MummyFever

Trusting other people with your children

Are you the primary carer of your children? Do you find it hard to trust other people with their care?

You aren’t alone. A survey from Withings reveals that over half of all new mums don’t trust anyone but themselves to look after their baby. 55% of mums polled said they don’t trust their mum, mother-in-law, best friend or even their partner to look after their baby.

Because of this, a fifth of mums cancel plans, 45% have left an event early and a quarter (23%) have even missed a big family event such as a wedding altogether to stay with their child.

i see you

The research shows just how much having a baby takes over women’s lives as more than half of new mums (52%) admit to having only a couple of hours a week to themselves to relax away from parenting duties.

The study also shows that shockingly mums trust the babysitter more than their partner. A fifth (21%) admit to using their baby monitor to secretly check up on their partner – and 10% have used it to spy on the babysitter.

Do or did you find it hard to trust anyone other than yourself to look after your baby at first?

Lots of mums have told me that they don’t really trust anyone else with their children, especially during the baby stage. Obviously most parents leave their children in the care of others at some point, but it doesn’t mean they feel totally at ease with that scenario.

Even if you check up on a regular basis to see how the children are, the only way you ever truly know is if you can physically see them.

siblings

One mum told me “Why would a mother be happy trusting others to look after her baby? Surely the mothering instinct is to look after the baby yourself? We are constantly told about the need to ‘bond’ why would we want to then break that? I don’t mean mothers should never leave their baby, of course that just isn’t practical, but it doesn’t mean that it is easy to be practical does it? Surely it’s totally natural to feel anxious about leaving your child? I think the 55% figure seems quite low to be honest, I’d expect it to be way higher than that”.

Janelle, a naturopathic doctor and mother told me, “my son is 13 months and has only ever been away from both of his parents for about 10 minutes while at the hospital the day after birth and recently when we visited our parents and left him with his grandparents for a couple of hours. I think I have the tendency to not trust others (not including my husband) with our child, but the fact that he is always with us (he even comes with us to work), helps me to be more willing to accept when people offer to help with him. Although he is the most amazing baby and doesn’t give much trouble at all, the need to have some time strictly dedicated to working or just resting helps me to at least be willing to consider having someone else watch him.”

parenting

It’s not easy

It seems that handing children over to the care of others is something so many mothers in particular struggle with. Bee who writes over at The Lupie Mummy  told me she was dreading putting her one year old into nursery for the first time. “I am dreading it…I have only left him with my partner for a few hours or family members for up to a hour…mainly due to my postnatal anxiety. This is a massive step for me and I am dreading it, but I have to go to work now.”

Some parents have no problem trusting those closest to them but struggle to consider leaving their children with people outside of their close family and friends. Emmy, who writes over at Misadventurous Mummy explained her situation and how having close family and friends had helped her as a parent. At the same time, leaving her child in the care of a nursery was not something she could entertain at the moment.

She told me: “Because we live with my parents, my mum knows my son’s behaviour inside out and exactly how I would react to a situation.. so I had no problems leaving my son with her. He prefers her to me to be honest. My mother in law had very different parenting techniques to me and so I thought I’d be wary of using her, but she’s fantastic with him and very respectful of our choices. When my husband’s operation went wrong in November, I was grateful that I had people I could trust so that I didn’t have to be worried about my son too.

When my dad died in February, I struggled as everyone I felt close enough to trust also wanted to attend the funeral. I left him for the minimal amount of time I could with two very good friends who have a son the same age. This is because we nickname him Wreck-it Robin – he’s intensive to look after, and I would hate to inconvenience people. We also have a male friend who has been the most amazing help who as actually temporarily moved in with us. We affectionately refer to him as our “Manny” as if a tantrum is brewing or tensions are running high, he’s happy to take him for a walk or distract him for us. He’s also cared for him for a couple of hours here and there (hospital trips and funerals). I don’t know what we’d do without him.

We’re now under pressure to put him in a nursery “because he’s bored at home”, but I don’t think I could do it. As much as I need the break every now and then, I feel so guilty about how much I have left him already. And while he’s a whirlwind personality, he’s also an extremely happy, cheeky and affectionate little boy, and I am concerned that other influences such as nursery would change that.”

#nodulldays

I wonder where Emmy was feeling pressure from? Have you felt pressured to leave your children when you haven’t wanted to or felt comfortable with it?

Laura, a portrait photographer feels it benefits her children to spend time with other adults. She is happy to leave her children with family and friends. Another mum told me that she is happy to leave her children with family and a babysitter and also a couple of friends. She feels that it’s helpful to feel like that as it gives you more options. Where do you stand?

It depends on your situation

I think it really depends on your situation and experience. There is no one size fits all and it’s up to us to decide for ourselves what is best for our families. I think if you’ve had family members around you and very involved from the start of your parenting journey it must be easier to some extent and those people will know your children, your preferences and routines etc. If you’ve functioned on your own with the odd exception then it’s likely to be much harder.

Leaving my children in the care of others is not something I’m especially comfortable with, and not something I’ve done very often over the years. I think it can be very easy for others to say that “they will be fine” or “don’t worry” but when you’ve carried a child, given birth, fed and nurtured them, when you’ve sat up for hours in the night with them, or stayed beside them when they were poorly; and when you’ve done that largely without anyone else to help – well then, then I don’t think it’s unreasonable to feel odd about handing them over to someone else.

The important thing for others to remember is that your feelings are often not a reflection of how you feel about the abilities of the other adults, more that it feels unnatural for you as a parent to hand over the reins. It’s something that we all have to work on over time.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *