It was always my plan to be a working mom. Then Etta Mae was born. And all of my plans changed in a 10 lb 3 oz instant. Going back to work ceased to be an option for me. I NEEDED to stay home with this baby. And, by the grace of God, I have been given several opportunities to do just that.
Here I sit, 26 months later. Unfortunately, “loving every minute” is not quite the language I would use to describe my days. Patience has never been my strong suit, and we all know that a 2 year old will test even the most forbearing among us. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t trade staying home with my daughter for the world. I love that I get to see her learn and grow. And, there’s nothing like hearing her explore the English language (Her most recent declaration, “Mama I be shy on Tuesday”). But, I’ve found myself frustrated more often than I would like to admit. Running a household and a small business requires some effort, and I can’t get ANYTHING done with a toddler! The drama and tantrums and boundary testing push me to my limit. Even when she’s napping, she’s there, and my mind can’t rest (Should I start something else? Is she going to wake up in the middle of it? Is she still breathing in there?).
The idea of Mother’s Day Out seemed to be the perfect balance. A way for me to have some time to get things done (or just breathe) without breaking the bank or making a full-time commitment. But since this was my first ‘childcare rodeo’, I had no idea where to start. How many days per week? How much is tuition? Can I really justify the cost? Do I need to put her on a wait list? A few Facebook posts and messages later, I had some prospective programs. After touring our options, we selected the one that seemed like the best fit and signed Etta Mae up for 2 days per week. I was a ball of nerves and excitement when the first day rolled around. I spent a lot of time leading up to that day explaining to her that I would drop her off, she would play and make friends, then I would come back to get her (Groooownups come back). She cried. I left. Then, she was fine.
It’s been three weeks, and I’m not sure which one of us is loving “school” more. She doesn’t cry anymore when I leave, and I’ve learned that grocery shopping takes half the time without a two year old in the cart. In one day, I scrubbed the bathrooms (even the tubs), did 3 loads of laundry, cleaned the kitchen, and mopped the floors. I MOPPED THE FLOORS Y’ALL! All of my doubts about whether MDO was right for us slid down the drain with the Scrubbing Bubbles. Why didn’t I do this sooner?!?! Tuesday and Thursday from 9-2 (By the way, how is it that those are the fastest 10 hours of the week?) has become my sanctuary. I can clean, catch up on work emails, run errands, watch Netflix, and JUST BE. Then when pickup time rolls around, I’m a happy and refreshed mom. And Etta Mae has a clean house to get busy destroying.