When I was in college, one of my professors introduced me to Dr. Laura. She was an adamant believer that mothers should stay home with their children in the early years and be home when they came home from school in the later years.
“I’m my kid’s mom,” she and her listeners would say as I heard and read reason after reason to stay home with my future children. I had strong convictions early on, but over time, "success" and the messages of this world began to drown out those initial yearnings.
When I gave birth to our son, I was on the upswing of my career, making more money than I ever expected. With only two weeks of vacation per year, I knew I would be busy, but we decided that this “lifestyle” was in the best interest of our baby.
Shortly after his birth, we began our search for the best day care.
We found a nice one a few miles from home that was on the way to my office. It had a pretty white stone exterior, a colorful playground for the older children, clean rooms, and a friendly staff. We registered our son and scheduled his first month for September.
I was with him on extended maternity leave for his first three months. Those three months felt like a hamster wheel, turning, turning, turning with no end in sight. No break. No “weekends.”
I wish I had known that that first year would soon pass, and his babyhood would go by so very quickly. Instead, I almost welcomed the “break”of work. I selfishly sought to get "my life" back to the way it was. What I didn't expect was the heartache I felt when I dropped my sweet boy off at day care.
At three months, our son was one of the larger babies in the newborn nursery. As I held him close and lingered in the room, I saw the teeniest of babies being left in cribs, crying and screaming for their mamas. I saw baby after baby, leaving the warm and comforting arms of their mothers to be placed in the care of strangers.
I began to get so very emotional those first few weeks and found myself rushing to my sweet baby during my lunch breaks. The day care was twenty minutes from my office, but I found that I could eat on the way and be with him for at least 20 minutes before having to head back.
Over and over again, I was told that I would “get over it.” I was told that it would get easier. I was told that it was just “a part of life." As I sat in that day care, l