Why I’m Devastated that my Baby is Enjoying DayCare

Yesterday, I picked Austin up from the Childminder. He was flying along in his walker with his Batman cape fluttering behind him. He cried when he saw me and put his arms up for me to lift him, but he couldn’t fool me – he had been smiling. Without me.

At first I was delighted, he had been having a great time. The Childminder told me that she was surprised at how quickly he was settling in. He didn’t cry after nap time much any more and he was eating his food like a horse. He was loving all the older kids and followed them everywhere, trying to get in on the action. I was pleased as punch as I drove him home.

But the more I thought about him being happy with the minder and her kids, the more I realised there was a small part of me that wanted to curl into a ball and cry until I threw up.

Two weeks ago I was terrified that he wouldn’t settle. I worried that he wouldn’t eat if I wasn’t there to play Airplane or sleep without me singing a lullaby first. I focused on organising the house like my life depended on it, because it helped me stop crying.

But he is ok. He is doing fine without me. He is even smiling and having fun. As I pulled into my driveway yesterday, I knew that I should feel nothing but relief and happiness about this.

But I didn’t.

Part of me wondered if he wasn’t bothered by me leaving him because I just wasn’t a very good mom.

Part of me is loosing confidence as his routine changes and I can’t tell what he needs instantaneuosly anymore. Part of me is so angry about having to leave him every day that I want to tear the walls down and scream until the whole world is covering their ears. Part of me wants him to scream and cry until the minder tells me that I will just have to give up work because my baby needs his mommy.

And part of me, the very worst part, finds office work a little easier than being at home with him. I don’t have to be ‘on’ every moment of the day. I can take a break without fear of a collegue eating something off the floor or pulling the dog’s tail or sticking a finger in a socket. Maybe if I do it long enough, I won’t want to spend all my days with him any more. And that is my dirtiest and most secret fear.

But Today

He got the sniffles. All he wanted was cuddles and backrubs and to have a good cry about feeling rotten. He rubbed his snotty little nose on my neck and roared directly into my ear and I thanked my lucky stars that this was my day off so I could sing lullabies at nap-time and play Airplane when he wouldn’t eat.

I’m almost certain there are other mom’s out there with these awful secret thoughts and I reckon the only way to beat them back is to talk about them – to laugh them off. I was upset that he was smiling without me but I am not a bad mom… I’m almost certain…

23 thoughts on “Why I’m Devastated that my Baby is Enjoying DayCare

  1. I can totally relate! It broken my heart when we would walk on and he would all but jump out of my hands to go to his teacher. I had the thoughts that I must be a bad mom. He would rather be at daycare then with me. Now that he’s older, when I walk in his goes as fast as he can to get to me. There are times that I will admit that I’m sad to drop him off and he doesn’t cry. I am happy he loves being there. Cherish the moments you get to spend at home comforting him!!

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    • Thanks so much! I keep telling myself it’s a great thing that they are happy and I’m not terrible for thinking those thoughts every now and again! Nice to know others are experiencing it too!

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  2. I have three kids..well they are all in there 20’s now. But I remember dropping my first one off at Montisori school so that he could play with kids his own age and crying every day because he was just fine without me. And one day they called that he was sick and needed to come home and I think I flew up there and all he wanted was mommy. I swear I cried for joy in the car. I wish I could say it gets easier but it just gets different. I cried the first day of almost every grade but when they went away to college that was the worst. I made it to the library till we had to pull over because I was sobbing so hard I couldn’t see the road. When I got home I was fine but every time I would drop one off I would make it to the furthest building and then the crying would start. Now my son is out on his own and while I miss him I am OK and my girls will soon be on their own. So it gets easier when they are…oh…about 20

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    • Oh what a lovely comment! Sometimes I feel like I am just crazy emotional and need to reign it in a bit so I can’t tell you how nice it is to know that other moms are the same. A friend told me that if they are fine without you it means you raised a confident kid and I might just get that tattooed on me somewhere for when I feel blue!

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  3. Oh, don’t worry! If he’s anything like children, they’ll always need you. Today it’s backrubs and support. In fifteen years, it’s money to meet his friends and someone to wash his socks.

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  4. I’m sure you’re a brilliant mom Ashling! I expect I’m going to feel the same way when Tom starts nursery and I go back to work. I keep telling myself that it’s ages away 🙂

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  5. Your feelings sound so similar to how I felt when my son was younger! Being a mum is such a whirlwind of emotions, isn’t it? I’m sure you are doing a great job! I stumbled upon an article today that said basically all kids need to thrive is interaction, affection and play! It’s crazy how fast they grow up though. Today, my husband broached the “S” word for my son….yup….school next year….eek! 🙂

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  6. I’ll bet this is a very common sentiment. I’ll also bet you’re a terrific mother. If you think you feel bad now, just wait until he’s 30 years old and wants to move back home and live with you. I’ll bet the tears are flowing now!! 😀
    Cherish every day with him. The days go by faster than most realize.

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