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Ah. We are going through exactly the same thing right now.
She will follow me to the door (she knows I;m leaving as soon as she sees me put my shoes on and grab my purse), hug my legs tightly and wail "mamma, mamma, mamma, mamma." I pry her loose gently, kiss the top of her head, and close the door and can hear her screams and wails as I wait for the elevator, and it kills me every single time. I have to make a mighty, mighty effort not to run back home and take off my shoes and just call in sick.
I make a point of saying goodbye to her, even though it is torture for me, because all the stuff I've read says it's even worse for them if you don't - it's as if you suddenly vanished into thin air.
But I have to confess that I wonder about it every.single.time, and that the urge to sneak out while she is happily playing is huge.
One way we've found to soften the blow is to have her in her father's arms as I leave, so when I wave bye bye she waves bye bye back and it's all a jolly game. My husband reports that she cries much less that way - maybe she feels less abandoned? But it's so hard, still.

I used to be a nanny and the mother would sneak out EVERY SINGLE TIME and would most often choose to sneak out when the child was asleep. As a consequence he would never play by himself if she was there: she had to be in plain view or he would become hysterical within seconds. And secondly if she was home and it was time for him to sleep he would flat out refuse to have a nap and would become hysterical and vomit in the bed if the issue was forced. Another job the mum would leave and wave goodbye and the child would be very upset (and know mum was too) but within minutes the little girl was all happy and content again.

I say you should say goodbye and be all cheerful and upbeat about it. It must be hard, my little one is like your kate "yeah whatever, bye, go have coffee, sheesh are you *not* gone yet lady?"

good luck

p.s. enjoy reading your blog, have for ages. Your journey gave me more hope and strength than you can possibly imagine

I'm with Stackas, I used to be a nanny as well and found (after trying many different ways) that saying goodbye with the nanny right there, holding and hugging the kids makes them much less afraid of turning around and not finding you there. Knowing that you have left, and knowing that there is still someone there within arms-reach to hug them means that they get over the inevitable tears much sooner.
And in my experience having the nanny tell them when mummy/daddy will be home again helps also ("Let's show this to mummy when she comes home after dinner" kinda thing). After all, we all like to know what to expect.

That said, there may be ways to make it easier on the kids, but it is still just as hard for you to leave, unless you hire a nanny to hug YOU in the car on the way to work! Not such a bad idea....

Ok, here are my 2 cents from both sides of the fence. I am a child care worker, a teacher and a mum. From the carers perspective it is better for a mother to say goodbye, kiss and cuddle then leave. In most cases, especially if the child feels secure, the miseries last for about 10 -20 minutes, then the child is fine for the rest of the day...usually until Mum's face appears at the centre and then they turn it on to make Mum feel as guilty as possible.
From a mother's perspective there is nothing that makes you feel worse than turning your back on a screaming distressed child because you've "got to get to work". Walking out of the house/centre whatever to the tune of your child's screams is nothing short of horrendous. But, I know that by the time I have driven to the end of the street she's probably playing happliy. I know this because I used to ring up to find out how she was and by the time I had arrived at work she was fine (it's a 20 minute drive from the centre to my workplace). Kids are experts (along with everyone else) on making mothers feel guilty. Trust me on this one....

My daughter just started this as well. She screams bloody murder when I leave her at daycare. It's hard but I just say goodbye and leave her in the arms of her daycare lady(I can hear her screaming all the way down the sidewalk). I was also a nanny for years and I always found this to be the best way.

I know my daughter tends to be a bit dramatic and I also know she is in good hands. Doesn't mean that I don't check my cell phone every 2 seconds to see if they are calling for me to come get her.

Still..when I come back at the end of the day they report that she cried 5 seconds and then happily ate her breakfast.

I say bye-bye, Mommy loves you and will fetch you in the afternoon. So she knows I dont drop her off because I dont love her and let her know when I will be back. Somedays she is just to happy to be at the creche and other days she needs a little kissing and hugging and reassurance that I will be back to take her home. She is 2years. Ek is seker hulle verstaan meer as wat ons dink, so daarom se ek wanneer ek haar weer gaan sien. Dit sal beter raak, belowe!

I am a SAHM and seldom leave my toddler. Now that he is older I do get out more often for longer periods of time. He seems very happy when I return.

The odd thing is he does not cry or carry on when I leave, but when his dada leaves he sits at the door like a puppy and cries. He only cries for less than a minute then it is off to his next exploration.

My husband and I agree that he does not seem like a mama's boy or a daddy's boy. If he did start crying when I left I would still give lots of love and kisses and wave bye bye and leave. I do not want to try to trick or fool him.

I am sure it is hard and would not want to go through it.

I never sneak, it just upsets them more when they realise you are gone...I've had plently of days where I have dropped my screaming son into the arms of the daycare staff and left but it DOES get better with time I promise :)

Good news about the booger. Boogers are so last season.

As for the sneak thing, despite reading and hearing ALL advice to the contrary, I have done the sneak with my kids when they were young (say under 2 or 18 months) but after that made a point of explaining and saying goodbye. My situation is a bit like yours, when I leave them they are with my Mum or sister, so someone they know really well and trust (like Rose). If they are busy and happy, I just leave quietly. So gutless. Esp bad if I've forgotten something (always) and have to come back in the house.

I do understand this isn't ideal though. Some kids get HUGE insecurity issues over a parent just disappearing. So if you can bear it, a few moments of crying is probably better. The child learns to deal with saying goodbye, but at least knows you are going, and that you're calm and confident about it. And the good news is that obviously Rose isn't another "Mum", they miss YOU because YOU are Mum and you are so special to them. No-one can take your place, even though Rose provides excellent care.

It's just so hard, I ended up going SAHM because I couldn't take the leaving any more. But then SAHM has it's absolutely sucky moments too, there's no ideal solution and some people don't have choices at all. I think you're doing fabulously, and seem to spend so much quality time with your kids when you aren't at work. You're a great Mum, even with a booger brooch.

this will go on for a couple years. get used to it. then they'll get a concept of time and realize that yes, mommy will be coming back.

even when they are older and at school it will be hard - hard to leave them, or not take them to ballet/soccer/rugby/swimming. And although they may not cry then, they will still miss you (Big boys and girls don't cry ya know!)

But don't sneak... I hate that I do it, but what if....

Always say bye and always say "Love you" with a big hug and a big smile and a big kiss.

Even the boogers are worth it... (Was it a keeper?? ;) joking!!)

Say goodbye - wholeheartedly and upbeat :o) Maybe acknowledge his sadness and reinforce you'll see him later. Sneaking out is wrong....he'll never trust you if you do that.
My 20 month old cries passionately when I leave him with my mother. Literally 2 seconds after I've gone he's happy! (I know this because 1: Mum tells me, 2: I can hear the crying stop. 3: I've peeked back through a window on numerous occasions - it cracks me up!)
Validate his feelings by showing him you understand he's sad, then go.

Tertia, it is really hard to say goodbye but it is really important that you do.

Stories can really help even very young children process emotions and events. One thought was to make them a book about what you do and what they do in the day. It can be very simple text with pictures you take on the camera. Something like,
Kate and Adam live with Mummy and Daddy in our house. (Picture of the house) In the morning Mummy gets ready for work. (Picture of you getting ready for work)
Mummy goes to work in her car and goes to meetings.(Pictures of you in the car and at work)Adam and Kate stay with Rose and have lots of fun doing xyz. (Pictures of Kate and Adam doing xyz and having fun) Mum comes home from work and we all have lots of hugs and kisses. (Pictures of the joyful reunion)

Once you have printed the pages get it laminated so it will last longer and I normally just get it spiral bound. Read it often and encourage Rose to read it when you are at work. Hope that helps.

my son is only 8 months old but i always make a point of saying goodbye to him everytime that i leave him. he always gives me this huge grin as he sees me close the door-gosh, its so hard to leave the little one but i know that is for his own good. wouldnt want to live in a trailer park with my brother, not that theres anything wrong with that if you do live with your brother in a trailer park.....

Hi Tertia! I agree with most of the posters, and I've gone through my fair-share of both tearful goodbyes and sneak-outs. The sneak-outs may backfire. If you're worried about the crying because you're leaving, sneaking out may only prevent the crying until they realize you're gone. Then you're not just gone, but OMG WHERE DID YOU GO YOU'RE NEVER COMING BACK!?!?!

I LOVE the book idea (don't forget a page showing Rose showing up to take care of them in the morning!). I suggest explaining what's happening and what's going to happen every single day, crying or not (you or baby, either one is fine!). It's ok to be sad, upset, angry, and you can tell Adam that. "I know you are sad to see me go baby, but I will come back at (insert time of day) to see you!!"

I still leave my 3-year-old crying at the sitter's, and then he cries when I get there to pick him up because he doesn't want to leave!!

When my Pa used to live with us when I was a toddler, I used to pull on his coat in the mornings and say "coat off" because I knew that it meant he was home to play with me, as he took his coat off in the evening wen he got back.

I've found kids deal better if the parents say a nice cheerful goodbye, give a hug and a kiss (or whatever the ritual is) and just go. If you need to have a breakdown in the car fine... but keep things cheerful during the goodbye so that they learn that it's not the end of the world. And I third the book idea, young bubs will accept anything presented as a storybook!

Anne's experience is the same as mine. When I left them at daycare during the toddler stage they would scream and cry (enough to just break your heart), but one of the teachers suggested that I turn the corner and stop and listen. Sure enough, once I was out of sight, the crying stopped -- just like that!

Little buggers! Its hard to believe that they can be manipulative at this age, but they can!

I found that saying goodbye in an upbeat manner, with a reminder that I will be back in the afternoon, eventually paid off.

Its hard to hear them cry.

I sneak out. I leave at like 6:30 AM so they're still asleep and I sneak in their room and say goodbye. If I'm running late or I know they're awake I sneak out without going in there. Two reasons, they'll want me to pick them up and start crying or quite frankly, I'll see them and not want to leave. If they're out of their room in the living room I have to sneak out because if I barely approach the door they start crying. They get over it quickly, but I can't handle hearing them cry or watching them race over crawling to me. Kills me every time and they're only 9 months.

I am a SAHM, so I don't have to leave all that often and I've tried both--sneaking out and saying goodbye and telling her that I have to go and will be back soon--when I leave her with my MIL. The report from my MIL is that the sneaking was worse--Keely spent a lot of time looking for me, heartbreaking, and that she only cries for a minute or two when I tell her goodbye and she knows I'm leaving.

I think Lyndall's idea of a picture storybook is just lovely!

I am lucky right now...my little guy is only 8 months old...I kiss him on the haed (leaving a nice big lipstick outline. Hot Pink is baby's color) and he gives me a big jack-o-lantern grin. I can't bear to think about how that will change and what I will be facing. It WILL break my heart, I am sure.

I think around 18 months is the worst for separation anxiety, at least that's the age my kids were when they started freaking out about me leaving. We kind of used a combination of waving/blowing kisses/quickly running out the door. They knew we were leaving but didn't have time to really dwell on it. But I stay and home and didn't have to go to work every day, just the occasional times that we would go out without them, so maybe that makes a difference with Adam, that it's every day?

It is great that you have such a good boss/nanny situation!

It is so hard when they have trouble when you go, isn't it? I've noticed that it comes in waves, though. Sometimes my daughter blows me off when I try to kiss her goodbye, other times she's so clingy I swear she's made of velcro. Saying goodbye and reminding them when you're coming back (i.e., "Mommy will be back after your snack this afternoon") helps them transition, I think. Sneaking out may be the easy way out, but it doesn't teach them anything.

Oooh, I remember those days well. When Natalie was in daycare she cried bloody murder almost. every. day. (the days she didn't were so damned rare that I'm moved to just go ahead and say every day). I often cried on my short drive to work. It was just so disturbing to me. I couldn't take it in stride like other moms did. What started working for me was a parting ritual. I read somewhere to kiss their hand and leave a lipstick mark and tell them that whenever they miss Mommy, to look at their hand and remember Mommy loves them and will be back soon. Eh. Didn't really do it for me. What I did was different but effective. The playground had rocks and so I started asking her to find me the BEST rock for that day. She did and it became like a game. She's nearly 10 and I still have "playground rocks" from her daycare days in plant pots around the house. So maybe you could create something like that with Adam.

When I moved jobs, Guy took over drop off (which I know is totally unrelated to your situation since you have them at home). That, of course, was much easier. She didn't cry for him. Little manipulator! lol

Sorry this was so ridiculously long. But I SO remember how awful those days felt.

Lord. I fucking hated leaving a crying child. I didn't have to do it that often but it killed me.

We made it through with transitional activities. One sitter always got the cool train set out in the morning so D was psyched to play, and less worried about us leaving. It only stayed out for an hour or so, then was put away for the next morning.

We also did the same with a favorite video - put on the video, say goodbye to the distracted child, less drama all around.

I LOVE the idea of making a book about the day. Very cool.

Oh, yes, I get it too (http://hopefullyhome.blogspot.com/2006/02/hardest-thing.html). How hard it is to walk out the door while that beautiful little fact is scrunched up and crying. I don't always get the red eyes, tears and wailing but almost certainly there is, "don't go to work, mommy. Stay here with me."

But I am like you. I don't want to sneak out on him. I want to make sure that he knows I am coming back. And when I do walk in the door (to excited screams and laughing...ain't that great?) I make sure I tell him how glad I am to see him and that I missed him so much while I was at work.

Yep. It is hard. I feel ya, sweetie.

At my daughter's daycare, they tell you to make sure you always say goodbye, so the child knows you will never just leave when they're not looking. My daughter is rather clingy and still puts up a fuss at 28 months, but I find it helps when her teachers try to get her involved in an activity or breakfast. On good days she barely looks up from what she's doing to say goodbye.

oh, that just killed me, to have to peel a sobbing child off my neck. But I still believe that honesty is the best policy. Sneaking away may be easier in the short term but doesn't it just teach a child that you can't be trusted not to up and leave? I dunno. But it passes. Everything passes. Tomorrow he'll be off to university and you'll be hanging on his neck sobbing, "Don't go! I love you!"

I sneak. If she sees me leave, she has a fit.Purple face crying fit. For a long time. If she just notices I'm gone, husband or babysitter can distract her from her search for me, and she soon forgets she was looking for me in the first place. Have this info first hand.
Lately we make a big deal out of standing at the window and waving goodbye to the car. If she does notice that I'm leaving, all I have to say is go to the window! Wave Bye Bye! and she happily trots off to the appropriate window to see me off. Minimal damage done there. Plus, it's darn cute to see her peeking from behind the curtains waving at me. Doesn't work every time, but lately it is more and more effective. Granted, I leave her maybe once a week....

I always say goodbye. Kids are 2 1/2 & 5. They will remember if I don't say goodbye, producing hysterics later. Also I have a personal preference of knowing, and hate the idea of unpredictability. I think that as Shellah writes above that it's important that your "child knows you will never just leave when they're not looking."


No, I would never sneak off. That would make them insecure and scared. You should always let them know you are going but that you will be back later.

Just curious- is it a possibility for Marko to take a day off to do childcare? I think it's unfair that moms end up with that responsibility most of the time. My dad used to be the one to stay home when we were sick or had drs. appointments and it was great bonding time.

I ALWAYS tell her I'm leaving. Luckily for me when i leave for work she's asleep though, but when I used to leave her at the sitter or evn with my husband I told her I was going. The one time I didn't she didn't let me out of her sight for a month. I couldn't even go to the freakin bathroom alone. Not that I get to much now, but definitely not then. Whenever I'd leave them balling her eyes out I'd call back 5 minutes later and she was in the floor playing with toys. It's a huge guilt trip from the baby. Anyway I have diahreah of the mouth, your doing the right thing even if it doesn't feel like it.

I'm a child care worker as well. And I find it is always better to say goodbye to the child. Explain that you will come back, but you have to go, and he will have Rose to play with.
If you sneak out, and he has to look for you later, he can feel betrayed, or less secure and much less trusting.
For what it's worth (and as a Mum, I do know how hard it is to walk away while they are screaming), in 99% of children, the crying has stopped before Mummy has made it to the car!

Just a thought, a special routine/activity can be a good idea, particularly with clingy children. Perhaps routine of kissing, then going to the window to blow kisses/wave goodbye etc. Then as soon as Mummy is gone, something fun, that he particularly loves. Painting/Bubble Blowing (one of the more popular), outside time etc. It won't take long before he links the two, Mummy leaves, we say Goodbye, but then I get to do xyz..

Just a thought. Works for us at work.

Ava's 15 months, not far behind Adam and Kate...

And just this week has had a very difficult time letting me go to work. But I do still say "Have a fun time today with Miss Quinn! I Love You!" And kiss her and walk out the door.

Routine, routine, routine. It'll help her get over it faster. At least that's what I hope!

Always, always, always say goodbye. If you worry about him, have Rose call you the moment he stops crying. Going on experience with my children, that will probably be before you're at the end of the street.
He is still trying to make sense of his world, and to see what will happen if he does such and such, and whether he can make you change your mind. You have to go to work, so all you can do is tell him that he will be fine, and pass him to the wonderful lady you have chosen to take care of him. You are in charge, and he ultimately has to accept that.

Sneaking out just seems so... dishonest.

The other way, it's upsetting, but sincere.

I would opt for the honest, sincere, upsetting truth.


Here's what I do with my 19-month olds:

Say g'bye ... kisses all around ... lots of crying - but usually by the time the car leaves the driveway, they're over it. I use to call my husband and ask "Are they still crying?!" and would be surprised that for the fit they were throwing just seconds earlier ... now they are laughing hysterically in the background.

The only time I've ever *snuck* out on them was today. First time ever. But, it was also the first time (kinda sorta) I left them with somebody other than my DH ...at a place outside of our home (gym daycare). Even then - they did fine. But, if they'd SEEN me leaving - I know that I would have been in for trouble. T*R*O*U*B*L*E. But, if in the house - with someone familiar - definitely say good bye.

My b/g twins are now 5. Same situation - my husband and I both work and our Nanny has taken care of the kids during the day since they were 10 months old. We have always made a point of saying good-bye and over the years it has, fortunately or unfortunately, turned into a rather long good-bye ritual that we have to go through every time we leave. There are specific hugs, specific kisses, blowing kisses, specific phrases (now it is "Wish you babycakes, Angel!" - no idea where that came from...and to signify you have received a kiss blown to you, you must say "Got it on my nose, my cheek and my bum!" with appropriate pointing) and waving galore. But if they get to go through all these antics, they are fine, if not, they are heart-broken. [I think they've tranferred their anxiety about us leaving from us to the ritual itself.] We go through this when leaving for work, when I drop them off at pre-school, when I go to the market, when the Nanny leaves, etc. Every once in a while one of the kids will say they don't need to say good-bye but they've never been able to pull it off - there is always a last minute frantic dash to the door. It is taxing at times ... and time consuming... but saying good-bye is...well...just the polite thing to do, even with your kids. I don't want mine to think sneaking out okay. But I do look forward to the day when a simple "Bye, Mom!" is enough.

Have not read other comments, and I am SAHM. But, I always tell them when I am leaving. I used to work at a day camp and know that though the kids would sometimes cry when the parents left, they almost always stopped pretty quickly unless A)The parents dragged (drug?) it out and kept coming back for more and more kisses or B) The parents snuck out when the kid was playing, which made the kid panicked every morning at drop off wondering when they would do it again.
Of course, I don't have to do it on a daily basis...

SA question: Why is it "blue murder"? At least in this part of the US (Midwest) I've always heard "bloody murder", which makes a lot more sense if you think of it. I'd think if you were being murdered and turning blue you wouldn't be yelling?

Just curious.

So far, both my older boys (now 6 and 3) have gone through a spell where they were hysterical as I left. After experiencing the Drama Drama Drama of a parent who just can't leave ... (I took care of my friends kids 2 days/week for a year) ... my response has been very matter of fact, ignore the sobbing, and pretend it's all good. Me, upbeat: "Bye Baby, I know you're sad. XXX will take good care of you while I'm gone, and I'll be home for supper."

So far, Clone #3 hasn't seen fit to have a fit when I leave, though he has pulled out some heartbroken tears + quivering upside-down-U mouth for Daddy departures. I'm sure it is just a matter of time.

I understand the urge to sneak out, but I think it's a mistake in the long run -- the same for extended, overly apologetic goodbyes.

Well, the only "person" I have to say goodbye to is my tabby cat, who starts ignoring me immediately when he figures out I'm leaving and bites me if I try to say goodbye. However, I MUST have that pumpkin soup recipe. MUST!

... Please? *flutters eyelids*

It's totally normal at this age. Wait for when he cries when you come home, and he knows Rose is going to leave soon. Oi. THat makes me happy my kids love their nanny so, but it does cut to the heart, sometimes. BUT, it's totally normal.

I leave my 20 month old son at daycare every morning before work. I always hug and kiss him goodbye and tell him I will be back later, before I leave. I then try to re-direct to him to a toy or one of the teachers, and then leave when he is not focused on me. I guess that is a little sneaky, and it doesn't always work well. At times, he will turn around to look for me and then run up to me clinging to my legs. I also feel so guilty when this happens. His teachers always tell me that he will be fine and that the crying stops a few minutes after I leave. Luckily it is happening less and less now, but when it does, it breaks my heart:(

I leave my 20 month old son at daycare every morning before work. I always hug and kiss him goodbye and tell him I will be back later, before I leave. I then try to re-direct to him to a toy or one of the teachers, and then leave when he is not focused on me. I guess that is a little sneaky, and it doesn't always work well. At times, he will turn around to look for me and then run up to me clinging to my legs. I also feel so guilty when this happens. His teachers always tell me that he will be fine and that the crying stops a few minutes after I leave. Luckily it is happening less and less now, but when it does, it breaks my heart:(

Question from the other side:
What do you do as the sitter, who *knows* the baby will stop crying as soon as the parents leave, but the parents just won't go?

They try to soothe the baby, run around in their nice, going-out-to-dinner clothes grabbing snacks and videos and toys and giving hugs and trying to change diapers, etc., etc., with their frenetic, distressed behaviour making the baby even more upset, all the while I'm saying, "just go - he'll be fine, honest."

- Should I be firm and say, "just leave already"?
- Should I be timid and polite and say, "perhaps if you go..."?
- Should I loudly state, "either you leave right now, or I will"?

Or should I just stop sitting for these folks because they're making me crazy?

I say goodbye, b/c I don't want them (them being my sons, ages 3.5 and 18 months) to suddenly realize I'm not there.
Also, to be honest, gross as it sounds, I like finding spots of spit up, pancake syrup and smudges of "I don't know what but it isn't mine and it was left by something/someone about 3 feet tall" on my clothes. Not so much the boogers, but the rest is okay!

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