I know every mother must think ‘where in the world did my maternity leave go?!’ Well my countdown has officially ended. I was even fortunate enough togoback a month after my year as I was able to take my vacation at the end of my maternity leave. I have dreaded this day since my daughter turned one as I knew that goingbacktowork was approaching faster than I wanted. Who wants togobacktowork after being with your child 24/7?
I had a three day gradual entry for my daughter into daycare last week, and oh my was it hard to let her go. She looked like such a big girl, but she appeared to have so much fun and for any parent that is the most important thing…of course the child care facility and staff were also on the top of the list. The first day she had togo for two hours. It was basically for breakfast and outdoor time, the next day was for four hours, of which we stayed for breakfast and then the mum’s were sent into a room outside of their class for a few hours. That was the toughest for me and we were called up right in-between their lunch time to pick them up after they had eaten. I felt like I was being robbed of her presence, but knew it was something that was inevitable and had to be done. The third day was for 6 hours, which took them up to nap time, to ensure the child was able to sleep in a different environment, this time we were able togo home and then were told to come backto get them after nap time. That day was easier because I wasn’t just sitting = in the facility just thinking what must she be doing – but rather was able to tie up loose ends at home and was able to keep myself occupied until it was time to go and get my baby girl. To go and get her felt so good as I knew that it was my last week to really enjoy her before going back to work full time. When I went to go and get her she looked like she was having so much fun with the other children that it almost didn’t phase her that I wasn’t there..but of course when I called her name when I walked in, she cried – as though she was SO relieved that I was back to pick her up.
Aside from facing the hard reality that someone other than myself was going to be looking after my child, I find this system to be very effective for both parent and child. It is a great way for the child to become accustom to their new environment, the teachers and the other children in their class. I believe this transition is hardest for the mother and not so much the child. As I am sure the child does feel the change, the facility, teachers and other children probably make it an easier transition for them. The daycare is great because they provide all meals (breakfast, lunch, snacks and milk), all I had to be sure to bring were were her bottles, sippy cup with sippy strap, pacifier with pacifier holder for nap time, bedsheets, blanket, sunscreen, hat, outerwear and extra clothing just in case of accidents and of course diapers and wipes. Daycare is great for a child as it provides them socialization, a different learning style and independence, not something we can always give them at home…although when the next baby comes she will be home with us and even though I know she will love daycare, cost wise it just doesn’t make sense with a cut in our paycheque due to being on maternity leave again. For a mother who has been with their child since the womb it is hard knowing that you won’t be with them during the day anymore, but knowing that my daughter was smiling and having fun was something that is truly bittersweet. The time we spent for the 13 months was amazing and most memorable, and now it is time for her to be a big girl! Now on to the first week of daycare and first week back to work…already looking forward to the weekend to spend time with the family.