I hate leaving my son to go to work. There, I’ve said it. I BLOODY hate it. I hate having to leave my son in the care of another person for four days a week whilst I go into an office. I hate that I spend a large part of the day worrying about him and feeling terribly guilty that I am not with him. I hate that I had just started to get my head around being back and dealing with what it meant for my son and I and yet now, four months later, I’m having to go through all those feelings again because our nanny left.
It takes a lot of effort to drag myself out of bed, get ready and go to work. I genuinely start dreading it from the moment I put my son to bed, knowing in a few hours that I need to get up and do it all again. I struggle giving any level of importance to work tasks when the most important person in my life isn’t with me. I thought that by now this would have been easier. It really isn’t. Going back to work is one of the biggest challenges I have faced so far as a mother. Until that moment I didn’t really know what guilt felt like. Now I do.
This isn’t helped by the fact my son’s separation anxiety really kicked in a few weeks after me returning to work. Leaving him as he screams and clings to me every single morning is horrific. I know he is fine once I’ve gone and I have waited outside until he’s stopped crying, which is always pretty quickly. The childminder assures me with messages and pictures after I go that he is fine. But still. It wouldn’t happen if I didn’t have to leave in the first place.
Don’t get me wrong, our new childminder seems great. I had met her on my initial childcare search and would have gone with her had we not chosen the one-on-one option which we had thought best for our son. She is really nice and both hubby and I felt that it would be good for our son to mix with other kids and that one-on-one wasn’t as essential as it had felt when he was 11 months.
But I am back to constantly worrying about whether he is settled, happy, sad, or worst of all that he is missing me and wondering where his mummy is. I am wondering if he is looking around the childminders flat thinking, ‘where am I? This doesn’t look or smell anything like my house’. I am fretting that he isn’t getting enough attention because she also looks after a one year old full-time and a three year old part-time. I worry she doesn’t give him enough water, or food. I worry whether they get out enough, I worry whether she ‘gets’ my sweet precious boy who sometimes just needs a cuddle and a story. One of my biggest worries is his sleep and whether or not he will settle down in her place or whether he will fight it and she will give up and he will be shattered.
They had a day in the other day because the weather was bad and I don’t think she took his shoes off all day. Today this is all I can think about and I want to get up, walk over to my boss, hand my notice in and run home to my boy. (Hubby and I now make a point of taking his shoes off every time we enter her house).
I also feel that I have to act differently with a childminder than I did my nanny. As our employee I found it easier to have daily communication with our nanny. On occasion I worried she would think I was micro managing her by asking for updates, but I found it easy to do it nonetheless. She only had my boy. Her job was to look after him and to do what hubby and I asked. A childminder works from her home and looks after other children too. I am aware she can’t be answering my worries constantly, but I also need to feel like I can ask her how he is. This is yet another thing that I wish I didn’t have to keep fretting about and it leaves me in a constant state of unease.
It’s not that I hate my job, I really don’t. But I would rather be at home with my son. It’s not that I don’t want to work, I do, I absolutely do. But I wish I could do both. It’s the eternal dilemma. I wish I could do my job whilst being with my son all day too. I’m lucky my work agreed to let me come back for four days a week and I’m lucky we are in a financial position where this is possible, but it still doesn’t feel enough of a balance. My ideal would be three days a week, but I don’t think my company would let me do this and I understand that.
I am doing something rather exciting at the moment, which is helping me through the darker days. I have an idea for a baby product, which I am working on in my spare time. And no it’s not a nanny cam. But it could mean more time with my son. So watch this space….