Leaving your baby for the first time can be the most terrifying thing you have done.
The irrational brain takes you and fear for a drive down a twisted road.
It can be impossible to enjoy your time away. This might seem quite odd considering you spent most your life without your child.
The “what-if’s” that live in the unknown are nasty little buggers.
The only way to survive this experience is to have a plan.
Here is your action plan for a best case scenario:
- Do a practice run. Have your partner stay in, and go do something you enjoy (so your first experience is joyful). Anything ‘new’ feels uncomfortable, so introduce this experience slowly.
- Find someone you trust. This might seem obvious, but you want to be honest with yourself about who you trust. Just because someone offers to care for your child doesn’t mean you trust them. So listen to your gut!
- Start with a small manageable amount of time. Your next time away from baby, make it slightly longer. Work yourself up to a half or full-day.
- Leave a detailed list of instructions. Check in via text, and come home when you feel like it is time. Part of being a mama bear is doing what is best for you and your baby. Don’t be shy to tell someone what you want (in the name of caring for your child).
- This might be controversial… but get a nanny cam. Nothing feels more reassuring that checking in. It is like a baby monitor. Just be mindful of how much time you spend away but staring at your home. (Also, make sure whoever is watching your little one knows there are cameras present – you don’t have to tell them where. If you record people without their knowledge, it cannot be used in the legal system.)
- Remember that your child eventually will have to leave your side. It is healthy and important to develop a strong bond with your baby. It is equally healthy for your baby to experience bonding with other people.
- Do not rush this process. Be honest with yourself about what you can and cannot manage. Finding your ‘new normal’ takes time.
- Last but not least, remember your baby has a completely different perception of time. If their needs are met, they are normally content. Sometimes it is harder for us than it is for them.
Obviously no one knows your baby like you do. If your child is fussy or has special needs, this can change your experience.
As hard as it is to leave our wee one, we have to understand that a balanced mama is a good mama. If you can’t do anything for yourself, eventually that will contribute to stress in your world. Leaving your child is also stressful, but can lead to a healthier, balanced family in the long run.
A human life is the most precious thing, and nothing reminds us of this like our own dependant. It is an ongoing balancing-act to learn to cultivate independence in a child, while learning to hold on and let go. Be patient and take your time. No one knows exactly how to do this, so you must trust your mamatuition (it is always right).