Daycare saved me. Truly.
As a first-time Mom, I wanted to do it all. I wanted my career while still being able to take care of my child during the work day. I didn’t desire to be a stay-at-home Mom unless it meant I could keep my career, because it’s more of a passion for me than work. It actually worked out for about 6 months. At the time, I worked at home and my work load was very low, so I was able to work as needed and have our little one by my side. It was just what I wanted; or so I thought.
I had 8 weeks off from work and was ready to go back by the end. I was ready for the adult conversations and the creative time to do something I loved. At the same time, I still wanted to have my baby by my side. I wasn’t ready to start daycare and didn’t know if I trusted someone else to watch him. There’s too much that could go wrong and there’s so many things I could miss if I didn’t have him with me all the time. I could miss his first smile, his first “coo”, his first steps, his first words, and the list goes on. The first year of their life is full of “firsts” for your little one and I didn’t want to miss any of them.
It was easy at first because all he did was eat, sleep, and tummy time. I could sit in my office (I should mention I worked at home) with him and stay put most of the day. I got in all the baby snuggles I ever wanted. Even when he got a little older, it was still easy because he loved his little jumper and would hang out in there for long periods of time. Around 6 months or so he became very mobile and my direct reports at work had shifted, which required more focus from me. However, I was determined to stay at home with our son while working until he was a year…I was going to make this work.
Boy was I wrong. Work was starting to require me to travel a lot more, like twice a month, and that left us relying on family to watch our son since we didn’t have daycare. Well, our parents work, so it wasn’t an easy task.
It became apparent that something was going to need to change. I was drowning in stress. I was trying to impress my new boss, keep my job, and keep our son with me at home. It was becoming too hard to manage our exploring son and the demanding work schedule. Not to mention, I hated the travel that pulled me away from my family. I was stressed and sad most days. So we talked about our options and we came to the conclusion that it was time to find daycare…and a new job.
You may think that meant a huge weight had been lifted. Quite the opposite. On one hand, I did land a new job that was close to home and would require no travel. On the other hand, we were unprepared for the strain we were about to enter into finding the right daycare place at the “right” price (that was a sticker shock!). I spent countless hours searching the Internet and calling and hearing “wait listed” one too many times. I was due to start my new position in just two weeks and we were still at square one. It felt hopeless…did we wait too long? Should we have started looking before he was born like people suggested?
Then we found a person who did at-home daycare and has been in the business for 18 years. She had solid references, lived a mile from our house, and whenever we went over there, she was always interacting with the kids and they were always outside (this was in late summer). Our gut was telling us this would work, but it all sounded too good to be true. I wasn’t sure of an at-home daycare since it wasn’t something I was familiar with. Could I really put my trust in one person at their own home to watch my son? Well, I did and I couldn’t be happier. She has single handedly relieved all of my stress about someone else watching my son while I pursue my passion. She’s taught him so much and always communicates with us to make sure we are following the same path in helping to teach our son right from wrong.
So why do I share this story? Because so many of us are working Moms these days and if you’re like me, you often feel guilty for not being there all day with your child(ren). That is where my determination originally stemmed from; I was going to do both, be two people. The reality is, there is no shame in working and seeking the help of others to watch our children; whether that be family, a nanny, or daycare. Through this experience, I learned that I don’t have to do it all myself; I can continue to pursue my passion because it keeps me balanced, which in turn makes me a better Mom.