Apparently there is a great divide out there between full-time stay-at-home moms and full-time working moms. I say “apparently” because I don’t notice it much in my own life. Either I don’t notice it, or I really just don’t care. And I’m not really writing about the divide. I’m just writing about me. “They” (these same people, apparently) say that both parties are jealous of the other. At-home moms would love to escape the Cheerios crumbs and the drudgery and the Elmo and go back to work. At-work moms would love to spend more time with their kids. And then the part-time working moms probably point and laugh at us all because they have it both ways. I confess I was never jealous of at-work moms, or dads. My view which works for me and my family, and us alone, is that I could never have put a baby in daycare. It’s not daycare that I don’t trust – I think they’re wonderful, especially around here – it’s that I couldn’t hand over a wee baby to someone else.
I’m way too selfish for that. I couldn’t have missed all of those moments – those photographic moments, those eating moments, those first steps and first words moments.
It’s just that Scarlet isn’t a baby anymore. And the difference between two and a two and a half is slowly being revealed to me. I am struggling to keep up with her. I am struggling to keep up with childcare while having some semblance of a life – work meetings, writing time, some doctors’ appointments, some social engagements, some volunteer work. Lately I can’t keep up at all. Kind-hearted people offer me help all of the time, but even they can’t keep up with what I need. It’s sort of like when Scarlet was a baby and people offered to help me watch her. And I needed that and wanted that but I was so in over my head with nursing that I honestly told them, “You can only help me if you can breastfeed her. Otherwise, I’m stuck.”
I need structure and consistency. I need an educational environment. I need her with other kids her age. I need to..pay someone. Half-organized babysitting swaps, asking distant and close relatives and endless phone calls trying to find a sitter aren’t working for me anymore. I need preschool! For the first time in my life, part-time daycare sounds amazing.
Of course, it’s expensive. I’ve had a few friends wisely say something to the effect of, “As long as you’re doing what’s right for your family, the money (and whatever else: sanity, structure, etc.) will follow.”
I hope it’s true. I feel like I’m outgrowing my role. I feel like she needs more than me. I feel like I need more than me. I’m slowing down, she’s speeding up. I need more rest, she needs less rest. We’re going in opposite directions right now – her at 2 1/2 and me at 2nd trimester. There was a time where it worked well – we did activities every day. It’s no longer enough.
So, of course, I’m thinking of everything – nannies, early preschool, part-time daycare, where to find the money, how to find a job knowing I’m losing my ability to hide this stomach..
I don’t know how anyone does it, but everyone does it, somehow. Finding that balance and happiness that works for everyone in the family. It seems easier now to let her go off somewhere new because: She can communicate her needs effectively now and I no longer worry about her begging or crying or getting frustrated over something that no one can help her with. And because she went away for a weekend with her grandparents without asking for us once. And because she’s starting to play with other kids, instead of playing at or next to other kids.
I need childcare help. Badly. Admitting it is the first step. Letting go of her is another..
How do you all do…it all? I need wisdom.
Today’s cute bathtub pics are brought to you by the letter “C” for Cute and “E” for Eyelashes. (I’ve been trying a new lighting trick which works really well in the bathroom so that’s why there have been so many bubble bath pictures lately)