My little family is about to make a big change. For the first time in her life, my baby girl is going to go to daycare. We’ve already enrolled her, and she starts next week.
Since Reese was born, either my husband or I have been at home with her. First, I was on maternity leave. After I returned to my job, my husband worked part-time from home while caring for our little girl. It wasn’t an arrangement we really anticipated, but it ended up working out that way.
Recently, my husband, Noell, was offered a fantastic full-time job, and while we’re thrilled about his long-awaited opportunity, we’re saddened — and a little nervous — about relying on strangers to take care of our baby.
It had to happen eventually, though, and we realize it will be good for Reese to socialize with other children and get a taste of the world outside our front door. She’s a laid-back baby and usually transitions fairly well to new situations, so we expect the adjustment won’t be too bad.
In addition, we found a daycare we’re comfortable with. The facility, which came highly recommended by a friend, has been around for six decades, it has a great reputation and, as an added benefit, it’s on the same street as my husband’s new workplace. We felt satisfied after meeting Reese’s new caretakers and peppering the daycare’s administrators with countless questions, all of which they answered thoroughly, thoughtfully and patiently after providing us with an hour-long tour.
I also was impressed with the facility’s lunch and snack menu, which lists lots of whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, lean protein and very few processed or sugar-added foods. I complimented the center’s director, who told my husband and I that she puts a lot of thought and effort into choosing which foods will nourish her students. I’m sure all the other parents appreciate that as much as I do.
As wonderful as Reese’s new daycare is, however, I’m still a little apprehensive about leaving her with someone other than a parent, and I don’t think there’s any way to alleviate that feeling. That’s just life.
I felt the same way when I returned to work following maternity leave, and I’m sure I’ll experience similar emotions when my little girl starts elementary school. Heck, I’m sure I’ll be a bundle of nerves the first time Reese attends a slumber party.
With time, as I watch her adjust to her new surroundings, make friends and learn valuable lessons, I know my concern and discomfort will fade, although I know it will never completely dissipate. I’m OK with that, though. As long as a little extension of myself is out there walking around, I’ll always be a smidge on edge knowing there are things I cannot control. If I strive to make sure my nerves don’t get the best of me, though, I think we’re going to be alright.