There are few things harder than sending your baby to daycare for the first time. It’s heartbreaking. It’s terrifying. You want the best for your baby and up until now, you’ve been there every step of the way. Whether you’re returning to work because you’re truly passionate about your career, or you just need the money— those first few days, maybe weeks, away from your baby are tough. Here are some things to keep in mind while preparing for those rough days.
- Let someone else drop your baby off at daycare.
If you have this option, I highly suggest letting your hubby/grandparent/etc drop your precious babe off at daycare. There were definitely tears on Blaire’s first day. It was much easier to cry those tears as I was buckling her in to her carseat at home than it would have been to make our daycare lady pry her out of my hands in her living room while I cried my face off.
- It’s okay to worry.
That’s your baby! You’re the one they’ve depended on for the past 12 weeks. And it wasn’t enough time. 12 weeks is not enough time to spend at home bonding with your baby. (You hear that, USA?! 12 weeks is not nearly enough time for a maternity leave.) If it helps you worry less, call or text your daycare provider. Chances are, you’re not the only first time mom they’ve ever had! They can assure you everything is going just fine. I definitely thought I’d call our daycare no less than 5 times on Blaire’s first day. But I surprised myself and made zero contact. I kept myself busy all day and just knew my girl was fine.
- Your baby will be fine.
You’re a great mama! If there was something sketchy about your daycare provider, you wouldn’t have chosen them… would you? As hard as it is to hear, your baby really will be okay without you through the day. It’s typically not hard to keep them happy. As long as Blaire was fed, changed and swaddled, she was usually a happy little camper.
- She (or he!) probably won’t notice you’re gone.
Okay, so this is probably really tough to hear. But it actually brought me a lot of comfort when I first started taking Blaire to daycare. There’s something comforting to me in knowing that she wasn’t upset without me. She was three months old. She didn’t even know I had left. And if she she realized I wasn’t the one holding her, she had no concept of time. To her, I could’ve been gone for 5 minutes. But next thing she knew, she was home with mom and dad for the night.
- Remind yourself why you’re working.
There’s a reason you’re not quitting to stay home with your babe. Maybe you truly love your career or maybe you’d have to give up your disposable income to stay home. Whatever the reason(s) may be, remind yourself. If you truly hate your job, then it’s time for a change. Spend your breaks or lunch time job hunting. If you’re spending time away from you baby, it needs to be worth it! I want to give Blaire the world! Whether that’s making sure we can take her on trips or if that’s paying for her college (a long time from now!) I never want to worry about being able to financially provide for her. And for us, two incomes makes that much easier!
It’s a shame we live in a country where a parent’s rights aren’t protected. I’m sorry, but 12 weeks isn’t long enough with your little baby. And 12 weeks without pay can be crippling for some. It’s ridiculous to have to choose between making your house payment and bonding with your precious new babe. Here’s hoping our country can catch up to all other’s sometime soon, so us mamas don’t have to spend so much time away from our fragile little babies. Good luck mama! xo