It’s hard for me to admit this, but the last two months have been really difficult. Cecilia has reached a new level of curiosity, and she’s always on the go. I feel like I’m constantly struggling to maintain the house, get my errands run, and take care of my other responsibilities while entertaining her. Throw in a crazy, whiny dog, and some days I just want to cry. I feel like I’m not doing any of my jobs well because I’m never able to fully focus on just one task. Don’t get me wrong. I realize that multitasking is part of life, but when it takes an entire day to clean up the kitchen because a little girl is pulling on my leg or the dog has run off, it’s hard to give Cecilia the attention that I want to (or exercise the over-excited dog).
With Cecilia reaching the 18 month mark on December 28th, I decided it was time to enroll her in a day school two days a week. I was really ashamed of that decision. So many of my friends told me that they enrolled their kids in preschool or a mom’s day out program at two. While they were trying to be supportive to me, all I felt was guilty for denying my daughter the additional six months at home. I felt guilty because I couldn’t handle my job as a stay-at-home mom. I felt guilty because I knew Cecilia would cry because I wasn’t there.
But I also knew it was the right thing to do. Even if placing my daughter in day school at one made me a questionable mom, I knew keeping her at home and denying myself a break would prevent me from being the mom I wanted to be. Plus it would give me time to finish my errands while someone, whose sole job is to entertain the children in her classroom, challenges her in just the way she needs.
And when I dropped her off Tuesday, things went incredibly well. I kept my phone on me at all times and expected a call telling me that she was inconsolable, but my phone never rang. In fact, she didn’t even notice that I was gone for at least 30 minutes after I left (per her teachers). According to her daily report, she oscillated between busy, happy play and fussiness. She also didn’t nap for them, but that was no surprise. When I arrived to pick her up, I expected her to come running to me. Instead, she looked up from her activity, brought a toy to me, and then went back to play some more. I think she likes it there.
And my first day without her, I did pretty well too. I did wander around town for the first fifteen minutes or so because I couldn’t decide what I wanted to do or where I wanted to go. But I managed to go to Home Depot to get gardening starter supplies, the grocery store, and the hardware store. I also cleaned the house from top to bottom and worked out.
When I got Cecilia home, she nursed and fell asleep in my lap. I didn’t try to move her. Instead I admired my girl while enjoying a clean house. It was a relaxed feeling. I’ve come to realize that I’m just not meant to be the kind of stay-at-home mom who homeschools her five children, and I’ve accepted that. My goals had been accomplished. My baby was happy. Momma was happy. I feel secure that, despite all the guilt, I made the right decision.
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