kid crying

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

Pin it!

Buy my bestselling book in paperback or audio

Mumboss: The Honest Mum's Guide to Surviving and Thriving at Work and at Home

Available on Amazon or Audible

MUMBOSS by Vicki Psarias

Like what you've read? Then why not follow Vicki on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest and Instagram

Never Miss A Post!

Subscribe to HonestMum for my weekly email newsletter where I share my new blog posts, blogging tips, event invitations, competitions and news about my new book. I never share your personal data with third parties.

33 Responses

  1. Michelle

    My daughter was like this until she started school. I was expecting to have many tears, but she adapted well and literally runs throw the doors, without a second look back. I hope it gets better with time. They sure know how to tug on our heart strings #brillblogposts
    Michelle recently posted…Vini and Bal’s curry sauce reviewMy Profile

  2. Tooting Mama

    I know this is hard, but this will pass, and before you know it Xander will be skipping in to school. And by the time they are in year 4 you’ll be hard pushed to get a kiss at the school gate.

    But seriously, after I had adopted my kids, I’d really longed for my kids to be clingy and look as though they’d miss me, they just skipped of happy as Larry! I guess all I am saying enjoy that he is so attached to you, he’s only little. And don’t be so hard on yourself, our kids grow up so quickly! #brillblogposts

  3. Mrs Mummy Harris

    mum guilt is horrible – hubby drops me off at the bus stop and then takes Ben to his nans every work day and when i get out of the car i always give him a kiss before i get my bag and the amount of times he’s reaching to me for a cuddle with tears as he doesnt want me to go sucks big time!! But I know as he gets to his nans he forgets his tears and has a brilliant time being spoilt rotten!
    Kids know how to tug on the heartstrings dont they???!!! #brilliantblogposts
    Mrs Mummy Harris recently posted…A Picture Says A Thousand Words – Talking MumsMy Profile

    • Honest Mum

      They really do and it almost goes against nature for us to let go but it’s so good for them. Thanks for your comment and helping me feel less alone x

  4. mainy

    Aahh yes I can relate to this, my boys have done this at different stages through nursery and school. It seems I would go for ages with everything being fine then one day out of the blue there would be tears and not wanting to go. Its tough and so draining in the guilt stakes but something that I know I have had to just give them loads of love and get through it.

    mainy recently posted…Bike rides with the Boys and testing their new Hamswan action cameraMy Profile

  5. a positive parent

    There are times my 4 year old daughter Silver is like this thankfully no longer for school but if I have to go out or having a meeting and she is crying and screaming and in that moment I hate my life, I hate that I have to leave her. I question my mothering and I feel lost for the whole drive to my destination. She however has totally forgotten in under 1 minute and is I am always assured “over it” the minute I leave! Typical xx
    a positive parent recently posted…Is Screen Time Turning Our Kids Into Zombies?  10 Ways To Break The Addiction.My Profile

    • Honest Mum

      It can be so hard but it’s also vital we don’t let guilt stop us and we remember that they are fine and usually as you say so quickly too x

  6. Susie / So Happy In Town

    I had this with my eldest at nursery, then at school and I always found it heart breaking. I would feel awful all day about it, then be told by her teachers that within 5 minutes she was happy as larry. Definitely pulls on your heart strings, and of course it does, as we’re loving mothers who want nothing more than to sweep our little ones up in our arms and tell them it’s OK, everything will be alright, and Mummy will take you right home now. But of course, then that’s not doing them any furthers either. Great honest post by honestmum #brillblogposts
    Susie / So Happy In Town recently posted…A bit of Nostalgia – The Best of the 90’sMy Profile

  7. Lucy At Home

    Oh Vicki, this really tugged at my heart strings. It’s so tough when you know something is for the best but they just can’t see or understand that. Poor little Alexander (and poor you!). Be strong girl – you’re a good mama and you’re doing the right thing
    Lucy At Home recently posted…Is It Time For Me to Go Back To Work?My Profile

  8. Robyn Garner

    Oh poor you! I also have a 4 year old who will be starting school in September, and he is at nursery for a few days a week for a few hours at a time and at first, all was fine, but recently he has started announcing he doesn’t want to go and crying when we arrive and my heart breaks. I am told he is absolutely fine within minutes of me leaving but I am left worrying, feeling terrible and wishing for an update every 5 mins until the time comes for me to collect him. How am I going to cope with school. Be strong, the children are fine, they are well looked after, they are easily distracted and they are hugely loved by us. We just need a little distraction – maybe some shopping…

  9. Annette, 3 Little Buttons

    Aww bless his little cotton socks! It’s so difficult and in that moment it does feel like the end of the world to them, but it must be so reassuring to know that he settles so quickly once you have left. School beckons us in September too, it’s going to be interesting! We have a sensitive soul too. Thanks so hosting. #Brillblogposts x
    Annette, 3 Little Buttons recently posted…#DreamTeam Linky 44My Profile

  10. Eb Gargano /

    Aw that’s a tough one, Vicki – I feel for you. It’s heart wrenching when they do stuff like that – even though you know in your head they are going to be fine without you! My daughter is quite quiet and doesn’t like much affection (I’m only allowed to kiss her on the top of her head now!!), but every time I go away she gets sad and tells me how much she will miss me and ‘Mummy, please don’t go’ – just quietly, no drama. But it breaks my heart Every. Single. Time. I have to admit when my two were younger, I used to get Daddy to do the nursery drop offs!! Hope it gets better for you soon!! Eb x
    Eb Gargano / recently posted…Review & Giveaway: Food Photography – From Snapshots to Great ShotsMy Profile

  11. Caroline

    It’s so hard isn’t it, they really break your heart. At least you know he’s happy there after the initial upset. My son’s normally ok at drop off, but I went to help on a school trip recently and wasn’t put with my son’s group and he was absolutely beside himself. I just felt like the worst Mum, especially in front of all the other teachers and parents. xx #brilliantblogposts
    Caroline recently posted…Strawberry Cheesecake CupcakesMy Profile

  12. Rebecca

    I know the feeling all too well… when little man first started nursery he would scream and scream and run back to the gate and I would feel absolutely awful. Then it got better as he went up to the bigger room when he turned two… he would just be off and Id be instantly forgotten (which believe me also makes you feel awful!) but now he’s taken a backwards step and, like you describe, doesn’t even ant to get out of the car now. He will let me hold him but will bury his head in my shoulder and cling to my legs when I put him down… the nursery ladies have to prize him away from me as I try to escape… hearing the wails and crying as I briskly walk back to the car feeling utterly horrible! I often call them and he is also fine five minutes later… Mum guilt strikes again! <3
    Rebecca recently posted…Rockin’ Mama Interviews: Vicki from Honest MumMy Profile

  13. Lizzy

    Oh Vicky! I remember those days well. My two both were tearful at every nursery drop-off. They;re now 15 and 13 and honestly they don’t remember it so that’s a good thing. i however, will never forget. It’s the other way round now. It’s me who cries when they go off on residential school trips and I can’t even think about what I’ll be like when they go to uni!!

    Thank you for hosting as always xxxx

  14. Katy

    Ah. So hard. I am just settling my little one into nursery now for he first time. Heartbreaking when yields behave to leave them crying. Of course they want to stay with mama. You’re the centre of their world.

    But equally life is just as much fun – even more so – when not with me. I really trust th ladies at his nursery to look after and cuddle him when I can’t due to work. But if I won the lottery? Well he’d be going to nursery a lot less.


  15. Pam lorimer

    Its one of the worst moments of my day I hate drop offs as we are going through a clingy stage right now…son not me! So i sympathise! Never gets easier and when they tell you they were fine after t min it makes me so annoyed thats hes mastered manipulation so early!
    Pam lorimer recently posted…The (parenting) OscarsMy Profile

  16. Kim Carberry

    Aww! Bless you! Sending hugs. Parenting is hard.
    At least you know when he is in nursery he is happy which is some sort of comfort.
    My girl went through a stage of crying when being dropped off at school and for a while her dad did the school run to save the heartache for her and me. My fella is tougher than me. hehehe
    I am still too soft on my girls and babyfy them. They’re 9 & 14. lol x
    Kim Carberry recently posted…What I loved in February….My Profile

    • Honest Mum

      Aw I need to get mine on the case too. He usually does the school run but I do the nursery run. Def swapsies time. Thanks for your lovely words, makes me feel less alone x

  17. Monica Gilbert

    My 4 year old was clinging to me and screaming when I took her to Sunday school this week. I’ll admit I was a bit more heartless than you. I think it’s because I work in a nursery, so I deal with the other side quite often. I see how quickly most children settle, so I know she’ll generally be fine if I can just pry her fingers from the death grip she has on me. Just do your best to be firm, and have a cry in the car if you need to. It’s not an easy time, but you are doing the right thing. It takes a lot of strength to walk away when they’re crying, even if you know it’s for the best.

  18. Intrepid bebe

    I thought that to be a “good mum” I must to everything to prevent my daughter crying. It’s been a steep learning curve that this is an impossible target, and a little self compassion has to come into it too. Thanks for normalising this bonkers parenting experience!

    • Honest Mum

      Oh it’s so hard isn’t it but you’re spot on with your comment, sometimes they have to cry to get over it and become more independent x

  19. Jody at Six Little Hearts

    My eldest girl did this when I had her in kindergarten. A playdate at the home of a friend from the kinder cured the issue immediately. If that didn’t work, I was ready to remove her altogether. I am not sending my last child to kinder this year. I keep her with me and we go on little adventures here and there. We start swimming lessons this week. It’s time to treasure together.
    Jody at Six Little Hearts recently posted…The LEGO Batman Movie Fashion for Girls From Best and Less – A Review and WIN!My Profile

  20. Notmyyearoff

    They just seem to somehow know how to pull at our heart strings don’t they? Z did this the entire first year of nursery and then the entire first year of school. I felt like such a bad guy but the little monkey would be having a brilliant time behind my back. You are an amazing mummy and I can completely see myself babyfying E when the time comes! (I did it with Z too :))x


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

CommentLuv badge

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.