Today while dropping my daughter off at daycare there was another mom dropping her child off for the first time. Her daughter was crying hysterically and she (mom) looked extremely troubled. This reminded me of the first day I left my daughter to return to work and the first time I dropped her off at daycare….
For me, it was very difficult detaching myself from daughter, it still is. But with time, it has definitely gotten easier. For the first year and a half I left her at home with a nanny. I went back to work 1 month and a half after having her and it was very hard. The transition was more difficult for me because I did not want to let go of her. I wanted to be the first one she saw in the morning, the first one to hold her, bathe her, etc. I wanted to do everything for her, even though I couldn’t be there for most. I wanted to be able to spend time with her before leaving for work and I definitely felt guilty for having to leave her (even though it was necessary). I would tear up every time she would cry when I left, and if she didn’t cry, I would tear up because she didn’t – I was an emotional mess. I liked being able to have some separation from my daughter and a little time off, but 30 minutes would have been more than enough – One hour already felt like forever. However, I am very happy to report, that although I was at work for the majority of the week, I was the first one she smiled to, the first one she kissed, the first one she walked with and the first one she spoke to. So overall, I was very ecstatic and grateful that she waited to be with me to do all those things….
Emma’s nanny went on vacation for a week so I had no other option but to leave Emma in daycare. Dropping her off at the daycare was extremely difficult for both her and I. Since I usually left her home with the nanny and this day I took her with me early, she thought that we were having a day out together but was shocked when we entered the daycare into a completely new setting and I told her I had to leave. It was a new and unknown environment for her and she was a little frightened as she was with new kids and adults. She went from being the center of attention to sharing it with other kids and having a different set of adults taking care of her throughout the day. The first 3 days she cried hysterically every time I left her and would be a little upset when I picked her up. The last two days she stopped crying as much, and it was much better – I think it is because she accepted the fact that crying wouldn’t change things and she began familiarizing herself with the new faces. I dropped her off in this daycare sporadically when the nanny couldn’t make it and I couldn’t take off.
When Emma was 22 months old I decided it was time for her to go to daycare fulltime, I felt that she was ready to be more active and social. Fortunately, since she had already had the experience, the transition was pretty smooth compared to other kids. Prior to starting this new daycare, we looked at the classrooms together and during orientation Emma was placed in a room with the teachers while I was in another, which helped to ease the transition. I also picked her up earlier than usual during the first week so it wouldn’t be as hard on her and thankfully, she really liked her teachers and new friends. By the second week she was asking to go back to school and of course, I was very relieved.