Looking for support as I will soon be headed back to work...

Debra - posted on 10/30/2008 ( 14 moms have responded )

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HI, I'm Deb. 10 weeks ago today, I had my first child and beautiful little girl, Aida. My husband took two weeks off of work and I took 12. Therefore in less than 2 weeks, I will be heading back to work. The longest that I've been away from my daughter was 1/2 hour when I was in a friend's wedding and rode with the wedding party to the reception and my daughter rode with a family member. I was with my husband and I think I drove him crazy! We have, from what I've researched, picked a great person for her daycare. She only has 4 kids at the most including my daughter so I know that she should get really good care. She will only be 2 blocks from me at work so that is a comforting thought. My issue that keeps runing in the back of my mind is that my daughter will be spending so much time with this day care woman, I'm worried that my relationship with her will drastically change. I won't be the one to see her first crawl or her first walk or hear her first word, etc. I have no choice but to return to work. We can't afford for me not to. I would assume I'm not the only new mother to hae felt this way... How do you cope with these fears?

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Debra - posted on 11/12/2008

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Well today was the much dreaded day... This morning was horrible. The first three hours of my day, I honestly felt like it was more emotionally difficult than being in labor and mine was not easy by any means (43 hours of labor including 3 hours of pushing followed by an emergancy c-section). My husband was trying to get smiles out of Aida telling her over and over again that she was going to daycare for the first time and whatnot... Eventually after enough of that, I just burst into tears. I hadn't actually really cried like that when thinking about her being away from me. (In the past it would be to the point of me running to the bathroom thinking I was going to vomit/become physically ill over the thought.) I collected myself after that and packed everything we needed into the car. On the way there, I lost it again, but managed to compose myself upon entering the daycare women's home. I made that stop short and sweet or I knew I'd be crying there too. I got all the way to work, my co-worker and good friend asked me how it went and I really lost it. Reality hit me like a train. I just balled and balled. Then once I got that out, we had so much to do throughout the day, her being away and me hating that never really went away, but I had more to focus on. The day actually went really fast because we were so busy. My daycare lady texted me all day on how things were going. At first I almost became upset to know that she was doing really good and being all smiley, because she was doing that for someone else and I was jealous, but after a little bit of thinking, it made me happy to know that she was handling such a big change well. I was disappointed that she was asleep when I went to pick her up. All day, all I could think about was going to get her and seeing a big beautiful smile on her face when I got there. All I got was a bunch of crying because we woke her up trying to get her into her carseat and it was getting close to feeding time. I really liked that our daycare lady jotted down on a sheet of paper when Aida was fed, changed, slept, the activities they did throughout the day, etc. This is something she will be doing every day and giving to us. I know this is going to be a great thing for her socially and develomentally. That and the fact that I'm working to provide for her will keep me going and I have to accept that this is how it has to be. Tomorrow I'm affraid will be worse. Today I was only 2 blocks away from her and that's how it will be for 4 of 5 days/wk, but on that 5th day I work 20 miles away. It bothers me to think that I won't be able to be there in a heartbeat if ever there were an emergancy. Once we got home and I got her fed, we were able to cuddle and she cooed and smiled for me making the whole ordeal of the day disappear. I guess I just have to take things one day at a time....



Thank you sooooo much to everyone for their suggestions. You've all been so helpful and have given great suggestions on how to make things easier, although I doubt it will ever be truely easy. I will keep you all updated on how things are going. I feel for any women who has to go through this; good luck to you Stacey... and anyone else who will soon be going through a day like this...I will write again soon; in the meantime, everyone take care!! Deb

Lyreen - posted on 11/11/2008

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Hi Deb, I just went through the very same thing. I started back to work October 1st when my daughter was just over 6months old. I went through the same fears and apprehension. What really got me through was knowing even though it's the hardest thing I have ever done, it's the best thing for her and I so I can continue to put food on the table and a roof over our head. My dayhome lady has 4 as well including my daughter and I know she gets great care during the day. The best thing is communication with the provider. We started a notebook that I can write things in to make her aware of and she always writes me notes for the end of the day (things they did, how she napped, ate etc) this helps me see how she is doing. The first day was ok, the second day, I cried all the way to the train. I still feel like crying somedays and every now and again I do. I know we will be stronger for it and the 1.5hrs we have together when we get home is nothing but our time for play, dinner, bath, story and bed time. I don't answer the phone or anything (except prepare food for her). I know Rhiannon is getting the necessary social skills and our bond is stronger than ever. On weekends we have special time together. The key is also surrender. Even though this other person is becoming the primary care provider through the week, you still have some control/input on how that is going to occur so you know your influence is always going to be there. Send a photo album with your child to the dayhome with pictures of you and the family so they can see it during the day (they make chewable ones for babies) and have pictures at work to remind you of them. I send a few things from home for her too so that there is some consistancy (similar nap routines including music maker and bedding so it smells like home) some toys etc. She sometimes cries when I pick her up but it's normal. Some babies will hold their stresses until you get there as that's when they feel safe to let you know.



All in all, the biggest gift is her and I "talking" in the car all the way home. I look forward to it and she will always be so happy and babbling. I miss her so much every day. I keep leaving short and sweet and give lots of cuddles and kisses when we get home. It improves every week but I know it will never really feel "ok". We are always here for on going support when needed. :)

Stacey - posted on 11/11/2008

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I am reading all of these posts with tears in my eyes. I have a nine week old and have to return December 1st. A day that I am dreading. Fortunately for me, my baby can come to work with me due to the fact that I have a managerial position for an Early Childhood Center. It doesn't make it any easier because, let's face it, no one takes care of your child like you do!

As for your child going into a program, if it is a strong, reputible program the teachers should have constant and open communication with you regarding your child's milestones. They are not going to rub in your face if your child takes their first steps at school. Going to a school at an early age is going to make your child so ahead of the game come kindergarten. I wish you all the best of luck and think of me December 1st as I am a blubbering fool outside of the Infant unit doors!!!

Miriam - posted on 11/11/2008

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I don't have any advice, but would love to know how it goes. I have a little less than three weeks before I have to go through the same thing. What everyone says makes sense, but the pull on my heart strings is so strong. Stay strong, millions have done this before us, and I'm sure we'll both manage. Even if there are some tears.

Jessica - posted on 11/10/2008

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Congrats on the new baby! The first week back to work is hard, but it does get better, And you know what is so good is when they get so excited when you come to get them after a day of work. and honestly I have not missed any of his first's yet. And it is hard to believe at the point you are at know, but soon you will look forward to a little time away, especially when they start wanting to hang on you all day long if they could.... lol

Delayne - posted on 11/10/2008

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Everyone has posted some great stuff for you so I am not going to say the same things! The best advice I have and what gets me through is this....it isn't a first until I see it!!! Just remember that if your child does something at daycare, it isn't a first. It won't be a first until you see it!! That has helped me deal so much!! I had a hard time letting go of my first (who will turn 5 in January) and it really was easier with my second (who will turn 1 in January)!! I wish you all the luck!! Delayne

Angie - posted on 11/10/2008

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Deb, these are completely normal fears. And really, it makes me feel that there's something wrong with the world where we as mothers have to push these feelings away and do what we have to do, but that's life. And you know what, it's not as bad as you think. Sure that first few days back are tough, but it gets better. I feel that it's not only good for him to get the socialization of day care, but it's good for me to get away a little bit too. I surround myself with pictures at work and he's always in the back of my mind no matter what I'm doing. I know that he's in a great place with people who care about him. When I drop him off, he's happy to see his day care provider and the other kids. And when I pick him up, he's so excited to see me. I know without a doubt that I am the most important person in my son's life. No amount of time away from him will change that. Our children have a special bond with us that no one else can replace. You and Aida will be just fine.

Heather - posted on 11/07/2008

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I just wrote about 4 paragraphs of nothing that would answer your question so I am starting over. Here are some things I found that helped me:



1. Make sure you are very happy with your choice of child care.

2. Make sure they don’t mind you calling a billion times a day.

3. Make sure they know to just talk to you about how she is doing because you are not going to be able to get beyond, “Hi, this is Deb, Aida’s mommy…”

4. If possible have your husband drop her at daycare. If not, consider doing a trial run a couple of times before the real thing. The trial needs to include actually dropping her off and you leaving (if only for 10 minutes), but you need to drive away. I think most places will let you do this trial run for free.

5. If possible leave work early the first few days so that you can pick her up and love on her. (My boss was very surprised I made it until 4 p.m. my first day back)

6. Don’t worry too much about your relationship with her. I find that my son is just fine it is me who had the biggest adjustment to make. I make the time that I have with him my priority right now. When I get home it is all about him. I just thank the lord that my husband understands. As for all those firsts – I am just going to tell them at daycare to not tell me. Then when he does it around his father and I we will do our “happy dance” and I will write it in his memory book and be none the wiser.

7. I don’t think all our fears will ever go away. A good friend of mine said to me when I was pregnant that when you’re pregnant it is the milestones. “if I can make it to 12 weeks, I’ll feel so much better”, “when I get through the ultra sound, I’ll feel…” She said now that she has her daughter it is “just let me get through this day”. Now I know what she means.

8. Friday’s will become your best day of the week. I look forward to getting home and being with my men for the weekend.

9. The biggest thrill I get these days is his smile when I get home. When I know that he wants me over everyone else (even my husband).

10. Don’t ever forget that by going to work you are taking care of her and while right now it hurts, you are doing what is best for her in the long run. Yes, it sucks and yes, it will continue to suck, but it will get better. I promise.

Debra - posted on 11/03/2008

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Hi everyone....



I'm so thankful for all your inputs on what is in the near future. I really appreciate hearing from you all that although it may be the most difficult thing Ive ever had to do, there are the good aspects of taking her to daycare. (the social skills, the fact that I'm working to provide a good life for her, etc.) I still have yet to do anything to be away from her. we had it planned out to do something last night, but the plans fell through. I wish that I didn't have to go to work and it would be as simple as getting rid of the cable or other unneccessary bills to be able to stay home with her, but unfortunately that's not our situation. This spring we bought the house of our dreams. Before hand, my husband made plenty to the point I probably could've stayed home, but the house we were renting was getting sold and we couldn't afford it and had to find something else. I like to idea of asking out daycare not to tell me when she has her little milestones so when I see them, I can think her firsts were when I was around. My mother was also a stay at home mom. I know she doesn't mean to upset me, but every time I talk about daycare, my mother says something along the lines, I wouldn't know, I never took you kids to daycare. It makes me feel bad that we have to, but we have no choice... Anyways, I just thought I'd drop in to thank everyone for their responses and suggestions. This is my last pull week off as I return to work next Wednesday. I will be sure to pop in and let everyone know how we're handling everything: good or bad :o(... Thanks again!! Deb

Stacey - posted on 11/02/2008

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Hey Deb! I'm in the same boat as you-well My son was born on July 30th and this past week was my first week back. I will be honest, it may be the hardest week of your life, but at the same time, you WILL get through it.
And by the end of the week, you'll see a light through the clouds, i promise.
What I realized the most, is that it's hardest on ME, not my son. My son just giggles and is happy and in the end, isn't that the most important?
I have my mom watching him 2 days and the other 3 days, a woman who watches kids out of her home. Right now it's just my son and 1 other child.

I think after a month, i'm going to ask my boss if I can work from home with my mom watching my son those 2 days, but just so i can be home and be there when he wakes from his naps, and to feed him at lunch. I'm waiting to ask after a few more weeks so i'm settled in and it doesn't sound so impulsive.

PS-i'm so glad I found this group!

Jen - posted on 11/02/2008

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So, Melaney's advice is so great! I have a 2 year old and a 3 mo old... I can still remember crying so hard I made myself sick when I had to go back to work with my first! I too had all the same fears as you (and most working moms) I went back to work part time for the first few weeks to ease into the adult world again.

I was so afraid that I was going to miss all the firsts as well, but like Melaney said there are lots of little milestones that work up to the big ones. Also, I told my daycare provider not to tell me when she saw him crawl for the first time or sit up- that way I felt like I was the first one to see it! Maybe silly but definitely helped me cope!

My mom and my mother in law both stayed at home to raise us, and I thought that was the only way to be a good mom. However, today I can say that I don't regret my decision to go back to work. There are so many positive aspects of daycare- they will make firends, and be socialized and have such a solid routine from day to day.Too, it makes me appreciate that much more the time I do spend with them!

Hang in there- hope to see a post in a few weeks on how you are doing! I go back tomorrow after being off 12 weeks with my 2nd!

Melissa - posted on 11/02/2008

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HI Deb.

I have a 10 month old little boy who is mommies little man. I work as a nurse we have long hours and I myself was not looking forward to going back to work. We are very lucky that my mother in law takes care of him but I had the same feelings you have. My girlfriends tried to help by saying just remember when your child calls the day care provider mama be greatful that he feels safe with her. He is not trying to hurt you. Sorry but this didn't help. As far as missing out on things. My sons first word was mama and then crying for mama because I was at work. When my husband told me this I started to cry his first word was crying for me. It happend on a day I ended up working late. I tell myself that it is harder on us then on the babies. As they grow some times leaving is easy some times I cry althe way to work but I look forward to my little guy crawling over to me and reaching up for mommy and then giving me a big hug. It makes all the hours at work melt away and it is wonderful to have these moments with my son. I hope you can look forward to coming home to these things with your daughter.



Prior to starting back to work I took mini breaks. The first time I had my mother in law come over while I did some house keeping. Then the next day I took him to grandma's so that I could get some shopping in. So that by the time I was going back to work it was not so hard on me. Everyone is different. Good luck to you. Feel free to let us now how your first day back to work goes be it good or bad!

Christine - posted on 10/31/2008

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Hi Deb,



My daughter is four years old now and we're comfortably settled into our routine for daycare. I work full time M-F. When she was first born I cried the day before I went back to work all day but once I got to work I had the support of all the other moms who had been there. Also going back to work helped me stay away from depression. It gave my mind a rest from all the worries I had about the baby and forced me to concentrate on something else. I was however, able to use family leave until her first bday. I took one day off every week to have an extra day with her. I worked that in with holiday weeks and when it ran out I used vacation days to go through an entire year. Don't worry - no one can replace mommy. Your relationship will not change with the baby. She will just get used to being separated for a little while from you. When you return she will be happily waiting. Congratulations and best wishes for your new arrival!



Christine

User - posted on 10/30/2008

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Hi Deb. This is every working mom's biggest challenge from what I have experienced! I gave birth to my first child - also a daughter - in January of this year and have the SAME situation as you (except my aunt is doing childcare for us). I cried for two weeks BEFORE I went back to work as I was worrying about the same things. I have now been back to work for 6 months and it still isn't easy on me, I miss her so much everyday, however I have worked through any concerns about our relationship, seeing her "firsts" etc. You are the most important person in your child's life and being away from her at work will not change that. She will be SO excited to see you when you pick her up that it makes everything ok. We leave them to sleep in their crib for upwards of 9-11 hours everynight and they still love us in the morning as well. Especially as she gets older and can play with the other kids and experience this big wonderful world, she will enjoy the interaction and "play time" during the day. My daughter doesn't have other kids to play with and we had to start taking her to Early Childhood development classes just to play with other kids and learn how to socialize. As far as firsts, I REALLY worried about this as well, but what is great is that we haven't really missed anything big. They have so many small firsts as they grow and just watching them learn makes up for anything you may miss. When they start crawling, they work up to it for so long that when they finally do, it is still wobbly and slow that you probably won't actually miss it either (hopefully that makes sense). All my friends with kids kept telling me that it will get better with time, but for me it is still hard to leave her everyday, but these concerns aren't there, so it is tolerable.



I would also suggest that you talk with your husband about other options if you have them if leaving her is so unbearable that you cannot do it. My husband and I talked that if I couldn't do it, we would change our lives so I could stay home for a few years. We talked about downsizing our home and lives in general to make it work as she is the most important thing to us. If this is an option, I would consider it after you give it a month or two. I was sick to my stomach for weeks at work, but it was easier after about a month.



I would also recommend talking to your employer to see if you can work shorter hours your first week so that if you just can't make it a full day, you can leave early. Maybe see if the daycare will let you visit for lunch and breaks too!



It is the hardest thing you will ever do, but truly makes you appreciate every moment you have with them - and gives a new meaning to Fridays :) Best of luck Deb!

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