I used to always be ready for school to start, getting bored of summer (which is hard to believe), ready to get back into a routine, excited to get back to work, anxious to meet the students, but this year, I was completely dreading it. Going back to work meant leaving Ivy behind. (Read more about that here). Leaving her behind to someone else. Leaving her behind to unfamiliar faces. Leaving her behind to catch who knows what kind of sickness. Leaving her behind to start a whole new routine. Leaving her behind. I didn’t like that. I liked the routine we were in. I liked being with her everyday. I liked raising my own child. I liked keeping her safe. I liked everything about staying home with her.
I wanted to stay home with her. So bad.
But. Now I am at work.
And she’s at daycare part-time (3 days a week) and with John’s Mom the other 2 days (which I don’t complain about at all, thank GOD for Betsy). She’s in someone else’s arms, she’s in someone else’s care, she’s somewhere else. All hard to swallow. I am really struggling.
Last Wednesday was my first day back to work. I walk in the doors to her daycare and read a sign to her room that says, “There has been 1 case of pink eye in this room since August 11.” I die. Not an inviting sign to see on her first day of daycare. This is n o t happening. Can’t we just go home and ride the bike trail and swing on swings like we did all summer? I want to turn around. I start crying, already. Before I even open the door. This is bad. This is so bad. I quickly review to the staff what a day is like for Ivy to give them some guidance and sort of keep the control to hope that they follow it, but I’m crying. Trying to talk. Trying to blink and wake up. Finally it’s over. And I pass her off. She just looks at me, and I can’t look back. I turn around and head out the door. Still crying.
Thinking, are all Mom’s like this? Did I just make the most pathetic scene in there? Is this normal? (What’s really normal in parenting, anyways.) So embarrassed and so sad at the same time.
Throughout the day, I cry here and there, when someone asks me about her. I cry when I think about her. I try to focus at work, but it’s impossible, when I want to be somewhere else. My head is not here, but I need to get focused and accept my new so called life. I need to not think about her (impossible). I have students to think about now. I’m looking after someone elses children.
I make it through the day (barely) and race out of there to pick her up. The second she sees me in the door she starts crying. And I start crying. I pick her up and hug and kiss her so much. I feel so bad. SO bad. I’m sorry baby, I’m sorry.
They give me a brief summary of her day which included 2 naps of 15 minutes (ugh), not taking any of her bottle (ugh), music, games, and playtime. But, I pretty much only heard the barely naps and no bottle. I will admit, I did not give her a bottle all summer. She only nursed, and I know I should have given her a bottle, but I didn’t want to. And now, well, now we are both paying for it. Crap.
The next two days, Ivy had half days there (hallelujah!), which made it a little easier, but I still cry when I drop her off, and still cry all day. She cries too when she sees me at the door to pick her up. That’s the worst feeling ever. I’m REALLY feeling pathetic now. But I can’t help it. And I didn’t care. I was depressed.
This week was different. People kept telling me, she will start to love it, you will start to love it, it will get easier. But it wasn’t. And I could tell she was starting to hate it. Each of the 3 days I would drop her off this week, she started crying just walking into the room and she would cry when she would see me to pick her up. Ivy, don’t do this to me, this makes me feel so bad. So guilty.
She still isn’t taking her bottle. They have tried each day, my Mom tried when she had her 2 days this week, and we even tried to put it in a sippy cup. She won’t take it any way. Screwed. But the good thing is, she’s eating breakfast, lunch, and snack there. This is where I am SO happy I did baby-led weaning. (Read about that here). She’s really good at eating now and is able to easily eat all of the food they are giving her there. I am so glad we did that. She’s getting to eat all sorts of new things there. I try to see the positives, and at least I still get to nurse 3 times a day, so she should be good. Right?
Otherwise, I still cry most the time. Well now, it’s more like tearing up, but there are still tears. Like, WHEN does it get easier? I’m still waiting for that. Because so far, each day, one or both of us has cried going to daycare. I question this daycare thing so much. I have looked in to nannies, we have discussed me staying home, we have discussed job-sharing, we have discussed grandparents full-time, we’ve discussed and discussed. And not discussed. I can barely talk about it anymore because I am just depressed about it.
I never saw myself as a stay at home Mom, especially with being a teacher and the perfect-for-raising-a-family schedule we have and also having summers off. But now that I’m back at work, I feel differently, I feel like that’s all that will make my mental state ok again. But there is fear in that also, fear of what people will think, fear of losing recognition of being a career person, fear of molding into a crazy obsessed parent who can’t be away from their kids, fear of losing adult interaction, fear, period. Indeed it’s a struggle both ways, however, I picture myself differently now, I picture myself as a Mom. And a wife. And that’s where my heart and mind are now. I guess what they say is true, children really do change you. They steal your heart and mind. They love and need you. And you love and need them.
My so called life is just pretty pathetic right now. I’m almost unrecognizable to myself. These feelings I have are so overwhelming that I can’t even think straight. But people were right, it is getting better. Slowly, very slowly. Too slowly.
I’m anxious about the day that neither of us cry when I drop her off or when I pick her up. But, that means we are both ok with our new lives now. And that will probably make me cry. (Sigh)