Sunday, May 19, 2013

Reality Sets In

So we've been (or more specifically I) kind of stressed out about our daycare situation.  You may recall that back in SEPTEMBER we put down our deposit and got our name on the waiting list at our daycare after visiting a few different ones and deciding this one was the one.  They told us to give them a call when Allie was born to check in and that was pretty much it.

Well, after Allie was born called twice and stopped in once and they were unable to tell us whether we were officially in or not, which had me pretty freaked out.  We basically have no back up plan because we didn't know we needed one when we signed up with them.  I was never given any impression that it would be a problem when I was only 16 weeks pregnant when we chose them.

Luckily Greg kind of took control and suggested we stop in together to get a real answer of whether we were in or not so we could start looking into other options if necessary, since I go back to work in July and that's coming up.

Turns out the way they do their waiting list is to basically match up a baby with a time slot the parents asked for when it opens up.  So say you tell them you want June 15th?  Well they will get you in then if there is a spot open then, but if one opens up like June 1st and there is someone after you on the waiting list that wanted June 1st, they would actually call them to put them in that spot without even checking with you first to see if you wanted it even though you were before them on the list.  Weird right?  So I'm glad we went in and figured that out, because they had a spot open July 1st, and even though I don't go back to work til later in July, we decided to take that spot, otherwise we might not have one.

Reality sets in.  My daughter is going to daycare.

So, Allie can start daycare on July 1st.  I'm not sure how we're going to handle that yet.  I could go back to work early.  Hmm, not sure about that.  I would have the leave I would have used those weeks for later if I did that, which would be nice, but that means I'm cutting my maternity leave almost three weeks short.  I think what I will probably do is slowly transition Allie into daycare.  I can either drop her off half days or whole days, but only part of the week instead of all of it so we can both get used to the idea.  I don't think they really care as long as we pay for a full week.

July 1st is only like 7-8 weeks away.  Yikes.  Time to start thinking about life when I go back to work.  How will it be to be away from Allie all day knowing someone else is holding her, seeing her progress, catching her smiles, watching her sleep, and enjoying her?  Ugh.  That does kind of kill me.  Will I feel like life is more balanced with work and a baby?  I don't know yet.

I do know that I never felt like someone who always wanted to be a stay at home mom.  Don't kill me for saying that, because it doesn't mean I didn't really really want to have kids and be a mother.  I think it's great for people who have always wanted to stay home with kids, and totally admire that, I just don't know that I am completely cut out to do it the way I feel like some people are.  Some people exude that awesome stay at home mom confidence and are naturals with kids, and I don't think I'm one of them.  I wanted to be a  mom, yes, but not necessarily a mom without a career too.  I love being home with Allie more than maybe I thought I would and I think I'm doing a good job with her, but I don't know that I'm a complete natural with babies either.  I don't always know what to do with Allie to stimulate her (thanks for teaching me some things Gymboree!).  Sometimes I think daycare will be good for her because the people there are professionally trained to handle children, where as I am just figuring it out as I go along.  Maybe it's good for her to have that some of the day.

Part of me feels unfulfilled with our days at home.  I kind of hate myself for saying that, because I love being with Allie.  I just don't feel like I accomplish much besides loads of laundry, walks, and maybe lunches out with friends.  I know that's stupid to say though because the time I am spending with my baby is worth more than gold, and it's not about accomplishing tasks, it's about building a relationship with my baby.  Still, I think because I'm older, have been working so long, and am so established in my job and with my co-workers, it feels like it would be too weird to give up the work part of my life.  I'm not curing cancer, but I do get a certain satisfaction from my job.  I kind of feel like I wouldn't be me anymore if I didn't have that.  I am in a good place with my job would miss it if I were not to have that anymore.  And it is a lot to be a mom for hours and days in a row without Allie's dad coming home to give me some relief at night and share in the care.

Still, we have the special mother/daughter bond, and it scares me to interrupt that.  Especially with a husband that is away so much, I feel like I'm the only person on the planet that knows my daughter.  I filled out the daycare paperwork and there was a lot about Allie and her likes and dislikes.  How can I possibly explain every little detail of her personality?  I feel like we just have this special sync where I can look at her and can tell what she needs or she can tell me, all with out words.  How can I explain that to a daycare caregiver?  I know they will probably figure it out like they have with all the other babies, but right now is a special time because only she and I have that.

Being a mother is weird because on one hand you are overwhelmed by how much the baby NEEDS you, but on the other hand you get sort of a secret satisfaction from the fact that they need YOU.  At least I do.  I like that she doesn't have that with anyone else, and it scares me that she will bond with daycare people the way we have a bond.  I want it to only be with me.

I also worry that on days that I work I won't feel like I have enough time with her.  I'll only have a few hours in the evening after work before she goes to bed and I'll miss most of her day.  Ugh.

I don't know, it's such a confusing mix of emotions.  I totally get the debate of staying home vs. working and why it's so hard to know what to do or how to "have it all".  I think I'm just trying to figure out what is best for me and my family considering all aspects.

While my husband's job is going a lot better, his merger is still shaking out, and I still worry about furlough or something happening and me not having a job for us to rely on, even though right now we don't necessarily need my income.  I also have good benefits and retirement, which is something to think about, that we'd lose if I wasn't working.

I think I'm doing the right thing to at least try going back to work and see how life is at work with Allie at daycare.  I can't say that I'm sure it's the right decision and that I might change my mind and decide to go back to being home with her, but I think it's worth trying life with me back at work to see if that works for us.

I also need to start figuring out things like breastfeeding while working.  I've frozen a bunch of milk, but I need to start coming up with a game plan on how I'm going to really do pumping and working.  Or am I going to start giving her formula too?  I don't know yet.  I have to figure that out.  I've taken for granted that I can just offer a boob anytime.  She's never had formula, so if I might want to give her some, I have to introduce it at some point.  I actually have to plan for 9-10 hours away from her every day and how she's going to be fed, and I kind of don't know where to begin.  Yike.

I want to do more visits to Hilton Head before going back to work too.

It's time to think about what I want to do with Allie before life changes to a totally different schedule.  Thinking about life after maternity leave is kind of overwhelming.  For now I will just snuggle my baby  and enjoy my time with her while she's completely available to me.

Allie rocking tummy time.


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