I mentioned in my New Year’s post that I had exciting news that I wanted to share… well, this is it.
When I hit the six-month mark of my mat leave, I knew I had to seriously consider who would be taking care of bB when I go back to work. I know you’re supposed to start even earlier than that — waitlists are craaaazy — but I didn’t even want my mind to go there. With all the anxiety I was feeling toward putting him in a daycare, I knew deep down in my heart what I wanted to do. Although I never (I mean ever… in a million years) thought I would be one of those moms who decides to give up her career to raise her children, I do not regret my decision. At all. And here’s why:
The Numbers Didn’t Add Up: going on mat leave was a huge financial cut for us, but we rearranged our budget so that we were still able to live comfortably. You gotta do what you gotta do. On the plus side, going back to work would mean going back to my salary, some adult interaction, and continued education to further my career as an Instructor Therapist working with kids on the Autism Spectrum. Minus the cost of gas that hB would be using to drop me off on the subway line, the bus fare I would have to pay for to get to work, the money I would throw away to buy lunch because of not planning the night before to pack food, and the laziness that sets in after a long day’s work and an hour (minimum) sitting in traffic to get home (which translates to grabbing takeout because mama’s too tired to cook dinner). Is that it? Oh wait. The insane cost of full-time daycare.
So in a nutshell, I would be dragging my butt out of bed in the mornings (rushing of course, because we would sleep in as we always do) to get lunches and diaper bags and a baby ready, only to sit in traffic, squish myself into a packed subway train, work an intense 8-hour shift, suffer through traffic again on the way home, pick up my son, go home, cook and feed him dinner, then send him off to bed. The way I see it, I would be handing off bB to the daycare — “Hello, stranger. Here is my son and here is my entire salary. I will be back in twelve hours to work and make money so I can pay you to take care of my son.” I am not judging other parents who go back to work after a year (or even earlier) . It’s just not my truth.
Daycare Anxieties: if you didn’t catch my daycare post (this one right here), I mentioned all the things I would want in my ideal daycare for bB. I don’t know how comfortable I would be giving my firstborn child, who is too young to communicate his needs, to a complete stranger. I want to be hopeful for humantity, but a new mother can’t help but obsess over the daycare horror stories on the news.
New Mom, New Priorities: to be honest, I just couldn’t do it. I know there are moms out there who are dying to finish their maternity leave so they can get back to work, but I wasn’t one of them. I couldn’t stand to miss milestones, I told myself that I would take the year off to raise my son and really think long and hard about what I wanted for myself. I was happy where I was in terms of my career and my workplace, but I knew (as I witnessed other mom colleagues at work) it would be a hard commute from downtown to where we lived if we put bB in a daycare. Early mornings and late nights meant just weekends of quality time and more good-bye kisses than my heart could stand.
Then there it was… my epiphany… proof that there is a Higher Being who is watching over me.
I did some soul-searching: what do I want out of life? What is success to me? What is happiness to me? What will be my contribution to this world? One thing that I knew I wanted to do was work with kids. I didn’t care if it was just my own or other kids, but what a bonus if I could work with both… at the same time. I totally had the qualifications: I worked with kids with ASD for three years and volunteered with kids who had a wide variety of learning and developmental challenges for years before that. It’s where my heart is.
So I knew I wanted to work with kids and I also knew that as I worked, bB would need to be taken care of — for a good price and by someone I could trust.
LIGHT BULB: I would start my own home daycare.
Well, wouldn’t you know it? My sister-in-law, Annie (the one who made the Very Hungry Caterpillar cookies for bB’s birthday that you can see in this post) ran a home daycare because she, too, chose to stay home and take care of her kids. At the time I realized I wanted to build on this idea, she just so happened to accept a job opportunity and was trying to come up with a plan to continue helping out the families of the kids in her daycare. See what I mean about that Higher Being?
So, as of February, Annie and I have both chosen to run the daycare together, as a tag team, and we haven’t looked back. I am still involved with kids, bB is still being taken care of by someone I trust (LOL), I am still able to pay my bills, and the icing on top is bB will be seeing his cousins every day and will be growing up with them. I wish you could see how much these kids love each other.
I know this is what I’m meant to do and where I’m meant to be at this moment. I know because, even though hB and I talked about it over and over and checked and rechecked that we would be okay, there was still a calmness in my heart amongst all the uncertainty. Parenthood has put me on a new path, not just as a mom, but as a person with a freshly-lit fire under her butt. It has led me down a path closer to my faith, and it has made me want to challenge myself to be a good example for all the kids I connect with: follow your heart, be kind to others, trust God, and instead of working to make a dollar, work to make a difference.
p.s. wanna see what I would’ve missed?