One Way or Another Street

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Yesterday, my baby turned 11 months. Today, I had to bring her into childcare for the first trial run. Already. And I’m not ready. Really.

I am slated to return to work at the start of April. If we don’t want to lose our childcare place, we must start now. We must pay from now even though I am still at home. It’s really not my preferred option. But that’s the only “complaint” I am going to make. I know how hard it is for people to get places and we have a full-time slot secured at a great centre, where her sister also attends, with excellent staff and only a stone’s throw from work. For someone who needs childcare, I am really very fortunate. I am grateful.

All of this doesn’t detract from how torn I am feeling about this situation. I am not really sure I want to return to work, at least not full-time, or maybe not at all. Yet our circumstances, at the present moment, dictate I probably have to. And I’m not ready.

I know I’ve already had a year off, but I’m still not ready. I know I should be grateful that I had a year of paid parental leave, and I am. It doesn’t mean, however, that I am emotionally and mentally prepared for what comes next. Someone having it worse than me does not invalidate how I am feeling. It may give it perspective but I believe in owning what we feel, where we are at, before we can move on. But I digress…..

There is so much I thought I would get done this past year and I now have two months, less really, to try and get to the bottom of my list. I am probably being unrealistic about what I can achieve and may need to slap some sense into myself, quick smart.

By the way, Lil S did really well at childcare today. She played with the toys, interacted with the other children, explored independently, allowed the carers to carry her and change her nappy, and ate an enormous lunch happily feeding herself. The nap wasn’t so successful, but I expected that. I’m really thrilled she adjusted to the new environment so smoothly. But it doesn’t make me feel less torn…….about returning to work, about leaving her so young, about missing out on her development and that of her sister’s.



I’m linking with Jess from Diary of a SAHM for IBOT.

I Blog on Tuesdays


32 thoughts on “Torn

  1. Your feelings are totally valid Veronica. You may need to go back to work, you may have been mentally preparing for ages but reason will never convince emotion. Hugs to you x

  2. Ahh Veronica. I’ve been there so recently. My Miss 1 started daycare only 3 weeks ago. I am thankful that I’m only working 2 days/ week, but Miss 1 was absolutely traumatised the first couple of days. (When I rang at lunchtime on the second day, I could hear her crying!). She is starting to settle down now, but it is a hard slog…

    Like Kirri said, you feeling are totally valid. One year goes way too fast. In the meantime, I hope you can enjoy the next couple of months with your little one at home. Hope it all goes well for you (and her)

    • Thanks, Julie. It’s a hard thing for any parent to face but she’s actually adjusted well during the first week. I cried more than her on the second day when I left her there for a couple of hours. She’s taken to it well so far. I know there can be bumpy days ahead though so I’ll be prepared, as best I can.

  3. It’s so hard to leave your child. I went back to work for a bit after my daughter was born. You have a right to your feelings and as you said just because someone had less doesn’t mean you don’t feel this way. At least you’ll know your daughter will be in good hands since you’re already familiar with the child care center. It’s hard still, I know.

    • It does make it easier now knowing she did so well during the first week. I even left her there on the 3rd day because I wasn’t feeling well and hubby decided it was best she go in so I could rest at home. “We’re paying for it anyway”, he said. He’s right!

  4. Oh Veronica, I feel for you, It is such a tough decision. My little one is 15 months old and we are both not ready for it. I would be devastated if I had to do it. I know our bond would suffer and our breastfeeding relationship would suffer. And I know deep down he is emotionally needing me, and will not be ready for another 2 years. This is entirely my feelings about my situation – so it’s not meant to be a projection of judgment to your situation. I haven’t returned to work since having kids, and last week my employer called to remind me that I was “due” back from maternity leave later this month. I had completely forgotten about it, and they weren’t willing to give me anymore leave, so in a heartbeat – right on the spot – I resigned. We are fortunate that I can stay home. But it’s not easy. We have no family support, we just live simply and make many sacrifices. Knowing how precious this time is with the little ones. For me (and this is just my opinion about me) career and money will wait.

    Best of luck with your decision. Is there any options for you to get a year of leave without pay? Or work part time? I hear your feelings. They are important feelings. What our heart tells us is important and valid. Lots of love. x

    • Thanks, Deb. I’ve taken a full year off already. I could consider another year without pay and also work part-time but we aren’t sure we can afford it, even though my salary goes largely into paying for childcare. I definitely would not be going back for career reasons.

      Anyway, the first week went well and Lil S really coped well. She barely cried except fussing at naptime. I even ended up leaving her there on the 3rd day because I felt sick and hubby said I should stay home and rest. I think I cried more than her last week!

  5. Another good way to look at this is that this gives you time to adjust as well since she’s starting now. 2 months to get into the routine of not having Lil S around, slowly getting the feel of going back to work. If you suddenly had to dive in full day childcare and work in April, might have been very stressful! Like you said, one change at a time πŸ™‚

    I understand the dilemma you feel between work and family. Hopefully you can find a good balance that suits your family needs and time.. Flexi-time at the office is always nice πŸ™‚ big hugs and ou can always contact me if you want to chat or rant about being a FTWM haha.

    Ai @ Sakura Haruka

    • I know, you are right, Ai. It does give me time to adjust. That is a good thing or all of us.

      I’m definitely not going back for career reasons. Who knows, we may yet find a different option that will work for us. Fingers crossed!

  6. I really feel for you. When I went back to work for a little while I used to be so torn. My husband and I talked about walking around with a broken heart. Sounds like your daughter is enjoying it though, hopefully you can find a balance that works for you πŸ™‚

    • That is such an apt description, Carli, “walking around with a broken heart”. It’s like a piece of me is missing. But you are right, she’s really coped well during the first week. That has to be a good thing, despite how I feel.

  7. Oh Veronica, your feelings are totally valid. I extended my maternity leave to two years, it ends in May. I am already freaking out about that and I have had two years now!

    So glad to hear the Lil S went well. That would make your transition so much easier. I hope you come to a decision that you and your family are comfortable with.

    • Thanks, Amy. She did cope really well her first three days in the centre. That is a good thing. Doesn’t make me feel less torn but it does help with the adjustment whilst we need to go this path.

  8. While I don’t have to go back to work I do know how you feel. I am putting my little boy into Day Care on a casual basis with his sisters; just so I can actually get something done once a month. He’s 14 months old and I know he will thrive, just as the girls have and I know I will get things done and I need that time but I also really don’t want to take him.
    I know your situation is so much harder and I feel for you. I was meant to go back to work 6 months after my first daughter was born and I literally could not face it. I was lucky that I didn’t have to in the end.
    Thinking of you x

    • Thanks. I know what you mean about how they can thrive, Becky. Miss T has thrived and grown in so many ways. She constantly surprises me with what she’s learnt and that’s a good thing for her. I know her sister will also thrive eventually. It’s a great centre. I do realise getting some time to do things is also quite a refreshing side benefit.

    • Thanks, Debbie. She’s adjusted well so far after 3 initial days. I’m pretty sure I shed more tears than she did! Maybe our plans will be able to change, but for now, I am so glad she’s adjusting well.

  9. I understand your feelings completely and YES you do not have to feel guilty about not being ready based on anyone’s elses experiences or feelings, you are the one who needs to make this leap and it is an incredibly hard one to make. I know that I baulked at the idea of going back to work after 12 months and am eternally grateful that I was able to opt out. I am glad that Lil S handled her first day so well, at least this allows you to focus on your own adjustment rather than having the added stress of putting her in an environment that she does not enjoy. I hope that you are able to find a balance that works for all of you x

    • Thanks, Erin. Lil S did really well over the 3 days, with most of the last two spent on her own. I shed more tears than she did. It’s still hard leaving my baby there but at least she’s getting time to adjust. Maybe we’ll find another way forward but for now, we’ll keep walking this path.

  10. Oh Veronica, I can’t imagine how hard this must be for you. I’ve been so fortunate that I could stay home, but we have had to sacrifice a lot to do it too. If we had a mortgage it would not have been possible.
    I”m glad it went well with Miss S, and I hope you can find a situation that you’re comfortable with. Whether you can go to part time or not, or even just a new job. And even though you won’t be with them full time, you are still an incredible mum. Do t forget that. Xxx

    • Thanks, Jess. I’m hoping we come to a very sure place of what works for us soon. In the meantime, we have the childcare spots and she really has taken to it well. I am quite surprised but also relieved. Choices, sacrifices, decisions….not so easy sometimes.

  11. You’re right about owning your feelings… they are perfectly valid and it helps you to process them and make peace with them. And it helps others who are going through the same too. I’m glad Lil S’s first day went well though. Big hugs to you Veronica.

  12. I’ve decided mental and emotional preparation can’t really be measured how much time you’ve had/or been given. So, what you’re feeling and that sense of not being ready is completely natural. I’ve had 2 years off from the work force and I’ve just “barely” scratched the surface on what I want to do next. We all get there…Maybe in a roundabout there. But have complete faith that you will achieve what you really want. It may not be tomorrow..Or within the next 2 months. But remember, Veronica…that’s totally okay…

    • Thanks, Grace. It is also so different for many of us. I know some mothers don’t get more than 3 months off so I guess it’s a bit about perspective too. It’s great that Lil S has coped so well for the 3 days she was there last week, most of the last 2 without me there. I cried more than her!

  13. I hurt for you, Veronica and I know how it feels. I don’t think we are every emotionally ready to leave our bubbas to return to work. But, you know what, it works out just fine in the end. x

    • I think you’re right, Bron. I’m going to struggle when he has to go to school and then high school, move out of home…..argh! It reminds me of the quote by Elizabeth Stone, “Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.” She did say “forever” in there, didn’t she?!

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