I thought I had alluded it, but to no avail, it caught up to me. I'm referring to guilt. Daycare guilt to be exact. It hit me like a ton of bricks yesterday (or...slowly started to creep in on me after picking Brooke up on Tuesday) and let me tell you, it's no joke.
I'll back up a bit. Brooke is going to a fantastic daycare in the West End called Enlightened Beginnings. The teachers are awesome with her and so sweet to me. The day I took her in for the first time and sat with her and cried the entire time I was there, they were very sweet (although it's really hard to stop crying when people keep asking if I'm crying or if I'm okay...) and understood what I was going through emotionally. So don't take this as me saying her teachers aren't good enough or the day care isn't taking care of her...quite the contrary, they are doing a phenomenal job!
What hit me yesterday stemmed from pick up on Wednesday when her teacher was feeding her, she heard me come in so she looked for me and found me, which was great, but then gave her teacher all of these beautiful, sweet little smiles, and I couldn't coax one out of her to save my life. I just figured she was hamming up the one with the food, so I didn't think much about it. I brought her home and she fell asleep after about 15 minutes. For 3 hours. So by the time she woke up again, it was time to eat, put on PJs, and get ready for bed...we had about an hour of playtime.
Which means when I see her in the morning and the evening, it adds up to about an hour and a half to two hours of awake time. Meaning most of her awake hours are when she is at daycare. Meaning she's getting to know her teachers much better than she is getting to know her mom and dad. And this hit me SO HARD. That she'll be more used to being around her daycare teachers than us. That it isn't fair to me or to her. It made my heart physically hurt, thinking this time in her life she won't really know us because she is in daycare.
I know this might not be rational, but I'm a mom now, and rational isn't always going to happen. I know daycare is good for her! It will socialize her, build up her immune system (ugh), make her comfortable with other people, give her lots of friends and playtime, teach her lessons, etc. And I honestly don't think I'm cut out to be a stay at home mom. I love being with her and mommying her, but all day every day was hard for me and, to be honest, working during the day is easier than constantly being on alert to her every movement and action (so all you stay at home mommies (and daycare teachers) - God bless you - you have way more energy and patience than me!) AND I actually really enjoy my job (most days) and the people I work with. It's not hard to come to work during the week. (this is the rational part doing the talking now...see!)
But that doesn't mean it doesn't break my heart when I have to work extra hard for smiles or think about all of the milestones I'll miss or all of the opportunities I could have to make an impression on her. I know I can do and experience all of these things in the morning, at night, and on the weekends, but even then it's tough because I have to take care of house stuff and be all 'responsible adult' and whatever that means...Robert's a big help and we split the chores pretty evenly, but sometimes I just want to sit with her and play. I've quickly learned that the dishes can stay in the sink until she is down for a nap or going to bed, or the laundry can go unfolded, or the stairs unvacuumed (although I really should get to that soon..damn cats...)
I realize having kids is all kinds of challenging and I was sort of prepared for it, but now I am telling myself that it's ok to be sad about not seeing her all the time, and reminding myself that daycare, in the long run, is really, really good for her, and some days are just going to be a lot tougher than others, and that's okay...it has to be okay...otherwise I'd be a weepy mess all the time. Shoot, I'm sure there will be some days that I will be excited to drop her off at daycare (especially when she's older...say...terrible two's??)
So this is really just me be honest, and reminding myself that it won't always be easy or tear-free, and to take every second I do have with her and make the most of it.
But I swear...the day she accidentally calls one of her teachers 'Mama' - I might lose it :)
And drink a whole bottle of wine.