Why I do not feel guilty about childcare

I have been working from home since we moved to Portland at the end of summer but it has been part time. Up till she turned 3 in February, she was home with me, and that came with a lot of fun memorable moments. BUT, once first trimester hit in December with baby No2, not only did I start to feel like I was losing myself, I also felt guilty that I wasn’t being fair to her. I had just enough energy to keep my eyes open to make sure she was safe and her basic needs were met. Not a proud mom moment there!

Even with my energy back and my nausea at a manageable level, I still felt guilty and we went ahead and registered her 3 times a week at a preschool close by. At first we started with a half day and the novelty of it was intriguing that she enjoyed it. Then we transitioned her to full days a couple of weeks later. That first week was so tough. She cried so hard when she had to take her first nap that afternoon. She cried so hard I had to go pick her up and soothe her. I figured out why she had a hard day, when they asked her to sleep, she probably thought I wasn’t coming back for a long time, I mean she only sleeps at home. We had a great picnic at the park and I explained to her that I will be there to pick her up at the end of school everyday. That she gets to play, nap, eat, and learn at school and we get to play together right after. What a wonderful surprise the next day, she did just fine and wanted to stay at school even longer.

Here we are 2 months later and she cannot wait to go to school in the morning. She runs to hug me so tight when I pick her up and shows me what crafts or worksheets she did that day. She tells me about all her friends, and we recite their names so many times over. She tells me she had a good nap or she tells me she had no nap with the biggest twinkle in her eyes. She tells me about her best friend of the week. My sweet girl just loves going to school and I could not be happier.

As for me, those 3 days have been so full of work, errands, yoga and just things, that I feel guilty I do not miss her around me more. I leave the house in a flash if I need to, I go into stores and leave without having to buy a new toy or snack. I finish grading or working on the course material without interruptions every few minutes of ‘mommy watch me’ or ‘what’s this?’ I go to appointments and focus on my what the doctor has to say and not whether she is trying to swipe a tongue depressor or jump up on the examining chair next to me (I have a wildly embarrassing 20-week ultrasound story to share at some point). Best of all, when she is done, I can focus the rest of the evening on answering every ‘why’ question, look at every twirl or jump, read every book she brings to me, and smile when she follows me to the bathroom because I did miss her by now and had enough ‘me’ and ‘quiet’ moments to enjoy every energetic 3 year old moment she brings to me. I do not feel guilty, I feel lucky and grateful. Maybe soon I can make some more adult friends I can have grown up conversations while she is at school, for now I am really content. Plus I got to have lunch and hang out with the hubby at his office twice in the past two weeks.

Boy has this been a wordy post. I feel quite strongly about this apparently.



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