These past few months, I’ve been looking forward to Charlotte starting Mother’s Day Out. I’ve been leaning on a close friend, who has taken Charlotte on days that I was working, and the other days were spent with Charlotte’s wonderful Grandma and Gigi, coming for a week at a time to visit. I was excited for us to start a new consistent schedule.
For anyone not familiar, Mother’s Day Out is a program usually held at a church a few hours a week. It allows Mom’s to work, run errands, or have “me time” while their children learn, play and interact with other children their age.
I’ve been excited because I know how much Charlotte enjoys being with other children, and I know there are some gifts her teacher has that I lack. I have also been excited to have some uninterrupted time during the week to work, write, meet with friends and colleagues, or have a lunch-date with my husband!
I wrote a post a few weeks ago about traveling for work and not feeling guilty. I was hoping I’d feel the same this time around. When I was packing her lunch last week, the guilt started to creep in. I thought I was able to send her without feeling guilty, but I couldn’t stop the feeling from happening.
I started to think that maybe she was too young. I also started seeing other people post pictures of their kids on their “first” days, and they were older! I had the thought that maybe I wasn’t strong enough to make it until she was 2, or 3 or 4, or whenever I had deemed the “acceptable” age in my head. I thought maybe if I planned more at nighttime, or stayed up later working, or made more art activities for her, that maybe I could prolong her attending Mother’s Day Out.
Then, I remembered how much she loves playing with other kids at the church nursery. I remembered that she doesn’t yet know how to share, and that she often takes other kid’s toys. I remembered that it’s good for her to have more caregivers in her life. I remembered that she is learning lessons, songs, and social skills while she’s there. I remembered there are no rules or “right ages” for these decisions. I also remembered that I am a better Mom when I have time to myself.
That’s hard to admit. I absolutely love being a Mom, and it is hard work. It’s hard being on all the time. These 10 hours a week give me time so that when I pick her up, and we spend the rest of the day and week together, I can be refreshed and present. Today is only the second day, so I’m doing my best to both give myself grace, and make the most of this time.
I have to tell you, today, she walked right into the classroom, sat at the table and started playing with puzzles and smiling at her friend. I guess only one of us is struggling with the adjustment.
What were your kid’s first days like?