Let me be clear up front-I know that I’m making the right choice and to some extent, the necessary choice. But logic doesn’t always dictate how we feel.
I’ve never had a child in daycare. This isn’t because I think daycare is a bad thing-rather that being at home has meant that while I have a weekly sitter, it hasn’t made sense to put either girl into one.
We almost lost Ellie when she was a week old. Her health complications meant that for her first year of life, she needed a full time parent. My original plan of going back to work the following school year was scrapped out of necessity. There were visits with multiple specialists, weekly early intervention, and so forth. We felt it best that I was there so that I constantly had the big picture in my head–especially when different specialists contradicted one another as to what approach we should use. I then had to digest all of that to keep Ravi informed. During that year, we rarely had date night, and when we did, either a grandparent or a close friend took care of Elanor.
In E’s second year of life, Ravi was laid off and began what turned into an international job hunt when GNB came into the mix (he works for a bank I’m not naming–GNB is a How I Met Your Mother Reference). Then we moved to Singapore, and had to set up house and learn our way around Singapore. While I could have gotten a job in Singapore, getting oriented was a bigger priority. Staying home wasn’t that big an issue–at that point we also had a maid who could give us a regular date night, and give me a break as needed.
In E’s third year of life, I got pregnant. Knowing that we were planning another child put work on a backburner–pregnancy and then breastfeeding would keep me home. I suck at pregnancy, so I spent a large chunk of that year either having just thrown up or about to throw up or at the doctor’s office getting rehydrated. I started E at Growing Up Gifted (n1) which gave her socialization and school a few hours a day 3 days a week.
During E’s 4th year and Rhi’s 1st, I could drop E off at N2 and get work done without issue. I was breastfeeding, but for the most part, Rhiannon could sleep while I was able to accomplish what I needed to. We had fired our maid, but with a cleaner and a bit of babysitting, we were fine.
Things began to fall apart when Rhiannon stopped napping at a convenient time to allow me to get things done during Elanor’s K1 school time. I had only just begun to think a daycare solution might be a good idea when I torn the disc in my back that incapacitated me.
These are the crux of the thing.
I am a control freak, and that the decision was made without my having chosen to go down the daycare path deliberately is upsetting. It wasn’t my call. I made the choice to go daycare instead of helper because after our last experience, I was too uncomfortable to employ another fdw. If daycare doesn’t work out, we may have to go down that route, but that is not today’s problem.
While I tend to define myself as a writer, the truth is that I’m also a full time parent. Having something happen that meant I couldn’t do one of my jobs (full time parent) has thrown my sense of identity into a bit of chaos that I’m still sorting through. In some ways I feel like a failure (note-I’m not saying I *am* a failure, I’m saying I *feel* like one)-that I can’t do my job. That it’s not my fault is really irrelevant as I’m dealing with the emotions of my decision.
Putting my daughter in daycare so I can work out and write feels like I’m living out an expat wife stereotype that I don’t want to embody. Yes, the working out is because I have to rather than some other motivating factor. Yes, that is *have* to-unless I’d like to end up with screws in my spine the next time one of my discs bulge and push on a nerve or tears or any such nonsense. I am one bad choice away from that surgery, and that’s my motivation. But I feel like I have to justify this choice to myself as it seems so self indulgent, regardless that it’s a healthy thing to do (both mentally and physically).
I’m still working through the emotions of my choice, even though I know it’s the right one.