So it's been one of these weeks. And once again I find it to be Friday. Anyone from the East Coast knows we had a massive snow storm on Wednesday, so we had that to contend with, and although I haven't mentioned it, I've also been battling my own demons. Returning to work.
I consider myself luckier than most women. My company has very good maternity leave policies, and consequently I have been lucky enough to spend the first 18 weeks of E's life by her side. Not all paid, but worth every last lost penny. As much as I have cherished these moments, and realize she has changed in so many ways, I have not lost sight of the fact that my time is limited, and alas, it is almost up. I have 2 more weeks home with E, and then I have to return to work. I have struggled with this. As with most moms, we can not afford to be a one income family, and I knew that before we even thought about having E, but I didn't want to wait until I was 40 just to have our first child and be able to stay at home permanently with her. Everyone in major metropolitan areas deals with similar struggles, and "everyone does it" so surely I could handle having my first sweet little girl, and then returning to work.
No matter how much I tried to mentally prepare myself for how I would feel about this. Knowing, that I would struggle with it. I still wasn't even remotely prepared with how much angst I would endure over the approaching date.
As I've been blogging over the past month or two, you all know that E has been struggling in so many ways. And the idea of leaving her in someone else's care, just broke my heart. Grandma has been out of work since the economy went south over a year ago, and consequently has been around extensively throughout my maternity leave. But now as I approach returning to work, Grandma is also about to return to work. This disappointed me immensely. I felt like a horrible daughter, but I wanted her available. She was the only person that I could imagine would love her enough to get her through all the things she was struggling with. But Grandma has been poking and prodding me out into the world, to try to pick a daycare center. Since Grandma knew it was likely that she would be unavailable, she knew it was time for me to deal with this very difficult step.
So starting last week, we began embarking on the "adventure" of touring daycare centers. I felt a little bit like Goldy Locks. This daycare is too big. This daycare is too small. This daycare is too expensive. Desperately seeking "just right". Struggling with what was most important, what were the things I needed most out of a daycare center. I think I've settled upon one. It was one I had toured well before I had E. I had loved the center then, and I still loved it now. It's large drawback was price. But every time I toured their center, I walked away saying "I just got a good feeling. I REALLY liked the people." And on top of it, they had a fabulous teacher in the Infant room, a woman with 10 years experience with Infants. When I brought E with us to meet her, she was the sort of person that just exuded confidence. She dealt with the children she had with ease, and you could just tell she knew what she was doing. She told me how she intended to call me personally should there be any problems. That if she thought E was coming down with something, she'd call me and we could discuss what I wanted to do. She made me feel comfortable. And that was that. I couldn't bring E anywhere else. I literally WANTED this woman to take care of E.
While I was struggling with this decision. Oddly enough I was seeing something different in E. Curiosity. Excitement. Dare I say Joy? She was fascinated by meeting all of the other people in the world. And seeing other little people just tickled her pink. She'd smile at all these new people. And laugh when they talked to her. She'd look at the other small children and study them, smile at them, and look longingly at them. I could tell she was at a point where this idea of another world outside of our home was interesting to her. And in many ways it broke my heart. I began to feel in my sleep deprived state I just couldn't give her all the excitement that she wanted. Alas - she found me - BORING! Oh well. Just as well. She was going to have to go to daycare anyway, so she might as well find it marginally interesting.
So next week E is going for a test run. And if it goes well, we're going to start her a week early, only for a couple of days. Let Mommy and Daddy get used to dropping her off, leaving her there, and E get used to us leaving and coming back. Not to mention Mommy needs to get things in order to return to work. I spent the day today starting to get things put together so that E has what she needs to go to daycare.
My mom sent me the most touching e-mail last week. And she hit it right on the money, this was the first step of E's to move away from me and find her independence. It's heart wrenching for me. But it's the natural progression of things. I suppose I will find this just as difficult as the first time she calls out for Daddy instead of Mommy. When I realize she's embarrassed of me. When she goes away to college. And finally when she springs out on her own with her own family. But I will remember what has happened with my mother and I. And remember that she may need to move away to gain her own independence. But one day, the adventures that she and I are about to embark upon, will give me the knowledge, to help guide her through the same experiences with her children.
Stay strong working Mommies and Daddies. Remember that nobody will love them like we do. And that's ok. But anyway - did anyone see who dropped the pacifier?