Daycare Dilemma

…let me begin by retracting the title of this post.

It’s not so much a dilemma. I’m really, really comfortable with the daycare we found. It’s owned by friends from high school and lots of people I know send their kids there.

With that said, as my time to return to work draws closer, I find myself wondering how I’ll feel driving away, even if I’m working at home. I look forward to working, to mental stimulation, to challenges beyond trying to keep the toilets clean and the garbage emptied (which have become my hell in my stay-at-home world lately). I’d be lying if I said that I don’t relish the thought of being able to stay home and spend my days with Elle and see what comes.

Unfortunately, there is not a paycheck that I can deposit at PNC that comes with that job. Soooo, back to work it is, in just another 3 1/2 weeks (ugh, gut punch).

However, as I find myself caring for Elle day to day, I wonder how it is that the 1-to-4 (one caregiver to four infants) ratio can work. I mean, I don’t know how you can give the proper attention to a baby when you are caring for three others at the same time. I am certain that mothers of multiples struggle with this too. But, I’m NOT one of those, so I’m really struggling.

Don’t get me wrong, I think daycare is a great invention. I think the socialization skills she’ll learn, the other children and families we’ll meet, will be invaluable both to her and to us. I think the relationships you build with your caregivers when you are small are terribly important. But, how will it be enough for ME (I know, it’s not really about ME, but…I want it to be enough for ME to feel comfortable with).

I struggle, too, with the fact that my job carries with it a significant amount of travel. I chose to move back to Michigan of my own accord, but I couldn’t possibly have a child on my own in Chicago, because I would never have any overnight care for her, so I couldn’t travel at all. That was my trade off. Well, that and my happiness and sanity, that I didn’t WANT to be living in Chicagoland.

Anyway, I was going to try really, really hard to find a job that was more my-life-friendly while I was on maternity leave. And I did, for a minute. And I had a few (totally crap) interviews. So, I don’t have a new job, I don’t know what my job will look like heading back into it. But, I don’t really have an alternative. I’ve created a lifestyle for myself that requires my paycheck to survive, so I closed the stay-at-home-mom door on myself.

That was dumb.

I THINK my employer and job may be flexible enough to allow me to maintain my sanity as Elle’s Mom while also giving to my job and employer what it needs…but who knows.

I just keep trying SO SO hard not to dwell on the pit in my stomach, in the dread that fills me at the thought of being away from Elle overnight for WORK…of missing something cool…of having to hear about what she did today OVER THE PHONE! Uck. Not cool.

So, anyway, my dread is getting the best of me right now. I want to cherish the next three weeks, the holidays and the time I do have left with my baby girl, Jon and our little idyllic solitude that we’ve fallen into the last few weeks.

I seriously think the U.S. has to find a way to be more like Europe in allowing mothers the time to spend with and raise their children…but that would require a healthcare system that wasn’t completely defunct and expensive.

I digress…but…I’m just pissed I have to go back to work and be away from my girl strictly for the paycheck.

Ugh.

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