It hit me like a tonne of bricks today.
My little girl is not a baby anymore.
I’ve known this for awhile. But it still hit me.
Miss Nearly Three spent her first day at child care today. First day ever in the care of someone else who is not a friend or family.
It may not sound like a big deal to some. But it was a huge deal for me.
Okay, first up: I’m not a big fan of child care centres. I’m tempted to rant and rave about my opinion about child care and how it’s overused and not great for babies or any person under 2-ish, and how long hours of child care is not the most positive thing we can do for tiny little minds and hearts…. BUT that would require a whole big blog post to explain it. And most probably it would offend someone even though I’d be trying not to. And I’m too tired for that tonight.
And ironically my tiredness is the very reason why I’ve changed my opinion slightly about child care. Because another tonne of bricks hit me a few months ago… That it’s really hard, nay – impossible, to parent ideally in an un-ideal world. And that desperate situations sometimes require us to rethink our ideals.
My ideal was to be a SAHM and pour myself into the care of my children. I would nurture them with lots of love, respect and guidance. And nowhere in my ideal world was there a place for an institution to take over my role as care giver, especially in the first 5 years of their lives. I would be in no hurry to rush back to a career. My children’s emotional health would be the most important priority in my life.
In that ‘ideal’, I never took into account any stress variables. The ideal sounds good on paper, but if you don’t have support to help you carry out the ideal then the reality is a bleaker place.
I know that I got to a point where if I didn’t find options of care for my girl, that I would not be healthy enough to care for her myself – both physically and mentally.
I know that I exhausted all possibilities in trying to look for support in so many different forms, but couldn’t find any. At all.
I know that I’ve sacrificed my precious health trying the hardest I could to be that ideal SAHM.
I know that 2 mornings a week at child care is not an unhealthy thing for my girl at the moment, that she’s developmentally able to cope with it.
I know that my girl was craving stimulation that I could not give her – not because I didn’t want to, but because I have not been well enough to.
So… that leads us to today.
A day of crazy mixed-up emotions.
Happy, because she LOVES it. She jumped for joy at the thought of it. And she enjoyed every second she was there and didn’t want to come home.
Sad, because my life has become so hard that it has resulted in this unplanned detour.
Happy, because she’s so happy. Happy to be doing all the art and activities I couldn’t do with her at home.
Sad, because I let her down, I didn’t do all those things she wanted.
Happy, because it’s good for her to gain some independence and discover the world.
Sad, because I have to let go. Trust someone else.
Happy, because I’ll finally be getting some relief. Some time to rest.
Sad, because it’s the end of an era, of me and her hanging at home.
Happy, because she’s growing up. So strong and secure.
Sad, because she’s not a baby anymore. All those baby years gone. Just like that.
Good-bye baby girl.