((pre haircut: this guy got a big boy hair cut! ))
My little one has had a rough past 3 weeks. I believe it began when we started MOPS and my husbands schedule has changed quite a bit this month where hes had to be gone more often, so thats also been an adjustment for our little one. MOPS (mothers of preschoolers) is an incredible program through our church where mommies get to have some "me" time together, eating breakfast, doing crafts once in a while, and being empowered by weekly speakers on parenting, womanhood, stories of strength etc. MOPS is the first time i've really tried to put him in daycare with strangers watching over him (aside from the 2 times we tried the gym and 1-2 times we've tried sunday school at church), hes usually watched by one of his grandma's or my sister who lives on my street and has a little boy 8.5 months older than Cash. I knew going into this was going to be an adjustment and that he would probably need a few weeks to get used to it, what i wasnt prepared for and what I didn't know is how he would be effected by it outside of those 2.5 hours on Thursday mornings once a week.
He started to have a hard time whenever I would drop him off at even his grandma's house or when i would leave him at our home with my mom to go to work. He had been doing so great with this for the longest time so it was all of a sudden that he started to have that dreaded separation anxiety again. He then became more clingy and attached even when around his dad, he just wanted mommy to hold him and would call out my name and cry a bit while they were doing bath time and i was making dinner (which he usually loves that alone time with dad). He started getting more antsy whenever i tried to explain 'mama had to go to work' or 'daddy and mommy were going on a date' or even when i just needed to run upstairs to grab something real quick he would cry as though i was going to leave him.
The last couple weeks have been so stressful on him and i both because i feel such guilt leaving him when hes telling me "no no mama" and crying hysterically, i mean big crocodile tears and panic like hes never done before. Im NOT used to seeing him like that AT ALL. Which completely broke my heart and made me worry while away if he was okay or if he was in distress the entire time. I know its stressful on our littles to go through this too. They genuinely are scared and uncomfortable and just want you by their side. I completely feel for him and wish I could always be there for him every minute but thats just not healthy for any mom, even a stay at home mom, or any child. Toddlers at some point need to learn that mommy will come back, daddy will come back, and they're okay on their own for a little. He is such an independent kid while hes playing so its really difficult to see him go through this extreme attachment phase. Yesterday, we were at my moms house with my sisters and their kids and he freaked (crying and clinging to me) out when they walked in the door and he saw other kids, thinking i was going to leave, he has never ever done this before. He loves his cousins and loves playing with other kiddos. He's definitely on edge and waiting for me to go at any moment, which makes me so sad that he isn't trusting his environment. I make sure to always say "Bye" even though it makes it harder on me to see him cry, its important that he knows i wont leave without telling him bye so he doesnt have to look over his shoulder every second to watch me and make sure i dont leave. I know a lot of mommies who want to sneak away while their distracted, and i have been so tempted to do that, but every blog and article, and book i've read says they need to know you're leaving and not be surprised when they turn around that you're gone. It makes it worst because then they wont trust you.
I don't have an answer for this, I just wanted to share our struggle so if any of you other moms are battling this right now, Im here for you, and/or if you already have or will in the future I hope this gives you a little peace knowing you're not alone.
I'm sticking it out and being strong so he can learn to be independent apart from me. Im hoping and PRAYING that he feels at ease and peace when im not there and that he can begin to have fun with the other kids. I know one day he'll be in preschool and then kindergarden and this is prep for just a couple hours to get him used to that. Today was a small victory with him lasting the entire 2.5 hours and only crying a little in the beginning and 2 minutes before i came to get him. I will take itt! and im a proud mama of my sweet boy.
*if you have any tips please share below in the comments for myself and others mommies who read along here