So, I joined a gym this new year, and I'm having a hard time leaving my 18 month old at the gym's very nice children's center. I think the problem lies with me and not with my daughter or the children's center. Help?!
She's been babysat before by family members. She'll be upset maybe for 2-3 minutes after I leave, but quickly gets back to playing. When I get back to pick her up, she doesn't seem to care that I was gone, and I'm greeted with smiles.
But I've never left her with strangers? Is it okay to drop her off at this age for an hour while I work out? I'd just be upstairs, in the same building... How do I get past the, "OMG, My Baby! I can't leave her?!" that goes through my head every time I think about dropping her off at the center. Will she feel like I've abandoned her?
*CPST* mama to my three year old DS1 1.31.09 and wedded to angel 8.07
DS 2 8/18/12!!
I think she'll be fine. It may take some time for you both to get used to it though. Maybe you can tell the center workers to get you immediately if she seems to upset. If they do that and you can trust them to do that, then it'll be ok. My son goes to a mother's morning out program now two mornings a week. He loves it. He walks into the classroom and hardly looks back at me as he runs off to play with all the cool toys. I don't know how a gym day care is, but if it's staffed well and the people are nice and the place is clean, it should be fine.
Not only will she be fine, but I think the socialization and exposure to other people will be good for her! I know it's hard, but in the long run it'll be well worth it. You'll be healthier and happier, not only by working out but by getting that much needed break that we moms need to stay sane. She'll play with other adults and children and be even happier to see you when you come to pick her up.
She'll be fine! I do remember the first time I left my DD in the gym daycare. It was the same situation -- she'd never been taken care of by anyone other than family at that point, and I remember leaving her and going into the locker room just overcome with guilt, thinking "I've left my baby with strangers!! Oh, my baby, I've abandoned my sweet baby!!!" I think I even cried a little bit. But she was totally fine, and I was totally fine, and the gym gives me a wonderful break when I need it, DD and DS get to play with all the other kids and have fun with all the cool toys, and I get to get in shape plus take long hot showers without anyone clamoring for my attention! Win-win. Do it!
I have been TRYING to get my ds (just turned 2) to stay in the gym's childcare but he won't. There is one girl there that he will stay with, although she does say he cries for about 15 minutes after I leave. Every other girl working there has had to come get me because he won't calm down (crying so hard that they are worried he might start to vomit). I WISH he would stay there and would have no problem leaving him if it didn't cause him to be on the verge of throwing up! If your daughter is calming down after only 2-3 minutes then I say enjoy your work out!
I just recently started doing this with my DD who is 22 months. Something that really helped my piece of mind is that if she is crying inconsolably, they'll come get me. Yeah, it kind of sucks to be pulled out of Zumba mid-way through, but at least I can comfort her when the daycare person doesn't realize that we don't use the word "no" much so when she tries to grab something she shouldn't and the lady yells "No no no no no!" that my toddler is going to burst into tears.
Superhero and mother to Peanut (03/20/09) and Twig (01/20/2012). Fighting for the rights of mothers out there who and much more!
I waited until DD turned 1 and then started using the gym's child care center. I also made sure they knew I wanted to be called if she fussed/cried more than five minutes. That meant I was going to her about 20 minutes after I dropped her off, comforting her, and then deciding if I should stay longer or take her with me. We've been going at the same time every morning for a month now, and today when I went to pick her up she was playing with another baby by herself (meaning no adult was holding her. ..she's always being held or is on someone's lap!). I nearly cried because I was so happy FOR HER!
A few things that seem to work well for us:
* I always tell her in advance where we are going, and remind her that she's been there before (like yesterday) and who she was playing with.
* I always take the time to make sure she is comfortable with the adults who will be watching her in my absence. I'm that mom who introduces my toddler to adults. I'll say, "Tellie, you remember Miss Valerie from yesterday? She held you until you were ready to get down. If you need anything while mama is upstairs you may go to Miss Valerie. They know where to find me and I can come to you at any time." I don't drop her and leave her. Mind you, she might fuss for 30 seconds to 2 minutes when I leave, but now, it is never more time than that. I make sure to stay with her if we walk in and there are other babies having meltdowns because she is sensitive and will start to cry watching other toddlers cry. Sometime we even go to the other toddler and talk to them so she sees they are just sad and not being hurt.
* I try to get to her before they have to call me so we leave on a happy note, and not when she's upset. At one year of age she can remember events from a week ago so I try to leave the gym with a happy toddler with a happy memory.
* We always say good bye to the adults who have cared for her. We thank them for their attention.
* Finally, I always carry her to the day care center but when we leave she walks to the front of the gym while munching on a whole wheat cracker and waving to every person she sees. Again, waiting to establish good memories along with her routine.
It was (and still is) so hard to leave her, but this is the ONLY hour I get to myself a day. I don't even take time to shower there, not yet, but the more accustomed she becomes the more likely I am to shower so I can shower alone!
Good luck, Mama. We all know and experience the guilt, but it is so good for our little ones to experience a little time without us, as hard as that may seem to believe. :-)
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