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Feeling really unsure

32 replies

vickie · 19/06/2003 09:25

Am thinking of going back to work in sept but seem to spend a lot of my time wondering if this is the best thing to do. Only really going back for the money and feel this is a selfish reason to return. I know I will miss dd so much but it will only be for 3 days a week.

can anyone say anything to reassure me that she will be ok at nursery and that Im not a bad mother for sending her there and that she wont be scarred for life!

OP posts:

Enid · 19/06/2003 09:29

Err...lots of other people do it and their kids are fine?

Look, vickie, I send my dd to nursery four mornings a week and I dont even work! Actually thats not really true anymore as I have lots of freelance work now but it used to be true.

You will have moments of guilt - thats life. But if you really want to/need to return to work its just something you have to juggle.

I don't really know anyone who keeps their kids at home with them until they start school, most women I know have some sort of childcare/nursery thing going on, whether they work or not.

Do you think other people might judge you for going out to work?


Tissy · 19/06/2003 09:31

Vickie, I had to go back to work full time when my dd was 4 months old (now 17 months) and she loves it! She has lots of friends, fun games, outings etc. She loves the nursery nurses and most days is so keen to join in with the other kids that she doesn't bother to say goodbye to me.

If you've found a nursery that you like the feel of, she will be fine.


vickie · 19/06/2003 09:46

I know Im sounding like a over protective mother...I more than happy with the nursery and she's a really outgoing little girl an she loves socialising. I think Im the one with the hang ups!

I dont feel I will be judged for returning to work, I have a good job and people are surprised when I tell them Im thinking of not returning to work!

I suppose I just wanted you guys to tell me it will be ok! Psychological I think! Thanks for the reassurances...

OP posts:

outofpractice · 19/06/2003 09:58

I think this whole topic, including the returning to work thread, is really interesting, because it shows what a wide range of attitudes and prejudices we all have but emwi summed it up by saying in the other thread "whatever lights your fire". I think if you need the money, then you should not be ashamed of going back to work, but proud that you can earn it to provide for your dd. But if you hate your work and don't need what you earn, then you won't find fulfilment in being a working mother! If you love your job, can avoid doing excessive hours, value what you earn, and can still spend good time with dd and maintaining things like cooking and cleaning to an OK standard, then, like many of us, you will probably be really happy, although no one has a perfect life. Make sure you enjoy what is left of your maternity leave. Good luck!


Pimpernel · 19/06/2003 10:09

vickie - I went back to work this week. dd is about six and a half months, and I'm working three days a week too. On the first day, I lasted for 40 minutes before ringing the nursery to check that she was OK. On the second day, I made it through to mid-morning before ringing them. And by the third day, I didn't feel that I needed to phone at all. dp is dropping her off at nursery in the morning - he said she got very excited when they opened the door to her on day three. She seems to have settled in really well.

I really enjoyed being at work (although that may change when I actually have to do some work next week!) - I didn't miss her nearly as much as I thought I would. And picking her up from nursery after work was just lovely. Good luck with whatever you decide.


vickie · 19/06/2003 10:16

Lots of mums I know just cant understand what Im worried about, but I think a lot of it is a bit of fear of the unknown. My life at the moment is in a routine (well, as much as it can be with an 8 month old) but it's about adjusting to include work into the equation as well! outofpractice, I agree...I need to find fulfillment as a working mother and Im sure I will, I just need to give it time. My trouble is that I have alot of friends who are SAHMs and I just feel like I might miss out but the reality is I know I wont and I know dd will be happy with all the other children in the nursery...anyway, Im waffling now!

OP posts:

Ness73 · 19/06/2003 15:22

My dd who's 1 year goes to nursery two days while I freelance at home. She's a social little kid and loves it. Some days when she's home with me I'm sure she gets bored and frustrated by the end of day (and I certainly get frustrated!). To be honest I don't subscribe to the 'babies are always better off at home with their mums' theory. I mean, I personally wouldn't feel comfortable with full-time childcare (I'd just miss her too much) but I think it does DD the world of good to be out there meeting other people. It will develop her confidence, independence, social skills etc. Plus at work you get some adult interaction and chance to achieve something that isn't mummy-related. Try to focus on all the positives so the scary stuff won't seem so bad.

And after everything I've said, must say that I found it very very hard at first but you'd be surprised how quickly it passes.

Good luck.


Northerner · 19/06/2003 15:31

My ds is 15 months and goes to nursery for 3 days a week whilst I'm at work. He's been going since he was 4 months old. At first it was difficult. I felt really guilty and would have to fight tears when I arrived in the office in the morning, but it does get easier I promise. He loves nursery and I believe he has developed far quicker from this stimulating environment, than what he would if I was a stay at home mum.

And it is sooo lovely collecting them after a s**t day at work!


eidsvold · 19/06/2003 18:39

vickie- I am going back to full time work in september after spending more than a year at home with my daughter (almost 11 months old now)- I have no doubt she will benefit from the socialisation and stimulation that a good nursery environment can provide - I know I will benefit from the stimulation and gratification I get from work.

I also have absolutely no doubt that I am the one who will have the tears and find it hard to let her go when I have to go to work - good thing dh will be dropping her at nursery in the morning.

All mothers have these doubts and worries but I agree with what someone else said - whatever is right for you..... not saying it will be easy at first but hey if you never try it you will never know.


kmg1 · 19/06/2003 20:34

Vickie - I agree with all the advice here. You have to do what you feel happy with, and what's best for your family at the time. Before having children I loved my job, but chose not to return to work afterwards. I've been a SAHM for 6 years now, and am currently applying for part-time jobs, (for when my youngest starts school in September). If I had my time over I would definitely make the same decision again. I haven't had to juggle priorities; the finances haven't been as tight as we expected; and I've enjoyed being their main care-giver and teacher. You've got to do what's right for you!


susanb · 19/06/2003 21:13

Hi Vickie

I went back to work part time after spending 3 years at home! It was partly choice/partly for money; prior to this, dp was working all the hours under the sun so it meant he could work a few less hours as I was working.

I have to say that I didn't realise just how much I would miss ds. I remember sitting in my car at lunchtime howling my eyes out thinking 'for the last 3 years I've been giving ds his dinner at this time' and I nearly jacked it in. However, I stuck it out and the positive side is that I feel more like a person that just a 'mum', I've met loads of new interesting people and I feel more independent as I'm earning for the family now as well. To be honest, I couldn't imagine not working at all now and wonder what I did with all that time I was at home.

I think whatever you do, you will adjust and so will dd, even if it takes a bit of time. How many hours would you be working? I do 18 which is just right, wouldn't feel happy doing much more because I'd miss ds too much.

Good luck with whatever you decide to do........


Wills · 19/06/2003 21:58

Vickie - I think everyone is giving you brilliant advice. As with the general consensus I would agree that you have to do what's right for you (of course ensuring that dd is also happy). However possibly to help you in your thinking process why not say to yourself "I'll give it 6/12 months". That way you wont feel that you're doing something irreversible. I went back with this sort of approach and after 3 months of part time moved back into full-time when offered a brilliant job that I really love. Yes there are times when I feel incredibly guilty and there are also crappy times when I seriously question what I do but overall it was a good decision for me and my dd absolutely adores nursery. I wouldn't make the timescales any smaller cos I'm not sure its long enough to get into the swing of working and being a mum.

Good luck


vickie · 19/06/2003 22:47

Thank you all for your advice,, I have to say that I feel a lot more positive about the return to work issue now than I did this morning thanks to the comments posted here today. I am going to give it 6/12 months and see how I get on although Im sure dd will love every minute of being in the sand pit, poster painting and generally making new friends!!

I will let you all know how I get on...

OP posts:

Lindy · 19/06/2003 22:47

Vickie - I'm another SAHM who sends her DS (aged 2) to pre-school three mornings a week, soon to be five (hurrah!) - I'm fortunate in that I don't need to work but I do need to have time to do 'my own thing'. Most children really thrive in nurseries or playgroups etc and certainly, as an only child, my DS benefits from socialising with the other children and adults. I don't feel guilty at all about it (in fact I sometimes feel guilty for NOT feeling guilty!) and, if I'm honest, I don't even miss my DS when he's at pre-school, I know he's having a great time and doing far more interesting and challenging things than if we were together 24 hours a day.

Try it - you can always change your mind if it doesn't work out.


eidsvold · 20/06/2003 07:44

I agree with Wills in the 6/12 month thing. I think what is making it easier for me at the moment is that I have a twelve month timeframe in that I need to work for a year for us to emigrate and so I can cope knowing that it is for a limited time... However I may also need to work when we get back home and I am sure I will be glad I gave it a shot here first - will know how I and dd will cope if I have to do it again.


Joanie · 20/06/2003 08:11

Vickie, when I read this thread, a story called "The Mexican Fisherman" came to mind. I have pasted it below.

"An American tourist was at the pier of a small coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked.

Inside the small boat were several large yellow fin tuna. The tourist complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them.

The Mexican replied, "Only a little while."

The tourist then asked, "Why didn't you stay out longer and catch more fish?"

The Mexican said, "With this I have more than enough to support my family's needs."

The tourist then asked, "But what do you do with the rest of your time?"

The Mexican fisherman said, "I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take siesta with my wife, Maria, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine and play guitar with my amigos, I have a full and busy life."

The tourist scoffed, " I can help you. You should spend more time fishing; and with the proceeds, buy a bigger boat: With the proceeds from the bigger boat you could buy several boats. Eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to a middleman you would sell directly to the processor; eventually opening your own cannery. You would control the product, processing and distribution. You could leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, then Los Angeles and eventually New York where you could run your ever-expanding enterprise."

The Mexican fisherman asked, "But, how long will this all take?"

The tourist replied, "15 to 20 years."

"But what then?" asked the Mexican.

The tourist laughed and said, "That's the best part. When the time is right you would sell your company stock to the public and become very rich, you would make millions."

"Millions?...Then what?"

The American said, "Then you would retire. Move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take siesta with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos."


HarrassedDad · 20/06/2003 08:59

Our dd was in my previous employer's nursery from 6 months to about 18 months, for 4 days a week. She loved every minute and would still be there now if it weren't for my being offered a decent redundancy package. I am now a full-time Dad. Vicky, there can be disadvantages to your child attending nursery that no-one has mentioned, that are worth knowing about in advance.

Our dd would often be very over-tired after nursery. This frequently meant she was grumpy and hard work for the remainder of the day. Dinner times were often battles of will. She would be difficult to get to sleep, this was exacerbated by her not getting a really decent kip in the afternoon at the nursery, simply because she was too excited. She also did not want to go to sleep in the evening because she wanted to spend more time with us. With hindsight, we could not spend enough time with her on nursery days.

On the days that she was not in nursery, she could still be tired: it was hard for her to switch from a nursery routine.

Another disadvantage was that she would pick up loads of bugs and ailments (stomach upsets, conjunctivitus and colds) from the nursery. This meant we had to take a lot more time off work to look after her than anticipated. In the case of conjunctivitus, this meant she had to be kept out of the nursery for 5 days or so.

Hope this helps prepare you!


webmum · 20/06/2003 09:00


your story is terrific, makes you think a lot!!

On the leaving children thread, am I the only mother who looks forward to her 2 days at work, because life with a 2yo sometimes just gets too much????

I'm often asked if I feel bad about leaving her at nursery and I can honestly say not at all.
I spent the whole of her first 14 months with her 24/7 with hardly ever any help from dh (not through his fault) and when seh started doing 3 mornings a week it felt like a new life to me!!!

Now I'm working she goes 2 full days and a morning so I can ahve some me time (like now), and I'm usually too busy to miss her!

Do I sound like a terrible mother??? I hope not, but I am terribly deprived of me time, and the first year with dd has been wonderful and terrible at the same time and by the end of it I terribly needed some time off.


outofpractice · 20/06/2003 09:50

vickie, obviously harasseddad has his own experiences, but mine have been very different. I pay for my nursery and tell them exactly how I want them to treat ds, eg to make sure that ds has a good long nap, even now at 3+, so he is refreshed when I pick him up and we have a good time together in the evenings, not needing an early bedtime. also, I believe that it is good for a child's immune system to be exposed to a range of viruses and bacterial infections. Although it means I occasionally have to make last minute plans and rearrange work commitments when he is ill, actually he is hardly ever ill now, because I think he has developed strong natural resistance. Different types of childcare suit different parents, depending upon their temperament.


Wills · 20/06/2003 10:25

Have to agree with outofpractice on the bugs issues. There is a lot of research backed up by GPs and community nurses that it is good for children to be exposed to minor aliments at an early stage so that their immune systems develop heathily. Current thinking is that protecting your child during their early years from all bugs etc is not good for the future health of the child and on the last issue of "Child of Our Time" the professor stated that statistics showed that children that attended nursery early did not go on to be poorly adults with allergies. The only downside here is that for some reason even though I have a fully fledged and developed immune system I seem to catch a remarkable amount of the illnesses that my dd lovingly brings home! .

Also, and possibly I'm being everso contraversial here, if my dd is tired and a little ratty some evenings then I don't worry but just think what a wonderful and fulfilled day she's had. At the moment I'm keeping her from nursery because I'm pregnant and they have slapped cheek there. It is extremely obvious that she is really missing the place and has even developed some imaginary friends - with the same names as two of her closest friends from nursery. My poor dh almost had a father's day card from his dd and Lia and Jacob (her two friends) because she insisted that they be included. I rubbed them out later in case he had a heart attach at the prospect that I was carrying twins .


Lennie · 20/06/2003 10:26

I don't think wanting more money is a selfish reason at all. More money makes life easier. If it means you can take better holidays as a family, or just live without money issues then it's a good thing.

DS is 10 months and goes to nursery 2 days each week. He may start going full time in summer -depends on my work situation. He loves it. Honestly he does. It took him a couple of half day sessions to settle in.

I think part time is perfect at the moment as I don't have the energy or inclination to give him all the attention and stimulation he needs at the moment. By having someone else take care of him two days I have lots more enthusiasm to spend time with him.

I am so happy since he's been in nursery. At first, I felt like I'd lost an arm or something. It was wierd to go out without him, even to the shops, and strange that other people saw me and not as a mother with a baby.

Nursery has different (and bigger) toys, different children and probably better food. He's thriving and so am I.


vickie · 20/06/2003 19:42

This thread is so interesting with all the different views, comments and experiences. There are certainly some issues which I will take with me to the nursery ie making sure she has a good sleep during the day and so on. I am not worried about the bugs annd viruses as I agree it builds up the immune system but I am prepared for a few sleepless nights when she first starts what with colds and sniffles etc. On another positive note I am hoping to have a second child in due course and it will be good to have dd settled in nursery and used to the routine and not feel pushed out if and when another comes along as Im not sure I would like to cope with 2 little ones 24/7 having just about coped at the beginning with just one:-) The extra money will be good and I have made sure that the money covers the cost of someone to help me with the cleaning and ironing as that will be the last thing I want to do on my days off...want to be down the park with dd spending some quality time with her.

OP posts:

Ness73 · 20/06/2003 19:52

Webmum, you are not a bad mother for enjoying it when dd is in nursery - I feel the same. My dd aged 1 goes two days a week and I work from home. Like you, I'm honestly too busy (and enjoying myself too much) to miss her. I think the fact that I have complete confidence in her nursery helps.

Like harasseddad, I have noticed my dd come home extra-tired but it doesn't affect her nighttime sleep (thank God!) and it reassures me she has a full day. Today they took the babies to have a picnic by nearby Teddington Lock. They do loads of fun activities and whenever I go pick her up she's having a ball.


HarrassedDad · 21/06/2003 08:05

Outofpractice, we also paid for our nursery (might have been subsidised by my employer but was far from free!) and did instruct them on how we wanted them to treat dd. But despite their best endeavours, dd would rarely get a good afternoon sleep there, compared to at home. Other parents reported the same problem. Guess it depends on the child and the sleeping arrangements at the nursery, rather than the parents temperament

Totally agree with your and Wills's observation that exposure to bugs is a good thing to build immunity. Not sure if repeated reinfection of dd by virilent conjunctivitus was quite so beneficial though! Wills - I had forgotten about how we would inevitably come down with the bugs she brought home - was horrible! If we had known, we might have saved a little more annual leave for contingencies! Forewarned is forearmed.

Lennie, you are dead right, "More money makes life easier". But I do not think it always makes us happier.

Joanie - great story!

Vickie - if you won the lottery, would you choose to work, look after your dd, or pay someone else to look after her? Or a mix? Much as I love dd and ds, given the option I would still choose to put them in a nursery for a couple of mornings a week - they do enjoy it!


tigermoth · 21/06/2003 10:10

If you take a part time job you could also consider getting a cleaner if this makes financial sense. Or even it it doesn't, if you really feel a need to work.

So the time you spend time away from your dd is balanced by the fact that you have less housework to do when you are with her. So less guilt (not that I'm saying you'll feel any whatever)

I agree with others that good care by others can add another valuable dimension to a child's life.

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