On the eve of my babe’s first day of daycare I am sitting on the lounge eating chocolate, watching a candle flutter in the darkness and letting the emotions settle in. This day has been coming for a while and part of me is completely freaking out about it, while another part of me is excited. I’m excited for him to make new friends, to learn new skills and to experience a world outside of me -aargh how scary! I just want to wrap him up and keep him with me forever… But I know this will be good for us.
I never put my eldest into daycare. He started preschool at 3 without a single issue. He was excited, he was ready and I had little Hudson, my baby, to care for so it worked out perfectly. I have raised my children in a really hands on way. I guess some would label it ‘attachment parenting’ if you’re into labels then go right ahead. Everything was a slow transition for him and we allowed him to do things at his own pace. He wanted to stay home with me and I wanted to stay home with him. We had a blast together and it worked.
Now however, I can feel myself getting burnt out. I love being a mum and it fulfils me in so many ways but I really need a day. Just one day of clear space, of clear thoughts in my head so I can channel my energy into something that is mine and only mine. God I sound like gollum, “my precious!” Such a creepy, stingy, parallel to draw but I’ll probably turn into him if I don’t get a day to myself soon.
When I have Hudson at home with me while I’m working I feel like I’m only half there for my work and for him. When I have someone to watch him, I’m able to fully immerse myself in my work then when I’m finished I feel like I can shut the door and walk away with a sense of accomplishment. Then I can give myself to Hudson fully and be present with him. But if I’m constantly trying to juggle them both there’s no end point, it’s like an ever moving finish line. It makes it harder for me to look back at my day & say ‘I accomplished this’. And I unknowingly feel like my work is getting interrupted by the kids when really I should be giving them my full attention.
So tomorrow is the big day. I know I’m going to cry. I know he is going to cry. I cried when I dropped my son off at preschool for his first day. I watched him there with all those big kids. He was the smallest & the youngest. I was totally freaking out. Then when I went to pick him up, the first thing the teacher said to me was ‘boy he sure can stick up for himself!’
The younger kids had picked on him calling him ‘small’ & a ‘baby’. Apparently he didn’t like that and he set them straight! That’s my boy! Haha and from that day on he loved school.
I have been very hands on with Hudson too. He is still breastfed and still sleeps with me so I know nap time is going to be a real challenge but I’m trying to be totally open to the journey of it.
To be honest, one of the reasons I didn’t put Preston into care is because I worried that him being so attached to me would mean that no educator could put him to sleep or soothe him the way I could and he would not be able to cope.
Now I know that children are so adaptable. They know the difference between mum and dad, friend, grandparent etc. Hudson knows he’s not going to get breastmilk from my husband and he doesn’t ask for it. He just lays down & goes to sleep. My husband has tried to give him a bottle but it’s like he only wants milk from me. He’d rather go without than have anyone else try to give it to him. He’s 18 months old and can go a few hours without it just fine.
Anyway, I’m feeling excited that I can now get into the fast lane with Mama + Me but I’m also feeling a bit scared I won’t. I mean, what if now I have all this free time and still nothing gets done? I know it’s going to start out like, ‘oh my gosh, the house is so quiet, what am I going to do? Where do I start?’ But it will go so quickly too and the afternoon will roll around and I’ll be feeling like I didn’t get enough done.
I guess I’m feeling pressure too like I have to earn the right to have a day to myself. Daycare isn’t cheap and my business isn’t making any money (yet) so I’m putting a lot of pressure on myself that this will be worth it in the long run.
I think I need to be kinder to myself and realise that even if I get no work or housework done, even if I just have a nap and read a book, that time was not wasted. My family needs a mum that is rested, that is mentally stimulated and that feels a sense of purpose in her life.
Wish me luck mamas and please share your kids first day stories with me. I’d love to hear the who, the what, the why and the way the whole darn thing turned out okay. (hopefully!!!)