The daycare dilemma

by Carolyn on August 17, 2009

Nolan's first day of daycare (September 2005)

Nolan's first day of daycare (September 2005)

I go back to work in less than a month.  My maternity leave is coming to an end and I’m excited to re-enter the land of adults, terribly sad to leave my little monkeys and petrified I won’t be able to balance my life all at the same time.

But really, it’s time.  Us Canadian gals get an entire year off from work for maternity leave.  And during that time, employers not only have to keep a position open for us, they have to hold our exact positions; for the entire year.  And not only that.  Our government also helps finance this leave through a year of unemployment insurance money (if you meet the fairly unrestrictive requirements).  I have to say this detail makes me proud to be Canadian.  It says a lot about the value our government and in turn we as a nation place on the sanctity of family and the importance of an infant’s first year of life.

My year is coming to quick end.  And I’m finding as each day ticks by, my anxiety is growing…exponentially.

Not because I have to go back.  I love my job and I miss it.  It’s not the impending bustle of being a working mom.  Getting a little one up, dressed, out the door with all the day’s necessities, dropped off and to work by 7:30 am is something I feel pretty ready for.  It’s not the exhaustion.  I’m exhausted now, so what will be the difference really?  And it’s not being apart from my kids.

It’s day care.  Not the fact they have to go.  The actual day care facility.  The whole thing has got me in a tizzy.

We had a wonderful day care.  Nolan went there for three years.  And in that time we had our ups and downs but for the most part we loved that place.  Nolan loved most of his teachers and classmates.  I loved the staff and the fact that they had a little coffee station with one of those pod style coffee makers with ‘to go’ cups and fixings.  It would just seem logical that now needing child care for Claire, and Nolan one day a week too, that we would turn to our old faithful facility on the horizon, wouldn’t it?  Well, we’re not.  And I’m worried we’re making a big mistake.

You see, in the Spring of 2008 when I told our day care that I was expecting and that we would need an infant room spot for September 2009, we were told no promises could be made.  I was a bit put off to say the least.  Wasn’t I a good day care mom?  I never sent Nolan to school with peanut products.  He always had his sunscreen on in the morning.  I paid my bills on time.  I had always thought I was a day care’s dream.  Apparently not.  Or at least not enough of one to guarantee me an infant room spot for three days a week, anyway.

So I started looking.  And what I found was a brand new day care being constructed about a block away from Nolan’s school.  A gargantuan place which promises to have all the proverbial bells and whistles and coincidentally opens in September.  We were offered a place for Claire in the spot.  Sounds like kismet, doesn’t it?  Not really to me.  For I still felt the pull to our ‘tried and true’ centre.

I sat on the fence for a week.  I knew all the good things this new place had to offer, but I couldn’t help but be nervous.

I wrote before that I’m just coming to realize how my history of divorce permeates nearly every facet of my life.  And here is a perfect example.  A bright shining wonderful thing that’s mine for the taking and I’m scared because it’s unfamiliar.  I find I cling to continuity in my life.  So many changes happened when I was a kid that I had absolutely no control over and now that I hold the reigns, I just want everything to stay the same.  I went for the ‘bigger better’ thing once and it didn’t work out very well for anyone.  I find myself projecting onto my son, thinking “But he associates daycare with that place and I don’t want to emotionally scar him by switching him to some place he’s never been before.”.  But it’s not him, it’s me.  I’m the one with emotional scars.  And it seems that I’d rather deprive my kids of ‘state of the art’ just to maintain my own comfort.

Luckily my husband doesn’t have the same neurosis as I seem to.  He reasoned that this new place would be the best environment for our children and in the end I knew he was making his decision based on facts instead of fear.  I conceded.  But when recently I found out that construction was behind schedule I went careening into my mental circles again.  I called him in a flurry, citing all the arguments why we should simply ‘cut and run’ from this place that wouldn’t even be done in time.  His voice of reason answered “Carolyn, let’s keep our long term goals in mind”.  He’s right.  And when I think past my fluttering heart, I know what he says is true.

So here we come new day care centre!  I’m still scared.  I’m still anxious.  I’m still not sure if this is what’s best.  But I know that all of my feelings are much more about me and my past than about any day care or my kids.  And that’s taking a step in the right direction.

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Anna August 18, 2009 at 8:58 am

Thanks for stopping by my blog.
I think everyone has a bit of fear about new things. I have no experience with divorce and I would be terrified of leaving my child at a “new” daycare. It is safe and predictable if things stay the same. We just have to remind ourselves, that sometimes change results in even better. I hope that you love this daycare even more than the last one.
By the way, I am extremely jealous of all you Canada mommies who get a whole year off. In order to get that in the US I had to just quit.
Hope everything goes well!
.-= Anna´s last blog ..My Week =-.

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2 Tammy August 18, 2009 at 2:27 pm

Our husbands can even take a 17wks paternity leave. Which my hubby is going to take advantage of since I am a stay at home mom. Canada is a pretty awesome place to live and raise a family.

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3 Carolyn August 18, 2009 at 10:24 pm

I agree. That’s great that your hubs is going to take that much time to be with you guys! Awesome!

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4 Carolyn August 18, 2009 at 10:23 pm

I know. 12 weeks is nowhere long enough to have off after having a baby. I still didn’t know if I was coming or going 12 weeks in!

I’m sure you are right in that everyone would be nervous switching to someplace unfamiliar. I just find that I strive for continuity in the name of stability for my kids when in fact I think it may be that I crave the stability just for myself.

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5 Hannah August 18, 2009 at 2:09 pm

A year of maternity leave? That is fantastic. I would get pregnant just to get some time off around here!!

Thanks for stopping by. :))
.-= Hannah´s last blog ..May it please … why I love True Blood V. =-.

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6 Carolyn August 18, 2009 at 10:21 pm

lol. Yeah, but the time off is converted to feeding, changing, laundry, rocking, burping, etc, etc. Some days I’d rather work! :)

Thank you for stopping in Hannah!

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7 julie August 20, 2009 at 1:22 pm

how cool to get a year off for mama leave! that makes parenting the priority and i like it A LOT!
.-= julie´s last blog ..New Collection with Endless Possibilities: Wyndham =-.

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