It all started when I went back to work when Gabby was 7 months old. She had never been away from me and was so attached that I did my best to NOT walk the 200 steps over to the daycare multiple times a day to make sure she was ok. It was good for her to not be ripped from my arms so often. It was the right thing to do.
But the act of leaving meant that I was missing out on the best part of her day.
I’m not saying that she wasn’t happy to be home and with her two loving parents. I’m saying she used up all of her good, happy time at school and had nothing left at the end of the day. We, her parents, had nothing left at the end of the day. And so it seemed pointless. And when it feels like there MUST be a better way, and you don’t change what you’re doing, you enter an emotional vacuum.
It gets better and it gets worse. With Lillian, I DID go to see her during the day a time or two when I could because I wanted to watch her play and hold her when I was having a bad day. She handled me leaving better, because my coming and going was a constant and she started daycare when she was 13 weeks old. But she is a child who needs a lot of sleep. Her bedtime for the first year was 6:30 PM. I literally got one hour with her after work before I had to rush her screaming, exhausted body to bed. Nighttime nursing was as exhausting as it was a comfort to us both.
We were all getting a raw deal.
It’s really no different now. I get excellent reports from their teachers:
“Gabby is the first one to follow directions in the whole class.”
“Lillian hasn’t had any meltdowns this week.”
This is the complete opposite of my experience and I know why. Home is their safe place. They know Mom and Dad love them unconditionally. So, when they get transferred back into my care, the listening ears shut off and the meltdown floodgates open because they are tired. They are tired of learning, obeying, following instructions, and being told what to do. They need a release. And I completely get that.
But I still resent missing out on the best parts of their day.