Separation Anxiety…or Something More?

When I had Johanna, I could only be off of work for 3 months, then it was time to find her a daycare to attend while I went back to the ho hum of my work day. Don’t get me wrong, I was ready to go back, but I wasn’t. Leaving my baby was scary for me because I couldn’t see what she was doing every minute of the day. Well, as life would have it, two months after getting back I was laid off. I saw it as a blessing in disguise. I got severance pay and then unemployment, so I was able to sit home with Johanna.For the next 15 months it was just me and her day in and day out. Towards the end of our time together, I was itching and scratching to get back to work. I felt like I was losing my identity and purpose and becoming nothing more than, well, Johanna’s Mama. This scared me. When I found a job I was ecstatic. It didn’t pay me my dream salary, but at least I was going to be productive again. But what about Johanna?

After trying desperately to find daycare’s in our price range, we finally found one that we liked. It was secure and parents dropped in all the time. The director was always there and visible. They provided meals and well rounded lessons. This was good for us, but for Johanna…

As I explained before, Johanna is an introvert. She prefers to be around those that she knows really really really well. That would be us, her parents. Other acceptable folks are her grandparents, aunts and cousins. That’s it. She suffered separation anxiety in the worse way when she first got to daycare. I mean falling out screaming! I would leave to put her stroller away and when I was done, I was still able to hear her crying in the classroom. There was no pacifying her. She doesn’t fall out that bad now, thank God, but a year later, she does still cry when being dropped off. The somewhat embarrassing part is that she is the only one. All of the kids look at her and ask if she’s ok. We can’t quite understand why she is still like this. When we leave now, she does stop crying and is just fine. When I pick her up in the evenings and ask her if she had a good day, she always yells “yes!”. So why is the drop-off still so hard? We get down on her level and tell her that we love her and we’ll be back to get her at the end of the day. Then we give her a hug and kiss and tell her bye – cue the tears and the NO MAMA! or NO DADA! We leave out as quickly as possible after that. What exactly are we doing wrong? I ask her about her day and she talks about all of her teachers and friends and she’s really happy. I don’t understand.

Is this anxiety or something more? Have you experienced this? How did you cope?

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7 thoughts on “Separation Anxiety…or Something More?

  1. Amari (3) still cries when we drop her off some days and she has been going to this lady since she was 3 months old. And Amari is an extreme extrovert. They know what they want. They know what they like. Us! Lol. So if they think there is the remote possibility that you might say “mmm, Ok you can stay with mommy today” they will give it a whirl. She sounds perfectly normal to me!


  2. JoJo looks so happy when I see her in the mornings and at the end of the day when I drop and pick up Zo so I can’t explain it. Hope that assures you that she’s fine. I can’t explain the anxiety, but hoping it’s just a phase for her.


  3. Went through it with all 3 kids when they were in daycare. I think that part of this is that they have a very different concept of time than we do, and in that moment when we leave, they think it’s “forever.” Then, they settle into their day and have fun with those around them. However, it’s a sign that she’s in a great daycare if she’s happy at pick up. But I know it doesn’t make that initial separation any easier!


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