I’m a young single mom with a nine-year-old daughter. Last week she went on her first sleep over. We were both nervous. We’re always together, and the past two years of COVID created serious separation anxiety in her.
My daughter and I are literally never apart. She’s too young to leave at home alone, so wherever I go, she goes. Recently, her friends were starting to have sleepovers and she was asked, but wasn’t yet ready. We talked about it for a few months, since May, and got her ready.
I’ve spoken with the other mother several times, each time explaining she wasn’t ready and why. She was very understanding and kind. The day came and I brought my daughter over around 4p.m. She was nervous and apprehensive at the door, but I assured her I was close by and she could call me whenever she wanted. She squeezed me tight, and went off with a smile.
I thanked the mom and asked her to please give me a call in an hour or so just to let me know how things were going. She assured me she would. I heard nothing at 5p.m., but thought that was fine. By 6p.m., I still hadn’t received a call. I tried to stay calm and remind myself that this other woman has other kids and this isn’t her child’s first sleepover.
But by 7p.m., I was uncomfortable and anxious. I called the mom but there was no answer. I tried again at 7:30p.m. and 8p.m. Nothing. So, I drove over. I knocked and an older teenager answered. She said the parents were at the theatre and she was babysitting. She said the girls were having the best time, that they had played outside, eaten dinner, and were now watching a movie in the blanket fort they’d set up in the girl’s bedroom.
I was very pleased to hear my daughter was having fun and happy, but I’m gutted by the lack of communication with the mother. I picked my daughter up the next morning, but the mom wasn’t home. The husband was lovely and said she was easy and welcome any time.
I was worried and anxious all night, running scenarios through my head of what to say to this woman. Do I speak up?
Normally I offer a choice of response, based on whatever you think is best in the situation. Remember, I’m only ever hearing one side of any story. But in this case, I don’t see an option. You must speak to this woman. Not aggressively or angrily, of course. But she needs to know that she stressed you out.
Not every reader is going to agree with me on this. I have no doubt some of you will say the letter writer should just let it go. The problem is that if she just lets it go, I feel the single mom will never let her daughter go back to this house because of the anxiety she felt while her daughter was there. But her daughter had fun and was safe there. So it’s a good place to go back to a few times to help the daughter get over her separation anxiety.
I’m going to guess that the host mom simply forgot to tell you about the theatre. She should have, and letting your daughter stay with a babysitter should have been a choice you were given. I can only hope that if and when you speak with her, she’s as understanding as she was initially and apologizes for stressing you out.
Reader’s Commentary Regarding the women who are thinking about a girls’ only vacation (Aug. 15):
Reader – “Lisi, just a comment on today’s column. How would the ladies feel if their spouses wanted to have a weekend getaway?”
Lisi – Point taken, but I actually think separate vacations once in a blue moon are fine and healthy for everyone.
Years ago, a friend of mine got married and had a family very young and right away. When the kids were babies, she told me that once a week she would have a girls’ night; once a week he would have a guys’ night; and once a week they would have a date night. I thought it was brilliant! Then I spoke to Ellie who said, “they won’t last forever.”
I thought their personal time was healthy, but Ellie saw it as too much time apart. She was right.