Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Day Care Dilemma

Z came home with big news yesterday. The SU day care called and T's name had come to the top of the list. We put him on the list when he was brand new because we were told it would be a couple of years before there was room for him and we thought I might be working at that point. We had no idea I would be pregnant again, which would put the job situation on hold. His first day in the program would be the day after my due date. Z told me it was up to me, but he was worried about me coping with taking care of the New Guy, T, and myself this fall. When I pointed out there was actually no way in hell that we could possibly afford it he said that shouldn't be the deciding factor. And then said he was leaning towards T going.

I burst into really hard core tears. This place is full time only. I know you don't need to send the kids for the whole day, but it's 8am to 5:30pm and I just couldn't handle the thought of him being gone all that time. I wept out statements like, "He's too little!" "It's too long!" "I can't be away from him all day!" I felt physical pain at the thought of him not being with me, just the idea of it made it hard to catch a breath. Now, I am heavily pregnant and I have an anxiety disorder. My reaction was completely ridiculous, as were my statements. I can see that with a little distance.

The reality is I have no problem with day care, in fact I think it is a wonderful thing that can be really beneficial to kids. I also fully realize it is often a necessity. Clearly he would be perfectly fine if we put him in the SU program. But I am not on maternity leave here, I'm a stay at home mom. I don't have a 12 week period that I want to spend one on one with my newborn before he goes to daycare himself and I go back to work. If the transition to two kids in the family is messy for T, well, we've got time to deal with it. If T needs extra attention and it puts New Guy at a bit of a disadvantage we will work it out. T is signed up for preschool two mornings a week in the fall, and Z had offered to hang out with T at home one morning a week. If we get a babysitter for a few hours on another day that mean there is only one full day that it is just me and the boys. Sounds reasonable to me. In fact, it sounds like I'm on easy street.

Most of the moms I know are not home full time with their kids. Some wish they were, some are glad they aren't. I understand both impulses. Full time child care is not for everyone, hell I'm shocked I love it so much, I never dreamed about being a stay at home mom growing up. It didn't intrest me in the slightest. And I know Z and I are incredibly lucky/irresponsible to be making the choice we are making. The fact that Z supports my decision, that he never ever has made me feel like I'm not contributing to our household by staying home, is amazing. I have never felt, and he has never made me feel subservient to him in our relationship. We've both carried the burden of financially supporting the family at different points. But my panic at the prospect of T going to full time day care made me realize something, now for the first time in our 13 year relationship we both have jobs that we find completely fulfilling. It's pretty awesome. Life isn't perfect. Duh. I have an anxiety disorder that colors EVERYTHING, there really super-duper isn't enough money to go around, and we are adding another family member to the mix. But we'll figure it out, just like we always seem to. I love my job. Z loves his job. That is pretty damn important.

I nondenominational pray the anxiety disorder stays under control this fall. A part of me is hurt that Z wants T in daycare because he's worried I'm going to have trouble handling both boys. But I also understand it is a legitimate concern, and that Z has my back when it comes to the anxiety. There have been times when the crazy has been so acute I haven't been able to even handle myself. It's a pretty disheartening truth. But I want to be well for these boys. I know I won't let myself sink far into mental illness without getting help, I care more about functioning now than I ever have because of my kid(s). There is a support system in place here and I have taken advantage of it and will have no compunction doing so again if the need arises.

And I do realize a big motivator for Z concerning daycare is we've both heard so many amazing things about it. We were encouraged by many parents to put T on the list the second he was born because the program is so excellent, and it has taken two years for his name to come up. Who knows if he'll get another chance if we put him in the back of the line? But sending him to daycare just because he's been waiting for years is not a good reason if it doesn't fit in with what is going on in the rest of our lives. I've already left a message for the director of the program, and when she calls back I'm going to ask her to put T and New Guy at the back of the list and hope she calls back in a year.

T when we put him on the list for daycare.

T this morning. How the hell did the last two years go so fast? And yes, he's wearing the same outfit as yesterday. I did the laundry this morning, OK?

My sweet man painting my toenails last night. Before he got started, "You gonna wash your feet first?" Me, "Do you want me to?" Z, "Well, you wrote half a blog post about how gross your feet are. So, you know, it would be nice." He makes a solid point. I washed my feet.

Yes, I posted this on FB last night. But I can't help the repeat. He loves this book and always "reads" the last page himself. See? I'm teaching him stuff. He doesn't need the fancy day care to be awesome! Yes, I am trying to convince myself we are doing the right thing...

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