Our nanny arrived ten minutes early this morning for her first day of work. It was also our baby’s first day being in a new routine and not taking a nap immediately after her first morning feed. I wasn’t sure how the day would go, but I had a feeling it would include some fussiness and crying. Our baby has occasionally gotten upset when being held with strangers as of late, and unfortunately, this morning was no different. In fact, it was even worse: as soon as our nanny picked her up, she immediately started crying and screaming nonstop. Before she had arrived, our baby was completely fine, smiling and babbling and happy. I was wondering how long it would last. Well, other than her nap time, all morning she screamed and cried. She even screamed and cried through her 10am feed and didn’t even finish the bottle. That’s fresh breast milk I pump that morning; she ALWAYS finishes that bottle. I was so devastated and struggled to concentrate on work in the morning. Being in the next room attempting to work while your baby daughter is screaming bloody murder in the next room is…. pretty futile and miserable. I lasted maybe 30-40 minutes before I caved in and got out of the second bedroom to hold and comfort her. I eventually had to go outside to get some air, and our handyman friend ran into me and comforted me while I cried outside, feeling a lot of mom guilt and wondering when the hell this was going to get easier. I normally don’t get too phased hearing the sound of my baby cry, but hearing the wailing and screaming nonstop was driving me crazy and making me wonder if having a nanny was a good idea after all. I mean, don’t I want to be with my baby during the day? It doesn’t seem to matter what choice you make; there’s guilt all around when you’re a mom.
I told a colleague this during a call this morning. I was trying to focus on what he was sharing with me, but I also told him that in the next room was my screaming 21-week old baby, struggling to get along with the new nanny. He sent me an email later telling me that he really felt for me: when his now toddler went to daycare the very first day, he said it was likely the hardest day of his and his wife’s lives. For the first two weeks, it was a huge struggle and pain to get ready in the morning, get out the door, and do drop off. Pickups were miserable because his son was angry at them both for leaving him with strangers. But after two weeks, the kid adjusted, and now he loves his teachers and friends and looks forward to daycare. He told me to take it a day at a time, and that we’d all get used to this new normal, including my daughter.
These are the emotional ups and downs of having a child in real time, and it really, really sucks.