There is nothing rational about my feelings about dropping my three month old child off for daycare. But I’m his Mommy, so I don’t have to be rational, right?
My brain knows and understands that he will be fine. In fact, he will be more than fine. He is in the care of a licensed facility with women who just ooh and ah over him every time we go in. They are more than capable of feeding, changing, and playing with him. He will adjust and get used to the environment and eventually nap just fine. The other little ones flock to him when he comes in, and he loves to watch them. It will be good for him.
But my heart says that no one knows him like I do. No one else anticipates when he is starting to get hungry or tired, or when he needs his pacifier, or when he wants a change in scenery or to sit up instead of laying down. No one else can get him to giggle quite the same, or get him to tell them a story full of coos and squeals quite the same. I have a happy baby because I know what makes him happy.
My brain knows and understands that he doesn’t love me any less, nor do I love him any less, just by virtue of the fact that he has to go to daycare. I am still his Mommy, and nothing is going to change that.
But my heart says that it doesn’t matter that daycare doesn’t change how we feel about each other. It says that is all the more reason to just stay home and cuddle him. I have nurtured him since the very moment he came into existence as a few multiplying cells, and I should be allowed to continue to do so.
My brain knows and understands that this is just how it has to be. I have substantial student loan debt that must be paid. We want to build a house eventually, and in order to do that we are going to have to try to save some more money. I went to school for years and years in order to become an attorney and I do like my job. If I want to keep it, I have to work.
But my heart says that I did this all wrong. We waited until after I finished school to start our family, and thought that was absolutely the right decision. But maybe, just maybe, it wasn’t. I never imagined the love I would feel for my own child, or that I might want to stay home with him. I never pictured myself as a stay at home mother. I thought I would be bored out of my mind. I could not have been more wrong. There is nothing more that I want in this world to be at home with that baby boy of mine, feeding him, playing with him, and watching every moment of his every day.
And that is what is quite possibly the hardest part of all of this to swallow: I inflicted this upon myself. This is all a direct result of the decisions I have made. I am not a person who lives with regrets, but I truly regret those decisions today. Maybe in the future it won’t be so heart-wrenchingly awful and I will be able to enjoy my work again. But for now? This arrangement is just cruel and unusual punishment.