This post is written by contributor Chelsea Becker
When I was pregnant, I remember thinking of all the hard parts that were to come with parenthood, but one thing that never dawned on me was childcare. Or more specifically, having to seperate from your child if you were going the childcare route. And HOLY SHIT it was hard!
I’m not a sensitive or emotional person, but the months leading up to my son going to daycare were some of the hardest of my life (not even being dramatic). I thought I’d be excited to get back into work mode and to have personal time, and while that’s been nice, the first week was emotional, confusing, and pretty brutal, not gonna lie. But I survived! Here are 6 things that made the first week doable:
Honestly! The first day was R-O-U-G-H for me. I thought of my son every second and could barely focus enough to work. I needed something to relax so I ended up ordering a glass of wine at lunch. I rarely, rarely do this but it felt like a small treat to myself, and one that settled my mind a bit.
Asking a million questions
At first I felt annoying asking the daycare several questions during dropoff/pickup. I hate to be a hassle and pride myself on being laid-back. But it’s my freaking child and asking questions made me feel better, so I stopped feeling bad about it. Just like a client asking me questions about a project, I’m allowed to ask the caretakers questions about their job or my son’s day. And every time I did, they kindly answered. Having that knowledge was settling.
Being extra prepared
One of the hardest parts of daycare for me (at least beforehand) was giving up control of his routine. But I knew I could control sending him off with a few swaddle options, several change of clothes, new fun toys, and so forth. He obvoiusly didn’t need all of this but I felt calmer knowing he had everything…and more.
Brunch with a fellow mama
A friend of mine who sends her daughter to the same daycare asked me to have brunch my first week and thank god that she did. Not only did she make me feel better about the experience (her daughter has thrived there), but it was something social I was able to look forward to. After months of being on baby duty, this solo girl time was beautiful.
A flexible schedule
Because of my flexible work schedule, I ended up picking my son up around 2-3 each day. This way I only had to go 6 hours without seeing him and he was able to have his last nap at home. This felt like a happy balance of me-time during the day (aka work time) and mama duties. Even if you work in an office, ask your boss about a flexible schedule that first week. I think gradually getting into full-time care really helps if you can swing it. I hope you can!
Writing out his schedule
I have no idea if the caretakers even looked at this, and TBH, it doesn’t really matter to me, but I felt peace of mind writing it out for them. Again, control issues over here!
They say it gets easier and I’ve found that to be true. So mama’s, if you’re getting ready to leave your child while heading back to work or for some you-time, I hope this helped!
What got you through Week 1 of childcare or being away from your kid?