For the first 14 months of my son’s life, I was a stay at home mom. I had a job (working in digital communications for Signature HealthCARE), but I did it from my computer at home. The older James got, the harder working became, but I found the time and made it work. I was determined to be a stay at home mom until James, and any other kids I might have, went to kindergarten.
And then this amazing opportunity came along–the MFA Specialist position in the Bluegrass Writers Studio opened up. A job that I only had to be away from home 12 hours a week, could work the other 8-10 from home. A job that would let me work on a website, a literary journal, and in an office with professionals in a college setting. It was perfect. So, I applied, not thinking I would get it.
But I did. Wonderful news! And then it hit me–I was going to have to find child care for my son, for the boy who, for his entire life, had spent every single day, with only a few hours here and there as exceptions, with me.
I spent well over a month talking to people, trying to find someone to come to my house, to find a day care, a baby sitter that I trusted. Well, I did, and James has been with her for the last three weeks, three days a week.
To say that it’s been a seamless, perfect transition would be a bold faced lie. But it has been less painful than I thought.
Leaving your baby with someone, even someone you trust, is terrifying the first time. You’re saying to the person watching your child, “Here is my heart. I’ve cut it from my chest, wrapped it in all the love I have, and am giving it to you for safe keeping.” That’s a big freaking deal.
But then, faster than you’d think, you start to grow accustomed to the change. That panic at leaving your child with someone diminishes and new worries and fears emerge. // Is my child giving her trouble? Is he too much to handle? Will his tantrums and stubbornness make her dislike him? Will she dislike me if he’s bad? Does he have a good time there? Is he happy? Is he happy without me? Does that make me happy or sad? Am I damaging him by leaving him while he’s crying? Would I damage him by keeping him holed away with me at home 24/7? // So. Many. Questions.
So in the span of a few months, my plans drastically changed. I was no longer a stay at home mom (some people cheered this, others gave me disapproving looks). I was working part-time (more cheers, more squinted eyes). I had to trust that another woman (she’s absolutely AMAZING, by the way) would care for my son with the same mama-bear-ness that I do.
Basically, one small change turned my world upside down and shook it like a snow globe.
Being a mom when things change is hard, because no matter what choice you make–staying home, going to work, finding a sitter, finding a nanny, finding a daycare–A, people will have opinions, both good and bad, about it, and B, change is just never easy (at least not for me).
So, James is now a kid who, three days a week, gets to go and play with other kids, and hang out with the coolest babysitter ever. And I am now a human being who gets to go and do adult things on computers and with literary journals (go check out Jelly Bucket if you get the chance!) and with actual adult people three days a week for a few hours at a time, but then gets to go and pick up her sweet boy and still spend most of her time with him.
Change is hard. And now my life feels really, really weird. But this change, I think, is going to be really, really great.