This past week I joined a gym. It’s been a year since I had a membership. I have worked out at home since AG was born and really didn’t want to send her into a kids area of the gym after hearing about how many kids got sick from it. And frankly, I didn’t trust anyone else with her besides family.
Not when she was just a baby.
Now that she is one and it’s getting harder to work out at home, I decided this was the right time. I also wanted something to do over the next month that will give me a bit of a mommy break and me time. The gym is actually connected to a hospital and called a “wellness center”. It’s the nicest gym I’ve ever seen. The equipment is state of the art and it’s never really busy. A major plus is the kids area. It wasn’t crowded the few times I went and I knew some of the ladies that worked there. They are parents from the school I used to work at. One was my homeroom mom and I used to babysit for the other many years ago. I knew I could trust them with my little one.
So Friday morning after AG woke up from her morning nap, we headed to the gym. She was dressed, fed, happy, it was going to be GREAT! We walked in and I immediately noticed two of the women working were the ones I knew. That was a big relief. Remember this was the first time I have EVER left her alone with someone that wasn’t a friend or family outside of our home, somewhere that wasn’t familiar to her.
She was okay when we walked in. Not her usually bubbly, smily self though. I think she knew something was up. I stayed for a few minutes and she clung to my leg. Then she warmed up a bit and let one of the ladies pick her up. I snuck out as fast as I could and went upstairs to work out. It took every bit of me not to turn around and peek to see how she reacted. I wanted to stay in there with her, introduce her to all of the kids and show her all the neat toys for her to play with. But, I knew if she spotted me peering through the window it would be OVER. So for the first time in one year and 6 days, I had my first lesson in letting go. The first of many to come.
About 20 minutes into my run, my phone rang. It was the kids center and AG had been crying the entire time. They asked what I wanted to do. I told them I would be right down. When I got there, she was doing a bit better. She didn’t see me so I was able to get her wubba (paci) and give it to them to give her. They gave me the okay to leave and would call again if she started crying. I didn’t get a phone call and was able to get another 15 minutes in. I thought about her the entire time I was running, wanting to just go and pick her up and wipe her tears. I wanted to hold her tight and let her know that she was okay. But I didn’t. I knew doing that wasn’t what was best for her or me. She wasn’t screaming anymore. She was in good hands. She had to learn that it was going to be okay without me (and that I would be back) and I had to learn to let her.
I went to pick her up after 40 minutes of being in the kids area. She wasn’t crying when I walked in, but she definitely wasn’t herself. The moment she saw me the waterworks started. I mean BOO HOO crying. As if she was saying, how could you ever do this to me mom?!? I felt horrible. We gathered her things and walked out. At that point, part of me never wanted to go back.
As soon as we walked out of the center, she was fine. Talking, waving, clapping. Absolutely fine. Them my mommy guilt trip set in. Things started going through my head and I blamed myself. Maybe I should have taken her to do more earlier on. Maybe I should have had a babysitter we don’t know come to the house to get her used to strangers. I didn’t do enough to get her well adjusted. And then I realized how crazy that sounded.
I know there is nothing I could have done to prevent this. I do take her to Gymboree a few times a week. She plays well with other kids and is friendly with the adults. Yes, I’m with her while we are there, but it is still socialization. And I don’t regret for one minute not having a babysitter other than my parents or a close friend. I honestly don’t think I would have been able to walk out of the house if there was someone I didn’t know watching her as a baby. She is just used to her mommy and what is familiar to her. I completely understand that and am sure I would feel the same way.
On the other hand, she is one now. She is going to have to get used to being in a situation that isn’t familiar at first. I can’t keep her at home with me all day every day as much as I want to. She will never live in that bubble that I would like to put her in. Whether it’s now or when she’s off to preschool, the unfamiliar is going to happen. It will take time for her to adjust but she will be okay. All I can do is have patience and not give up. If I don’t bring her back and try again, how will she learn that it’s okay?
When we move we are leaving all that we have ever known. We’re leaving our family and friends that we have trusted with our baby girl. We are moving to an area where we don’t know anyone. We are going to (eventually) have to find a babysitter. AG is going to have to get used to another play area at a different gym. In the long run, I know that not only was today good for me, it was good for her. It may not have gone as planned. I know this is just the beginning of being able to let go.0 Did you like this post?