mamamonday: thoughts on day careMonday, February 06, 2012
Today Eli and I are checking out a day care, and while part of me is glad we're doing our research and getting a spot secured nice and early, it makes me feel a little bit sick to think that sometime in the near-ish future, I'll be back at work and somebody else will be spending the days with my tiny man. Yes, there are times when I would happily head back to work right.this.second. if someone even remotely competent showed up at my house and offered to watch him. And it's not that I'm dreading going back to work - I like my job. But I don't think handing your baby over to a relative stranger and having them essentially raise your child until he goes to school is ever an easy thing to do.
This week was a week of firsts for Mr. Eli. He started rolling over, he went for his first sleepover, and he laughed for the first time on Saturday. Seeing him laugh was the highlight of my week, easily. It wasn't a timid little giggle, but a full-on, "hyuck! hyuck! hyuck!" hillbilly belly laugh, and I was happy I got to see and hear it. Knowing that there's a good chance it won't be me who sees him take his first steps or hears him say his first word makes me a little weepy. I'm sad that I'll be missing a lot of big firsts and that he'll be seeing more of his daycare provider than of me. I wonder, when he's sick, will he want his mom or his babysitter? What if he likes her better than me? What if he hates being home and is happier at the daycare and has a fit when weekends roll around and he can't go? Will he feel like we're neglecting him or don't want to be with him all day?
Annnnd just writing the last paragraph has my eyes welling up. The thought of somebody else raising my baby has me in a massive flap. Somebody else teaching him how to talk and read and catch a ball, and my role being the person who feeds him breakfast and dinner, drops him off, picks him up, and puts him to sleep.
So people say to me, "well, why don't you just stay home with Eli?" But it's not that simple. In addition to legitimately enjoying my job and getting lots of satisfaction out of it, there's a myriad of reasons why not working doesn't make sense for me. Bills, obviously. Adult interaction. Independence. Being able to waste my hard-earned dollars on frivolous things like $6 coffees and not waiting for the paperback edition of the new book that just came out without worrying about it too much. I've worked since I was 16 - I don't know if I could handle not working.
My mom stayed home with us and now I appreciate how lucky we were to have her there, but that was what worked for my parents - I don't think it's the best option for everybody. I don't necessarily think it's the best option for us. The perfect scenario would be working from home or being able to bring Eli to work with me, but obviously an office full of babies would be chaotic to say the very least. So a choice has to be made.
And so, we're going to look at a daycare today, and keep our fingers crossed that Eli gets a spot in a good place. One where he'll learn a lot and eat healthy snacks and get lots of outdoor play and contract as few germies as possible. Preferably one that can refer me to a good shrink when the time comes that I finally have to drop him off for the day.