Thursday, January 21, 2010

My Little Cupcake!




When I went to pick-up Nik from Daycare the on Tuesday, I met her in the driveway.  Our provider had just taken Nik with her to run a meal to a parishoner who had returned home from the hospital, after all the other kids had been picked up.  Somehow, all the other children's parents only work till 3:30 pm every day?   How do I get that job?  So, Nik is like a little latch key kid, because I usually don't get to her until quarter to 5, or quarter to 6 on days when I work later.  Fourtunately, the only day I have to work until 7:00 pm, is Thursdays when my mother watches Nik.  Our daycare provider is usually only there till 4:30 pm, but she makes an allowance for us, when we need it, otherwise I would have to leave work early every day and use vacation time to get off, or work extra hours to make it up.

So, she handed the little pumpkin to me, and we walked inside to get Nik's things.  She handed me Nik's things, and then, as I was about to turn and leave, Nik reached out for her, while I was holding her!!  Now, you can interpret that anyway you want to, but to me, that was just a stab to the heart.  She stated that she hadn't eaten for a while, or maybe Nik thought I was dropping her off, or maybe she was tired bc she had fallen asleep in the car, however you want to look at it, it simply says that I am not the primary provider for my daughter.  That I see her less than someone else, and in this instance, I was not her first choice, or her comfort.  Who am I to her?  Does she think I am the nanny?  This was just heart wrenching and disturbing to me as a mother and a woman.  It brought tears to my eyes, and bothered me for quite some time after.  It just gets to me, and bothers me that I am not in a different place than I had always thought that I would be.  And as awful as it is to think this, I just got to thinking, why do people have children who just go to work all day?  It's so strange because I know of parents who both work and their children attend daycare, whether becuase that is their life and they chose that path, or whether because their situations do not allow them to have it any other way.  But, I also know people who stay at home and raise their children instead of working, whether it be the mom or the dad that stays home. I also knwo people, who stay at home with their children, and I can't figure out HOW they are able to financially maneuver that.

Of course, I NEVER thought that I would be in this place with my daughter, or my children.  My mother worked, dont get me wrong.  My mother still works at 63 years old, full time!  When I was a child, she worked a day or two in the school library, and did home room mom stuff like that.  I think she was a troop leader one year, a high school cheerleading coach another year.  When we got older, she worked nights in retail, and by the time I was in junior high, she was back to work full time, and I was a latch key kid.  I was the last one off the bus (at two different addresses, figure that one out), and I walked home by myself, and let myself into the house, and was alone till my father came home from work.  And, if I forgot my key, which happened VERY often, I was alone on the stoop outside our house till my father came home (which always seemed like hours!!).   

That was my childhood growing up, but I didn't know of anything else, so that was completely normal and ordinary to me.  But, now, as an adult and a mother, I know that is not what I want for my children.  And, I know that my mother and most parents don't.  My mother did stay home to raise me and my older brothers when we were very young.  That I envy her.  My mother says now that if she could, she would watch the pumpkin every day, but she is still working.  And, I wish that I could change that for her.  It's so funny how people's lives are so different.  People's childhoods so diverse.  All because of upbringing, generations, lifestyles, circumstance, chance, and CHOICES.  Somethings you can't change, but choices are yours to claim.  I chose this path.  Now, of course I NEVER thought that I would have to go back to work, and give my daughter to a stranger to raise, but this little nagging, leaves me feeling I chose this path somehow, whether through direct choices or indirect, an that is my plight. 

So, the next day when I picked Nik up, she smiled this huge smile when I greeted her, and was very happy when our daycare provider handed her to me to hold in my arms.  Which is usually how this scene plays out.  And that did make my heart fill back up a little.  But, I still can't help but watch that scene from earlier, when she was not so happy, play back in my mind, and I don't think I will ever be able to fully let that fade from my memory.

4 comments:

  1. I completely understand how you feel. I always told myself that I wanted to be able to stay at home to raise my children, but unfortunately that just isn't how things worked out. I go to work all day and the man goes to work all night...we do the best we can, but it still isn't enough for me to quit working. Granted we don't have to pay for daycare - thank goodness - and the babe stays at her own home with my in-laws...but it still breaks my heart to know that I am not the one at home with her.

    ~WM

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  2. I feel ya on this one!! It is so hard for me to leave Blake...but I just cant stay at home with him all day/every day. I just have to think that it makes me appreciate the nights and weekends with him THAT MUCH MORE!! I dont take for granted one single moment :)

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  3. I know exactly what you're feeling! I really do! But you can't can't can't (can I stress that enough) take it personally. You will always come first with your child! You're her mom - the one that knows her in a way that no provider could possibly know her.

    And it will get easier - I promise.

    The first year with my son in daycare was gut-wrenching for me. I always envisioned myself as becoming a stay-at-home mommy, but financially that isn't possible for us (not only do I need the extra income, but the health benefits provided by my employer, as well!) My parents are both deceased, and my husband's family live far away, so it isn't possible to have a family member watch him.

    But now, I see things completely differently. In my case (and everyone is different so I can't compare), I know that the time I'm with my son, he has my complete focus. I'm not distracted by the laundry or the dishes in the sink, or taking him for granted because I'm with him day in and day out. Our time together truly is quality time.

    We found a wonderful daycare, and my son has grown to adore the people there. Since he's an only child, he would be otherwise isolated. The kids at daycare are his playmates.

    And you want to hear something similar to your story...I had a couple of weeks off over the holidays with him and when they were over, he said to me, "I love you mommy, but I love daycare better."

    !!!

    Can you believe it!? Year ago, that would've been a blow to my ego! But now I can laugh...I know what he meant to say! He loves me and his dad to pieces, but he gets bored at home and needs to be around kids his age...I understand it.

    People have so many misconceptions about daycare and feel like it's substandard care. It all depends on the daycare, and on your child.

    I can tell from your blog how much you adore your little girl, and I'm sure if I can see it - your daughter can! She'll love you no matter what, and know that you did your best for her...and that's all that matters!

    Judy@cutest-little-things

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