And I thought life was challenging BEFORE this week?–HA HA HA!

The eve of her first day at her new school I munched on some salad before bed. I had a few croutons left over, and knowing how much my daughter loves croutons, I set them aside for her daddy to give them to her in the morning. … But then I remembered he wouldn’t give them to her in the morning. Because he’d already be gone at work.

My stomach churned as I let this reality set it. This is really happening.

I opened the fridge and scanned over our lunches packed for the next day one last time; making sure everything was in place. Then headed up to bed.

I dozed off to memories of the last year. Remembering when my daughter was just a newborn sleeping in her bassinet beside me. How tiny, yet round and chubby she was. I remembered the first time I left for work after my maternity leave and being so scared to have my husband watch over her. But he did great, we survived, and we will get through this next stage too.
My husband woke up first, extra early, partly because of nerves, but mostly to make sure he was ready for his first day. He couldn’t find something, so I got up and tried to help. Our daughter woke up amongst all of the commotion so I went in her room and laid down with her. I gave the hubs a kiss goodbye (after he found what he was looking for) and wished him good luck, then snuggled with my little girl a couple more hours before my alarm went off.

I can’t quite describe the incredible difference it is to have to get up, get ready, get my child ready, and get us both to where we need to be in time. I prepared as much as I could the night before but it’s still was a rude awakening. I never realized just how easy I had it, being able to play with my daughter til’ the last possible moment before leaving her in her pajamas with her daddy when I left for work.

Now here I am, rushing to get us both dressed, grab her bag, my bag and get out the door before I’m late to work.

I know millions of other people around the world do this every day. I’m not the only one. But holy cow, people need to have more respect for people who do this. I now have more sympathy for my mom, who did this with FIVE kids, and for every parent around the world who’s challenged with this extra task.

Dropping her off at her school was the worst part. Not because I don’t like it or that I don’t trust her teachers–I am so very happy with where she is.–But because seeing her face when she realizes I’m leaving her is gut wrenching. It was bad before, when I left her with her dad, but this magnifies the situation.

I work weekends and have Mondays and Tuesdays off. Monday last week I went to her school with her. We played with the toys together, and she got acclimated with the place. Tuesday I went to a movie and dropped her off for a few hours. So by Wednesday, her first day, she knew I wasn’t staying this time, and she didn’t want me to put her down.

Her teachers pulled out some toys and tried to distract her while I said goodbye and snuck out, but she realized I was gone before I had time to get down the hall, and I heard that.

I cried because she cried.

That day at work felt like the longest day ever. I kept watching the clock waiting for my time to be up so I could pick her up and see her face light up when her mom entered the room. The best part of my day was seeing an email pop up in my inbox with the subject line “Hi mom!” and seeing this photo.

Ruffle Bib by Smitten Heart

I imagined how she’d react when she saw me again. I thought she’d run to me, or do her super fast crawl the way she did when I’d come home from work and see her after she spent the day with daddy.

Sadly, the scene didn’t play out as I imagined. I arrived and she whined for me while raising her hands as if she was saying “Pick me up NOW!” No smiles, no laughs.

She hit me over and over in the chest. Her signal for me to feed her when she doesn’t feel like signing the word. Every day until today I’d hug and kiss her when I got home then immediately nurse her. It’s kind of our way to reconnect. But I told her to wait until we got home.

She had a good day at school. She played with paint and they gave me her hand prints on paper, along with a report for how she ate, played and slept that day. I was relieved to have her in my arms again.

Now the funny thing is I can’t seem to understand why now that she’s at school, I feel worse for leaving her. She would cry sometimes when I’d leave her with her dad. I’d get sad but not to this extent. I know here she’s learning and playing with other kids, and loved by her teachers. She’s probably having more fun than she ever did before. But the guilt still gets to me.

Mudpie Dress via Lollipop Moon; Robeez Shoes via Consignment

At night I want to hold her a little longer before setting her down. And if she cries for a moment or two before falling asleep I feel 10Xs worse, as if she’s telling me how mad she is about leaving her someplace else that day.

Thursday I dropped her off and we both cried harder than the day before. I hugged her and told her I’d pick her up after work, then tried to leave before anyone noticed my tears. How am I going to do this every day? I thought. Other working mothers tell me it doesn’t really get easier. Great. And I don’t have my husband to call and console me during the day because he’s busy getting his butt whipped at his job. No outside communication the whole day.

There was a glimmer of hope though. Thursday, when I picked her up, she smacked my chest again and I told her I’d feed her when we got home. Her teachers asked me if she was still nursing and when I told them I was, they invited me to sit and feed her in the recliner in her room. It was such a relief.

When she was done she perked up and jumped off my lap, ready to show me around her classroom and introduce me to her new friends. She was a different little girl. I made note of this and decided I’ll nurse her from now on when I pick her up.

This new adventure of ours is really hard. But it’s just one of many new adventures we’ll have to endure as a family. Things aren’t going to be the exact same forever, and as much as I’d love to freeze our lives in place at times, I can’t. I can only make best of the situation we’re in and work toward the even better.

I know many women who read my blog mentioned they have been through this or will be going through this. I can now tell you myself that it’s hard. Really hard. But it’s not the end of the world. Children are resilient and whether they spend all day every day with you; Or most of the day most days, they will still love you, and always know you’re mommy.

Jenna says:

It was hard for me to drop Audrey off with various babysitters while I was in school and working. It’s not that you don’t trust people, you just miss you child and want to be part of their everyday life. I get it. I really do.

Someone once told me to add an extra 15 minutes of get ready time for each child you have to get places on time. It’s held true for me!

Anonymous says:

Just and FYI….your daughter’s name is on the game she is holding in the picture.

Nina says:

Beautifully written post. Thank you for sharing your growing pangs. 🙂

Thank you mamas, and thanks Anonymous. I’m not as concerned about it showing up in photos but to avoid getting 20 of the same comments I edited it out 😉

YUMMommy says:

When I first had to leave Moo with my mom for a weekend cuz my 2nd pregnancy was whipping my butt, I cried and she didn’t. However, she did wake up looking for me that night. I felt bad not being there.

I can’t imagine how I’d feel leaving my kids at daycare. I probably wouldn’t have the courage to take them back & would quit my job or hire a nanny. I think your guilt comes from her being cared for by strangers.

With her dad that was someone you knew had her best interest at heart. Plus, he knew how to calm her down. Also, she probably had the secure and safe feeling with him. I’m praying that your guilt will subside and that J will continue to adjust. *hugs*

Anonymous says:

I can’t imagine how hard that must be – ((hugs!))

I do have a question though – how much does she weigh and how long is she now? I don’t think I’ve ever seen a 1+ year old still in a carrier car seat. Shouldn’t she be in a convertible seat by now? My son is 5 months and never liked the carrier so he is already in his convertible and I feel like it is so much safer.

YumMommy, I think you’re right. I feel like I’ve gotten to know her teachers but it’s not the same as family ya know? The good thing is there are only two other kids in her class, so she gets lots of love and attention.

Anonymous, she’s not heavy enough for the weight limit yet. We have another but it’s forward facing and with the new regulations we’re waiting longer to flip her around. We’ll get an in-between soon.

db artsy says:

Oh, I thought it was hard getting out the door with one, but let me tell ya’, I took it for granted. Of course, I only have two girls, but boy, it’s a challenge.
Like you, I try to get as much ready but it’s always about: “put on your shoes” or “eat, we have to go soon.” Wow, five kids for your mom, I cannot imagine and do not dare either. Hee hee.
It’s always tough. My oldest daughter told me today at dinner that she had tears when I left this morning after dropping them off at daycare – heartbreaking. She’s seven! She did reassure me that she had quickly wiped them off, though.
You know what’s awesome?
That you are still nursing her, what a great way to connect to your baby. I think that the pain eases away, and we just keep going. 🙂

db artsy says:

Oh, boy! That is tough – it does get a BIT easier when they are older, but not that much. My oldest just told me today how she had tears when I dropped her off at daycare – heartbreaking.
However, she had to let me know that she had quickly wiped them off and that she was fine. 🙂 She’s seven, and my four year old tries to cling to me when I leave, but they do tell you to leave as quickly as possible and it’s easier on your kids.
Really? I just wanna hold her longer! But, work calls.
You know what I love about this post, is how proud you are about nursing your baby. Keep it up as long as you can, such a great way to connect to your baby and let her know she’s safe, back in your arms. 🙂

Michelle says:

Aren’t you so glad you are still breastfeeding? – what a lovely way for both of you to reconnect and what a great teacher! – sounds like you have found a quality place.

Traci says:

It will get easier. It might take a couple of months but it will get a little better. I was so sad and depressed for a good two months when I had to go back to work. I’m on Summer break now but I’m not looking forward to starting that process all over again.

What are you going to do when you have more children? Do you think you’ll stay home then, can you work part-time? I’m sure you don’t want to just give up your career. I want to stay home so bad and financially we could if we cut out a lot but I just got my Masters degree so I figure I better use the dang thing.

Awww, I can’t imagine how hard it is. I’ll be rejoining the work force sometime in the next year and I know I’ll have to leave my daughter at daycare. I hope it gets easier soon.

Connie says:

I have tears in my eyes after reading this!!! I think it helps if you know that your little one enjoys the daycare that he/she is at… my little girl, who is 10 months, had to start daycare at 6 months, when daddy had to go away for 6 months (during the week) for state police training 2 1/2 hours away… like your situation, daddy was with her at home during the day, for the first 6 months of her life. She is now at a home daycare, and she LOVES it there…which helps me a lot… Eventually I think it will get a little easier for you. That is awesome that they suggested that you nurse her there, and found a place for you!! It certainly does sound like a great place you have found. Hey, if you ever want to check out my blog its I love reading yours!

Faith says:

i am not a mom but this post made me so sad … sad to read that she was crying and that you were crying … i know they say it doesn’t get any easier but i hope that for both of your sakes it does.

It does get easier. My son has been in daycare since he was 8 weeks old. I was so worried at first but the workers and the other kids are like family now. They love him and miss him when he’s away. When I drop him off I get my kisses and tell him goodbye. He went through a separation anxiety phase around 12 months but now he just walks off and plays with toys.

Thanks for all of your sweet words and tips! It’s nice to hear how other moms do it.

Traci, I’m not sure what the work situation will be like when we have more kids. I assume it will depend on how comfortable we get to having two incomes, and how I’m liking my job. We’ll see.

Jen J. says:

It actually does get MUCH easier! IDK what those other working mamas are talking about. Once she gets more used to it there & more comfortable with the teachers, she’ll willingly go to them & smile & laugh & play with the other kids & you’ll feel better about leaving her. Will you ever stop worrying about her? No, but as moms I don’t think we EVER stop worrying – even when they’re 18 or even 30!

My daughter just started DC early last month & it took her about 1-2 weeks to really get comfortable, so I’m sure she’ll adjust soon & it won’t be as heart breaking for you.

Side note – I’m impressed that you dressed her up so cute & she actually stayed looking that cute for daycare! My daughter goes in play pants & shirts b/c she always gets kinda dirty! But, once she has more hair, she’ll be wearing bows regularly to DC…I’m scared she’ll lose ’em now!

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Hi! I’m Jennifer Borget


I'm a former journalist, and lifelong creator striving to make the world a better place. This is the space where I share my journey in making the most of every day by cherishing our individuality and celebrating our differences.

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