XanderSo those who follow me here and on FB know that Alexander, 2 and 4 months, trialled nursery last September after his 2nd birthday and HATED it.

I know it’s common that children don’t always take to nursery easily and Alexander was no exception.  The fact he’s always been in mine or my Mum’s care thanks to my freelance career, up to trying nursery, meant we didn’t expect it to be a smooth transition either…

However, the sheer distress was off the scale, for both of us, so I decided after a couple of weeks that we would leave things, let him mature a little and return.

A few weeks ago I tried again. The results were mixed, small progress but mostly a distressed little boy who at 2, can fully articulate his anxiety, ‘Don’t leave me Mummy’,  ‘I’m scared’, ‘Stay Mama’ ‘Don’t go Mama?’- heartbreaking.

I preserved. We both did. I talked to friends, followers, even the poor postman and mostly felt reassured, we’ve all been there, things will improve, he’ll like it one day- but something in my gut, viscerally, just didn’t feel right.

All children are different. Alexander’s vocabulary is wide but he’s young in many ways and he’s the youngest too as he enjoys reminding me, ‘I’m a baby, Mama, Oliver, big boy’…

And Oliver was different, he attended nursery earlier than his brother, at 18 months (which I realise can help with settling in) and yes he cried a little, but the transition from home to nursery was smooth and without worry. He then had 6 months away due to glue ear and an operation, but returned to a new nursery (the one Alexander has trialled) settling in effortlessly.

But it’s not been that way with Xander.

This morning, after a more positive session last week, I couldn’t even leave him for an hour session his grip was so tight, his fear so clear. He made me carry him, little legs clinging onto me as he shook and wailed, ‘Don’t leave me Mama, come with you Mama’.

And that feeling again. That this nursery, at this point, is just not for him. We know our kids. I know my gut. Alexander is an easy going but sensitive child. I want to listen to his needs. I want him to feel emotionally secure.

I put him down, reassuring him I would stay and we would play together. ‘No Mama, no, please, Mama, please, I want to go home’.

Sweeping him up I decided that’s it, we won’t be returning.

Yes I’ve paid a term in advance (ouch), yes perhaps in a few weeks or months he would no doubt settle in, yes some children take time but no, not right now, not this nursery, not this time with Alexander.

I’m lucky that my loving Mum, a former teacher too, is free and wants to continue helping me with childcare. I’m lucky that I have a wonderful lady, Beverly, who visits 3 half days a week whom Xander loves. I’m lucky that my freelance career, although full time, means I can fit my work around my kids and that I work from home. I have options and choices and can decide what to do. I do realise how lucky I am.

In a few months, I’ll try again, possibly at another, smaller nursery closer to home. In the meanwhile, he’ll get on-going stimulation and lots of love from us all, and social interaction from play dates and groups.

I’ve made a decision, and it feels right.

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71 Responses

  1. Steph @MisplacedBrit

    It’s fantastic that you’re in a situation where you can listen to your heart, where there are options, where you’re willing and able to really see what’s best for Xander and for you.

    When the timing isn’t right, the process of starting nursery, and ‘working’ through the issues often feels more like a process of teaching our children just to accept that this is where they’re going to be. Not that after 2 weeks they want to be there, but that they should just start to be resigned to the idea that there’s no choice in the matter! …How nice is that?!
    Steph @MisplacedBrit recently posted…Silent Sunday, week 5 – 2015My Profile

    Reply
    • honestmum

      Totally agree Steph but he wasn’t ready for that natural induction and battle to be honest. I’ve been there with my first and it’s always hard but this really was just not right for many reasons, he wasn’t up to it, the nursery environment wasn’t quite right and I have to go with my gut. In a few months, we’ll try somewhere else, smaller, closer to home. Thanks x

      Reply
  2. Over a Cuppa

    Totally right decision! Always follow your instinct, sometimes I have let myself be talked out or talked myself out of it. Looking back I wish I hadn’t. Now I never fail to listen to it! xxx
    Over a Cuppa recently posted…Acts of kindness or practice kindness everydayMy Profile

    Reply
  3. Rebecca Slinger

    Do you know what, Mums do know best and if there is even the slightest bit of doubt in your mind about leaving him then you have made the right choice. I went back to work this month leaving my daughter at 7 months in nursery and was very lucky it was an easy transition, but she is so small I think it is easier. You have to do what is right for you both, you will only agonise over him if he is crying “Don’t leave me Mama” I feel for you in every way.

    Pop him in a Louis Vuitton Holdall next to your desk – He will be fine… 😉
    Rebecca Slinger recently posted…Baby Book WormsMy Profile

    Reply
    • honestmum

      Bahah Rebecca that made me laugh out loud! You are so right and I feel so happy about the decision I’ve made, thank you xx

      Reply
  4. Merlinda Little ( @pixiedusk)

    A good move! Life is stressful enough when you are 2 learning how things are. I think that your motherly instinct kicked in. So nice of you to listen to your heart =)
    Merlinda Little ( @pixiedusk) recently posted…B&W WednesdayMy Profile

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  5. Californian Mum in London

    Oh, it’s so tough hun. But you’re in such a lucky position to have help with Alexander. You have to do what feels comfortable for you and your little boy. Your mothering instincts know what’s best. Continue to trust yourself! xx
    Californian Mum in London recently posted…Are You Sure You Want To Invite Me To Your House?My Profile

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  6. Stacey Guilliatt

    Oh Vicki. You are absolutely doing the right thing. Poor poor baby. Mummy’s instinct and Mummy always knows best x
    Stacey Guilliatt recently posted…Cussons Mum & Me #voiceofmumsMy Profile

    Reply
  7. Rachel @ The Ordinary Lovely

    Oh Vicki, even my heart says that you’re doing the right thing. This is exactly what I did with my eldest. Everyone kept telling me that he’d get used to it or would stop crying after I’d left but I’m convinced that children only stop crying because they realise that there’s no point as you’re not coming back. I find myself having to bite my tongue whenever mums say, ‘they’ll get used to it in time’, or ‘it’s just for attention’. It’s not a conversation that I get involved in very often anymore. Two is still so little and if they want to be with their mama, and you can be there for them or provide a loving situation that they’re happy with, then go for it!!
    Rachel @ The Ordinary Lovely recently posted…4/52 The cure for grumpinessMy Profile

    Reply
    • honestmum

      Thanks so much for your support Rachel, he really is so young still and as with you son, I know this is the right thing for him too xxx

      Reply
  8. Metropolitan Mum

    Oh noooo, poor you 🙁 We’ve got a bit of nursery drama going on as well at the moment. It’s always tricky and emotional xxx
    Metropolitan Mum recently posted…Free range kidsMy Profile

    Reply
  9. Kimberly Temple

    Lovely post. You know your own child and what feels right. I didn’t feel that my boys were ready for nursery until they were about 2 yrs 9 months (there was a definite turning point) and they then started when they were 3. I hope everything continues to work out well for you x
    Kimberly Temple recently posted…How to descale your kettle using just vinegarMy Profile

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    • honestmum

      Thanks Kimberly, really good advice there and I think every child and situation is different and following their lead is ideal if possible, thanks again x

      Reply
  10. Fiona @ Free Range Chick

    Vicki, you are absolutely doing the right thing. Kids that age just need you/close family members. It is a total myth that they need other kids their age around them. They learn all their social skills from you and he has a big brother. And it sounds like he’s doing amazingly well developmentally. Fraser won’t be going to nursery until he’s 3, and even then, if he’s not keen then I won’t force the issue. He’s never been to nursery, speaks beautifully well with anybody, says so many words and is socially amazing. He’s 19-months old. Alexander is so lucky to have such an attentive, sensitive loving mum – and one that is so darn talented that she’s made a successful freelance career for herself!!! Much love to you honey xxx
    Fiona @ Free Range Chick recently posted…Intermittent Insomnia…?My Profile

    Reply
    • honestmum

      Oh sweetie thanks so so, much for your kind and honest words, I feel so pleased and relieved with this decision, thanks for your support, you are super talented yourself and it’s damn wonderful getting to know you more through this wonderful world of blogging, lots of love to you too x

      Reply
  11. mummyofboygirltwins

    Oh no sorry to hear this 🙁 Must have been really tough. I am just going through something similar with my twins. They started preschool a few mornings a week recently, and while Harry trots off happily, Lottie cries and says “No Mummy leave me”. Breaks my heart. However this week she was fine after a few minutes and did OK. I am finding it so tough too. I just hope she enjoys it and doesn’t fret too much 🙁 You have to do whatever is right for you and you can always try again at a later time. Good luck, Jess xxx

    Reply
    • honestmum

      Oh hun sorry to hear that too and glad you are seeing positive results, must be good they have one another. I just really feel for Alexander it’s the wrong time and place, thanks for your lovely words, hope everything works out well for your twins x

      Reply
  12. Potty Mouthed Mummy

    Only you can know what is right and I have always been a firm believer in parents knowing and trusting their guts with their own children. Ouch to the term in the advance but hey, in the scheme of things it’s negligible. Every child is completely different and I can’t help but smile at how in tune you are with Alexander and knowing what he needs. Hugs my lovely xx
    Potty Mouthed Mummy recently posted…January 15 | Papery PeepMy Profile

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    • honestmum

      Thanks darling, you are wise and you are so right, the term is a lot (almost a holiday) but it’s worth it for him to be happy. Thanks for your caring words xx

      Reply
  13. Katie / Pouting In Heels

    Oh darling, I’ve only just seen this!! So sorry it hasn’t worked out for Alexander but well done for making a gutsy decision and doing what’s right for you and your family.

    Nursery can be brilliant but it’s so tough for them, especially when they’re used to being with their devoted mums for so long! As I’ve told you before, Elsie struggled for quite a while but she was a lot younger (about 12 months) when she first started so soon took it in her stride. (This was after 2 months of non stop one hour visits though!) I think if I did it now, at the age she is, same as Alexander, I would have had exactly the same problem and would definitely have done what you have done today too.

    I’ve already pulled back a little on some childcare with her grandparents because after being with Jamie and I so much over Christmas she was struggling without us a little. You have to do what’s right for them and you, and you have.

    He’ll be fine! He gets everything he needs from his wonderful family and when he’s ready, he’ll soon be having a ball at nursery or school. Much better to remove him than upset him further. They are only so little after all! Thinking of you. Much love XXX
    Katie / Pouting In Heels recently posted…Stepping out in ‘Air & Grace’My Profile

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    • honestmum

      Thanks so much darling for your lovely and wise, wise words, you are so right. It was an on-going heart wrench really and it was the right decision. You are so right though, when the time is right, he will love it and I’m going to check out a closer nursery. I think you’ve done the right thing too chick, mwah xx

      Reply
  14. Bee

    That Mummy instinct is a pretty strong feeling. And it is a great relief to follow it like you’ve done and have that conviction that things will be ok.

    http://www.bforbetula.blogspot.com

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  15. Donna

    Definitely try again in a few months. LP was just 3 when she started preschool and the first couple of weeks were hell. Like you it had only really ever been me that had looked after her and so it was a huge change, she wouldn’t have coped very well at 2 either. Now, 5 months later and she is fine although still has off days x
    Donna recently posted…Vita Coco Kids DrinksMy Profile

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    • honestmum

      Thanks Donna, I will leave it a few months and look to try at a smaller nursery, hopefully in the village we live in. Good to hear your daughter is mostly settled, so hard for us ones when they struggle isn’t it xx
      honestmum recently posted…Nursery is Not Working OutMy Profile

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  16. PhotoPuddle

    It sounds like you have made the right choice and not given up straight away. He’s only little so has plenty of time before school to get used to a nursery or pre-school. He might find the next one you choose completely different. Lots of luck xxx
    PhotoPuddle recently posted…‘Untitled’ by Gabriella TotyikMy Profile

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  17. Jenni - Odd Socks and Lollipops

    I think you have made the right decision for you and for and your little one. Sometimes mummy just knows! I have had to make a similar decision about nursery as I have given up my job and I decided to take Boo out of nursery completely instead of keeping her there one morning a week. There were a lot of reasons, but in the end, after a lot of umming and ahhing I went with my instincts.
    Jenni – Odd Socks and Lollipops recently posted…Wicked Wednesdays – 28/01/2015My Profile

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    • honestmum

      Totally understand Jenni, we know best and bet you feel so much happier now, thanks for your comment x
      honestmum recently posted…Nursery is Not Working OutMy Profile

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  18. Mama and More aka Zaz

    Oh hon, their little cries are just programmed to absolutely pierce our hearts right to the core. You have obviously made the right decision if he was this distressed. It could be many things – timing, the stage he is at, the nursery. Our girl was at a childminder’s with one other child for a year and a half and I think this helped her transition to nursery. We’ve been lucky that having just changed Mini-G’s nursery this week it’s been smooth, as without nursery I would have no time at all! As it is I only get an hour and a half a day anyway! Enjoy your time with Xander – it is so precious and goes so swiftly. He doesn’t really need to go till 3 anyway! Xxx

    Reply
    • honestmum

      Thanks Zaz for your words, this nursery really isn’t for him, definitely think the setting isn’t right and the women there, although lovely and caring, are very much teachers, and he’s so used to lots of kisses from us all. It really isn’t right for us. I’m so lucky my Mum can have him for 2-3 days, I can take a day off a week and I have help- as I want and need to work but being freelance I can work it around him and Oliver. It’s always a juggle but it’s worth it. So glad your little G settled well xx
      honestmum recently posted…Nursery is Not Working OutMy Profile

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  19. Reneé @ Mummy Tries

    Sounds like you’ve definitely done the right thing lovely, and as you said you’re lucky that your situation allows for you to make this call. Horrible to have to go through it though, and I really hope A is alright?

    I’ve had gut wrenching unhappiness about childcare since returning to work, but sadly we just can’t afford for me to leave my job at the moment. I keep telling myself it’s only two days a week, but it doesn’t make it any easier when Thursday rolls around in what seems like record time.

    Really pleased that you’ve been able to make this decision. I’m sure given half the chance most kids would choose staying home with mama than going to nursery! Big hugs darling xxx
    Reneé @ Mummy Tries recently posted…Why I WriteMy Profile

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    • honestmum

      Thanks darling for your sweet words, I and he love it and although I work, that flexibility is one of the most wonderful things about being freelance. You are doing a great thing balancing work with family too darling, lots of love x
      honestmum recently posted…Nursery is Not Working OutMy Profile

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  20. Louise @ Birds and Lilies

    Ah Vicki, it must have been a hard decision to make but it sounds like the right one for you and your family right now. It must have been really tough seeing him so upset xx
    Louise @ Birds and Lilies recently posted…Wedding Wednesday: Six Months to GoMy Profile

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    • honestmum

      Thanks Louise, feel so relieved and know it’s right for us all x
      honestmum recently posted…Nursery is Not Working OutMy Profile

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  21. Mirka Moore @Fitness4Mamas

    Oh darling and I thought he was doing OK after chatting on Sunday. So sorry to hear that as i know how much you need him to be at nursery. I am struggling with the idea of Olivia starting nursery. Isabelle was fine, it took her months as she was doing only 2 days a week, then 5 days with me. i think Xander would need 5 mornings to settle, but you know what is best for you and him. I really struggle workwise, and as you know I have nobody to help, so really need her to start soon, just cannot make myself to do so. So hard on us. Hubby laughs and says I should just stay at home, we can afford it, but i need time to work and do my things too. He thinks I just want to get rid of her… and that makes it harder for me as i know he is kind of joking, but not really. You are lucky and with all that help you will manage and once he is ready he will love it! Olivia is fine when I leave her for 2 hours at the leisure centre creche, but she knows i am around at a spinning class and will be back soon. Maybe you should try something like this just to get him used to different people and children? Sending hugs xxx
    Mirka Moore @Fitness4Mamas recently posted…The Gallery: Play!My Profile

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    • honestmum

      Thanks sweetie, it was a little better last week but ultimately he wasn’t settling. We’ll manage and I do love getting time with him- so lucky to have my Mum to help too of course and we get to playgroups and dates. I’m going to look at the village nursery which is small and a short walk from our house in the future, when he’s ready.

      I love being able to fit work around him, just thankful we live near my family and have fab lady Beverly who helps too. Great Olivia likes the leisure centre. You are so right in having your own career too, it gives you so much pleasure, you get to use your talent as well as have your own income too. Thanks for your lovely comment x
      honestmum recently posted…Nursery is Not Working OutMy Profile

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  22. Franglaise Mummy

    I’m so sorry to hear that it’s not worked out this time either. Sometimes you’ve just got to go with your gut. We had a childminder for L when she was 2, who I just didn’t feel in my gut. After a month we just couldn’t take the tears, and clear distress, so went on the hunt for a new one. It was the best decision as L settled with the new one immediately and I knew it was the right thing. Sometimes you’ve just got to trust your instinct. Well done you for doing that xx
    Franglaise Mummy recently posted…How to find your own mummy friendsMy Profile

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    • honestmum

      Thanks darling, you are so right about that, we must all go with our gut. Good to hear she settled easily and quickly too. Down the line, I’ll be looking at a intimate village nursery near us x
      honestmum recently posted…Nursery is Not Working OutMy Profile

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  23. Natalie Ray

    I’m in exactly the same position. I work freelance and fit my hours around the kids. Libby does one morning a week at a beautiful nursery where they ride a pony and play outside a lot. That’s enough for her for now, we started her when she was ready and we’ll increase her hours when she’s ready for more. We are lucky to be in that position to make decisions like that for our kids. But like me, I can see that you work hard for it and you do what you do in order to be able to do what is best for your children. You’ll know when he’s ready for nursery. Until then, I’m sure you’ll be doing the same as me and treasuring your extra bit of time with him.xx
    Natalie Ray recently posted…The best birthday present ever!My Profile

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    • honestmum

      Oh it sounds wonderful, this nursery is set in the countryside and everything about it is beautiful but it’s just not right for Alexander. I will look at a local village nursery nearby in a few months, thanks for your words x
      honestmum recently posted…Nursery is Not Working OutMy Profile

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  24. Ebabee

    I totally agree with your thinking – going with your gut is the best way. Nobody knows your kids like you do and you have to do what your instinct tells you. No advice, no parenting guru, no book can replace a mums gut instinct. I have always followed my gut instinct with A and it’s usually been the right thing to do. It’s heart wrenching to see them like that and I’m so happy that you did what your heart told you too. Big hugs xx
    Ebabee recently posted…Stylish organic cotton leggings and teesMy Profile

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    • honestmum

      You are so right Nomita and thanks for your support, been a tough few weeks so I’m relieved I’ve decided it’s not right for us at the moment x
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  25. Cerys

    Oh, God Love him! And you! It sounds like you’ve done the right thing, for everyone involved xx
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  26. Amy

    Oh bless him Vicky and poor you, the notion of leaving them is so traumatic if they’re crying like that. This really takes me back as I had the exact same thing with my oldest (now 15) when he started school, unfortunately I had no choice but to leave him and then go and sit in the car and cry and feel wretched for the whole day. We joke about it now but at the time it was dreadful and I so feel for you. I absolutely think you’ve made the right decision at this time. You are his Mummy and you know best and with the nurture of you and those around him there will be a time when he feels ready and you’ll be glad you waited xxx
    Amy recently posted…Four little ducksMy Profile

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    • honestmum

      Thanks Amy, really helpful to hear from other parents who’ve experienced this too. I really think this is the right decision, it has been in bits over this and I just want him to be happy. Thanks xx
      honestmum recently posted…Nursery is Not Working OutMy Profile

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  27. EmmaH

    Poor kiddo. Like you say, luckily you have the option to keep him home. My little boy has gone to 4 different nurseries and has loved it, but he did start at 7 months. My littlest is 7 months now and I don’t want her to go anywhere!
    EmmaH recently posted…Wear Red for Congenital Heart Disease!My Profile

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    • honestmum

      Oh think it helps to start younger in many ways, thanks so much for your comment x
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  28. becky

    Oh sobbing heck! The nursery nurse in my head wants to assure you that he would eventually settle but the Mamma in me is bursting at the heart for you. You have totally made the right decision for you and little Alexander. Every child is different and you know your own child inside out.

    Jenson used to cry at his child minders and so I stopped him going then in September was worried when he started preschool, but he just slotted straight in! Its all about finding the place that is right for your little ones. Just because somewhere has the best Ofsted rating (Childminder was rated better than the preschool) doesnt always mean its the best thing for YOUR child.

    Anyway enough of my gabber, so glad you came to a decision you can feel happy about. X

    Reply
    • honestmum

      You are so wise lovely lady, thank you. It was hard and we both really tried to make it work but it just wasn’t right for him. I could sense the atmosphere wasn’t right either. So glad I’ve made the decision to not return there and will look elsewhere in a few months. Thanks so much for your comment x
      honestmum recently posted…Nursery is Not Working OutMy Profile

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  29. Suburban Mum

    Well done you for going with your gut and making that decision. We KNOW our children and it must have been so hard watching him get so upset!

    When E started he was 2 yrs and 8 months and he settled straight away and thrived on it.

    Not sure I will be able to say the same about M. He sounds alot like Alexander and has always been more sensitive and clingy to me.

    As long as you’ve made your childcare work and he is happy – that is all that matters xx
    Suburban Mum recently posted…Knowing me, knowing you – Our life before childrenMy Profile

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    • honestmum

      Thanks, so important to treat each child differently and go with your gut, all these supportive messages mean a lot x
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  30. Emz

    You knew in that moment it seems, what decision to make. You can’t push these things and it feels and sounds like you’ve made totally the right one, you know your little boy don’t you, and it just seems like he wasn’t ready xx
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  31. Karen

    Must have been such a hard decision, but it is good that you decided to go with what is right for both of you. It doesn’t matter how many options you have available to you, you will always question decisions about child care and I think it is a good sign if you do. Lots of luck x
    Karen recently posted…Splash About Nappy CostumeMy Profile

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    • honestmum

      Thanks so much Karen, you are totally right, your comment means a lot x
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  32. MummyandMonkeys

    Sounds like you have made the right decision for you and your boy. It’s totally heartbreaking leaving them distressed! If you can juggle childcare so that he doesn’t have to go and isn’t distressed then that’s great. My youngest boy was very much the same, shy, sensitive and hated the big nursery that his brother had thrived in. He now goes to a very small village pre school and loves it. He has totally come out of his shell since joining. X
    MummyandMonkeys recently posted…Wicked Wednesdays #13My Profile

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    • honestmum

      Thanks so much, down the line, that’s what I’m going to try, the small village pre-school near our home. Thanks so much for your comment x
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  33. Kiran at Mummy Says

    Oh Vicki, It’s so so hard. But, well done you for making a decision, trusting your instincts, and doing what you believe is best. Sometimes I think we get caught up in what we think we should do. Little ones need love and support, and your baby clearly has that. He is clearly thriving. Keep him with you and treasure this time, it goes too fast. So much love to you, and stay strong, and know that by following your instinct and his lead, you are doing what’s best for him xxxx
    Kiran at Mummy Says recently posted…The First Day at ‘Big Nursery’My Profile

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    • honestmum

      Thanks so much Kiran, your words have made me cry. I really know this is the right thing and I love being with him and feel so lucky my job allows this. Thanks for your support, means a lot x
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  34. corinne

    I think you’ve absolutely done the right thing, you have to make the right decision for your child and it sounds like it was just too distressing for him. My 3 year old has just started nursery and was left without issues, but he’s generally confident. I don’t think my 5 year old would be able to handle it all.

    Reply
    • honestmum

      Thanks Corinne, really shows how different children and siblings can be. We’ve had a tough time with it, too tough to continue, I just want Alexander to feel emotionally safe and happy. Thanks so much for your comment.

      Reply

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