I always envisaged that I would master the motherhood skills once I become a mother. I day dreamt of the days I would wake up all fresh, get some alone time for my morning coffee, peacefully prepare breakfast for my little family (just the 3 of us) and tackle any domestic and motherhood obstacles throughout the day, all on my own. However, once I stepped into the motherhood, all things became reorganized overnight, priorities had to be changed, and plans for the day split over the span of the week days.
It would amaze me how many women with infant (or more kids) would manage to stay chic, get some “me time” and still tick off lots of tasks for the day. But little did I know, that many of those beautiful women had a reliable source of help and support. As days went by after the birth of my son, I started to realize that there is still a chance to bring back some liveliness and radiance back to my life, my new “motherhood” life. The secret behind this was to easily accept any help and support offered by family and relatives. Luckily, we have our family with us in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, who are constantly arguing who will be looking after Sultan the next week:)
I convinced myself about 5 months post birth to allow my baby to visit my husband’s family every other day. It was a torturing process, having to see my husband take Sultan in his car seat with a pre-filled bottle of milk and a few dangling toys attached to his car seat. Although I knew he will back in couple of hours, but back then it felt like I was not supposed to let him go anywhere without me. On the other hand, in his absence, I managed to get back on track, do the house chores more efficiently, such as cleaning, laundry and cooking etc. Other days I would pump and store away some milk for Sultan to go with him the next time he was taken to the grandparents. It helped me become more organized and anticipate what other plans I could make to fit during those so needed hours of alone time.
I learned to ignore judgmental opinions of strangers, since, when asked where Sultan was, I openly told them he was away at parents’. Not too many strangers would know that I rarely bring in maids to do the house chores for me, since I am a cleanliness freak and do not trust anyone doing my duties and responsibilities. Managing to clean, cook and look after an infant all on your own is literally a race, which anyone will fail without additional help and support. It was a very important lesson I learnt, go with the flow, do as I think is right and do NEVER listen to strangers’ opinions, unless “They have walked in my shoe for a mile”.
I started experiencing and cherishing the true meaning of so called mommy “me time”. Very practical and well utilized time.
Gradually, Sultan stayed with our families over nights. This meant I could begin planning bigger things to accomplish. However, there were quite many tips that were helpful in making sure Sultan’s stay away from us was tantrum and stress free, for him, as well as for us. I would love to share these tips with every parent who is doubting or planning to send their baby to grandparents or nursery / daycare etc.. Here they are:
Be Consistent To Avoid Separation Anxiety
Although it was very hard to leave Sultan or let him go to grandparents without me, especially that he was still an infant, it is always easier to teach a baby from early on that mama will sometimes be away. The baby might not be realizing the absence of the mother at infancy, however, if you stick to a routine he will grow up to understand that it is actually fun spending some day with his parents and others with grandparents or other relatives (who you trust of course). It is said that babies up to 6 months do not make out the concept of object permanence (the fact that the mother/father exist when they are not with them). That’s why it is best to start early on, even for couple of hours, since by 8 months children become aware that when you leave, you’re somewhere out there, so they’re much more prone to separation anxiety. In our case, Sultan has never experience such anxiety due to our absence, as he stayed at grandparent’s’ regularly for at least 3 times a week.
Make Sure Baby Is Familiar With The Caregiver
Since there is probably no people other than a family we can trust, we only entrust to keep Sultan at grandparents’, either in Dubai or Abu Dhabi. Both the families are well aware of Sultan’s night sleeping & nap routines, what dosage of medication to be given at what intervals (if any), as well as when and what he eats. Sultan knows and recognizes each and every family member, and there has never been a problem with that. Although, in my absence, he tends to seek comfort either at my mother’s or my mother-in-law’s armsJ It is probably his instinct that the woman who feeds, cuddles and plays with him, is the most similar to his mama.
Talk To Your Baby About Why You Going To Be Away
It is no secret that parents and family are encouraged to talk to their children although they are still not capable of understanding every word. Generally, it is very important to talk or to read to your child. However, talking to your child is even more important during separation (short or long). Every time before he goes away from you, since he relies on your voice tone and attitude from birth onwards, tell him he is going to grandparents and that he will have so much fun there. But also make sure to tell him that mommy is going to come back.
Wave And Say Good-Bye
No wonder Sultan has learnt to understand and wave us a good-bye and a blow kiss. Every time he goes away, I make sure to kiss, hug and wave him good bye. This way he adapted to separation easily. Sometimes I sing him his favorite rhyme before he goes, just to reassure him that everything is okay.
The most important lesson Sultan has learned is that when I am away, he will be safe and will have fun regardless whether I am around or not, and that eventually when mommy is back she will take him out to a playground.