Missing Firsts

PSP working moms talk about "missing firsts" - first steps, first words, first swing set rides... Here, parents share their tips for dealing with the fear of missing out!


Original Poster:

"I'm writing you all because I think you'll understand. I just got a photo text from my excellent new nanny - the photos are my daughter, Annabel, on the baby swing at the playground. It's her first time on the swings and she looks sooo happy. The photos are cute, and I'm grateful our nanny captured the moment and is taking such good care of Annabel. But my first thought when I saw the photos - I felt so sad I missed her first time on the swings! I forwarded the texts to my husband, and he said the same thing. I know it's inevitable we'll miss milestones along the way, and we'll be right with her for so many more, but this is the first one I've missed, so it feels tough.

Any experienced moms out there have some words of wisdom for getting through these moments?"




There will be other firsts that you WILL get to see:

"I know exactly how you feel and went through the same exact 'firsts' scenario which was the swing as well, sent the picture my nanny sent to my husband and he had the same reaction as yours!  I got over it in about 5 minutes realizing how thankful I am to have such a fantastic nanny that takes such great care of my 10 month old Isabella. She constantly sends me pictures and I love the pics which really help me throughout the rough work days! Also, there will be MANY more firsts which you and/or your husband will get to experience and witness! For example, yesterday my husband was at work but I witnessed [my child] pull herself up to standing for the first time!"


Remember you are building your child's future:

"I know how hard it can be. But don't worry - you can still participate in these "firsts." Your daughter will love the swings just as much this weekend when you get a chance to take her to the playground.  And it will still be quite new to her! It also helps to think about the fact that you are building toward her future by working - both financially, but also by being a role model.  So what you are doing is for her as well. I hope that helps. And if not, maybe you can rush home a little early and take her out for a second trip to the playground tonight, or even tomorrow morning!"


Create a lists of first you don't want to miss:

"I felt the same way when our nanny sent pictures of our daughter's first trip to the zoo. I did a couple of things. First, I managed my own feelings about it: She'll have many trips to the zoo, she won't remember this one, and she'll be no less delighted by the zoo when my husband and I take her. (Sure enough, we've taken her several times and she still seems to think it's pretty magical!) It's hard, because - for me, at least - I had to separate it out from the general feeling of being away all day and missing EVERYTHING. I tried to remember that this was about one trip to the zoo and nothing bigger than that. I was sad, but I got over it quickly.
Then, my husband and I made a list of "firsts" we really didn't want to miss and shared them with our nanny, who was fine with that.
Funny enough, we didn't even think about swings - and I was delighted when my nanny sent pictures of my daughter on the swings because I would never have guessed she was big enough yet! I guess for me it's all about the bittersweet transition from being my baby's whole world to being an important influence - but not the only one - in my little girl's life. She'll have teachers, friends, relatives, etc. who will introduce her to amazing things that I might not have. "


Missing firsts will happen whether  you are at work or not!

"As I was trying to think of something sensitive and empathetic to say, all I could come up with was something that made me laugh. I was thinking that it isn't necessarily work that makes us miss some "firsts". We could just as easily be in the bathroom when they decide to roll over or at the gynecologist when they first pull to stand. We can't be with our kids 24/7 and we will certainly miss some things but it's better that your nanny is taking her to do sme fun things than if she were sitting staring at a wall so that your daughter wouldn't do anything for the first time when you're not around.

and another members reflects further on this - there are some firsts that are out of your control:

"Maybe I'm too sentimental, but I think there are firsts that we can't predict or control - like steps or words - and we may have to miss some of those, but then there are firsts that are only happening because an adult is making them happen - like swings or zoo or a concert, and I think it's ok to say "please don't take my kid to do x thing until I've taken her." Then make sure to take her or him so you do have at least those firsts together...

I'm going to make a list like a previous poster mentioned - really like that idea."


You will always be first in your child's eyes:

"Hang in there...I'm sure that every single mother in this group has been through exactly as you describe. I certainly have. These things hurt so much but no matter what, you're her mom and she will love you (even if she spends years in therapy b/c of that time you missed her first swing."


Chances are your child might not even remember!

"My son's first nanny took him on his first outing to the zoo with his nanny share when he was 4 or 5 months old. I remember crying when I got the picture because I had wanted to be the one to take him. Now two years later, he doesn't remember that trip to the zoo at all. But he does remember all the times we've gone together as a family. It's hard to miss the first time on the swing, but you'll be there for so many others and the memories she'll have of being pushed will be with her mom and dad."


Make your own firsts and rituals:

"Oh, I have missed so many firsts—first swing, first music class, first steps.  It has helped to have things that are our things to do together, like dancing around the living room to Fleetwood Mac and finger painting and sharing favorite books from my childhood.  There are a million firsts, really.  Just this morning my seventeen month old grabbed a tissue and pretended to blow her nose for the first time—I have a sinus infection and she's clearly been watching me burn through the Kleenex…."


It can still be a first - for YOU:

"Someone else recently wrote that the First Time of everything only happens for their kids when they personally see it - that way you're always looking forward to some thing rather than regretting missing something.  It's really all about your perception.  It like I tell my kids - it's your choice to have a certain feeling so choose happy instead of sad, angry, etc."

and another parents says something similar:

"My daughter is two, yet still, every time i give her that first push on the swings, it feels like the first time when i see the look on her face.  You *will* experience every bit of the joy when you see it for yourself.
The same goes for the other "firsts".  I missed my daughter's first steps (and don't get me wrong--I felt how you feel), but it didn't make it any less special when I witnessed it for myself.  And your daughter's not going to remember who was there for the 'official' first time--she's just growing and learning and having a good 'ol time, and that's what you'll be grateful for."


"As for missing firsts - been there. Felt that. The way I deal: "Its her first with our nanny. She'll have her first with Mummy ( and Daddy) tonight/this weekend."


Think about the firsts you care about most:

"Yes it is hard. But we have to think about which firsts we care about the most. For me it is first day of school, first recital etc. Some other firsts are unpredictable. So I think you just do your best to plan around first that matter, and don't sweat the others. And I agree with what others said...the financial security, the role model you provide is so incredibly valuable. I am always so happy when my now 8 year old daughter says she wants to be a doctor or a private equity executive yet someone who has 3 kids and work life balance...I'd rather she be thinking about real choices women make everyday than say she wants to be a "mom" - which is what I hear other girls her age (usually not new yorkers) say."


Sometimes those firsts aren't as special or well planned as you hoped for:

"FWIW, the first time I took [my daughter] to the swings, she grinned for approximately 4 seconds (while I snapped a photo for my husband, who was working) and then she promptly bonked her head on the front of the seat and started sobbing.  Subsequent swinging sessions have been relatively more successful, though she's still fearful that the seat is going to try to bite her.


Tell your childcare provider NOT to share firsts with you:

"Maybe this is something to think about????? as exciting as it is for say the nanny, daycare, dad, etc. what if nothing was ever spoken of the said "1st" then you would always experience it "1st" "


Remember, there are always photos and videos:

"As working moms, were blessed to be living in an era where we are able to view pictures and videos remotely. It's not the same as being there in person but cool in its own way.


What's on your list of firsts?

1. "The aquarium!! The first time my son saw the big fish tank it absolutely blew his mind. He still loves going- but that first trip was awesome."

2. "The carousel was the big one for me. He didn't even love it that much and still gets a little scared when he goes on it, but I'm so glad that we were the ones who took him his first time."

3. "I told my husband and our Au Pair that I didn't want to miss (my one year old)'s first steps.  I had missed my son's first steps and it wasn't going to happen again. So I told them, even if she does take her first steps, don't tell me, and then when she walks in front of me, pretend like you have never seen it before. Everyone agreed. One morning, we are all in the living room, and I get up to take a shower, and don't you know, she took her first steps! They were all yelling for me to get out of the shower... but I didn't hear. So there you have it. I didn't miss it because of work, like a previous responder said, I just missed it. My recommendation, figure out what you can't live without seeing first, and tell your caretakers to lie to you! Tight lips! That's my strategy. LOL!!!"

4. "I have been back to work since she was 3 months old and I missed the very first time she rolled over, which was a huge let down for me. But I will say she did not do it again until 1 week later when I was watching her, and then she did it 3 times purposefully! I rationalized that I was seeing her first real roll over b/c it was clear that time she knew what she was doing, unlike when it had just happened previously. Anyways, it's tough. But I'm glad for all of the encouraging words and I LOVE the idea of making a list of 'firsts' for my nanny that I don't want to miss out on."