(Channeling some old school Britney…)
I did it again! I left my girlies!!!
I didn’t intend for my girls to spend every waking minute with me until they were more than two years old. And that is a slight exaggeration…there were a few waking moments they spent solely with Daddy, but those were few and far between.
No, I didn’t plan it this way…but we don’t have family close by, so when someone does come to visit, it’s not so I can have some “me” time.
And I was such a nut about every detail – namely the girls’ schedule and diet (and what else is there, really???) – especially for their first year of life, I didn’t have anyone I felt comfortable trusting them with outside of family.
About a year ago, I finally found a nice lady who was set to retire, whom we planned to have come and spend one afternoon a week with the girls. We knew it would be good for them…and Heaven knows it would be good for ME. I was heartbroken when the lady backed out on us.
Having spent a long time searching for this lady, I was devastated when things didn’t work, and then my devastation turned to resolve. I had made it over a year, and I could make it another year before the girls start a preschool program two afternoons a week this coming fall.
But then I had an idea…what if I compromised on my idea of having someone from the next generation to spend time with the girls? What if that someone was younger, even more along the lines of a “mother’s helper”?
I contacted a former colleague who lives in my neighborhood, whose daughter is a freshman at the university in town, and sure enough, Miss Jennifer was the perfect fit!
I knew I’d have to take things slowly in introducing the girls to the idea that there are people...in the world...outside of their mommy and daddy.
The first few weeks, Miss Jennifer came over and hung out with the girls with me. The girls LOVE playing with her, and she’s so good with them.
I gradually put a little space between them and me…first doing some things in the kitchen (within their sight), and then moving into the living room (adjacent to the den).
Last week was our first big test. I had a massage scheduled for Friday afternoon, and there would be a 20-minute or so gap between when I needed to leave and when Hubby got home. The girls didn’t bat an eye when I told them Mommy needed to run an errand. Miss Jennifer later reported they affirmed, “Mommy running errands,” a couple of times, but they never cried!
And yesterday afternoon, I decided to go for a run in the neighborhood. I again used the excuse that Mommy needed to run some errands, and off I went. The girls were without Mommy for about 45 minutes, and again did so well!
I still think it will be a long time before I’m ready to turn the [sacred] bedtime routine over to someone else, but I do have hope that the hubs and I might possibly be able to sneak in a lunch date, or – gasp! – a matinee movie one day.
A few baby steps for the girls...and one giant leap for this mama...