This is our last full week at home together. I go back to work next Wednesday and Henry starts daycare on that day as well. It is a bittersweet time for us…well, me more than him because he is clueless. It will be a tough transition for all of us, yet one that we have been prepared for since finding out I was pregnant last Spring.
I am not a stay home type person. Being a stay at home mom never interested me. I am not a big TV watcher. I don’t read unless it is a magazine or something that really sticks out at me and grabs my attention. I don’t sew. I don’t clip coupons. I don’t sit still well. I don’t cook square meals each night. I always have at least 1 or 2 loads of dirty clothes in my house and I like it like that. Morning talk shows wear me out by 7:30. Wearing pj pants everyday is about to do me in. My husband works out of the home and I believe distance makes the heart grow fonder. I like outlets…lots of different outlets. I have no business staying at home. I am made to me a working Mama and I have always known that.
Now that I am a Mama who has to trust a daycare provider to take care of my little prince 9 hours a day, I have thought about learning to love daytime TV, reading boring novels, clipping coupons and saving boxtops for rewards, learning to sew all our clothes and cooking lavish suppers each night. I then laugh at myself and think how nice a desk and chair suits me each weekday morning and how Henry will thrive in a daycare setting in a way he would not thrive at home with me in my pj pants and bad attitude. It was a tough reality to face but I faced it pretty soon after I started debating the choice of home or office. Office won.
Then I had guilt. “Am I a bad mother because I want to work?”, “Will I regret my time away from him in these young years?”, “Will the daycare workers be nice to him?”, “Will I be able to manage home and office like before?”. I quickly learned that I am suppose to work so that I can be a good mother to Henry. I am suppose to work so I can be a happy mother to Henry. I am suppose to work so I can provide all the extras for Henry. I am suppose to work because it is who I am.
I am a working woman with a sweet baby boy. That is me…that is who I always knew I would be. I am still okay with that, yet the reality of letting someone I do not know keep my baby for 9 hours a day freaks me out a small bit. I am reminded that mothers all over this world have done this and are doing this very thing. They love their babies as much as I love mine. I am no better or different than them and that is the honest truth. Also, if the daycare hurt babies they would not be open for business. They are open at almost full capacity because they are doing their job….caring for loved babies for 9 hours a day. When I look at this way I can catch my breath and know it is going to be just fine. And it is…it will be just fine.
Pray for me, if you will. I am taking my baby boy to a daycare that I had to pick because it was one of the only 4 who could take him. My first pick does not have room for him yet and we have been on the waiting list for 9 months. I am taking my baby boy all by myself for the next few weeks because his Daddy has meetings out of state. I will be a single Mama returning to work after a 12 week leave with a baby for the first time. Typing that puts a lump in my throat. We will be fine, yet it will be challenging for a while.
I love being with Henry every moment of the day, yet I know in the long run I am going to be a better Mama by staying true to myself and returning to my career. I worked hard to get where I am and love what I do and there is nothing wrong with that. I finally came to terms with it and feel so much better for not trying to make myself feel guilty for wanting to take off the pj pants and squeeze my postpartum rear in something with a waistband. I look forward to loving work and home in a whole new way. Here’s to a new chapter, a new dynamic, a new reality. It is going to be okay, I will just be a little wet in the eyes for a while.
P.S. I commend those of you who stay at home. Your job is much harder than I ever imagined. Kudos to all you do without a break. You deserve a pat on the back!
5 thoughts on “The Working Mama”
Abby I know this is a tough one. I am a working Mom too. It crushed me to put Mary-Kate into daycare. But do you know what, it has been great for both of us. She has learned to share, she takes turns, she is social. She is so kind and helpful to the younger ones. Not to say that it is perfect, but it has worked for us. With how her birthday fell, she was 5 months old when she started. This 2nd baby will be about 6 weeks old. I will probably cry everyday, but I know she will be okay too. Mary-Kate will be there to watch out for her. Henry will be okay. When you pick him up in the afternoon, your time will be even more precious when you get home.
It is hard putting them in daycare that 1st time, but just make sure that you ask them every question that comes to mind. I know that my daughter who is 8 months old and in daycare is very happy and social. She starts babbling at every little child she sees whenever we are out and she is already learning to share. I ask pretty much the same questions everyday when I pick her up. What did she do today, what did she eat, when was the last time she had a bottle(well that one has stopped because her babysitter has her on a good schedule). Just make sure ask anything that comes to mind. It makes it that much easier in the long run and then you still have plenty of time to watch him grow. I know that my babysitter is very protective of the 1st time mommies also.
You'll be awright ! Y.D.
Let me start by saying that I love daycare. It's true, I do. Both of my children have learned so much from their day care experiences. I've done it both ways – stay at home and work. Like you are saying, I am a better mom when I work. It's who I am. I am wondering, are you going to or have you done a trial daycare day? I have done this with my kiddos anytime they have started anywhere new. The first day or two (so obviously must be before you are actually going back to work), I take them in the morning for a couple of hours only to just let them warm up to the environment and people. It also shows them that you'll be back without them having to wait so long so that the first day isn't such a long stretch without mama. Might be something you want to consider if you haven't already.
I worked until #2 was born. When I had to put the first in daycare, I was a basket-case for several days… but then I realized that she really liked it, and I liked having some \”adult\” conversation! I considered going back to work after #2, but the position that was being offered to me wasn't enough to cover the cost of daycare for 2 kiddos and car expenses (it was a longer drive to work). Daycare in Minnesota was astronomically expensive, so staying at home became, for us, a more economical choice. Then along came #3… there is no way on earth that, even with my salary, could we afford childcare for 3- two of them in diapers (cost was MORE for diapered kids) Now, that I've been with the 3 kids for all this time… I'm really looking forward to the day when I can get back into the workforce. I love my time with the kids, but I'm anxious to help provide for us all again!