Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Morning Guilt {Not the Walk-of-Shame Kind}

As I left daycare this morning, I felt the usual guilty-twinge of guilt, mixed with a mild punch-to-the-gut ache.  

Granted, Ingrid only goes to daycare two days a week, but drop-offs are still a real drag. 

After standing in the doorway for an uncomfortably long period of time, waving to Ingrid like a maniac - she grinned, and waved back. Then she grabbed a faux-food pretzel and shoved it in her mouth (mmm, plastic). Then, she gave me a head-tilt as if to say "Mom, seriously. I'm fine." 

Driving to work, my mind started to drift to the upcoming workday tasks. 

Then, it hit me. I didn't feel that bad - or even that guilty - about leaving my 10-month-old with three college girls. Why not? 

Then I started to feel guilty about not feeling guilty. 

Our daycare center is amazing. Ingrid loves it. Ingrid is the class favorite (I assume). The teacher-to-child ratio is unheard of. It's minutes from my work and blocks away from Dan's school. And, we all get to gaze out onto Lake Michigan during our commutes (oh-so-much better than I-94). 

Then again, I learn about her day on a prescriptive worksheet (ATE ALL OF PEAS AT 12:10 PM. BM AT 9:40 AM). I don't have a contact, control, or even a good idea as to her general well-being from 8:15-5:30 Monday through Friday. And she's the most important person in my life. 

But then, when husband sent this text message today: 
Hooray for chains! 

The rest of the day seemed to go a little bit easier. 

Whether she's at daycare or at home with Dan or I - she's happy. 

Dan's in school, running his own business and watching Ingrid. 

Like it or not, I'm working. 

Guilty as charged, I like work. 

Some mornings it feels great to leave the house and be mentally challenged. 

Some mornings, I wish I could run back into the Caterpillar room (after putting on the blue protective booties, unlocking the never-ending series of swinging doors and washing my hands). Then, I would scoop Ingrid up, and we would snuggle and play all day. Without any fussiness or nap-time whining. Or, with a ton of fussiness and whining. Ingrid wins over email any day. 

The daycare saga is a see-saw of conflicting emotions and rationals. Doing what's best, against doing what needs to be done. Reality of the situation (see) verses what I want (saw). Thrilled about work while missing Ingrid. 

I'm forever thankful that I was able to spend five wonderful months at home with Ingrid, from day one to week 18. 

It's been wonderful to watch Dan become an amazing stay-at-home, work-at-home, student, (and above all) dad. 

I could go on and on about the wonderfulness that is Ingrid's daycare. 

But sometimes, I just want to override my guilty feelings about the decision to work full-time and be with Ingrid.  


  1. Hi there! I recently started reading your blog (I think I found you on MilwaukeeMoms) and just wanted to chime in.
    I absolutely identify with the daycare/work struggle and the whole should I feel guilty for not feeling guilty thing. My 2 1/2 yo daughter is in daycare 40 hours a week. But, like you, we are absolutely in love with our daycare. It makes such a difference knowing how loved she is and how much fun she the point of having a tantrum when it's time to leave. Gotta love the terrible twos :)
    Sometimes staying at home with her seems like the right thing to do, but then I know I wouldn't be a happy person if I had more of a balance.
    Good luck with the see-saw :)

    1. I completely agree! It's a "grass is always greener" moment - but I'm happy with our current situation. Not looking forward to the terrible twos!


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