It’s week one of my “Something Old, Something New” challenge, and to kick it off, I’m going to conquer childcare.
Now, the reality is that my son, Tyson, has been left with babysitters before, but there’s a big difference between your child being cared for in your own home by a family member or a friend, and being left with a stranger in a strange place. As a new mum, I realise that learning to leave my son with others is something I need to gradually settle into in the knowledge that in the future lies such things as school.
So, how to break the ice on this childcare. Well, the best I could think of was to cheat. Yep… I’m cheating on the first week of my challenge. I have to be honest with myself here. Everytime I think I’m ready to leave Tyson with someone I don’t know, I play out different scenarios in my head and suddenly realise that I’m not.
My decision of the first experience of a stranger caring for Tyson, therefore, was made so that it was a legitimate childcare experience for him, with the least amount of trauma for me. Therefore, I tried something called “MOPS”. MOPS stands for Mothers of Pre-Schoolers and is a group for mums to connect and relax together, with the children being cared for in what is called “Moppettes”.
In all honesty, as I revved up to go to MOPS, I pictured in my head that I would renege on my decision to put Tyson in Moppettes and make my new experience for the week a structured mother’s group. When the time came, however, I was whisked away straight to the babies room with no time to make a decision.
So, there I stood, face-to-face with the elderly woman who would be responsible for my child. There were two other babies in the room at the time, one in her arms and one in his stroller. Tyson was due for a sleep as we arrived, so I explained his routine to the lady in charge and then made my way to the MOPS group (or what I felt was a room of excruciating separation from my son).
I thought I was doing really well. It was a few minutes in and I felt pretty good. As I stood in line for my nametag, I suddenly started running through a million scenarios in my mind. What if he hurts another baby? What if he’s hurt by another baby? What if he …. What if he….. What if he…. I turned to another lady in the line and asked if it was crazy of me to want to go and check on him. As she kindly responded by saying that it was fine for me to check on him, I could barely contain the tears.
I decided that I had to face my challenge. I wouldn’t check on him. Surely if there was a significant problem, they would come and get me.
In the end, Tyson fell asleep about 15 minutes after I left the room and slept right through til his normal feed time. When I went in to collect him, he was sitting on the floor with another baby. They were playing a very special game of “you stare at me and I’ll stare at you”. Looked like fun.
So, week one and challenge one done. I’ve conquered my fear of childcare, which will enable me to look at conquering more in the future for my “something old something new” challenge. I say that, but let’s face it, I’ll be doing all I can to keep Tyson with me as long as possible!
Cost: Free (first week as a visitor to MOPS is no cost). For more information on MOPS, check out www.mops.org.au.