Brittany Hartgrove Mahoney
Hurts Me More
I've been working out of the house, part-time, for more than a year now. But still, every time the nanny shows up at the house, Avalyn screams, "NO!" and then turns into a monster (poor nanny).
Obviously, I know why Avie is acting out. It's got nothing to do with the nanny, Avie loves her and always requests a hug and kiss before she leaves us for the day/weekend. In fact, over the holidays, Avie asked for her almost every morning.
The issue is that Avalyn doesn't want ME to leave. The nanny's arrival is a sure sign of my departure. It's the same reason that kids might cry when their parents drop them off at school but are resistant to leave the classroom friends at the end of the day when the parents come to pick them up.
Of course, Avie isn't in school. She is at home. I'm not leaving her somewhere for an entire day- it's only 3-4 hours a couple times a week. It just doesn't matter to her- she still just wants me.
And guess what? I just want her, too.
She is my comfort zone. Being home with her is what I do best and I really don't like trusting other people to care for her. I get major anxiety when I am going over the list of things needed for Avie that day. In fact, there is a little voice in my head that says, Maybe it would be easier if I just stayed home today. I just have to talk louder than that little voice.
I know that she will be totally fine as soon as I close the door behind me. But it will take me a lot longer to recover. I know that she will be full of stories about her day when I arrive back home, and that I will have spent my day checking my watch and counting the hours until I can see her again. I have to remind myself that leaving her home is actually GOOD for her. One day, I will have to leave her at school and she needs to know how to handle that. She needs to learn independence.
And apparently, so do I.
Watching her stand at the top of the stairs with her arms held out for a hug and tears welling up in her eyes, could honestly kill me. My heart actually tries to break free from my chest when she asks, voice quivering, "You'll be right back, right?" But still, I must go because it's what WE need.
Full time working Mamas must have stronger hearts than I do... or chains at their desks and a designated coworker with instructions to lock them up in the morning and only to release them at the end of the day.
However, these feelings I have don't start and stop with me leaving the house. Oh, no. To have true Mom-guilt, it must follow you all the times of the day. Like, when I tell her that I must cook dinner and start doing so, only to realize that she hasn't followed on my heels. Nope, she is in the living room playing quietly by herself with Legos.
There's that little voice again, I should be there playing with her! Does she feel lonely?! What if she can't get the pieces to fit together? SHE'S ALL ALONE UP THERE!
Again, it's important for us to be apart in those moments. Research shows that independent play is such a critical milestone for children, for so many reasons... Yet, that little voice in my head wants you to take all that research and shove it.
Plus, we can always order a pizza.