Sunday, June 28, 2015

early morning drop-off

There is a daycare downstairs from my office. My son doesn’t go there, though we originally thought he would. My mom and mother-in-law generously split their week watching him instead. This is what works best for us now.

But every morning, when I get to work, there are lots of moms dropping off their kids. Some moms in put-together outfits, heels and dress pants and badges dangling from their necks or their belts. Other moms in yoga pants, likely working from home, sitting in front of a computer all day, getting up only to drop laundry in the dryer or put dishes away before a conference call.

We make eye contact and smile as I walk past them and into the building. I see them opening car doors and unbuckling car seats, pulling out big strollers and small, brightly colored backpacks. Their kids are 6 months or 2 years or 5 years old. Their kids, even in the rush of morning, seem happy. I watch toddlers climb wide-set steps, wanting to do it on their own. I watch pre-schoolers calling out to friends. The moms are in a hurry, but not hurried. Efficient, but not frazzled.

They probably don’t know that I have a baby at home. They probably don’t know how much it means to me to see them every morning.

There’s so much written about how heart wrenching it is to go back to work after having a baby. About how tough it can be, how much crying is involved. And it was, and there is. It took me months to feel ok, though that oversimplifies it. Every day was not tough. Every day was not sad. It’s only in looking back, now that I’ve gotten to a different place, that it seems rough. It’s only in having let go of that guilt I was holding on to that it all feels ok.

But make no mistake: there is still guilt. It’s wrapped up in timing and traditional schedules and a changing workplace, for sure. It’s still hard, and from what people tell me, there will always be a split—a wanting to be here and there at the same time.

There is so much written about what it’s like to stay home or go to work. What the right decision is and how to make the best choice for your family, for your life, for your season. I don’t know what the right answer is.

But I do know that walking past that daycare in the morning makes things easier for me. It may only be two minutes and I may not know any of those women by name, but they make me feel better, they make me feel in-this-together. They make me feel that happy kids will be happy kids no matter where their mothers spend their days.

[photo via unsplash]

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