2 yo Wants Mom at Church

Question

Dear John,
I'm having a really hard time putting my 2 1/2 year old son in the church nursery. Admittedly we don't get to Church as often as we should, so right now it is not something he is accustomed to on a regular basis. The times I have tried in the last 6 months or so (4-5 times about) he has been inconsolable. He screams and cries and cannot be passified by the volunteer staff. They inevitably bring him to/call for me every time he goes in there. I have worked full-time since he was eight weeks old, he is not a child that has been coddled or overprotected. He has no trouble being left at someone else's house or if a Babysitter comes over he does not cry when we leave. But it seems he has developed some resistance to public childcare (he acts the same at the gym, my attendance is also infrequent there )of course I have tried discussing/reasoning with him, to no avail, as he is 2. I have tried being very stern with him. "The way you are behaving is unacceptable, this is a safe fun place-- if you continue to cry and tantrum for me you will get spanked, etc" I am wondering if the problem might be that he knows I am close by and have always "come to the rescue" because the nursery staff calls for me. Which of course I cannot blame them as he is very disruptive. Another thing I will mention is that he seems genuinely distressed. his eyes fill with huge tears and he just begs for me not to leave him. I'm no pushover but this definitely tugs at my heartstrings and I just wonder if there is truly a sense of abandonment he is feeling? I cannot tell if it is the latter or if he is really just working me over. like I said I have worked his entire life, but it is either my mother or my husband who babysits and my mom comes to our house. Anyways I'm just wondering if you have any advice for how to prevent/end this resistance. Thank you.

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