Day Care and Mom Guilt <3

My kids are five years apart. I had a nanny for my son for three mornings a week from the time he was 8 months old to when we moved away from LA when he was two. Having that time to myself was very much needed. It was nice to get away for just a few hours, be around other adults. Something as mundane as running errands suddenly turned into a field day since I was kid free. My son is now in first grade. So he’s “on his own” at school.

It’s been my daughter and I on weekdays from the beginning. I had forgotten how consuming motherhood could be with a small child. I’m exhausted by day’s end. Of course I love watching her grow, hit those milestones, and I enjoy taking her to a park or a play date. I will be the first to admit that although watching her grow has been rewarding, it’s also been tiring not having a break at all this time around. There was no rest for the weary either since I’d have to care for my big kid when he got home from school.

The nanny search hasn’t been as fruitful as it was in LA. I found myself feeling overwhelmed. My little baby was now a toddler. I knew I needed some adult time, even more so now that I have two kids. I recall how relieved I was to have a nanny around for my son. Since we had no luck finding a nanny, I decided to put my daughter in daycare. There was a waitlist, so I figured it would be a while until I heard from them. As luck would have it, the daycare contacted me two weeks later when a spot opened up.

My emotions were mixed. Yes, this is what I was waiting for, what I needed, some me time. On the other hand, I wasn’t expecting a spot to open so quickly & I started second guessing myself about letting my daughter go to daycare 6 months earlier than her brother did. This was the same daycare that my son had gone to previously, so I knew most of the staff & I was familiar with the facility and the routine. Remembering all of this made me feel a little better, so I went ahead & booked my appointment for the tour, and two trial visits with my daughter.

The tour felt so surreal. Just being back at my son’s old daycare brought back a lot of memories. Couple that with the fact that my daughter would be starting there soon, and it brought about a whole bag of mixed emotions! Next up were the two trial visits. I would stay with my daughter for an hour in the classroom to see how she liked it. On the first day, it took her a little while to warm up, but once she did, she explored the classroom and played with some toys. She didn’t even stay that close to me, so I took that as a sign that she was comfortable. She warmed up very quickly on the second visit. She even interacted with the other kids and played with them too. She had so much fun that she didn’t want to leave. I knew at that moment that I made the right choice to send her to daycare.

It’s been over a month since she started daycare. She’s been adjusting fairly well. She never cries when I drop her off. She also squeals sometimes when she sees the building. Her teachers tell me that she plays well with the other kids. I’ve been getting used to my new routine as well. It does feel nice to have some time for myself, not only to get things done, but to have a chance to relax and recharge. I do feel like a better parent now since I do get a small break for a few hours twice a week. I feel more focused on the rest of the days I have her now.

Have you sent your child to daycare? How have you coped with that ever present mom guilt?

— Bianca