“At first glance it may appear too hard. Look again. Always look again.”
I am almost done with my third week of work post maternity leave. I don’t know how it has been three weeks already. My days are separated into three chunks of time. The mornings with my baby getting ready for work, my day at work without him, and the evening time after I pick him up from his amazing nanny’s home.
Let me start with his perfect, mennonite nanny Ms. B. A friend from work found Ms. B through care.com, a wonderful place to search for childcare in your area. We had desperately wanted to have Miles stay with Ms. B and her family very early on in our child care search but when we were first looking she didn’t have any space for our little one- so we kept looking. We found a wonderful local daycare that was more traditional but felt much better than some of the large daycares we found in our area.
It wasn’t exactly what I wanted but the people were kind and I was exhausted and growing our baby so we settled. Then, the week before I was supposed to start work we set up a visit so Miles could see the space with us. We walked in and I immediately felt sick. Miles eyes were wide with worry and the chaos that surrounded us. To some I’m sure it was the exact place they wanted their baby to be, but for me it was too loud and sterile and too different from our home.
So, I followed my mommy gut and told Chase I would not be taking my baby there. I had no alternative, Miles was supposed to start that Monday and I was supposed to return to work, but I couldn’t. I knew my mental health would suffer if I had to leave Miles there while I worked.
I told my office what was going on and my supervisor and colleagues gave me so much grace. They told me to take the time I needed to find the right place for our family. I know what a privilege this is. I am so aware that a majority of people do not have this option. This is why I work where I do. In a place where you are a person first and a professional second. I’m lucky. Lucky and grateful.
My gut told me to text my good friend from work to see if she knew of anyone like her nanny Ms. B, and so my friend asked her nanny Ms. B, and by some manifested, beautiful chance Ms. B had a spot. If I hadn’t listened to my heart and my gut Miles would not be in the perfect daycare that he is now. Trust your instincts. Listen to what you know is true deep in your heart.
Yes, the thought of staying home crossed my mind. To be a stay at home mama would be such a privilege. To snuggle my baby every second and smell his head ten million times a day. To bear witness to every development and stage he goes through. But that is not a possibility for our family right now for a variety of reasons- also, deep in my heart, I don’t want to stay home with him all day. I know that this is a taboo thing to say so let me explain.
First, stay at home parents are epic. You all use your gifts and strengths to love and nourish your babies and I think you’re amazing. But for me? My strengths help me love and nourish college students as they navigate the challenges of young adulthood. I’m good at my job, I love my job, and becoming a mama has made me even better at it.
I was intentional and compassionate with my students before, but now? Now I remind myself that each one has a mama that loves them the same way I love my Miles. I think about how I would want a career counselor to speak to and help my baby and I do just that.
Miles is growing and developing each day with Ms. B and that is her strength and her gift, caring for our little one. My time with Miles is after work and on weekends when I get every cuddle, squeeze and kiss that I can! It’s okay to want more. To love being a mama and to love your work. It’s okay it’s okay it’s okay.
To my working mamas, I salute you. Keep sending your gifts out into the world in your work place and keep cuddling those babies at night when you’re done. Let them fill your heart and take all that love into work the next day.
And Miles? He saves his biggest smiles for Ms. B each morning. He’s as obsessed with her as he is with Chase and I. It takes a village, Ms. B is part of our village.
Follow your gut. Listen to your heart. Sometimes we create our own struggles and heartbreak when we ignore our intuition and do what we think we’re supposed to do, or what the world tells us to do. Deep down you already know the truth, let your values and gut guide you. Listen listen listen.