I’ve been back at work full time for almost a month now. It was easier than I thought it would be and I think that’s because I changed up our caregiver situation at the last minute.
The week before I came back to work I stopped in at the daycare that I had decided was right for Henry. I had chosen it while still pregnant and it was close to work. I figured I would visit him on my lunch break and breastfeed him. It all seemed like a good plan until I made my first unannounced visit. I dropped off some paperwork with the owner and then asked if I could see the infant room again.
Upon entering the room, I noticed an infant in a swing who was crying. With my new mom spidey sense, I could tell that he had been crying for quite some time. The workers made a big point to pick up and swaddle the baby after I entered the room, but I was left with a feeling of doubt. Would they have picked him up if I hadn’t walked in? During the rest of the visit the women made a big deal of showing me all the developmental activities they did with the babies and the reports they would send home with me everyday.
I found myself wondering if I really cared about the developmental activities. Isn’t that something that will happen naturally and wouldn’t Travis and I be capable of doing similar activities at home? I was more concerned that Henry would be taken care of and attended to. I don’t believe in letting a baby cry it out. When Henry reaches panic mode it makes my skin crawl and I must do something to console. How could I leave him with people who I wasn’t confident felt the same way?
I left the daycare, telling them that I would see them on Monday.
I cried the entire way home and then again when I was at home cradling my baby on the couch while Travis cradled me.
I felt sick. I felt heartbroken and I felt let down.
I started investigating the daycare and found a few incidents that made me even more uneasy. In one case an infant had fallen off of a changing table and fractured their skull!
I’m a woman of action so I decided it was time to look for other options and the only option I felt comfortable with was a nanny.
Now, of course, we aren’t high rollers and I truly didn’t understand the cost of a quality nanny. It’s definitely something that would make more economic sense when you have more than one child, but for right now, it wasn’t something we could really afford. I placed an ad on Craigslist anyway and sat back while the inquiries rolled in. And roll in they did! I had a few good candidates and was feeling better and then divine intervention happened.
I mentioned to a friend that I was looking for a nanny. She’s well connected and sent the ad to a friend of hers who was a stay at home mom who lives in our neighborhood.
We met with Amber that very week. Amber is the stay-at-home super mom of three ridiculously well behaved boys. I was blown away by how polite and sweet they are. Amber was warm and friendly and completely confident in her parenting. I look up to her. To top it all off, the boys immediately took a liking to Henry, sitting next to his car seat and giving him kisses. That very day we hired Amber and it was the best decision that we could have made.
I had imagined my first day back at work being full of tears and heartbreak. It was hard and I did have to choke back the tears as I drove away that first day, but knowing that he is in an environment with someone who genuinely cares about him has been the best thing I could have asked for. On top of it all Amber has a 7 month old and Henry now has a baby friend!
I still find it hard to balance my desire to be with Henry all the time and the commitment I’ve made to building a career. I’ve worked for the last 10 years to get to this point and it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to let it go now. Plus, I’m still paying off those pesky student loans.
Being a stay at home mom may be something I’m interested in one day, but for now I’m happy with the balance that we are striking. I enjoy every second of the time I get to spend with Henry and I enjoy my adult time at work. There are days where it’s hard for me to leave him. Most mornings I just want to snuggle with him in bed and I still get a little sad when I hand him off to Amber.
Choosing a caregiver is a lot like choosing an extension of yourself. You are, in essence, asking another person to help raise your child. It best be someone who you like/respect/agree with. I couldn’t be happier with our choice.