It’s all going to kick off. I have a new job, which is
exciting and scary. It also means that our kids will need to get used to a new carer.
This young lady will now pick my children up from school
three days per week and give them their dinner. I know millions of people do
it, but this feels pretty radical to me. I mean, the wicked joy that someone
else will have to sit there cajoling them to eat nicely is one thing. But, on
the other hand, I do have my concerns about attachment and bonding.
Will the children still need me? There, I’ve said it. The
inner most fear of many a parent, no doubt. It’s rarely voiced because it’s a
bit pathetic, a bit needy. But it is also real. Will the children find that
anyone can feed them, pick them up, chat to their teacher and the other
parents, and that I’m expendable? Will this childminder be a greater comfort,
more fun, a better cook?
Am I expendable? Can any adult do what I do, but better and
without the frayed edges? Do the kids love me, or just love being cared for?
If I am feeling this insecure about the depth of our
relationship it’s probably not surprising. After all, it’s only been four
years, three of which were often turbulent and unpleasant, quite honestly – not
the ideal ground for bonding, loving and attachment. And, if I am feeling this
insecure, I expect that the children are too. Should I broach it? How?
I wonder what kind of impact the new relationship with this
other significant adult is going to have on our family dynamic. Is having a
childminder like having another new parent? Will they be comparing and playing
us off against each other, like they did when they moved here from the foster
family? Will the childminder agree with our parenting styles or will there be
friction there? Will our boundaries break down?
Will the children think I’ve abandoned them, or will they ‘get it’ that I need a job now, even though I didn’t before? How will they make sense of it?
The other thing is, that when I was asked, pre-adoption,
what I’d do about work, my immediate, convinced answer was that I’d never work
again, by choice. I certainly wouldn’t ask anyone else to do any childminding –
I wanted to do it all. But I found not being in paid employment really, really
hard. The tragedy of our drone mentality is that it’s almost impossible to be
the stay at home parent without experiencing huge guilt. I felt too guilty to claim
any of my partner’s income, so had no money. I felt too guilty to enjoy hanging
out with the kids and spent my time cleaning, cooking, volunteering, studying
or job seeking to justify my existence.
This isn’t adoption specific, but it’s part of the
surprising fact of being a parent. I’ve gone to great pains to do the amazing
thing I wanted to do (have a family), rushed through it guiltily to get back to
work and now someone else is going to look after my children. Crazy.
Maybe this shift, with someone else taking on after-school
care for half the week, will make me a better parent? I pray that it’s so. I
pray that I will be able to enjoy those four days of just being a mum with no
guilt. And that the mum they get is well rounded, not frayed and jagged; secure
not needy. Let’s see.