Friday, January 4, 2013

Dear Leo's Mom

I saw you crying when you dropped Leo off at daycare for the first time today. I wanted to hug you, to tell you that it's okay, that it gets better. But the truth is that I don't know if it does. We just learn to hide it better so that we can get done what needs to get done, and so that our babies don't know that we're really a wreck inside.

It's not like the daycare isn't a good place. It is. They've been taking excellent care of my daughter for the past two months. She is happy and well-cared for, and really, what more could I ask? Still, if I didn't have to work, I'd be staying at home with her, soaking up all the cuddles and delighting in watching her figure out this crazy, extraordinary world. But that's not currently in the budget.

You are lucky, in some respects: Leo is over 4 months old and today is the first day that you dropped him off. I had to go back to work when my baby was just 12 weeks old, still a newborn. And, like you, I cried.

I cried after every babysitter interview. When we finally found someone, and I left her the first time, just for two hours as a transition, I cried the entire time. Then, when I went back to work full-time, I cried in the car for a week. Some days, I cried in my office, and in the evening after I put her to sleep. And then, three weeks later, when she started at the daycare? I went through the whole process all over again.

I cried because I felt like such a bad mommy. But now I know, I am not a bad mommy: I am doing what I need to do to take care of my family to the best of my ability. Bad mommies are the ones that don't make sacrifices to take care of their families; mommies that always put their own wants and desires first.

You are not a bad mommy.

It gets easier. I promise.