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Important person not in my life anymore

Posted: Sun Feb 25, 2018 9:59 pm
by Mackymoo
Hi everyone this is my first post here!

I've really been struggling recently and find it hard to talk to anyone in my life about my feelings so I thought I'd post here to see if anyone could give me any advice or even just to talk it through with.

I work for my mum and we are childminders. We looked after a little girl from when she was 8 months old. She was with us 5 days a week from 7.30am -6.30pm, so the majority of the day! Shes now 2 l, nearly 3. She spent a
Her first 2 birthdays with us and Her and I developed such a strong bond. She followed me wherever I went and I spent so much time teaching her and playing with her and just loved every minute I spent with her.

Just before Christmas her mum told us her dad was giving up his job and would be staying at home with her. I was DEVASTATED. I've cried every day since because I just miss her so so much. I know she's not mine but I feel like I did so much for her and taught her so many things and definitely played a huge part in her life. I just can't get over it.

I was a wreck on her last day and as she was leaving her mum said she'd be back maybe for 1 or 2 days per week because she wants her to socialise with other kids still. She said give it 2 months or so. She's not been in contact and I think I'm just holding on in the hope she will come back when really her mum probably said that to comfort me and she has no intention of coming back.

I'm just really struggling I can't get over it and it's making it hard to do my job. I miss her so much. I'd be grateful for some advice or just words of support!

Re: Important person not in my life anymore

Posted: Mon Feb 26, 2018 8:48 am
by reckoner
I really feel for you. Since having my own child, I understand much better how amazing it is to see and be involved in a little one's development. I had never really thought about what childminders have to be able to do and what makes a good one before. I chose mine because she clearly loves my little boy. How you are expected to both love them and be able to detach when your role is no longer required, I have absolutely no idea. What a terrible wrench for you.

But as this is your livelihood, I also think this must be a necessary experience for you to go through to understand better how to negotiate that line for yourself. I volunteered in an orphanage once and happened to be there when a baby was adopted. They had looked after her for a year, then a German couple took her away forever. The ideal result they all work for and they were all in absolute bits about it. So when you work with kids, the good outcome for them is a heavy loss for you. I also see from meeting childminders at playgroup, who spend more time with the kids than the parents, that the parents don't always understand and appreciate how much their childminders do and invest in their kids. So I think you have a very tough job.

I would hope to have a childminder that cares as much as you do so I hope you can bring yourself to accept this pain as part of the job. Maybe you can establish some kind of routine for the end of the relationship, like make a card or something with your photo and contact details for the little one (and their parents) saying how much you enjoyed looking after them and wishing them well as a keepsake. It might give you some kind of closure and show the parents how much the child means to you, and maybe then they'll be reminded to call on you for babysitting in the future. I'm sure they'll need it!

Re: Important person not in my life anymore

Posted: Mon Feb 26, 2018 10:51 am
by Mackymoo
Thanks for your reply Reckoner. I think part of the problem is that I don't have anyone to talk to who understands really. My close friends are amazing but aren't maternal in the slightest and don't have kids so don't really understand what its like to care for a child and create a bond. I was talking to a friend about it and told her it's the worst emotional pain I've ever been through and she laughed and thought I was exaggerating! She's seen me through some very tough times (nasty breakups etc) and can't imagine how it could be worse than that.

I was a nanny before I became a childminder and had such an amazing bond with those children, but also the parents too. Those kids still come to my house now and I see them all the time so I've never had to go through this before - she's the first one that's left since I've been there. I can't imagine what it's like to work in an orphanage, I can totally understand the way they must have felt. And you're so right. When she was with us I always felt so sorry for her because she was barely spending any time with her parents. I saw her first steps, heard her first words was with her on her first and second birthday - all the milestones that parents should be the first to see, I saw before them. I really did put everything I had into helping to raise her and I'm just so heartbroken. But, I know that however painful it is for me, it's better for her because she's now spending so much time with her dad and hopefully building a proper bond with him now which I know is totally in her best interest.

I love the idea of making a little card with my details on and wish I had though of that sooner! I wish I had thought of that before she left :( I still have her learning journal with all her developments and photos in it that I need to give them so maybe I'll get that together with a card and drop it in to them. One of the thoughts I'm struggling with is that she'll forget me. I know that's a selfish thing but all our little routines and things we did together are important to me and memories I'll cherish and treasure forever, so the thought that she won't even remember is a very painful one. I did used to babysit for her, but they tend to use their friends young daughter now as they didn't have to pay her as much! But I may reach out to her mum and just let her know I'm missing her and if her and her husband ever want to go out I'll happily watch her at the weekend for free maybe.

Thanks so much for your reply, it's so nice to be able to talk to someone who can sympathise with me and understand a little. I've been suffering with this alone for 2 months since she left, trying to hide it from everyone and putting a brave face on each day, then crying in the shower every night where no one can hear me! I really appreciate you taking the time to comment.

Re: Important person not in my life anymore

Posted: Mon Feb 26, 2018 11:41 am
by reckoner
Mackymoo wrote:I've been suffering with this alone for 2 months since she left, trying to hide it from everyone
I think you need to speak to your mum and colleagues about it. They must know better than anyone what you're going through, and maybe feel the same about this little girl. I can understand why you'd want to offer your services for free to stay in touch, but from a work point of view, I imagine that might be obscuring the boundaries between the professional and the personal. I'm sure your colleagues will have some good advice for you. And in the future, you'll be able to help a colleague who also goes through this.

I know exactly what you mean about the idea that they won't remember you and all the little routines you had. On the one hand, yes, sadly this is true, it's just the nature of memory early on in life. On the other hand, while she may not consciously remember you the way adults do, I have no doubt the memories she does have of you are built into the actual fabric of her being, on a kind of molecular level; every time she's happy and joyful, you know you helped build that capability.

Perhaps you're worried about telling your mum and colleagues because you think it shows weakness or something? I'm sure they would be proud to know how much you care and would not want you suffering alone.

Re: Important person not in my life anymore

Posted: Mon Feb 26, 2018 12:17 pm
by Mackymoo
Thanks again for your reply. It is only me and my mum so I have no other colleagues. I have spoke to my mum about it but her response was 'you can tell you haven't been doing this I'm as long as I have!'. She's not very sympathetic at all unfortunately, even though I've seen her like this about kids in the past too. My mum suffers with depression and anxiety and I don't like to tell her much because she takes it on as her problem and tells me it makes her stressed.

Thank you that comforted me and helped me think of it in a way I hadn't before. What a lovely thought and I hope that's true.

Re: Important person not in my life anymore

Posted: Mon Feb 26, 2018 12:22 pm
by reckoner
Just to add that, beyond normal care and concern, an employee's wellbeing, whether physical or emotional, is of vital concern to any employer. By looking after yours, they are looking after everyone's. I expect (and certainly hope!) that what you're experiencing is fairly common in caring professions so it is of great importance to those you work with to learn how to cope and deal with it. You have absolutely nothing to be ashamed of or embarrassed about.

And welcome to PP! :D

Re: Important person not in my life anymore

Posted: Mon Feb 26, 2018 12:46 pm
by reckoner
Sorry Mackymoo, we cross-posted. Yes, it is different if it's just you and your mum. In that case (well, in any case!), we are delighted to be your shoulder here.

It sounds like your mum has become hardened over the years, which, as you're finding now, has perhaps been a necessary measure to protect herself, especially if she has mental health problems. I'm guessing your mum would be more sympathetic if you weren't family, it's easier to disregard or ride roughshod over family's feelings, especially if one is learning the ropes from the other. Her instinctive reaction, as maybe it is with everyone we're not forced to be polite to, is probably "Well, I got through it, you'll have to too". I suppose it's a more brutal expression of the same message: it's very hard and in time you'll learn to deal with it.
Mackymoo wrote:What a lovely thought and I hope that's true.
It is true, you'll just have to trust me!

Re: Important person not in my life anymore

Posted: Mon Feb 26, 2018 1:44 pm
by Mackymoo
I think you've hit the nail on the head there in regards to my mum. She's definitely hardened over the years and that's something I will have to learn and I'm sure I will with experience. This is the first one that's left me which is probably why it's hit me so hard! I suppose I thought she'd always be there and so now I can look at it differently and know that when caring for any of our lovely kids, that they won't be with me always. I think going in with that in mind it may be easier when I have to let go and say goodbye. And I think my mums learnt this through experience and I guess didn't have anyone to tell her and guide her and she just had to learn to cope with it and so I will too.

I will trust you on that one then! It's definitely a lovely and comforting way to think about it.

Time is definitely the best healer and I know I won't feel like this forever, but when you're in it it's hard and it definitely helps to talk about it, which I haven't really felt I'd been able to do. I already feel a little better just from talking to you about it, so thank you.

What a great website this is - thanks for the warm welcome! I'm going to have a look around and see if there's anyone I feel I can give advice to. Might help me take my mind of things a little!