North is nearing two years old and I still haven’t spent a night without him. I can’t imagine doing so anytime soon. As for the days, I happily leave him for two hours twice a week at the gym creche while I take a yoga class or pop over to the cafe for a coffee and a bit of a breather before getting some errands done. He knows the girls that work there well, and he enjoys having a free play with the other children. I’m also happy to leave him for longer periods of time with his grandparents or with close friends in my Mother’s group who I trust and know he feels comfortable and secure with.
But this weekend has presented a bit of a bump in the previously gentle and mindful childcare settings I have immersed him in. Through his business, my husband and I are meant to entertain another couple at the footy game and none of my usual childcare settings are available, which has left only one other option: a babysitter. There is a lovely girl who sits some children we see around the neighbourhood and throughout the week at various activities, who is more than willing to help out. The plan being that she will arrive at home while North is down for his nap, and when he wakes up she will play with him, perhaps take him to the park and start getting his dinner ready. Overall she will be spending about 4-5 hours with him before we arrive in time to read a book, have a cuddle and put him off to bed.
But something just doesn’t feel right about this plan. I am mulling and stressing over it and am surprisingly emotional about the whole thing. Am I being a crazy, pregnant overbearing parent or is there more to these feelings? I just hate the idea of him waking from his nap to a girl he hardly knows and having to “brave it out” for 3-4 hours. I hate the pressure and expectation for him to grow up, to force him to act older than his age in situations like this. It feels cruel to put him in a situation like this without choice and understanding. I know he won’t cry the entire time. I know that he’ll be upset at first, he’ll become distracted after 5-15 minutes and then play with the sitter for a little while somewhat contentedly. But I also know he will be up and down emotionally, he will be extra sensitive the entire afternoon and will most likely get upset and cry for mama more than he usually does. I know that he will try, in the most brave and admirable way to be strong while he tries to figure out where we've gone and when we're coming back. But that's just it, most of all, I hate that he doesn’t have the mental and emotional capacity to understand why this drastic change in routine is taking place. I am afraid a feeling of abandonment will maim his little soul. It just feels so unfair and selfish- why should I put him through it? I am now in this very moment crying and I can’t tell if it’s because I am heavily pregnant, emotionally holding onto something that I should be letting go of, or because I really am a crazy clingy cancerian mama.
Why do other mothers seem so much more able to let go when it comes to childcare for their little ones? What is the right thing to do in this situation- follow my heart, or my head?