Kristin of What She Said is my guest today. Kristin and I have connected via Twitter and I love her easy going nature. I also love her description of why she writes her blog because her reasons are mine and I wish I was able to articulate myself this beautifully:
I write because the emotions I felt upon becoming a mother were so encompassing, I needed a place to deposit them lest my heart explode with love and awe and frustration and fear. Because I want to hold tightly to my most cherished memories of my daughter exactly the way they first materialized in my mind’s eye. Because I hope she’ll one day want to read those memories and experience her life – and some life lessons – through my eyes. And because I’d like to set an example for her to find her passion in life and then wholeheartedly embrace it.
Her heartfelt letter below brought tears to my eyes, not only because of the message, but because I am beyond blessed to be able to stay at home with Lucas and I know for many women that is a luxury they simply cannot afford. Leaving our children in the care of anyone takes guts and Kristin definitely has those!
To My Daughter’s Daycare Teachers and Administrators:
You no doubt know me as an active and involved parent. One who offers a welcoming smile in greeting when our paths cross each morning and afternoon; who takes an enthusiastic interest in her child’s daily activities; and who enjoys both hearing and sharing stories of Lil’ Bit’s personal triumphs and tribulations.
To you, I hope I seem friendly and approachable – confident in my belief that we are allies bound by our shared interest in my daughter’s growth and development.
So, there’s no way you could know the dread with which I once anticipated the end of my maternity leave. Or the guilt that consumed me at the thought of relinquishing my four-month-old baby into your care, when mine was all she had ever known. Or the bone-deep apprehension I felt at the thought of no longer being the center of her universe.
There’s no way you could know that, on the evening of her first day at your facility, I calmly laid down the knife I had been using to chop vegetables, slumped forward until my forehead rested on the kitchen counter, and sobbed. With complete and utter abandon.
“I.CAN’T.DO.THIS!” I gasped to my alarmed husband, mentally crafting my resignation letter while clawing frantically at the recesses of my mind for any means by which we might afford to live on one income. At that time, you were not my ally. Though not quite an adversary, you were at the very least a collective entity to be regarded with skepticism and mistrust.
And today, nearly two years later, I want to tell you that I was wrong. And I’m sorry. And most importantly, thank you.
I’m not a woman who attains her identity through her career. Having never quite discovered my true path, I work more out of necessity and obligation than any real sense of purpose, and am driven not by ambition, but by family. All of which seem to be unpopular sentiments among modern working women.
For this reason, I once wondered if I was better suited to be a stay-at-home mom. Which, in turn, left me feeling as though I were somehow cheating both employer and child. Which then confounded my already-oppressive working mom guilt. Which eventually led to a stunning spiral into the depths of postpartum depression. But that’s another story for another day.
I’m happy to say I no longer bear at least one of these burdens. Though I still struggle with a supreme lack of confidence surrounding my career path and continue to grapple with what exactly I want to be when I grow up, I no longer question if I’m doing right by my daughter by placing her in daycare. Because I know without a doubt that I am.
Under your care and guidance, Lil’ Bit has simply flourished. Her socialization, language, and cognitive skills grow stronger each day. Recently, my husband and I found her counting grapes in Spanish, a development we regarded with open-mouthed wonder, knowing she could have only learned it at school (seeing as we’ve been remiss in teaching her Spanish and she has no interest in Dora). She also enjoys telling us about her classroom activities and speaks fondly – and often – of her teachers and friends, to whom she has clearly grown attached.
But I’m most grateful to her daycare environment for the sense of independence it’s fostered. For when I look at my daughter, I see an adaptable, self-assured child – one who is as comfortable among her peers as she is at home with her father and me. And though it may pain my heart to hear her command, “Mommy, go to work,” each morning when I drop her off, in my head I recognize that she is actually saying, “I’m confident and happy here, Mom, and I’ll be just fine without you.” And this, I know, is a blessing.
So, I once again reiterate my mea culpa: I was wrong to fear you. I apologize for doubting you. But most of all, thank you so very much for the care you take in guarding and nurturing my most precious gift.