When Your 4 Year Old Still Cries At Nursery Drop-Off
Photo not taken this morning!
Argh. This morning, Alexander, 4, screamed and cried, when I dropped him off at nursery. So much so, a nursery teacher had to help me get him out of the car as he refused to budge. I’d open one door and he’d run to the other side.
The tears started from before we even got in the car so I should have expected it.
I had to white-lie we were hitting Tesco to get him strapped in his seat and once he realised we were heading to nursery, the wailing reached surround sound levels. He screamed over Ed Sheeran (poor Ed) that he didn’t want to go to nursery, that he misses me too much when he does and that he hates everyone there.
It didn’t take long for the cries to tug at my flipping heart strings. The constant questioning of, ‘Why can’t I just stay with you, Mama? Why?’ broke me a bit. I should know better too. I’ve had two whole years of this. Two whole years of tears at drop-off and a happy scamp at collection.
Why am I still fooled into feeling s**** then?
I work flexibly, frankly, working more than full time hours but to my own schedule and in a way that means I get as much time with my kids even if I don’t sleep as much as I should. I love being a blogger and a vlogger. I equally love being a mum.
This way of working truly works for my family and it means Xander gets three days a week with me most weeks.
Despite all of that and ‘reason’, doesn’t make me immune to mama guilt. Hell no.
I’m a sensitive person. My kids are, of course, my world. That’s why it’s so tough hearing my kids cry or complain as it’s my role to soothe, love and support. To keep them safe, emotionally, as well as physically. When he’s in floods of tears, I often forget he’s not as emotionally mature as I am, that he’s often unreasonable or manipulative.
Like today. After 5 minutes, Xander was happy as could be. They literally called me from the office to say the minute he got inside, he’d set to playing with Play Doh and chatting to his favourite friend. He’d completely forgotten that he’d just informed his heartbroken mama, as he hung from my leg, that I must never leave him. That he would miss me.
If only I forgot as quickly.
I know why he’s reacting this way and to be fair it’s a standard reaction after a weekend together, made worse by half term off and him acclimatising to fewer days at nursery.
He also knows his mama is weak and often breaks when he appeals to me. That I often change his nursery days and let him into my bed. I’m too soft and he knows it. I need to have stricter boundaries and stay true to my word. It’s so hard when you have a big heart and your kid looks like Bambi.
I need to fight the cuteness though, put a stop to the manipulation and not buckle so easily.
I also need to try not to get upset when I know that logically he’ll be fine within minutes of drop-off. And try not to drink at 11 am.
I know I’m part of the problem. I babyfy my erm, baby. He’s still so little and cute though and unlike his ‘too cool for school’ 7 year old brother, he lets me kiss him-ha! He also relishes in being the youngest. He told me the other night that he, ‘always wants to be little’ and ‘will always live with my Mummy and Daddy’. We call each other besties (I do with my eldest too) and as with Oliver, we have this magical mother-son bond. He loves to brush my hair and tells me I’m a princess. We snuggle on the sofa watching Sponge Bob and his fave past time is baking chocolate buns and banana cake.
So when he looks at his ‘Princess Mama’ crying, it cuts deep, because it feels unnatural to be ‘abandoning him’ at nursery. That I’m upsetting my kid at drop-off. But I have to let go and realise he’s A OK. More than OK, he’s happy. Nursery is good for him. It’s good for me. He gets to socialise with kids, learn from brilliant teachers and become a little more independent whilst I do what I love and earn dollar. He starts school in September so it’s time we both get used to life away from each other, even if it’s just from 8.45-9.15.
Even if that sometimes means having a cry in the car on the way home feeling like the worst mother ever.
So if you relate, please know that you (and I) are not alone. That motherhood can get messy. That we’re just trying our best.
Thank you to everyone who made me feel better with your comments on FB and Twitter. We mamas sure have one another’s backs.
Thank goodness for social media hey. He’s back to nursery tomorrow and I’m not going to let his tears break me x
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