I’m not an ardent observer of Labor Day (and hey, I don’t work on Mondays anyway), but this year, Labor Day marks the first full year of work for me (in my chosen profession). After 25 years of school, 4 years of teaching and several months of motherhood, it was a long journey to get here. And for the most part, I really love my work. I love what I do, I love where I work and I love my coworkers.
But even now, a year in, I still don’t love leaving my baby. The daycare situation has improved tremendously, which definitely helps ease my mind, but just not being there with him, knowing that he’s learning new things and trying new things without me makes me sad. I hate thinking that maybe he took his first steps there and not here, or that he started using words there instead of here (we have a great arrangement so that our daycare doesn’t tell us when he does anything until after we’ve told them, that way we never have to find out it happened there first). It’s just tough because I want to soak up every experience and every moment and so leaving Eli in someone else’s care isn’t easy.
We have a good schedule now of work/daycare, as opposed to last year’s very crazy work schedule and though my work schedule is still often a bit of a living document, the days are well for all of us. I am incredibly fortunate that I’m able to be home part time and still make all the necessary ends meet (and for the skeptics, we even have a pretty impressive savings and are paying above the minimum payment on my loans, so) because I think it’s really good for both of us. It doesn’t mean that we wouldn’t be fine if I worked full time or stayed home full time (all though, in either situation, one of us would lose our minds, I’m pretty sure), but this is working.
I remember shortly after Eli was born, thinking that there was no way I could ever leave that tiny infant with anyone else. That I wanted to be with him every second of every day. And I still, deep down, have that feeling every time I drop him off at daycare. Eli is the most incredible person and I love every fiber of his being in a way I never knew could even exist. But I think the last year of working has been a really great thing for both of us. It has given him independence that he really needs. It has given me independence that I really need. It has made our time together more precious and I think it’s made us both happier, in the long run.
My job isn’t perfect, Eli’s daycare situation isn’t perfect, but working is good for us. And I’m glad to finally be doing what I love and what’s best for all of us. I can’t help but realize on a regular basis how lucky we all are.