I know that so many new momma’s out there dread going back to work, and part of that dread stems from the fear of leaving their wee one in the arms of a stranger. No matter how you look at it, it is never easy. For the 9 months leading up to birth, and the months that follow we are consumed by our baby’s every need. Its exhausting and its not easy. I can’t even begin to tell you how much I secretly enjoyed sipping my coffee still warm and reading an article through when I went back to work.
We were amazingly, and incredibly lucky in our hunt for a daycare for Max. We put our names on waiting lists as soon as I knew I was pregnant – and hardly got a call. One day though, a flyer ended up on our door step. I posted it on the fridge and although it stared me in the face every day – I basically forgot about it.
Rob was off for the last 4 months and I assigned the task of daycare finding to him. I think a large part of the reason, beyond the fact that he was the one home, was that I didn’t want to deal with judging potential care givers and making the decision as to who could best care for my kid.
In typical Rob fashion, he contacted the number on the flyer, went for a morning visit, and that was it. He liked what he saw. He was happy and more importantly, he told me that Max was happy. We had found our daycare provider.
Now I’ll tell you why I am happy.
1. The lady who runs our daycare is the kindest, most outgoing, fun, lady you could ever imagine. She looks after 3 boys, 2 of whom are just a few months older than Max, and a little girl who plays “mom” and loves them all (as an aside – if I pick Max up and she is still there, she runs over and gives him a big kiss on his leg to say goodbye. Can it get anymore cute?)
2. She sends out the most amazing weekly newsletters full of witty comments and pictures of the events and activities that the kids get up to – usually Max has his mouth full – or is checking out pretty girls jogging by. We love it, and each one has had me laughing out loud.
3. She knows what she is doing and is so darn good at it. For a few days when Max was adjusting there were a few tears that actually never lasted longer than me making it up the stairs. I turned to her for advice, and put full faith in her wisdom. “I should just go right?” I asked, knowing that she had lovingly dealt with a hundred more cases of momma/baby separation than I had.
4. They go outside, they do crafts, and they play play play – all the time! Max has brought me home a beautiful bell which he painted, and which had an imprint of his hand, and more recently, a whale drawing. So cool – its on our fridge. I love that he is learning to share, and interact with other kids – and that they go on wagon adventures to see the big wide world – of course for our babysitter 3 boys ranging from 13 mo to 15 months sit perfectly in the wagon. I have no idea how she does it, but she does. I’d actually like to shadow her for a day and learn her tricks.
5. I feel that since Max has been going to daycare, he is a better behaved little guy – not that he was ever bad, but there is a difference in his behaviour, and it is a good difference. Strangely enough, its like he is more settled. I know that our day care provider doesn’t put up with any of the tests and tricks he puts me through. She can change him lying down – not me. She puts him down for a nap – he sleeps. She puts his hat on – it stays on. He knows that she means business and respects that. He knows he can walk all over me, and takes full advantage.
So I guess my point is, other than the fact that I have been incredibly lucky to find such a kind, fun and loving lady to look after and play with Max, is that we as moms, we shouldn’t feel guilty about sending our kids to daycare, or feel that we are somehow failing as a parent when we go back to work. For me, being a fulltime stay-at-home mom was incredibly hard work. I loved it, but I knew it wasn’t right for me forever. I just feel so fortunate that there are people out there who do such a great job of looking after our little ones, showering them with love and lessons – and being able to dedicate 100% of their attention to providing the best possible environment for the kids. So moms out there hunting for daycare, don’t despair. You will find the right fit for you and your wee one, and the transition really isn’t as bad as you imagine it to be. Really. This morning, when Max ran out of my arms and towards our babysitter who scooped him up and gave him a big hug, I thought, come on kid, can’t you just pretend for a minute that you’re gonna miss me. Puh-lease?
At the end of the day though – when we go to pick him up and he waddles towards me with a big proud smile on his face, I realize that the more people he gets to play with and who get to love him, the better we all are. I also know, that no matter how much fun he has, and how much he loves our babysitter and his new friends, he is always happy to give me a hug at the end of the day.