I Cheated on My Daughter

June 29, 2009 at 2:36 am 16 comments

I’ve been toying with writing this post for days now. Not sure if I was comfortable exposing myself to the judgment that this topic brings with it. Fear of judgment seems to be a common theme in motherhood (see prior post here) and one that I’ve found myself embracing more and more since beginning this blog. So, here goes…

When my husband decided to fly home to New Orleans to visit his ailing grandmother this week, we were forced to make another decision. I could either stop working for the week (and longer if necessary) or take Reagan to a drop-in day care. I admit, my current clients would’ve understood if I needed to take a week off.

I chose day care.

Even though this would be a temporary solution, and only for three, half-days in the end, I felt tremendous guilt for choosing it at all. Not only does it go against my values, but also our pocketbook. However, there is this other part of me that is excited about the new career I’ve been building in social media marketing and the one thing that I know doesn’t bode well for it is “going dark” for any length of time. In addition, I still have graphic design clients and was expecting a big job with a quick turn-around to be landing on my desk any day. The last thing I wanted to do was be behind the eight-ball or have to turn down the job when bill-paying is another value of mine. It felt like cheating on Reagan to want to work so badly.

IMG_1531aFortunately, we have been blessed with a very outgoing, fearless, little fireball who craves social interaction with other height and diction-challenged, crumb-crunchers as an only child. One of her first words was “party.” Seeing my daughter’s so obvious enjoyment three hours per week at the pre-school she now attends and at the church day care center did make my decision a little easier. She has never cried nor looked back in fear when we drop her off at either. Instead, she barely acknowledges us as she runs off to make her newest BFF and explore the colorful assortment of tired, bacteria-bathed toys. Just as she did this week at day care. When I came to pick her up before nap time each day, she would practically try to claw her way back into the mosh pit, cigarette lighter blazing. It does make me wonder if she isn’t trying to tell me something… “C’mon Mom! Stop breathin’ down my neck all day and lemme’ hang with my peeps! Jeeesh.”

As comfortable as Reagan seemed to be with the whole arrangement, I wasn’t so. The first morning after I dropped her off, I was feeling as guilty as Gov. Sanford Twittering about the wildlife I encountered while hiking the Appalachian Trail. But, by day three, after seeing positive changes in Reagan’s mood and cooperativeness at home, I was feeling better about my decision. Knowing that while I worked, Reagan was getting structure, play time, activities and games while gaining developmental and social skills began to have greater value to me. And, NO TV! My guilt began to lessen a bit and surprising even myself, I decided to share my secret with all of you!

The truth is, we’ve been discussing part-time day care for Reagan for some time. I have been a big hold-out on this. This week gave me the opportunity to not only see how she would handle it, but more so how I would handle it. As Danny will soon be needing to begin intensive studying, simulator training and cockpit time in the jump seat on Frontier flights to renew his pilot’s license, I’ll need to continue to work until he is fully re-instated. Even sooner still is the possibility he may be able to be re-trained in a new career with the Air Force Reserves since they declared him undeployable with his C-130 unit after his chemo treatment damaged his heart. So, we may soon be in search of the best day care option for Reagan. It is something I never expected I’d be doing, and yet, here I am, possibly deciding who will be watching my kid instead of me.

Okay. You can judge me now. Please share all judgments below. 😛

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Entry filed under: Career, Raising Reagan, Working from Home. Tags: , , , , , , , .

Jon & Kate Take the Easy Way Out Up, Up and Away!

16 Comments Add your own

  • 1. kaylynne50  |  June 29, 2009 at 4:08 am

    You know, I felt bad too, when I went back to work FT and put my second child in Daycare, dropping him off early in the morning with his breakfast, and picking him up in the late afternoon. BUT-I still LOVED him unconditionally, and that is what a kid notices and remembers.
    You have thoughtfully chosen a safe place for your child. Go to work, especially if you LOVE it….it will make you a BETTER mommy!

    Reply
    • 2. Mama Bird  |  June 30, 2009 at 5:54 pm

      As is true of most new things in life, the first step was the hardest. We’re all happier now that we’ve made it! Thanks!

      Reply
  • 7. Alisa  |  July 6, 2009 at 9:59 am

    As a young single mom, I have always had to lean on the help of others providing loving care for my daughter. She’s 10 now, and we have never had any problems (except once, and I pulled her out the same evening!). God will lead and guide you to the right people. Don’t be scared.

    LOVED the tie-in to one of Reagan’s first words (“party”) with “mosh pit” and “cigarette lighter”! Chris, your humor in your writing gets funnier and funnier. Keep it up!

    Reply
    • 8. Mama Bird  |  July 6, 2009 at 11:09 pm

      🙂 You’re an inspiration, Alisa!

      Reply
  • 9. Tea and Bonbons  |  July 6, 2009 at 9:05 pm

    If parenting choices were easy, we’d all have it figured out, and guilt would be vanquished. Fact is, what works for each family is uniquely different. Given your values and you still believe your daughter could thrive in part-time daycare, then do what you need to do. I have been a non-working SAHM for over 7 years and I am about to climb the walls screaming. There are some things I wish I’d done differently, like keep my foot in the door, work part-time for the heck of it, or take classes — or SOMETHING. In other words, I lived my “values” but lost myself in the process.

    In a perfect world, moms (or anybody) would accept that what works for them doesn’t always work for everyone else, and we’d all respect each other’s differing needs / desires / circumstances / talents.

    Reply
    • 10. Mama Bird  |  July 7, 2009 at 12:59 am

      So well put. I often debated if I shouldn’t always keep my foot in the door as well. For some, Mommyhood is all they ever wanted to do. But for many of us, giving up our careers to choose the hardest, most thankless, selfless career of all was tough! It’s never too late however, to resurrect your previous career or choose to do something new. You don’t seem like the type to let 7 years away stop you! Not to say that work is always the answer, but as you said, SOMETHING. Whether it’s work, a hobby or sport… it’s important for us to continue growing and have our own identity separate from our children. I do believe it’s good modeling for them and makes us better parents. I hope you’re finding yourself again!

      Reply
  • 11. Lori  |  July 11, 2009 at 6:19 pm

    Ah Mommy guilt will get you all the time, I have had my share. Sounds like it all turned out well!! Now that mine are now almost all teenagers, I can say it won’t be the last time with the Mommy guilt. I think we always second guess ourselves, but the good news it is usually turns out fine.

    It is nice to meet you via the BlogFrog Community Leaders!

    Reply
    • 12. Mama Bird  |  July 12, 2009 at 2:49 pm

      Hi Lori! Good to meet you as well! Thanks for stopping by!

      Reply
  • 13. Holly  |  July 11, 2009 at 10:02 pm

    Don’t feel bad at all! I was a single parent for 10 years and had to reply on daycare almost every day for my son. I felt horribly guilty and it really tore me up. Over time, I learned to negotiate a flexible schedule with my employers (which I felt very grateful for) and partners. While I wish I needed it less at the time, the exposure to other kids, group environments and other adults is very healthy for kids. Sounds like you made the choice mindfully for both you and your daughter so good for you!

    Reply
    • 14. Mama Bird  |  July 12, 2009 at 2:52 pm

      Thanks, Holly. My hat is off to you and all single parents who have to make such tough choices!

      Reply
  • 15. MamaBear  |  July 14, 2009 at 12:39 pm

    I am struggling with the NEED to work and the STRONG desire to be home with my kids. My husband can’t find work so I’m ramping up my design and photography business. Don’t get me wrong – I LOVE what I do, but I hate the feeling of always being pulled in 10 different directions all the time.

    I love your style of writing – it was fun to meet you!
    (via the Blog Frog Community Leader group)

    Reply
    • 16. Mama Bird  |  July 18, 2009 at 5:34 pm

      I feel the same way, MamaBear. The NEED to work is as strong as my DESIRE to raise my child. I’ve never felt so closely related to Gumby as I do now!

      Reply

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