The Countdown is On…

Four months to go. Four months of my maternity leave is left. 118 days until I’m sitting in my office and my sweet baby boy is in the care of someone else.

I know that seems like a long time away, and I know that I’m incredibly lucky to live in a country where I’m able to spend a full year with my son. But to me, it’s not nearly long enough and my time at home with him is slipping away, day by day.

I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately. And by thinking about it, I mean completely obsessing over it. I go through endless options in my head, trying to think of a way that I can put off going back to work for at least another year or two. With daycare coming in at a whopping $1100 per month, there is more than just emotional incentive for me to stay at home. It seems ridiculous that I will be spending my days aching to see my little boy, and paying someone half of my monthly pay cheque for the benefit of it.

With seemingly no other option, I try to think of the benefits of daycare. He’ll get to socialize with other children his own age, something that he rarely does hanging out at home with me all day. He’ll take part in a variety of enriching activities (I’m actually quite happy with where he’ll be going; they have a full calendar of pretty cool daily activities including dance, arts, different languages, and gardening). Our time together, although limited, will be so much more special.

But (no matter what, I always come up with a “but”) he won’t be with me all day. Someone else will be there for milestones like his first words and possibly his first steps. They’ll get to know him day in  day out. I’ll get him up in the morning and put him to bed at night, and the rest of the day he’ll be with someone else. The thought of it is heart wrenching.

I have so many questions that no one can answer. Will he hate it? Will he cry when I drop him off and when I pick him up? Will he start to forget about me? Will he no longer consider me his primary caretaker? Will we still know each other as well as we do now, and have the same bond? Will the daycare providers treat him with the same love and respect that I do?

I hate it. I hate that I have to hand him over to someone else and trust that they’ll care for him the way that I would (which no one ever will or could). I hate that I’m going to be sitting in my office for eight hours a day answering mindless questions and doing work that is completely inconsequential when I should be caring for my baby. I would do anything to not have to go back to work. But (!) even with the exorbitant cost of child care, we still can’t afford to exist on one income.

So, for now, I’ll count down the days and try not to think too much about what’s coming up at the end of October. Being sad all day now will just ruin the last months that I have at home with him. I know that lots of people place their kids in full-time daycare and it works out. I’m sure it will get easier as time goes on, and I’m sure it won’t be nearly as awful as I’m imagining. I just wish that there were some other way.


9 thoughts on “The Countdown is On…

  1. Going back to work was one of the best things for me. It was the one place I could feed myself and not worry about cleaning up a huge mess, pee on my own and have time to even play a game of solitare when it was quiet. It was also the place where I became ME again and not just mom. It helped get ME back. We all struggle and lose ourselves when we become moms. Being a working mom makes me a better mom. The one gives me a break from the other.

    That being said – there are still days where drop off is a disaster and she wails and I cry all the way to work. Other days she waves goodbye and runs off tto play. Its hard right. Both ways. I also know that I am not cut out to be a stay at home mom and could never give her what she gets from daycare.

    I suppose the unknown of how it will go is also more frightening. Know you are not alone in this decision and your fears and concerns are so normal. You will always be number one in his eyes, try remember that. My little one LOVES coming home to me and even after a long day I enjoy spending time with her now more than when we were at home getting underneath each others skin and pissing each other off.
    Hugs to you momma – its so hard.

    • Thanks for your comment! I think it will be good in some ways once I’m back at work. I know I’ll appreciate the time with my son more.

      I’m so thankful that you said that I will still be number one. That’s my biggest fear: that his daycare provider will become his new “mom”. It really helps to have the perspective of a mom who’s going through it. I appreciate it 🙂

      • No problem – these little people are way smarter than we think they are. You have to remember when they are scared, sick or plain “otherwise” it YOU the MOM they will look for for comfort. And yes there will be days where they think other people are FAN-TASTIC. But you will always remain the one constant in their lives, xoxo

    • Your first paragraph is precisely why I wish I had a job. I sometimes envy my fiance when he goes back to work after coming home from lunch. I wish I could go to a nice quiet office and work at my own pace, get up for bathroom breaks whenever I want, snack without being begged or screamed at. All these things would be nice.

      • I feel guilty saying it, but sometimes I look forward to going back to work for that very reason. Overall, I would love to stay home with my son. But going back to work is going to be a break for me.

  2. I know exactly how you feel, though I’m not going back to work (I didn’t have a job before being pregnant to go back to!). I couldn’t do it unless a family member or trusted friend were watching my son. I just couldn’t trust anyone to give him the same level of care I can provide for him. That being said, if you live in Pennsylvania (USA) I would totally watch your little one since my son was born in October as well. They could be best buds. And I’d never think of charging $1100 a month! That’s ridiculous.

    I wish you all the best in your decision. Whatever one you make, it will be the best one because you know you and your son best!

  3. It is really hard to go back to work, but in some ways, it has made me a better mom! I love coming home to my baby and I know that she loves her daycare provider, but I also know that she wants nothing more than to be with me and her father. She is a happy child, she loves the experiences and time that she spends with her daycare provider, but at the end of the day, I have a place to go where I can rejuvenate and where I can be surrounded by smart, capable a kind people that I work with and when I get home I can be with the most wonderful baby/little girl I could ever imagine.

    • I’m so happy to hear you say that. It’s along the lines of what most people have told me. My two biggest fears are that he’s going to hate it there and that he’s going to forget that I’m his mom, but it sounds like I’m probably not giving him enough credit. I’m glad that you’re enjoying the work/life balance! I think that I will too, once I’m back 🙂

      • Don’t get me wrong – you always feel like you are not giving enough to someone/something (job or baby) but I was PETRIFIED that she was going to forget that I was her mom, and she hasn’t…even though she LOVES her nanny and cries some days when we pick her up…but she is happiest with us and he will learn so much from being away from you sometimes. I assure you – it was my biggest fear, but now I know that it was best for everyone!

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