Leaving Your Baby With a Sitter for the First Time

Suzanne Murray

photo by charismatic

I'm scared. Tomorrow my husband and I are going to see the new Katie Holmes play in New York City. But that's not why I'm afraid. I got the tickets this summer, when my daughter was just 6 months old. I thought I'd get back to being my former gal-about-town, theater-going self. Before I bought the tickets, I e-mailed my mother (who lives four hours away) to see if she could come babysit (I trust very few people with my baby). Do you see where this is going?

Here's e-mail #1: "Hi, Mom, I got tickets to a play on October 18, can you come babysit? We'll probably be gone for about six hours."

After I wrote that e-mail, I got sick to my stomach. My head starting spinning ...

So I sent out e-mail #2: "Hi, Mom, I was thinking, maybe instead of you watching the baby here, you could come into the city, drop us off at the theatre, take the baby someplace fun, then meet us at the theatre immediately after the play."

Now, I cannot breathe. I can not breathe.

Gasping for air, and shakily typing, I sent e-mail #3: "Hi, Mom, I've got two tickets to a play in October. It's supposed to be really good. Do you want them?"

All right, so e-mail #3 was sort of meant as a joke. I told myself, "Things will be different in October, the baby will be almost 10 months old."

It's October 17. The play is tomorrow. I'm still afraid to leave her. I confess: We've only left her twice before, both times with my mom, and only for two hours each time. This will be for a much longer period of time. And there's another thing: I breastfeed my daughter and she's never had a bottle. My baby's going to starve to death! (Okay, okay, so maybe the solid foods will hold her over. But I am so worried.)

Am I the only Baby Mama who feels this way? It seems like all the moms in my playgroup are okay going to work, going on dates, leaving their babies overnight. Am I a freak?

I check out Answers.

"Anonymous" asked, "Why do I feel so sad and scared when we leave our baby ... for a couple of hours ... will this soon pass?"

No, I was not "Anonymous," but I very well could have been. Anway, everyone said it was normal to feel that way.

Okay, so now I'm thinking maybe I'm normal ... but it doesn't make me feel any more certain about leaving my baby.

I check out Answers again.

WorkLessLiveGre asked about leaving her 1-year-old son overnight. "I'm just not ready to leave my baby ... any advice?"

Feesharose wrote, "You are going to have to let go at some point and it is time!"

BUSYMAMA5 said, "You just have to do it. That's the only way to get over it. It is sooo hard."

Anonymous said, "Go have fun with your husband. That grandmother will love that baby and they will have so much fun together!"

These CafeMoms get me psyched up and make me feel like I have to be courageous, like I can do it. But tomorrow is another day. I still suspect I'll be so stressed out I won't be able to enjoy the day. What if the baby has a meltdown? What if she's hungry? What if a terrorist blows up all the bridges leaving Manhattan and I can't get home? What if Tom Cruise jumps up on the stage and starts jumping up and down on a couch? What if ... what if ... what if?

When was the first time you left your baby for longer than you felt comfortable and how did you deal with it?

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