For 98.082% of her life, Jocelyn has been cared for by immediate family members. And yes, I sat down and calculated the exact percentage – because I am a nerd. However, recent events have made it such that care by family members was no longer feasible.
Just after her first birthday, Jocelyn was enrolled as a full-time student at the daycare that is a part of the health system where I work. The facility is top notch – with loving staff members, age appropriate curriculum that aids in development, and is located only 2 minutes from my office. It is the perfect place for Joycelen.
But as was inevitable, as soon as I left her with the teachers in her new classroom, I felt myself succumbing to the dreaded mommy guilt. I felt guilty that she was in daycare, I felt guilty that I was a working mama. This simple guilt built up until I had convinced myself that I was a horrible mother – making wrong decision after wrong decision that would scar my child for life. ( Overly dramatic – of course! But that’s how my mind works when I feel guilty).
At 5:00 p.m., I literally leapt from my chair and hurried to pick her up from daycare. I expected a huge grin, lots of hand clapping, and big kisses since in my mind, I was “rescuing her”. Instead, I found a little girl who stuck out her bottom lip, shook her head no, and refused to leave with me. Apparently, she wanted to continue playing blocks with her new found friends.
Rather than feeling even worse because my child did not want to leave with me…..I was elated. Joycelen had felt so at ease – made new friends so quickly – that she wanted to stay. Mommy Guilt vanished – and a bigger cause of Mommy pride arrived. Pride at my daughter’s growth……and pride at me for making the right choice even if it was a difficult one.