On Monday we survived a milestone new parent transition – daycare. After five incredible weeks with my mom watching Rylan it was time to say goodbye and kick this full time working parent routine into gear. Wine please!
We toured seven daycares when I barely had a baby bump to show off. Downtown-area facilities in Denver are in high demand and the wait lists can be intense. We quickly fell in love with the center that is now Rylan’s home away from home. It came highly recommended from Mike’s boss who put his two children through the center until they went to school. The hours are 7am – 7pm and while I never intend Rylan to be there for that long, with two demanding careers the early and late options were appealing given unpredictable meeting schedules and post-work events. Little things like the fact they wash and sanitize his bottles every night and do his sleep sack and crib sheet laundry once weekly is huge. Just one more thing we don’t have to fit in each day. More time for snuggles, books and play time.
Because I had already transitioned back to work in mid-October I thought Monday’s drop off would be a little hard but manageable. I was so wrong. I bawled as we walked out of the room and continued to sob for most of my drive to the office. Once inside the tears kept coming and I tried to stay to myself in my office so no one would be the wiser. Then one of the other brand new mamas came to check on me when she arrived and I lost it again…then later in the afternoon while pumping, I cried yet again. To say I was unprepared for the emotions of leaving him with a stranger (I know I know, soon they won’t be strangers) is an understatement.
In hindsight I wish we would have taken him for a few half days while my mom was still here. He might have had a better chance to get used to the environment and preserve the decent nap schedule we followed. So far his naps have been no longer than 30 minutes except for one good stretch his first day. Other daycare moms assure me this will pass and he will get back on track. His bottle intake has stayed fairly consistent and that alleviates a lot of worry in my mind.
The really great news is that he is all smiles when we pick him up thus far. Every teacher remarks at how chill and happy he is, all day long. He laughs, smiles and coos for them. They can’t believe how strong his head and neck strength are for his age and that makes us feel really good about all we’ve done.
This. Is. Hard. By “this” I mean the whole working parent thing. For every positive there is a negative. For everything I feel sure and confident about there is a lot of guilt. I am told by my working mom peers and mentors that it gets easier, but it never goes away. Learning to accept that must take time, and I am not there yet. Not one bit.
Fun Story. Rylan wore a dolphin onesie his first day because he is in the dolphin room. Cute right? Well, when we walked in for pickup he was in a completely different outfit. One his first day he blew through not one, but two of his spare outfits. What a way to say “nice to meet you” to his teachers! He is all boy. No doubt about that.