I can still feel the blades of grass tickle my legs as I snuggled into my comfy spot in our yard as a child, staring up to the sky. White cumulus clouds breezed by in the southern California wind. I would occasionally see an airplane either heading to LAX or leaving ONT airports. Here is where I would dream. Day dream about being a Mother. Kissing a boy. Finally meeting Devon Sawa, my absolute biggest pre-teen crush (check out #6.) Side note: I think I owned both of those posters which may still be in on my wall… But I digress. Marrying
Devon Sawa my Prince Charming. Being a flight attendant. Wondering what it would be like to pay bills and hold car keys. I would lay there for what seemed like hours. I would bring my Barbies and pretend that I had a Barbie family. I’ve always wanted to be a Mom. I would say I was born a Mother. And back then a Mother equated to also staying at home with her children. It wasn’t until I became an adult that I understood that Moms had the ability to be a SAHM, WAHM and even a working out of the home Mom.
In my series of life moments, I didn’t become a Mother until I was just 10 days shy of my 30th birthday. I was so anxious to hold my son. Finally, I was a Mom. But it definitely wasn’t as blissful as those pre-teen day dreams once were. During pregnancy, I had to go on bed rest for most of my second and all of my third trimesters. I went on short term disability with my corporate job and by the time my son was born, maternity leave kicked in for 3 months (how awesome is THAT!) Shortly after delivery we found out that my son was born with CHD (Congenital Heart Defect); three holes to be exact. This news made his first year of life stressful and pretty much a blur. We decided it was best interest for our family to quit my corporate job and stay at home with my son, Gentry. It would be tight with finances but we figured we could do it. After Gentry’s first year, I started to feel like myself a bit after struggling with PPD (postpartum depression) and we were out of the stress from his heart condition having 2 of the 3 holes healed.
Being a SAHM came to an end of August 2015; just 3 months shy of Gentry’s second birthday. For more reasons that I can list in this post, I had to go back to work. I was nervous, anxious, sad, and most of all torn. Will my baby still love me? Will he remember me? Will we still be as close as we are? Will he be looked after appropriately? Will he get as much love during the day as I could give him? Will someone help him up when he falls and kiss his boo-boos? Will he like the teacher more than his Mama? These thoughts flowed through my mind a million times a minute. Anxious, nervous, TORN.
Some of you may be able to relate to this uneasiness but knowing this is the in the best interest for you and your family as a whole. Its a big decision and quite possibly the first big decision that will directly affect your new child. So we did it. August 10, 2015 Gentry attended his first day of Preschool/Daycare. And this post is something I wish I had available to read when we did make this transition. While I can’t say for certain I know the answers to all of my worrying questions I had pre-daycare, I can vouch that this has not only been a great positive experience for Gentry, but also a positive experience for me as a mother.
10 Reasons Daycare Made Me a Better Mom
- Quality over Quantity – I feel that the time that I do have with my son is now much more quality driven. I want to do specific things with him that are meaningful and allows me to connect with him more. There are times when days would just float out the door when I was a SAHM so I feel that I am more present and focused on my son when we are together. I appreciate the little things a lot more.
- Watching him learn and grow – This by far is my most positive affirmation for me on making the decision to go back to work and have Gentry in daycare. Watching him interact with his peers WARMS my heart. Seeing him swoon over his teacher MELTS my heart. It also allows me to be okay with him being a part from me. There were days when I was a SAHM and I thought, man I suck at teaching him things! I was constantly on Pinterest searching for “Things baby’s should know at X months.” It stressed me out. After being in preschool for a year now, I can see how he has flourished in his environment, learned things I could never (remember) to teach him. I also feel that this elevated pressure I put on myself during the SAHM days that I was his sole provider when it came to teaching him new things. I feel confident that he is growing and learning appropriately.
- Adult time – No, work is not a vacation but there are some days it may feel like that. I commute 2-4 hours a day and within those drives guess what I do… I USE THE PHONE. Yes people. I am thrilled to report, I can now have adult conversations during the day on the phone. During my work hours, my Mama brain can rest – not fully – but definitely more so than before.
- Missing each other – one thing I was terrified was that he would forget me or that he wouldn’t be as close to me as he once was. Boy was I wrong. It is true, distance does make the heart grow fonder. I daydream about him. I plan for events we can go to over the weekend. I get super excited when I get to pick him up… and I think he does too…
…that still makes me smile…
- Financial Ibuprofen – Going from a one income household to two income was definitely a headache that was elevated. During the tight months (hello holidays) I was so stressed out. The immediate relief in our bank account was felt throughout the home. We suddenly could take road trips and go to toddler events and most importantly, visit family from afar since we have zero family here.
- You’re doing a great job – SAHM’s can attest to this, it is “normal” to feel unappreciated at times or like me a lot of days. Your little isn’t quite old enough to shower you with accolades of appreciation. Having a boss/manager address your completion of tasks definitely gives a kick to the ego. Pep in your step. Knowing you just “oooowned” that project or just submitted a task that would help out a multitude of peers in your department. Leaving the office with fist pumps has definitely increased my confidence.
- RSVP? Um, OF COURSE – I didn’t realize how this affected me until I was back to the grind. Getting invited to events and making friends in the workplace was something I definitely missed. When you are a SAHM and your circle of friends equates to who is available and has kids with similar age ranges, you almost forget how to make friends with some who isn’t a Mom. Or that you don’t even realize that you need girls in your life that aren’t Moms or Moms to littles under 2 years old. For instance, I was gifted two tickets to a Diamondbacks game a couple nights ago and went with a new girlfriend from work. I guess it goes hand in hand with “Adult time.” 🙂
- Hobby -> Side Hustle – with the sudden influx of income I was able to turn my hobby as a blogger into a major side hustle which I hope to eventually supplement my now income so that I can turn that side hustle into a full hustle. My end goal has always been to own my own company and to be able to spend more time with my child (future children.) In my mind, going back to work was an investment into my side hustle. In turn, I am feeling fulfilled in a new and exciting way and will eventually allow me to become a WAHM.
- Helloooo Mama Bear – I learned quickly about how my anger can surface when something doesn’t go as planned in Daycare. The first school I took Gentry too turned out to be a bad situation. The school Director, his teacher and even the owner of the company did not give my son the proper care. Even though those days were some of the hardest days of my life, it taught me more about myself and how much of a fighter I am. These were first incidents of Gentrys life where I had to stick up for him. I had to be his voice. I felt empowered (and beyond stressed) but relief was given when I removed him from the school and found the one of the best Montessori schools for his age. Seeing the change in him from schools solidified that I made the right decision. That my Mama Bear fight was justified.
- Teacher Assistance – One of the best reasons daycare has made me a better Mom are the teachers. Remember how I stated above that I wasn’t so “amazing” at doing the whole teaching thing? Well hearing how another person corrects your child, teaches, instructs him in new ways, has given me a toolkit full of useful things that has helped me at home. I am in constant communication with the teacher. “Did Gentry like his new lunch choices today?” “Did Gentry act up a lot today?” “He hardly slept last night.” “How do you prevent him from throwing things?” “What are somethings that you are doing here that I can do at home relating to XYZ?” Because I lack family around here locally, I don’t have very much insight into my own childhood or what worked best when my sister raised her kids. It is like I have a parental BFF that knows juuuust about as much as I do about Gentry.
These are just 10 reasons why I feel that I am a better mother for incorporating daycare into my little ones life and making me a better Mother in the process. Remember: every family, child and mother is different. Every situation is different. What might have worked great for me might not work great for you and visa versa. Missing your baby never goes away, but I hope that you can see the silver lining.
Searching for a daycare is also pretty stressful, luckily East Valley Mom Blogs has another article for you to check out. Click here to read: The 5 C’s of Choosing a Daycare.
Featured image by: Agnes & Art Photo