Yesterday, I thought it was a good idea for Ben and I to pay a visit to his daycare center - the one I set up for him over the summer while I was still pregnant. At the time, I had put a deposit down to reserve his Wednesday/Friday spot, but was told that after he was born, I should bring in all of his paperwork and registration stuff to get him all ready for his first day.
I should preface this post by saying that as I get closer and closer to the end of my maternity leave, the overwhelming feeling of DREAD has consumed me at times. It's not that I am not looking forward to being back at my job - because I am. I will be starting the year off with a big, new, (important) program that I will be managing and I am eager to prove to my company (and to myself) that I can ROCK the working-mom thing. The problem is, I just CANNOT imagine being away from Ben. To not be the one to hold him when he cries, or feed him when he is hungry, etc. I am sure he will be too young to notice that I have left (at least I hope), so the separation anxiety is mostly going to be my problem and not his, but in general it sucks. I have been feeling lately that it is just completely UNFAIR that the standard maternity leave in the United States is just SO SHORT. (Shout out to Shauna, who is going back to work on MONDAY).
So back to our daycare visit. The teachers there were great, loving, sweet with the babies, and completely adequate in terms of caring for the little ones there. They answered all of my questions well and completely understood how hard of a time I was having with it all. I had a bit of a hard time when two of the babies (around 4 months old) both started crying at the same time, and only ONE of them could be picked up. I mean, hello - I'm sure that is the case in families with multiple children, and other daycare facilities, etc. - but as I sat there looking at the little boy (who was wearing an outfit that Ben also has, with a cry that sounded almost identical to Ben's hungry cry), I had to hold it together before I burst into tears right then and there.
I quickly put my sunglasses on, thanked them for their time, and told them we would see them in January....but the second I said that out loud, I knew that I was going to do everything I could to ensure that we would NOT be back.
I called Greg, my mom, and a few of my friends in total-meltdown mode. I emailed with friends, sobbed on my couch, and then started to brainstorm ways I could find a different situation for Ben. Obviously, I know that the daycare would have been FINE. (The logical part of my brain KNOWS this). But the emotional attachment I have for this kid.....ugh. So overwhelming. I knew that if I HAD to be away from him, I really wanted to feel super comfortable with where he would be, and who he would be with.
Within an hour, I had lined up my mom to watch him my entire first week back (Tuesdays and Thursdays I will still get to work from home - THANK GOODNESS). Greg's mom agreed to spend the rest of January with us and watch Benny when I'm at the office - THANKS, MARCIA!
And then my friend Callie called. I swear, I was not even planning this as I told her my sob story from the morning. As I talked, she listened - and completely understood my fears/sadness about leaving him. And after I was done, she asked me if SHE could watch him instead! It was as if all (okay, most) of my fears about being away from Ben vanished. Callie LOVES me, and she LOVES Ben, and she is right up there with the best of them as far as moms (and friends) go. When the time comes, I really do feel deep down that Ben will be in great hands! Ever since our conversation, I keep thinking about how great of friends Ben will be with her girls (Ben was born on Maylee's 2nd birthday, and 2 days after Mira's 4th birthday). I keep laughing as I know he will likely be dressed up as a Disney princess by them a time or two :) It makes me feel good to know that she is just a text message away, and that I can call and obsess over him and what they are doing as often as I want without worrying that I'm being a little crazy. But most importantly, (at least for me), I love knowing that when he cries, he will be held and snuggled by someone who I have known forever, and who truly loves him.
(I want to be sure that I don't come across as if I have an issue with "daycare". I really don't. I am certain that Ben would have thrived had I made the choice to send him there, but there just was something about it all that didn't feel right for us).
So yes, it still sucks big time that I cannot be in two places at once. I suppose that I'm about to really understand what a challenge the whole work/life balance can be. At least for now, the massive pit in my stomach that reached a level that I cannot handle yesterday, is gradually disappearing.