Returning to work and starting daycare have been like stones in my chest the last two months. Hugs are tighter and longer, laughs and silly times are bittersweet. I felt like I was marching, inevitably, to an execution. I hated looking in jman’s eyes, knowing what I was about to do to him, and wondering what I was about to do to our very special bond.
I had to put it off by six months, it damn near killed us financially. Then I had to put it off by a week. All last week we had “lasts”, last free Monday, last trip to the beach, last mum n bub boxing class.
Today it arrived. The whole of the getting ready simultaneously made me feel sick, and was something I just needed to put out of my mind. To not think about. We were busy all weekend with not thinking about. And then it was here. With me simultaneously obsessing about it and forgetting about it, if that’s possible.
I felt like he wouldn’t be mine anymore. That every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, he was someone else’s. because the booking stands, and is paid for, regardless of whether he attends or not. and how do you trust someone else? Really? How do you know what happens when you are not there? How will he look at me after I do that to him, three times a week?
I haven’t started work yet. That’s for feb 3rd, with lectures back feb 24th.
I spent the first three months of his life riling against being tied down and caught up and locked in, and getting over the trauma of our pregnancy. I spent the next three months settling in and knuckling down and really starting to bond. I spent six months to a year completely fascinated and happy we were a unit, a knitted complex whole.
I spent a 12 months to 17 months enjoying him. In the face of some really tough times with my mum being Ill and us having a few hurdles, I still really enjoyed him in this period.
And I feel like, today, this has ended. It’s not a sudden ending, in fact today I didn’t even leave. We stayed and played three hours. It’s a slowly dawning horror of an ending. That all the not thinking about I’ve been doing is suddenly here. And it’s going to get worse. Because I am going to add into the mix an intelligent toddler who realised, pretty damn quick, that every time we arrive here it’s bad news. And he’s going to put up one hell of a fight.
Then I’m going to add work. After two years absence and some quite negative workplace changes. And stress of balancing too much. And football season. Which means hub -in-boots has two nights a week training, conferences, conference calls, one game day a weekend. And our cosy little life is going to be very very different in a short space of time.
Today, I intended to leave, just for a coffee up the road, but his carer suggested I didn’t. Not today. Tomorrow I will. And judging by the reaction I got when I ducked around a corner to the loo, it’s going to be ugly. Really ugly.
I will be leaving to go to a boxing class. So I’ll punch harder and run faster. Instead of sitting here bawling my eyes out, like I’m doing right now. Even though he’s here, in the next room ,napping, escaped the evil clutches of childcare after three hours.
When we were getting out the door today, jman found an old key ring of hub-in-boots, a Mr T. Key ring. He was repeatedly playing it “I pity the foooool”, “shutup, fooool”, and “quit your jibba jabba”. As my head ran into panic mode about what was about to go wrong, all I could do was silently “quit your jibba jabba” to myself. In Mr T.’s voice. To emphasise the ridiculous nature of what we do these days. Have these precious bundles, do everything for them, bond for them, then leave them with total strangers to go and do something we don’t really want to do. Sounds kind of screwed up, doesn’t it?
I mean, don’t get me wrong, there are aspects of my job that I love, and I’d go demented being at home for much longer. I am too active, my mind needs more. I will be a better mother for being engaged and stimulated. But I’ll be a worse mother for being stressed, juggling too many things, and needing to stick to a schedule. On balance, I don’t know what jman’s going to get.
It’s enough to make me want to live in a yurt and homeschool.
I have, I hope, made good choices. In the absence of nanny money, we’ve gone with Big Gay Al’s family daycare **. Maximum four kids, not far away, in a home with a garden, giant (netted over) fishpond and fountains. Some days there are only two kids there as despite huge waiting lists for family daycare the double challenge of a male carer and also a gay carer has been too much for some segments of society. I like that it’s a male carer, I like that it’s a home not a centre, I like that one single person will be there for our son each and every day. I am also glad we took the extra six months. He’s in a different place with communication, mobility, independence and separation anxiety. A better place.
As a weird aside which has fed into how I am feeling, we had an amazing run in with a childcare centre last week that I has previously inspected. I filled in the forms in september, but was told we would not have a place without a bond / Deposit. After the tour, I tried to convince myself it was ok. But it wasn’t. It wasn’t ok. They rang me twice, I said I could not pay the bond, they said I’d lose my place. Fine, I said. We got hand foot and mouth really badly after visiting there. The staff didn’t look the kids in the eyes, ever. They all looked about 15 years old and gave off bored slacker vibe.
After no paperwork at all since, no letters, emails nothing, they rang me to ask where Jensen was. And four months after I spoke to them, told me they were charging cancellation fees. I sent an email explaining their error, I rang them. Another conversation with a 15 year old. And Friday, they took $720 from our bank account. Out of nowhere. Two weeks cancellation fees. The only reason we had $720 is it was payday.
Of course I was incensed. I was so unbelievably mad. I was also glad I was not letting them care for our son. Ever. And they are nothing like Big Gay Al’s**.But it just, weirdly, felt like an omen. Like all this childcare stuff is bad. And I shouldn’t be doing it. But I don’t know how not to do it. This is the impossible stuckness of motherhood, where which ever way you turn there seems to be a bad deal, you’re either ripping your kid off, ripping yourself off, ripping your husband off, or all three.
Today was bad.
Tomorrow will be worse.
Doing this and going to work in two weeks will be harder.
But in the meantime I’ve just got to give off the happy happy vibes to jman, possibly buy some waterproof mascara vodka and more tissues, and keep telling my head (and possibly my living in a yurt homeschool heart) to “Quit your jibba jabba”.
**not the daycare’s real name 🙂