The Hurt That Never Fades.

I remember the first time I dropped Tori off at daycare. I’d been crying for a good 24 hours, so by the time I arrived at my new babysitter’s door, my eyes were practically swollen shut. As I handed her over to her caretaker every cell in my body screamed, begging me to snatch her back and head for home.

Walking out that door was just about the hardest thing I’ve ever done.

Still, I knew it would get easier.  Everyone assured me it would. I would adjust, they said. We both would. Leaving her would come to seem normal. A few of my more candid friends even promised that I would begin to look forward to dropping her off.

And what they said proved to be true. Overall, it did get easier. There are actually times when I’m glad that I can leave her with someone else for a few hours. But it still doesn’t feel right.

When I go in to wake her up in the morning and she burrows further into her mattress,  there’s a little part of me that whispers, “just let her sleep.”

When I’m bundling  her into her coat and she cries, “no, mommy, no,” there’s a little voice that says, “just stay home today.”

And when I’m walking away after hugging her good bye, watching her tiny little body curl in on itself sadly as she stands, alone, in the room I’ve just left? That voice quietly shouts, “go back, go back, go back, go home!”

So sure, it got easier. I learned to live with the bargain I’d made. But leaving Tori?  It never stopped hurting. It never started seeming normal. And you know what? I don’t think it ever will.

14 Comments on The Hurt That Never Fades.

  1. Rebecca
    January 25, 2011 at 9:53 pm (5 years ago)

    I agree. My first separation from my kids was actually preschool for Joey and kindergarten for Isabella. Sure there were a few very rare times when they were left with Grandma but that was never a constant thing and there was always something majorly pressing to cut the emotional cord for the few hours I was away. And right now? While it has gotten easier to drop the kids off at school and I do appreciate the ‘free’ time to do stuff. I still want to keep them home sometimes. I still miss them each while they are at school….just a little bit. But I hear you.

    You are a good mom. I’ve been following your blog long enough to know. Your words. Your stories. Tori is very loved and she is very happy. You’re doing the right thing.

    • Amber
      January 26, 2011 at 10:31 am (5 years ago)

      Thanks lady. That means a lot. I know I’m doing the right thing for us, but sometimes it’s hard.But at the end of the day she’s happy, and that’s what counts.

  2. Ashley
    January 25, 2011 at 11:12 pm (5 years ago)

    This made me tear up. My oldest daughter is turning 4 this year which means she’s off to preschool (I am a stay at home mom). I know I’m going to be a mess. I can’t even research preschool’s without getting anxious. Just know this – you are not alone. We all have to experience this at one time or another. Hang in there Mama.

    • Amber
      January 26, 2011 at 10:32 am (5 years ago)

      I promise you, she’ll have tons of fun, and at the end of the day she’ll come home and tell you all about it. But it will be hard to watch her go…just the first of many small steps away.

  3. Jen
    January 26, 2011 at 8:20 am (5 years ago)

    I enjoy leaving my kids but there is a small part of me that understand.

    • Amber
      January 26, 2011 at 10:33 am (5 years ago)

      I do too, sometimes. Particularly when she’s being a monster, it’s like “ha ha, YOU deal with her for a while.” But then there are those mornings when she looks so little and sad…those are the hard ones.

  4. BalancingMama (Julie)
    January 26, 2011 at 9:22 am (5 years ago)

    This is so sweet! Amelia only goes to school 2 days/week, but I still identify with your feelings. I hate forcing Amelia out of bed on school mornings. I second-guess my plans when she sometimes asks, “Mommy, can I stay with you?”. But most of the time, she’s excited to see her friends and it’s okay.

    Do I suffer doubt and guilt often? Yep.

    • Amber
      January 26, 2011 at 10:34 am (5 years ago)

      I think it’s just part of being a mom. Guilt + motherhood go hand in hand. Which is probably why all moms become such masters of the guilt trip, eventually.

  5. The Husband
    January 26, 2011 at 10:00 am (5 years ago)

    But on the weekend you wish there was someplace she could go for the day.

    I’m happy to drop her off to a place that I know she is happy at, learns a great deal that we can then take credit for, safe, and loved. She roams the halls and all of the staff knows her name, even some of the other kids in different classes and she’s not even two. That’s pretty cool.

    When it’s time to leave she doesn’t like to leave either, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t love coming home. After all she needs to have her hour long daily bubble bath.

  6. Amanda
    January 26, 2011 at 10:28 am (5 years ago)

    I don’t think it’s easy for any mom, whether she works outside of the home or is a stay-at-home/work-at-home-mom. My husband and I are planning a date night next week, the first in a very long time. I’m still feeling a little weird about setting up a babysitter, so we can go have some fun together. Why do I do that?
    And, for those of us who do stay-at-home, we sometimes ask ourselves, “Am I really doing any good for my kids by staying home? Would I be a much better mommy if we weren’t seeing each other 24/7? Wouldn’t it be better if I spent the day conversing with other adults, so that when I got home, I’d be refreshed and ready to play with my kids?” Maybe it’s just me, but I have those thoughts, sometimes. The mommy guilt–it never goes away, no matter what you do.
    Inspired by another blog post I read this morning (found here:; it’s impossible not to get teary over it), I’m going to be real: I didn’t cry when I dropped off my son at preschool for the first time. I knew that he’d be learning things there that I just can’t teach him at home (like socialization with kids his own age and what it’s like to be in a classroom). That doesn’t mean I didn’t stand at the window outside of his classroom for a little while to watch him begin that huge step into the world of school. :) I’ve found that that little bit of separation twice a week for a few hours helps us both, immensely. Kudos to you, Amber, for being such a brave, hard-working mommy!

    • Amber
      January 26, 2011 at 10:44 am (5 years ago)

      That was a beautiful post, Amanda. Thanks for including the link. It’s true, we’re all trying to be perfect, and I for one, know I never will be. But as long as we’re doing our best, that’s good enough, right?

  7. Allison @ Alli 'n Son
    January 26, 2011 at 2:52 pm (5 years ago)

    You brought so many memories flooding back to me. My heart aches. I may just borrow this idea for my post tomorrow because now the words are stuck in my throat and they need to come out.

  8. Alex@LateEnough
    January 26, 2011 at 3:47 pm (5 years ago)

    I just started working again. And although my children love the toddler/preschool they attend, I still have those thoughts constantly. I even love what I do. But I feel like I SHOULD be with them. {sigh}


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