It’s 7:40 a.m. Like every week day, I put the car in reverse, back out of the daycare parking lot and begin my commute to work. I start the mental checklist in my head: milk, check. Diapers, check. Wipes, check. Kisses, check. Told my son I loved him, check. Thanked his teachers, check.
For the next nine hours, my son will be in the care of his three teachers. They will get to spend their day with him. Watching him play, making him laugh and rocking him to sleep, all while I will be at my desk, working. And not working by choice, but because my family depends on it. While I’m working, those three teachers are raising my child and for that, I am incredibly thankful.
You see, I could relish in the guilt of being a working mom and missing 40+ hours a week with my son. In fact, I’ve done that. I have cried way too many times in the parking lot, trying to talk myself into walking into the building.
“Just make it to your desk, and the day will go by so much faster,” I’ve said to myself.
I’ve even ran the numbers and cut out every extra expense. I’ve tried convincing my boyfriend that if we sold our second vehicle, got rid of health insurance and lived off rice and beans, I’d totally be able to be a stay-at-home mom. But then one day, the light bulb clicked on. I can make the choice to let the infamous mom guilt eat me alive, or I can choose to be thankful that not only do I have a job that supports my family, but that while I’m at this job, those three amazing women are giving my son their very best.
To the ladies of the Purple Polliwog Room, thank you.
Thank you for letting me take 30 minutes to drop my son off in the morning to ensure maximum amount of kisses, hugs and mindless chit-chat. Thank you for not judging the size of my diaper bag that I have stuffed with all of his favorite toys. Thank you for not sounding annoyed that I’ve called (again) after already emailing (twice) that day to check in. Thank you for never using the words, “you missed it when he…” or “you should have seen him…” Maybe it’s your expert training that taught you to scratch those phrases from your vocabulary, or maybe you don’t even realize you do it, but I do and it makes a difference in my day.
Thank you for changing his diapers, especially the blow outs, and never missing a beat with wiping and bagging up his soiled clothes. For being patient as I struggled to figure out how much breastmilk he needs each day, without wasting any or tapping into my ever-so precious stash. Thank you for not rolling your eyes when I attempted to make my own baby food, failed miserably and then proceeded to bring all-natural, organic baby food when you supply free food. Thank you for not ever pointing out that he is the last kid to be picked up.
Most importantly, thank you for loving my son.
For teaching him, snuggling him, knowing when he doesn’t feel good and when he just wants to be held. For the constant communication and for putting up with my nervous first-time mom antics. For comforting me when I’ve cried because at that moment in time, I didn’t have anything left in me to stand strong. Thank you.
The three of you have become an essential part of our family. You are a part of our daily happenings and conversations. You have helped teach my son to sit up, to army crawl and to quit grunting like a cave man when trying to get people’s attention. There isn’t a bone in my body that doesn’t trust that you know my son, almost as well as I do. You know his fake cry from his real cry. You know when the teething pain requires some cuddles or when it’s time to break out the Tylenol. And never once have you made a decision in his care without including me. A quick phone call or email and I feel like I’m a part of his day.
A coworker once said, “Don’t you hate feeling like they know your child better than you do?”
I said, “No. We all raise him.”
I may not have a choice in whether or not I’m working mom, but I can choose how I let that affect me. I choose to be thankful. After all, the old saying goes, “It takes a village to raise a child,” and I’m so grateful you three are a part of mine.