One of the biggest changes in the Paul household in the past couple of months is that Noah started attending daycare. The decision to leave my child in another woman’s care was a difficult one; until he started daycare, Noah had only been in the care of a handful of people (7 total, including my husband and myself, and most of them for no more than a couple of hours), and the idea of daycare was a bit terrifying to me. What it ultimately came down to was that I was having a difficult time keeping up with my work (I work from home) and an incredibly active toddler, and he needed more socialization with other children. We decided on a small, in-home daycare in our neighborhood that has been operated by a trusted friend for more than 20 years, and as soon as Noah turned 2 (the daycare was at capacity for under-2) he started attending part-time, 5 days a week.
The first time we dropped him off, I immediately felt like the worst mother on the planet.
While friends have talked about sobbing after their first drop-off, I didn’t. Don’t get me wrong: I was nervous about leaving him – mostly because I hated the idea of him being scared (he wasn’t thrilled about his father and I walking out the door) – but I was also happy. I was happy that he was going to have the opportunity to spend time around other children, I was happy that I was going to have defined time every day to get my work done, and I was happy that getting my work done while my husband was at work would give me more time to spend with him in the evening.
Two months in, I can say with absolute certainty that the decision to send Noah to daycare was a great one.
Noah took to daycare a lot quicker than we anticipated; he gets excited every morning when we say “Time for Noah to go to school!” and is often reluctant to leave his new friends and Yaya (his daycare provider) when I pick him up. He is *thriving* in another woman’s care, and that makes my mama-heart happy.
Not only has daycare been great for Noah, but it’s been great for me as well.
My stress level has dramatically declined; I no longer fret about finding the time to finish my work because I now have time every day dedicated solely to that purpose. I didn’t realize how stressful it was trying to work around Noah’s schedule until I no longer had to. Best of all, the time I get to spend with him every afternoon – between when I pick him up and when his Dada gets home from work – is unfettered by my anxiety over how I’m going to finish my work done that day because my work day is over by the time I pick him up.
Sending Noah to daycare has also been great for my marriage.
Previously, there were many days when my husband would get home from work, we’d cook and eat dinner, and either he’d spend time with Noah while I finished work or I’d have to wrap up work after we put Noah to bed. There wasn’t always much time for my husband and I to just enjoy being in each other’s company, and that was something we both missed. Noah going to daycare allows me to work while my husband is still at work, which leaves evenings open for us to enjoy spending time with him *together* and then enjoy each other’s company once he’s in bed. Our relationship has also benefitted from the reduction in my stress level – I’m just happier and more relaxed now than I was when I was constantly fretting over being both a good mom and a good employee.
I was blessed to be able to stay home with my child for the first two years of his life and continue to do a job that I love.
I will always be grateful to my employer for the gift of being able to be both a working mother and a stay-at-home mother – I have been able to experience so many moments with my child that I might not have if I had been faced with the choice between my job or staying home with my son. Noah, my husband, and I are all benefiting from the decision to send him to daycare – what more could I ask for?