In all honesty, I was so anxious thinking about returning to work. I cried for two months before, kept feeling sick, and had such feelings of guilt and separation anxiety. I really wasn’t in a good place about it, and the transition for my son was hard too, and he started to show feelings of separation anxiety, but this didn’t last long, as he just needed to get used to it as well.
Now fast forward to being back at work for 8 months now, and I can safely say, it wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it would be. The first few weeks were hard, as it’s always daunting leaving your baby, and I hadn’t left my son for a single day at this point. But once I saw that he was happy and safe with his childcare (mix of grandparents and nursery), it really settled me.
Sometimes I look forward to being at work, as parenting is really hard, and we all need time to be ourselves and not worry about changing nappies, nap times, meal times etc etc, so it gives me a few hours of being me again.
Of course, I think about my son all the time, but it helps me be a better mum, as I appreciate my time with him more when I am off, and I have the energy to book things and go out with him.
Leaving him with someone that wasn’t me was my biggest worry. At the end of the day, as a mum, you know your child, and you do the best job with them. That is a fact of motherhood – no-one is us, and that makes it harder to leave them. But you have to set boundaries with yourself and any childcare, and know that you are doing it for the best.
I don’t think I could’ve changed how I felt, as it’s part of motherhood, and my personality. But the only thing to do is not overthink it. I overthought a lot, and worried over and over, which wasn’t healthy, and turns out, wasn’t necessary. I spoke with friends that already had children in childcare, which definitely does help, as all of them had positive experiences with it, but it will always be a challenge when it’s your own child.
As hard as it is, try not to overthink it. I made myself ill worrying about it so much, and actually it has been really healthy for both myself and my son.
We are very lucky in that we have split childcare with grandparents, and my son’s bond with them is really special. So from that side alone, I can see the benefits for him, as its new faces, new personalities and they have the energy to do things with him. And two days a week he’s in a nursery, which has helped him loads too.
My son has sensory issues with his eating, which also caused me great anxiety, as he didn’t eat for the first few months at nursery; they had to buy pouches in for him, but thanks to their expertise and working one to one with him, he is now eating full meals, some pulsed, and some whole, which is a huge achievement for all of us, as he is nearly 2.
So what I am saying is, it’s really healthy for them to have childcare, and for us to be us for a few hours at work. It makes coming home so much sweeter, and I get excited to get a cuddle from him when I get home. I have more energy, and as I say, because my time with him is so special, I want to book things for us to do on my days off.
Just know that whatever form of childcare you have, they are learning from others, developing curiosities and are learning to be independent away from you, which is really healthy. You will always be their mum, and childcare won’t replace that.
Thank you so much Angela!