Sparkles & Stretchmarks: A UK Parenting & Pregnancy Blog: Letting Go....

Friday, 25 March 2016

Letting Go....



It's almost time.

The day I have literally dreaded since Tyne was born is almost here.

He turns three in just under 4 weeks time, and that means it's time...time to stop ignoring and immediately throwing away the letters that come through the door about funding and applying for places...time to stop putting off the question whenever anybody asks it...Time to decide once and for all..

Will he be starting nursery next term?

I realise that this probably doesn't seem like such a big deal to many people. It's not like he's at school age yet (God only knows how I'm going to deal with that one!)...it's just nursery. It's just a few hours a week, as few as I want.

It's just part of children growing up, it's a good thing...he'll be able to socialise, make friends, learn that he can't be around us 24/7, learn some independence, make a start in his education....I know how important all of these things are, of course I do...I worked in schools and daycares for years as a nursery nurse myself you see and so I absolutely understand how important they are...

But that's part of the problem.

As I've discussed previously, I suffer with anxiety - and my anxiety is never stronger or more overpowering than where my kids are concerned.


I worry constantly about their safety - every moment of every day there's fear in my mind, I'm always terrified of what might happen...what they might put in their mouths that they could choke on, who might be around to hurt them, what germs they might pick up....

Worry is a constant thing for me. So is that extreme fear that only a parent can really understand...the absolute, all-consuming, heart-stopping fear of something dreadful happening to your child.

This fear is one I live with every single day...but at least when the children are with me I'm in control...I can double and triple check how safe everything is, I can make sure that they're always in my view, I can ease my own fears because the children are right there in front of me...I can see that they're ok, I can do everything I can to make sure they stay that way.

And I know that won't be the case forever...I can't lock them up in a tower and stop the world from hurting them...I have to learn to find a way to be ok with them going off and becoming independent, making their own decisions.

I'm all too familiar with that quote "Motherhood is learning to live with your heart outside of your body"...it really is so true.

But while he is still so little and vulnerable, it's something I am really going to struggle with...

I read things...too many things...about the awful freak accidents that can occur. 

I've stopped reading the newspapers so much these days after my therapist pointed out that the way I was drawn to these horrible stories was a form of self harm (I knew how much they would upset me but I read them anyway, knowing all that it would do was hurt me and fill me with more fear) but the stories I have read in the past remain with me....articles about children dying on their first day of nursery because of unsafe playground equipment will never leave my mind, and I know that every day that one of my children is in nursery or school I'll be sitting at home re-playing those stories over and over again in my head, worrying myself silly that it might happen to one of mine.

But there's another problem too....

I worked in a lot of day care centres....I've seen things from the inside. And the stories I could tell you about the horrible practises I saw in some of these nurseries would stop you from sleeping at night...these were establishments that from the outside would seem perfectly well run and respectable, the parents of those children would collect their little darlings every day thinking they'd been well looked after...being handed filled in nursery diaries of the wonderful activities they'd done....being made to feel they were paying for a fantastic service for their beloved child.

But I'd seen the reality and it couldn't have been further from the truth - and yes I know that those nurseries were bad examples, and they're probably few and far between (and yes all of them have been reported since...) - but it doesn't stop the worry, and it doesn't leave me able to trust people who are assuring me that they will look after my child just like I would.

At one nursery I worked in, a child escaped from the building one day....the nursery had all of the usual security policies in place, an electronic entry system etc...it should have been perfectly safe. Everybody thought it was perfectly safe. But a parent leaving the building left the main door open for a split second and didn't notice the child sneak out...nobody noticed until that childs parent arrived and it was suddenly realised that the child was nowhere to be found.

They found him a while later, safe thank goodness, near a very busy road outside...he wasn't even 2 years old. Anything could have happened to him. 

How can I - having seen that happen first hand - ever put my trust in a childcare provider? how can someone with my level of anxiety place my pride and joy into someone else's hands and trust that they will truly guard it with their life?

I don't know the answers to any of these questions.

I don't know how I'm going to do it....but I know that it's something society expects of me, and something I'm being told is the right thing for my child.

And so I guess I'll have to find a way...but I don't know how.

I wish I hadn't experienced the things I have with childcare providers, I wish I had the blind confidence and faith in them that so many of my parent friends are able to have, I wish my anxiety wasn't eating me alive...I don't want to allow it to hold my children back from having wonderful and normal life experiences.

But jesus it's hard....really, really hard.


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5 comments:

  1. Oh, it's hard isn't it?
    We use Gogo's funded hours through her childminder, & as she's now 4 & communicates very well, I know she'd tell me if she was unhappy (she isn't!). Would that be a consideration? She also goes to a pre-school (one session a week!) that we pay for separately (we did similar with Bella), & it definitely has less of a nursery feel.
    Fingers crossed for you & Tyne.
    xx

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  2. Oh that sounds incredibly hard. Is there a way that, for a while, you could maybe go to the nursery and stay a while, seeing him settle in and make friends may make you feel more comfortable.
    I think this is definitely something to speak with your therapist about though, I have anxiety too and I don't even have kids yet but I already worry about, if I do, the world I'm bringing them into & how I'll deal with them growing up and such. You need to talk to someone who can give you some strategies to help manage that anxiety.
    Much love to you.

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  3. Sending hugs! It is hard letting them go. I worry about my girls a lot. It is only natural.
    I think Olivia is right, staying with him for the first few times may help you and will also help Tyne settle in too...

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  4. Sending your child to nursery is such a tough part of parenting anyway, so I can't imagine what it's like when you have anxiety issues too. *Sending you one huge hug* Having said that I did used to have really bad anxiety (we're talking councillor/CBT etc), so I do have a very slight understanding of how hard and debilitating anxiety can be. I've just started the whole process of sending my one year old daughter to nursery and it's been a really positive experience, which I hope it can be for you, Tyne and your family too. Like you, I have also worked in nurseries so was very aware of bad practice but looking around lots of different nurseries, giving short notice as to when to look around so I could see what genuine day to day life at the nursery was like and visiting with my husband so he could offer a more impartial opinion on the nursery all really helped offer reassurance. I've written about my daughters first week of settling in sessions here if your interested in reading about our positive experience, with the hope it might offer even the tiniest amount of reassurance for you :) http://treasureeverymoment01.blogspot.co.uk/2016/03/nursery-first-week-of-settling-in.html?m=1 I also found it helped to repeated tell myself that it was the right thing to do and to run through all the POSITIVES of nursery...trying so hard to block out the negative/worrying thoughts. From watching your videos on YouTube and reading your blog all the time you have clearly bought up Tyne to be a very lovely little boy who wants to explore the world. But don't think he (or Noah and Sailor) will ever stop wanting you...you are their Mummy after all :)

    Helen x

    http://treasureeverymoment01.blogspot.co.uk/

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  5. I've worked in nurseries and have seen the downside to it as well. I'm going to most likely feel exactly the same as u when Blake goes to nursery in a few yesds time.

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