It’s not easy being a working mother. If you fail to prepare you literally prepare to fail.
One of the best things we did was to enrol our baby into a day care before she was even born. Now that it’s time for her to go to day care, we are well ahead of the pack. No stress. No drama in our life – just the way we like it.
Two weeks before she was supposed to start day care, we organised an orientation. There’s that HR side of me coming out. This basically involved us taking her to day care for two, three, and four hours at a time. One day we went in the morning, the next day during lunch and the next day mid to late lunch and it just kept rotating. We hoped that this would ensure a seamless transition into day care.
Without tooting our own horn this was ingenious because we got to know the teachers and they got to know our baby girl. Our baby got to experience day care whilst knowing that her safety blankets (dad, mum and grandma) were just nearby.
Fast forward to today and its hard to believe that she has been going to day care for over two weeks now. It feels like I’ll blink and she’ll be graduating from high school – things are happening so quickly!
The night before our baby’s first day at day care I hardly slept. I kept waking up, wondering how she was going to cope all by herself in this new environment. I questioned whether it was a good idea for me to return back to work. Maybe I should have just stayed at home with her.
My first bout of mothers’ guilt.
It is difficult to leave your child in the care of strangers for the first time. You worry about if they will get enough attention and proper treatment. Will they change her diaper enough? What if she doesn’t eat? Will they give her enough water to drink? Will she be able to sleep without me there? It sounds ridiculous as I write this let alone read it again, but the feelings were real.
My second bout of mothers’ guilt.
These are all natural and perfectly normal feelings according to other working mothers who have placed their children in care. I have said this once and I will say it again, support from other women is a wonderful thing. Speaking to women in the same boat has me prepared mentally and emotionally – it’s made it easier to cope and reassure myself that we had made the best decision.
Even with all the effort we had put in I was still very anxious.
The morning of her first day at day care she was all laughs and giggles – excited that she was up early and going somewhere. I just hoped she wasn’t going to be in for a nasty surprise.
Once she was settled we said our goodbyes, gave each other our last hugs. As I walked out the door, she began to cry, you know that ugly cry – fighting her carer so that she would release her so she could come to me. I continued walking but it was at that moment my heart sank to my ankles. I continued walking and turned the corner without making eye contact – just as the books and articles I read had said to do.
I waited a few minutes and looked back – she was fine.
Later on in the day I called the day care to check up on her. I held my breath as I waited for an answer. They let me know that she had settled well, eaten and was fast asleep.
I guess the point of this post is that, as our kids grow it’s harder for us, the parents, to let go. We find it hard to accept that this person is becoming more and more independent and carving their own way in the world.
With all the feelings I experienced leading up this experience, I am mostly proud that our baby adapted well to change. May she continue to always welcome change.