Saturday, October 04, 2008

Hi Ho, Hi Ho! It's Back to Work I Go...

Yesterday, I took Micah to First United Methodist of Pascagoula, her new daycare center, to meet the ladies who will be keeping her and drop off supplies. Next week, I will take her on Monday, Wednesday and Friday for half days. I'm not sure if I am trying to transition her or me... Maybe both... Mom, Dave and I visited the center before after it was recommended by my friend, Jeannie. It is very nice, and everything is brand-new. The center also received an endorsement from Ms. Renfroe, Sarah's kindergarten teacher. Given that Ms. Renfroe's approval is akin to that of Mr. Rogers, Captain Kangaroo and the teacher from Romper Room, I can rest assured in knowing that Micah will be well-loved and cared for.

But, it doesn't make it easy. I have been trying to find the words to explain how hard it is to leave her, but I keep coming up short. When I was living in Virginia Beach, I stayed home with Dan for the first 6 months or so... Then, after Sarah was born, I wasn't making enough money teaching preschool to make it worthwhile financially to put them both in daycare. I went back to work and school when Sarah was 10 months old, creating a need to seek childcare for her. I remember it cost $115 per week. Danielle was enrolled in a free preschool program called Early Discoveries. The unsubsidized student loans I took out went to pay childcare expenses so that I could finish school. But, by the time went back to work, both girls were at least 6 months old. And, I was working at the YMCA, which is where the girls attended preschool and daycare. So, even though the girls were attending daycare, I was nearby. I was involved in their programs. I knew their caregivers, sometimes intimately.

Micah will be 8 weeks old on Monday. And, I just feel so torn about having to leave her. Even though, everyone I know and trust praises the program, I am still leaving her with people I don't know. Because I taught preschool for such a long time, I know what to look for. I know she will be in a quality program. But, I am going to miss her terribly. She smiles and laughs now. She cries when I walk away if she wants me to pick her up. I know that she burps best sitting straight up and having me lift her in and up and down motion, followed by patting her back. I know that she hates to have anyone mess with her feet. She sneezes in the bright sun, just like Danielle does... And, she loves to wrap her fingers in Sarah's hair, getting and handful when she can. If she kicks her feet and fusses, her tummy hurts. I also know that she sleeps best on her tummy, even though doctors and researchers say to lay babies on their backs. She loves to take baths. And, if she is screaming in the car, popping in Jeremy Camp's Christian Rock CD quiets her immediately. (Yes, it is a weird and amazing phenomena how quickly she gets quiet...) All of these things I have learned about her by being there day in and day out for the last 8 weeks.

So, now... Someone else will learn things about her. She will be in a different environment, so there will be new things and people to either like or dislike. And, I won't be a part of it because I won't be there. There's really no other way to say it. So, is it jealousy? Is it worry? Is it fear of the unknown? Maybe I'm feeling a little of all of that. I have friends who have talked about how they couldn't wait to get back to work and freedom. Being a stay-at-home mom is a gloriously thankless job. I understand my friends' point of view. But, know that I am not experiencing that in the slightest. I'm not yearning for freedom. Even when I am frazzled because she is screaming, I don't want to be anywhere else.

I'm sure that I could figure out a way to bag work for a year. We could cut back on a lot of expenses and make it work. But, that has never been the plan... I have a great career and a wonderful job situation that I worked hard to achieve. I work 2 minutes from my home, and work with people who have become dear friends. They have supported me and my family through all the trials we have experienced. And, Micah deserves to have this support system in place, just as Dan and Sarah always have. The reality for me is that God has always supported me by working through the people in my life. Of course, the people have changed over the years, but those changes have felt God-directed. So, I have been praying a lot. And, the Guidance I am getting so far is to send Micah to daycare and go back to work. Frankly, the Guidance is ticking me off.

What I want to do is much like what I wanted to do when Dan was a baby. I decided that I wanted to be a stay-at-home mom. I was listening to a lot of Dr. Laura at the time... So, I decided that I would stay-at-home, make clothes, use cloth diapers and grow tomatoes in the backyard while wearing a big, floppy straw hat. The reality of the stay-at-home experiment: I can't sew and my attempts at making baby clothes resulted in cloth sewed together randomly with long string hanging out in strange and curious places... Cloth diapers would stay in the diaper pail until mold grew because I wasn't motivated to get in there and wash the nasty things daily, as required... Tomatoes? Plants are a challenge for me. I hate to get my hands dirty digging around in the dirt and I water plants only as an afterthought, if they are in my face dying... I don't really have a stay-at-home mom bone in my body. Truth is... I am far more productive and together when I am working. But, I don't like that truth about myself. I want to grow a stay-at-home mom bone; however, if I'm honest, I haven't grown one and I don't really look to sprout one in the near future.

So, I feel a little guilty too... A little guilty that I don't have what it takes to stay at home. Then I start to tell myself that I suck as a mom... And, that isn't a Godly thought. The God that I know loves me and doesn't think I suck. So, it is time to head back to work. Just know that during this transition time, I will be drinking in Micah... Smelling her, and holding her, and watching her... And, hoping that one day, when she has a baby, I can stay at home and keep my grandchild...

Namaste' ~ Christy