One of the biggest struggles as a working mom is sending your child off to daycare or leaving them with a babysitter or nanny every day. Some days it’s an easy hand off. They’re all too giddy to be there. The morning drop off isn’t horrible and you attempt to get a kiss while they’re wiggling out of your arms to get down and play. Other days you walk in and have to peel your child off your leg because they are clinging to you for dear life and shouting, “please don’t leave me mommy!” In either scenario, whether they’re happy to see you go or looking at you big tear filled eyes, we leave heart breaking sighs as we give their little hand to someone else so they can care for them for the day. On the good days, we feel a tinge of jealousy that we’ve been slightly replaced. On the other, we’re overcome with mom guilt that is impossible to forgive.
It’s a torturous process we endure time and time again. We are ever so careful in the childcare selection process. We ask a ton of questions about child-to-teacher ratios, meals, playtime versus learning time, teacher turnover, and so forth. We want only the best for our kids. We don’t even mind that it’ll cost us an arm and a leg because we’ll do whatever it takes to get them the best care we can afford, right? We do our research and then hope and pray that we’ve done it right and found a good one.
The first time is HARD.
I cried in the mornings and counted down the minutes until pick up because I was so anxious. I was beating myself up about leaving them. I was scared that they would hate it and then I would feel like a terrible mother because it was me that chose this daycare. I was worried they would think I abandoned them. I was distraught thinking about them crying and not being immediately tended to. I was even worried that my children would be the “bratty” children and would be talked about over teacher break time. Overtime these feelings, worries and insecurities lessened and things got better. As kids do, mine adapted to their surroundings and they started to love daycare and their teachers loved them right back.
This is where guilt ended and jealousy began…
It was the perfect fit. The teacher was perfect. My kids LOVED her. She was kind, loving, and treated them like they were part of her own family. On the weekends my kids missed her and would talk about her all the time. I will admit that there were some days my child would ask for her instead of me. OUCH!! Even though I was no longer worried about the things listed above, a new set of worry and insecurity crept in. Deep down I was worried that I was being replaced by her because of my absence during the day. After all she had the upper hand. While I was busy punching the clock ,she was busy making memories with my children.
It took time, but eventually those feelings dissipated as well. I went from feeling guilty, to fearing something bad would happen, to jealousy, and then finally to thankfulness. My daycare journey has progressed through all these stages, but I love where we ended up. It took time to realize that the love my kids have for her and she for them, was a rarity. I got over my insecure feelings and instead gratefulness overflowed. Now we are forever indebted to her for taking such great care of our babies. Their love for one another and the bond they share is irreplaceable. Our family will always have a place for her in our hearts.
Fear not, you will never be replaced.
Finding someone that can “replicate” mom or dad when we are absent should be the goal. Someone that can make your child light up inside the same way around you. That loves your child just as much as you do. THIS can be a wonderful thing. THIS is a home run. THIS we shouldn’t feel guilty about. We want our children to have the best when we can’t be there.
Find someone that will REPLICATE you because you are awesome and can’t be replaced.