Recently I was out for dinner with a group of friends including other parents of similar aged babies who (like me) hadn’t been out in the evening much over the last few months. We talked about our little ones and when we asked the Dads they said they’d ‘honestly not even thought about their babies at all, it felt like they weren’t Dads as soon as they’d left the pub’. Me and another Mummy both concurred that we’d not stopped thinking even for a moment about our babies. It wasn’t that we hadn’t tried. We just couldn’t help it.
Is that something just built into us as Mums? I’ve done the odd half day away from the little guy over the last few weeks and I have to admit that although I love my time to get jobs done, or have a little moment to myself, I feel as if I’m missing a limb every time I go out without him. He feels so much an extension of who am that when I’m without him my heart feels slightly lost.
To be honest, so far, he has loved being ‘left’. When I pick him up from his group at church on Sunday or crèche at Women’s Group sometimes he cries because he wants to keep playing. On one occasion I couldn’t even get him to make eye contact as he was enjoying listening to the guitar and singing so much. Whilst I know it’s the ultimate dream to have a kid who’s happy to be left I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel a little sad he wasn’t totally thrilled to see me.
Today I did my first ‘full day’ away from him. I went to ‘work’ (as if I haven’t been working for the last 9 months!) Knowing he was having a fun day with my parents definitely helped (nothing better than photo updates!) and I really enjoyed getting back in to work. But, on the drive there and back I kept checking for him in the mirror and I wondered what he was doing throughout the day.
Whilst I totally think it’s important to have our adult time and be independent from our kids I now totally understand how mothers (and fathers) are torn when deciding whether or not to go back to work and if they are, how long to be away from their kid. I know so many people don’t have a choice and have to go back to work in order to provide for their families so I know how incredibly fortunate I am to have the choice.
I am grateful that my heart reminds me of how much I love him when we’re apart and being away almost seems worth it to get ‘that smile’ when I get home. I’m definitely suffering more separation anxiety than my kid is with being left at the moment. Perhaps I should take a leaf out his book and just get on with it!
How are you coping with leaving your little one? Any tips for other parents?