Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Daycare musings...

I still have mixed feelings about daycare.

Sometimes I leave Lion there and I feel great about it. I mean, I miss him while I'm at work, but I think he really digs being around the other babies and he has almost zero stranger anxiety at this point, which I'm attributing to the interaction he gets there. I think the women who work in the infant room really do love the babies, and there's one in particular whom I adore (you might remember Ms. Thelma from previous posts).

There are many days when we walk into the infant room and things are quiet, the babies seem happy, and everything is under control.

But some days I walk into the infant room and it's not quiet. Sometimes multiple babies are crying, needing various things while the outnumbered caretakers try to meet all the demands. Sometimes I decide I'll just be late for work, and I stay for a while, quietly playing with Lion in the corner of the room until it seems like the women have a handle on things. It's not that the environment is unsafe; it just breaks my heart to see babies crying in bouncers and swings, and no one is able to immediately respond.

On those days, I worry: Will this be stressful to Lion ? What if he starts crying and no one can get to him? Will he feel alone and worried? Will he think I don't care? Should I take my concerns to the director of the daycare?

And I counter my worry with these thoughts: Babies will cry sometimes, even if their needs are met. If that baby has to wait a few extra minutes for his bottle, it won't kill him. If we had multiple children at home, Lion wouldn't always have his needs met immediately there, either. And maybe you'd be more relaxed, because he wouldn't be the center of your universe. Maybe your expectations are unrealistic.

Look at me, I'm barely seven months into this motherhood gig and already buried under a mountain of guilt.

If I felt like the women didn't care, or that Lion was at risk, we'd be out of there. Immediately. They do care, but it's not like having a private nanny, you know? There are X number of babies and only X number of caretakers. It's the nature of the beast.

Right?

Perspective needed. Help.

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6 Comments:

Blogger His suzy said...

Maybe it's a good way to learn early that you can't always have what you want the moment you want it? I think you already know in your head that he and the other babies are okay, it's just a matter of getting the message to your heart.

10:42 AM  
Blogger Bearette24 said...

Yeah - re what Suzy said, it may help babies deal with frustration. That said, I know it probably feels awful to see the babies crying, untended. That said, my friends with babies in daycare - their babies seem to be walking really early! And a friend of mine (with a baby in daycare) feels that it builds up immunity.

3:46 PM  
Blogger Roxanne said...

I used to be the overwhelmed caregiver that really did love the babies and hated the fact that I couldn't tend to everyone's needs immediately. It broke my heart (and was just a tad bit stressful) during those times when it seems they all NEEEED you RIGHT NOW! But to ease your worries, there were plenty of calm times when we could just love on the babies and laugh and play.

The mommy guilt starts early and never goes away. I've got some pretty rampant guilt going down as we speak.

11:38 PM  
Blogger Bethany said...

I wish I had some great advice like these ladies do, but I've yet to enter mommyhood and so am even further clueless. But I like what Bearette says. It sounds sensible.

5:21 AM  
Blogger BabelBabe said...

i totally could have written this. I did the same exact thing on those days, just hung out a but until everything settled. and I can completely reassure you that with multiple children at home, the baby must cry. feel conflicted, but know this is fine and normal.

(I think that was a Mary Higgins Clark novel, The Baby Must Cry. )

12:38 PM  
Anonymous Frema said...

Luke has been home with Kara and Nathan on his own for two days now, and yes, there is much crying. Luke has to prepare lunch for Kara, change her diaper, put her down for a nap--all things he can't do with Nathan in tow (well, he could if he embraced the baby carrier, but whatever). So Nathan sits in his bouncy seat or lays in his bassinet and cries. And he hates it. I hate it, too. But what can we do? It's like you said--he's safe, he's loved, but there aren't enough hands to go around sometimes, whether you're a stay-at-home parent or a daycare provider. I get through it by remembering that the older Nathan gets, he will be more capable of entertaining himself during those times, just like Kara is now. It just takes time.

11:38 PM  

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