For those of you that don’t know, I was furloughed from 1st April – 31st August, and so E was at home with me for 5 solid months. It was like being on maternity leave all over again. It was intense, I cried a lot, BUT I’ve also had an amazing amount of quality time with E that I wouldn’t have otherwise had. Yes, she’s thrown some almighty. Yes, I wanted to run away and hide. Yes, I might’ve had one too many gins (and rums) to cope. Yes, I questioned my mental health more than a few times. No, I wouldn’t change it. Also, no, I wouldn’t wish for it to happen quite as intensely again. However, I knew there would soon come a day where she would have to start nursery again after all this, and, honestly, it has given me some horrific anxiety – to the point where I’ve had to regulate my breathing before bed because I got so worked up about leaving her.
So, the 1st of September rolled around rather quickly, and drop off day came. E is still too young to understand what’s happening or why mummy is leaving her; how I wish she could understand, I hate that I can’t comfort her with words (or cuddles if I’m not there I suppose). I was absolutely dreading it. I couldn’t eat breakfast I was that worried. She was excited in the morning and wanted to get her backpack on to go outside. We got her in the car and as we pulled up to nursery I could have been sick! I got her out of the car, put her backpack on and she actually walked with me to the door. She was temperature checked, all was fine, so we were give the ‘OK’ to go to her room. I knocked on the door and one of the staff members that used to look after her answered the door. E was very wary, and was staring at the other children eating their breakfast, but she took the nursery worker’s hand and walked in without realising that I wasn’t there. I was relieved and gobsmacked. Her first day back was only a half-day session, so her dad picked her up at one. She ate everything, she played, she even bloody slept (yes, that’s still a battle for us).
The next week was slightly different. She recognised where she was, and cried and clung to us at drop off. I try not to make a big deal of it and say “bye, bye, I’ll pick you up later!”, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say it broke my heart a little when I left her.
She absolutely loves nursery though, there’s so much to do and so much going off, she thrives. In just 3 weeks her vocabulary has come on in leaps and bounds; she’s been painting; playing in sand; playing outside; playing with jungle animals (soft toys, not actual animals); and, she always comes out with a smile on her face!
The dread of leaving her was far worse than the actual reality, which deep-down, I knew would be the case. If your little one is starting nursery again post-lockdown, or is even starting for the first time, here is my advice: you will worry, you might cry, you will miss them, they will thrive, they will be living their best life, they will miss you and it will all work out in the end!