Back Home Again in Indiana
Daycare kind of gets a bad rap – it’s some stranger raising your child, it’s a petri dish, it’s so expensive that you’re only making an extra $2 a month, yada yada yada. And I totally get it because even as I was enrolling my child in daycare and writing that first check, I had these thoughts. But after a few weeks, I started to realize the magic of daycare, and now that we’re almost a year into it, I fully realize the magic that is daycare.
One of the things I struggled most with right after Boogs was born was not feeling like myself. At all. I knew having a baby would change everything because Faith Hill made a terrible song about it, but I didn’t expect it to change everything if that makes sense. I wasn’t sleeping, I wasn’t working out, I wasn’t cooking, I wasn’t writing, I wasn’t going to work – I had no idea who I was other than the person who suddenly had to keep a tiny human alive. I slowly started to feel more like me as I went through maternity leave and started sleeping more, working out, cooking, and writing again, but it really wasn’t until I went back to work that I felt like old Jenn had made her triumphant return a la 2016 Britney. That honestly surprised me because the last week of maternity leave I didn’t want to leave Boogs so badly I was in tears, willingly doing math to figure out if I could stay home. But after a few days of being back at work, I realized I’m one of those moms who’s a better mom if she’s working.
Without daycare, I’d be a stay at home mom rapidly losing her mind. I mean it when I say SAHMs have the hardest jobs in the world, and I honestly don’t know how they do it. I was home with Boogser by myself all day a few weeks ago, and I spent most of the day wondering how the SAHMs manage to go to the bathroom. Every time I went pee, I was terrified of what I was going to walk back into – playing with the outlets, playing with the computer cord, throwing ceramic coasters around. And that’s just with one. If I had multiple tiny humans running around, there’s no way I’d still be in charge or able to start a sentence with a word that’s not “no” or “don’t”.
Daycare gives me my sanity. I get to have grown-up (it’s radio so I’m using this term loosely) time at work, I get to run to Target by myself at lunch, and yes, sometimes I take a day off and take Boogs to school anyway just so I can get stuff done at home or go do whatever the hell I want to do all day. These are the days I realize how lucky I am to have that option. Do I feel guilty for doing it? Yep. But then I remember he’s having a much better time at school with his teachers and friends than he would be with me half paying attention to him as I try to plow through the to do list while dreaming of 15 minutes of alone time.
And he really is having a better time. He dives for his teachers when I drop him off in the morning, and some days when I pick him up, he clearly does not want to leave. I realize this should probably make me weep tears of sadness, but it doesn’t. I love knowing that he loves the people he’s surrounded by all day and that they clearly love him. I also love that he gets to spend so much time with kids his age; without their peer pressure, he’d still be a mini Kanye demanding people bring him things and carry him around while he lives the bottle life.
Daycare’s also where this kid learned how to use a sippy cup. He blew our minds the first time we gave him one at home and he knew exactly what to do with it. They’re the ones who officially broke him of the bottle, and I’m really hoping they’re the ones who conquer potty training in a day. (A girl can dream.)
So yes, I miss him like crazy when I’m at work and there are days I dream of being a SAHM, but daycare creates the balance we need to make life work for us which makes it worth every penny in my book. . .even if those pennies add up to be more than our mortgage every month which totally doesn’t make me cry myself to sleep at night.