 10-Aug-16 16:59:04

Hi, yes I am a nurse! Unfortunately I can't afford to put him in nursery every day just yet. Plus the nursery can only watch him during office hours and he will still need family members to do dinner/bath/bed.
I think that this is definetly the reason why he is so clingy now. He doesn't know when I leave if I will be back in 5 mins or 3 days. I always wanted to set a good example by working hard but am struggling with the idea of him missing out on time with me.

Writerwannabe83 Wed 10-Aug-16 19:03:43

It's so hard. Sometimes I feel absolutely wretched about being away from him for so long (I sometimes don't see him for 48 hours) and I will actually be in tears on the way to work.

The four days we have together are amazing but I feel so guilty sometimes with the thought he may feel some level of instability because I'm always popping in and popping out of his life because of my shifts.

My DH does all the nursery drop offs and pick ups but when I leave the house in the morning sometimes my DS gets so upset, clings on to me and say "No work mommy, stay home, stay home" and it breaks my heart.

I think as mothers we will feel guilty whatever we do.

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