Doomsday – (aka Adjusting to Daycare)

Monday John Patrick started daycare. It was one of the hardest days of my life. I started crying Sunday night when I was packing his “daycare” bag and basically didn’t stop until Monday when I picked him up. I tried to take my mind off of it by getting my hair done and shopping for new work clothes, but all day I had this horrible lump in my throat. I kept thinking about when he was born and how the first 6 weeks I basically couldn’t put him down at all. And I kept thinking about how much I complained about that. Why did I complain about that? And I also thought about how fast my maternity leave went by and that he and I will never have that time together again. Those 3 1/2 months are gone forever. Obviously, this thought process made me more than a little depressed.

I called the daycare after he had been there a couple of hours and asked how he was doing. (Yes, I’m one of those mothers.) But actually, he was doing really well. In fact, John Patrick had no trouble with daycare at all – only I did. He had no trouble adjusting to his teachers or making new friends. He had no trouble adjusting to songs and toys and bright colors and a new and exciting place. In fact, he loved it.

I realize now that this is only hard for me. He’s ready for this. It’s a good experience for him. His teachers are wonderful. They are so loving with him and patient with me. When I picked him up, his teacher was rocking him and singing a lullaby (in Spanish – brownie points). Today when I picked him up from his second day, I ran into another mother. She told me how she started her daughter at 3 months as well (she’s now 7 months) and that it was so hard for her. But like John Patrick, her daughter had no problem with the transition and loves her “school”. She kept telling me, “just get through the first couple of days and you’ll start to feel a lot better”.

And honestly, I’m already starting to feel better. Don’t get me wrong – I think about him all the time and I miss him constantly. But I feel at peace with where he is and that it is a safe and nurturing place. He’s making friends and learning how to accept care from people other than Mom. It’s even made him more inclined to let Daddy hold him longer before crying for me.

My husband laughs at me because I say “he’s growing up so quickly”. (He finds this funny because John Patrick can barely hold his head up.) But it’s true. He’s showing me that he’s ready to start developing as an individual and having experiences apart from “Mommy”. And as hard as that is for me, it’s a great thing for him. This may sound completely crazy but I’m so proud of him.

Or maybe he’s just so little he has no idea what is going on. I choose to believe the former.

So it’s been another momentous couple of days in our home. And we’ve survived and learned lots of lessons along the way. Maybe some day I’ll be able to teach John Patrick a few lessons. But for right now, he’s the master and I’m the student.

May the force be with us.



Filed under Baby, Daycare, Mom Issue

3 responses to “Doomsday – (aka Adjusting to Daycare)

  1. I am so happy to hear it is going well. I was thinking about you. My experience was very similiar. I think Eliza loves day care a bit too much. Boring old mommy can’t provide that type of stimulation. The first day I picked her up the lady was rocking her and singing to her and Eliza had this huge smile on my face. Keep us updated on how it goes.

  2. Ruben

    I understand your feelings about leaving your child at daycare. We too felt the same way when my daughter was three months old and we had to place her in daycare. Unfortunately we had to change her daycare setting after 19 months and I am not sure if she is transisitioning very well since whe loved her old daycare. I say this because my wife has always been the one to drop her off in the mornings and I pick her up in the afternoon. Well, we are on the second week with this new daycare and this is day two that my wife says our daughter has been crying and clingy when dropped off. It disturbs me to hear that and makes me wonder if she adjusting to a new daycare of harder on her than us. Don’t get me wrong this new daycare is great and has a play based curriculum, but I see my daughter misses her old daycare, especially her friends.

  3. Estotser

    Thank you for posting this…my daughter is 11 weeks old and this Thursday will start daycare full time. I am experiencing so much anxiety, and exactly the thoughts your had described. I hope our experience is as smooth as yours, this is truly the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. Thank you.

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