Last Monday I put Tom on my hip and walked into Day Care with him for the first time. I was hesitant and unsure but I knew I needed to start getting him used to it. I needed to allow myself the possibility of going back to work, even if just for a couple of hours here and there.
The guilt sensations were there long before I walked in the door with him. Guilt that he doesn’t get the opportunity to socialise with other children. Guilt that he is with me, and only me a lot of the time. Guilt that he is still so reliant on me for sleep.
Then there’s the flipside guilt. Guilt for taking a break from my child, guilt that I was leaving him in the hands of strangers.
As soon as I put him down he shot off. I wasn’t surprised. That’s Tom. He’s Mr. Confident. He isn’t shy and he isn’t scared of other children or people. He just likes to be free – playing, laughing and exploring.
As I was leaving I was faced with being
asked pressured to keep him there for longer than two hours. “It would be good to get him into the routine” I was told. There it goes again, seeping in – guilt that I wasn’t ‘letting go’. I told her I would see how I go.
After shedding a few tears in the car I took myself home and went into a cleaning frenzy. I didn’t sit down once and I watched the clock the whole time.
Two hours later I was back. He was still as I left him, very happy and playing without a care. When he spotted me I knelt down and he gave me the biggest and longest hug we’ve had, before he was off again, playing and laughing with the other children.
This week I’m determined to let that RIDICULOUS amount of guilt roll down my shoulders and wash into the sea.
I’m taking him back. He enjoys it and it is great seeing him be so social.
I’m sick of being made to feel guilty all the time. Society breeds this guilt frenzy in mothers and I’m putting a stop to it in my head. I’m just doing the best that I can and ignoring what people might think is ‘best’ for my baby. I’m the only one who knows what is best.
I’m not leaving him there for longer than two hours at this stage. I know in my heart there’s potential for him to ‘lose it’ when he gets overtired and there is no way an energetic, super-aware little man like mine is going to sleep in that environment. I don’t want them to force it on him. He needs me for his naps. Full stop.
That’s what I’m doing. That’s what I feel is right. And after chatting to my husband, I’ve got all the support and confidence I need to know I’m doing the right thing.
How did you feel putting your child into day care or how do you think it will feel?