Elroi / Fotolia

My Kid Cries When We Try To Leave Her, & My HEART

Ad failed to load

Our resident advice-giver-outer Jenny True provides shouty, full-hearted answers to your niggling questions about pregnancy and parenthood in her column What The Actual. Warning: This is not a f*cking baby-and-me singalong, this is about yelling into the cosmos and actually hearing something back, sometimes in the form of an all-caps swear. Jenny isn't an ~expert~, but she has a lot of experience being outraged on your behalf. To submit your questions to Jenny, email advice@romper.com.

Dear Jenny,

My kid (almost 3) cries whenever we leave her. I attribute the separation anxiety to the fact that we fired our caregiver six months ago without warning or (truthfully) explaining it to her. We thought we were making the departure easier for her, but I think it just confused her and made her reluctant to trust anyone who isn't us (if she even trusts us at this point).

Ad failed to load

Someone new just started, and when left alone with her, my daughter screams for over an hour or until we go in, whichever comes first. I'm afraid the new caregiver, who is warm and nurturing and all the things you want, will quit or that one of us will keep having to be home with them. Do kids get over this? What's the best way to proceed? The way things are right now isn't sustainable.

(Note: I am certain the new caregiver is not being harsh or otherwise inappropriate. We've had that before, which was terrible, but that's fortunately not an issue now.)

Separately Anxious

Ad failed to load

Dear Anxious,


I was a caregiver for six years. This is what it's like to care for other people's kids: COMPLICATED. Some parents are dope and leave you food and tip at holidays and speak to you as if they respect you since you're taking care of their children. I WILL NEVER UNDERSTAND BEING RUDE TO DOMESTIC WORKERS YOU KNOW WE'RE ALONE IN YOUR HOUSE ALL DAY RIGHT. (One nanny I met said an affluent client once suggested she not be paid when the baby was asleep, since she "wasn't doing anything." "I'll just pop down to the pub then," said the nanny.)

Ad failed to load

I was a pretty decent caregiver. I sang endless rounds of "The Rainbow Connection," I played tickle tag even though I really fucking hate being tickled, and I did not shake a single baby! On the other hand, here is a list of things I did wrong, which is not exhaustive so as not to incriminate myself:

  1. Ate ice cream that did not belong to me out of the container with a spoon.
  2. Stole a cool plastic necklace from a three-year-old, then brought it back the next day because guilt.
  3. Microwaved my lunch, which was sardines, so the condo smelled like microwaved sardines.
  4. Obsessively checked my email on family's computer and then deleted browser history but family were computer whizzes and figured out some other way I still don't understand that I was obsessively checking email and politely asked me to stop obsessively checking email when I was supposed to be playing tea party with their daughter.

Also, it took me years to stop making the joke to my clients that I was "making all my mistakes on other people's kids." I thought it was hilarious. Now that I have a kid I understand this was not hilarious.

Ad failed to load
I understand how painful it is to hear your kid cry.

To a one, every kid who cried during goodbyes stopped IMMEDIATELY IF NOT SOONER once the parents had left. The parents who stayed home to "just work in the other room" or hesitated upon leaving and tried to comfort their kids made it SO MUCH FUCKING WORSE JESUS JUST FUCKING LEAVE SO I CAN GET BACK TO EATING YOUR CHOCOLATE CHIPS BY THE HANDFUL AND WEIGHING MYSELF ON YOUR SCALE.


Ad failed to load


Now: I may have taken care of other people's kids for six years, but I've only been a mom for six months. This is how it feels to give other moms advice: COMPLICATED. Mostly, I understand how painful it is to hear your kid cry. When my son was 3 months old, he had a meltdown in gridlock on the San Francisco Bay Bridge. We had to pull onto a shoulder, surrounded by hundreds of cars, and when we finally came to a stop, I nearly ripped his onesie in my desperation to get him into my arms. My desperation was held only slightly in check by the knowledge that I shouldn't take him out of his car seat before we'd stopped moving. I am so sorry your daughter won't stop crying.

Last year, I got pregnant at the age of 39. Five months later, I moved in with my boyfriend. Three weeks later, I married my boyfriend. I was working two jobs and doing 90 percent of the baby preparation YES I WAS, HONEY, COMING HOME WITH A PIZZA CUTTER INSTEAD OF DIAPERS IS NOT PREPARING FOR A BABY. I had to-do lists coming out of my ass.

Ad failed to load

I also was taking public transportation to work, which is unpleasant even when you don't have a 40-pound tummy goiter pressing on your butthole. One rainy morning, when my feet hurt, my ass hurt, and the last of my sex appeal was being choked by a neck roll, I got off the train, walked into a Panera Bread Company, sat in a window seat, and cried in public. Then I called in sick for the first time in four years and went home for the day.

You've had to make a lot of hard choices lately to protect your daughter, and she's still adjusting. She's crying in public, and SHE WILL BE HEARD. She needs a back massage, a hot bath, a glass of carbonated water with a splash of orange juice BUT NOT TOO MUCH THO and someone to tell her it's all going to be OK and distract her with some totally wrong jokes.

To your original, delicately phrased question, paraphrased here: WILL OUR NANNY QUIT BECAUSE OUR KID IS CRYING?

Ad failed to load

No. Your nanny is just fine.

I hung in there even after a 10-year-old snapped a pencil in half and told me he would do the same to me, although I scared the shit out of him by dragging him to a time-out chair by his wrist and calling his parents. OH HELL NO.


Ad failed to load

<3 Jenny

Check out Romper's new video series, Bearing The Motherload, where disagreeing parents from different sides of an issue sit down with a mediator and talk about how to support (and not judge) each other’s parenting perspectives. New episodes air Mondays on Facebook.

Ad failed to load
Ad failed to load
Must Reads

These Millennial Parents Are Taking Gender-Neutral Parenting To An Entirely New Level

A woman on the subway looks at my bulbous shape and asks, “What are you having?” I take a deep breath and throw a glance to my 5-year-old. “I’m having a baby,” I say to the woman. “No, no” the woman says laughing as she pushes further. “Are you havin…
By Madison Young

I’m Registered At Babies “R” Us, & I'm Freaking The Hell Out

Hi. My name is Abi, and I’m registered at Babies “R” Us — and I’m freaking out. This may sound silly, but after being a die-hard Toys “R” Us kid, I was so excited to register at their baby store once my husband and I finally got our big fat positive …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

My Daughter Is Obsessed With Being "Pretty" & I'm Way Past Terrified

Last week, when I picked up my daughter after school, she immediately wanted to know if I liked her hair. "Is it pretty?" she asked. Her hair was pulled up into two ponytails that were intertwined into thick, long braids. A shimmering pink and purple…
By Dina Leygerman

7 Things No One Tells You About Having A Baby In Your 20s, But I Will

I was 24 when I found out I was pregnant with my daughter. The pregnancy was a surprise, since I was on birth control (side note: antibiotics and birth control don't mix), but my partner and I decided to continue with the pregnancy and committed to m…
By Candace Ganger

Women Who Miscarry Early Deserve To Grieve — Here's How Hospitals Should Be Helping

When I lost my baby back in 2013, it was because of a very early miscarriage. Because of the little amount of time I spent being pregnant, it was though my child had never really existed, which made the next few years hard — I felt like they had been…
By Risa Kerslake

7 Things I Wish My Partner Had Said To Me In The First Hour After Giving Birth

I don't know if it was the buzz of the surrounding machines, the non-existent cry of our son as the doctors tried to resuscitate him, or the fact that I'd already been through labor and delivery once before, but I knew something was missing after I h…
By Candace Ganger

Moms’ Groups Weren’t For Me, Sorry

I go to my moms’ club everyday of the week, but not usually on weekends. My moms' group is a place I can always count on finding fellow mothers who understand the daily struggles and triumphs of parenthood and of juggling life’s responsibilities. Dep…
By Samantha Taylor

Millennial Women Are Getting Married Later Than Gen X, & The Reasons Why Are Pretty Badass

The battle of the generations seems to come up when it comes to every lifestyle or career choice people make. Women, especially, are an important demographic when it comes to analysts looking at the lifestyle choices we make or the expected milestone…
By Josie Rhodes Cook

I've Had 3 Miscarriages But *Please* Keep Telling Me About Your Pregnancy

I can feel the tension the moment my friend announces her pregnancy. I can hear the forced nonchalant attitude she's willing herself to exude as she fishes for the ultrasound. I know why I was the last to learn that she was expecting; why she keeps l…
By Danielle Campoamor

7 Early Signs You're Going To Need An Epidural, According To Experts

Even if you've constructed an elaborate birth plan, it's impossible to control every aspect of labor and delivery. Complications can occur, proactive measures might be necessary, and your mind is subject to change when those damn contractions really …
By Candace Ganger

I'm Pregnant & I Refuse To Read Any Parenting Books

I didn't read any parenting books when I was expecting my daughter, and I refuse to read any parenting books as I await my second child now. I'm the first to admit that I don't really know what I'm doing when it comes to raising my daughter. A good d…
By Marie Southard Ospina

7 Reasons Why March Babies Are Total Badasses

From the moment you become pregnant, you begin to wonder what your little one will be like. Will they look like you, your partner, or your Great Aunt Edna? Will they be the quiet, thoughtful type or arrive on this planet raring to go? It's fun to ima…
By Caroline Shannon-Karasik

12 Overnight Face Masks To Use To Wake Up Feeling Pampered AF

Spring is right around the corner, and as far as I'm concerned, the sunshine and warm breezes can't come soon enough. But now that we're about to say goodbye to winter, it's a good time to take stock of your facial skincare routine. You know, in the …
By Katie Malczyk

11 Essential Products To Pack In Your Hospital Bag, According To OB-GYNs

The minute you go into labor (or think you're going into labor), chaos ensues. You and your partner are likely to get a little frantic, just like in the movies, so you most definitely want to have a hospital bag packed before the day comes. This prec…
By Abi Berwager Schreier

7 Photos You *Must* Take In The First 6 Months Of Motherhood

In my experience, becoming a mom is like becoming an amateur photographer. There's just something about the need to capture every single coo and sorta-smile that leaves you obsessed with all things photography. I know I couldn't stop taking selfies w…
By Candace Ganger

Here's How Early An Ultrasound Can Actually Determine Your Baby's Sex

From the moment you see those two lines on a pregnancy test, there are a few markers along the way that stand out as especially exciting. Amongst them are hearing your baby's heartbeat and feeling that first, sweet little kick. And if you are finding…
By Caroline Shannon-Karasik

9 Easy Kid Foods To Turn Green, Just In Time For St. Patrick's Day

The best part about having kids is that you get your own personal crew to celebrate the holidays with, in all your color coordinating and matching glory. And with St. Patrick’s Day right around the corner, you are obviously working on turning everyth…
By Mishal Ali Zafar

Here Are Some Conditions That Might Require You To Be On Bed Rest During Pregnancy

When I worked in an office, I worked with quite a few pregnant ladies all at the same time. Something must have been in the water, because while I was there for three years, two of my coworkers got pregnant twice, and another girl was pregnant with h…
By Abi Berwager Schreier

I Didn't Follow The Pregnancy Diet Rules & My Daughter Turned Out Just Fine

My diet is an ever-changing and wholly personal thing, which is precisely why I refused to follow any pregnancy diet rules when I was expecting my daughter. For years, I've essentially practiced intuitive eating, in that I listen to my body and eat w…
By Marie Southard Ospina

5 Foods You & Your Partner Should Eat If You're Trying To Get Pregnant

When you're trying to conceive (TTC) and it's just not happening, it's easy to feel like you're doing something wrong. It can be soul-crushing to keep seeing negatives when all you really want to do is wave a positive pregnancy test in the air. So wh…
By Kate Miller