By: Davida Grant
Yesterday was Grant’s first day in daycare. I knew this time would come. It was 5 months in the making. I thought I was ready. At the facility, Grant was cool, calm and collected. He just looked around, checking things out, completely unfazed by this momentous occasion. Me, I cried like a baby.
If you’re a working mom, you probably know exactly how I feel. You birth this tiny, beautiful, amazing little person and during the weeks after, the two of you develop a bond stronger than oak. In many ways, s/he is an extension of you. You go everywhere and do absolutely everything together. Even in your zombie state, you want everything and want to be everthing for her/him. The “Momma Bear” in you is in full effect. And then just like that you have to relinquish control. You have to hand over your most precious commodity to complete strangers and move on with your day, as if nothing ever happened. How do we do it mommies? How?
Well, we moms are really the 8th wonder of the world, so we find a way. For me, I thought preparation was the key. I thoroughly researched the daycare. I even took Grant to the facility last Friday so that we both could see his classroom and meet all his caregivers. I also wanted to have a firm sense of how his classroom operated. I wanted Monday to be easy. Leaving the facility, I felt ready.
Boy was I wrong. The second I entered the daycare facility on Monday morning, my eyes teared. I started having this coversation with myself. “Vida, it’s okay. You’ve done your due diligence. This place is awesome. Grant will be fine.” But as I approached his classroom, I couldn’t hold back my tears. His caregivers were gracious. They’d seen it all before. They practically held my hand as I unloaded Grant’s things. I lingered as long as I could. I kept hugging my baby. I knew it was time to leave, but I couldn’t. After about 15 minutes I did. I almost ran to my car. I was ready to boo hoo and was too embarrassed to fully let it out there. Once in the car, I released.
After I collected myself and drove away, I reflected on my feelings. Why did I have such a strong reaction? Here’s what I realized.
- I was nervous. Yes, the daycare has a great rating and his caretakers seem awesome, but they aren’t his momma. Nobody can take care of Grant like me. N O B O D Y!!!
- I felt guilty. I took 5 &1/2 months off from work and really thought I was doing something. I could have taken more time, at least 9 months, but reasoned at the time that 9 months was waaaaaay too much time. How could I have been so blind? I was handing my son over to strangers when he could be at home with me.
- Mostly, I was scared I’d miss out. There are so many “firsts” in a baby’s life: first time they smile, first time they sit up without support, first time they roll over, first time they stand and crawl. I could go on and on. I didn’t want to miss any of it. My daughter was in the hospital most of her first year of life. I missed so much with her. I didn’t want to with Grant.
As the day went on, things got better. Reality set in. I’d have to leave him at some point to return to work. That’s just the way it is. And guess what, at the end of the day, Grant would be okay and WE would be okay. My son is in a great daycare and that is a blessing!!! Although we won’t be two peas in a pod everyday ALL day, we’d still have plenty of time together. Yes, I might miss some of his firsts, but Grant and I would have a lifetime of many firsts together.
What about you? What was the first day of daycare like for you and your little one?