How can I deal with the guilt I feel every morning when I drop off my child?
Many mums feel guilty about leaving their baby with someone else, as a click through any online parenting forum will reveal. The bond you have with your child is different from any other type of relationship – your baby was physically a part of you for nine months, so it’s understandable if you’re anxious about entrusting them to the care of someone else, or simply about being separated from them for long.
There’s also still a deeply held belief among some people, based on traditional roles, that the main responsibility for the child naturally lies more with the mother than the father. No wonder that in a 2014 survey of 1,000 parents, 80 per cent of working mums confessed to feeling guilty about using day-care compared with just 39 per cent of dads.
However, like many women, you may have decided that going back to work is the right decision for you and your family. There are many good reasons why this may be the case, from financial to looking after your emotional wellbeing. Perhaps you felt isolated at home, or you missed the stimulation you get from work. This doesn’t make you a bad mum or mean that you love your child any less. There’s no right or wrong way to feel and it’s a highly personal decision.
Time to stop worrying
If you’re worrying that putting your child into day-care may be harmful, stop right there. A 2010 US study on more than 1,000 children published by the Society for Research in Child Development, concluded that overall there were no adverse effects on children’s social or mental development as a result of day-care in the first year.
There are also several potential benefits. Children who go to nurseries learn social skills earlier than they would otherwise, which in turn is good for their confidence. It could also mean they are less shy when they start school.
But overall, the most important thing is that your baby is happy and loved, and this isn’t affected by whether or not you work.