The more I talk to other mums, the more I feel weird for having felt (or not felt, as it were) this way. But the truth is, I had no problem leaving either of my babies for the first time. In fact, Amelia was a few days old when she first left the house without me (to the park with my mum) and a couple of weeks old when my mum first took her overnight.
Wills’ was stuck with me a little longer (sorry son) but only because the opportunity did not present itself, and let’s face it – babysitters are much less forthcoming when there’s two of the pains-in-the-arse to contend with! Even so, I popped out for coffee and a bit of shopping with my mum when Wills was a couple of days old, and was happy to leave him with his Dad anytime I needed to.
I Couldn’t Wait
It kind of hit me a couple of weeks ago, though, as I left Wills for his first settle in session at nursery in preparation for me going back to work at the end of March. One of the staff who also happens to be a very close and old friend of mine said to me as I was leaving (I might have done a little skip);
“He’ll be fine mate”
I nodded, and said “Yeah, I’m sure he will” and pulled a little ‘not-so-sure’ face at her.
I was faking it. I was definitely sure he’d be fine. Knowing that her kind and thoughtful comment actually meant “you’ll be fine, mate” I also knew that I would, indeed, be fine. I’d be more than fine, in fact. I couldn’t wait to get out of there! I practically danced to the local coffee shop.
I’m Fine – Is That Strange?
Not only did I skip out of nursery without a second glance at the son I had left behind, I didn’t even waste much of my precious hour alone wondering how he was getting on. In fact, it wasn’t until the walk back to nursery that I allowed my mind to wander there.
And I was fine long before this, too. I was fine the first time I left Wills to go for that coffee, a bit distracted maybe, but not anxious or feeling any kind of pressure to get back quickly. I was even fine the first time I left Amelia. In fact, I slept like a baby most of the time she was gone, and when I woke I enjoyed a coffee and 20 minutes of alone time before she came home. Bliss.
Am I a Fraud?
I don’t really understand why, but there’s a part of me that kind of feels like I’m not really a proper Mum unless I’m constantly worrying about my kids. Why don’t I feel that angst nagging away at me when I leave them? Am I somehow less of a Mum because an hour alone doesn’t leave me in a cold, panicked sweat?
The more I think about it, the more I realise that leaving them really is ok, and feeling ok about is ok too. Whether leaving the kids is out of necessity, or just because I need a (well-deserved) break, it’s totally acceptable to not find the process painful. That being said, not being ready to take the leap is just as ok. Whatever works for each of us, right?!