My daughter has been at daycare for a few weeks now and things are going pretty well. I am slowly spending less time sniffing her dirty diapers like a creep (Wait… I didn’t tell you I did that? Nevermind, forget I said anything.) Anyway, I am spending less time walking around the house and not sniffing her dirty… anythings, and more time doing actual work. It’s amazing how much work one can get done when one is not chasing/playing/singing/feeding/cursing those damn talking toys/changing/reading/swinging/preventing dangerous and/or disgusting objects from entering baby’s mouth all day.
One day while Lyla was at daycare, I managed to clean and sterilize the entire house (unfortunately a cold has been passed around our family like chlamydia in a frat house… one downside to daycare), make a two week’s supply of baby food, write an article, post a witty and compelling blog (ha), go grocery shopping, work out and shower… only to realize that it was only 12:30. That being said, somehow I feel that the more time I have “off”, the less time I have overall. I still feel overwhelmed, stressed and quite haggard. How is that possible?
I guess that a mother is never really “off duty”. Sure, I have been quite busy with freelance work and that can be stressful and time-consuming at best, but the honest truth is that because I have those two days off with Lyla at daycare, I now feel compelled to do more than ever. Wasn’t the idea to do less? To de-stress, de-compress and possibly rest? Ha! For some reason I feel the need justify the necessity of daycare by proving how much more I can get done. Who I am trying to prove myself to? My husband? Certainly not. He thinks I’m crazy for trying to do everything that I do already. Or maybe he just thinks I’m crazy. He’s right? Am I trying to prove myself to my daughter? Nah… I don’t think she’s old enough to judge me. And even if she is, she can’t talk yet so she can’t criticize me. Although I am sure she will make it for it in her teenage years. I guess I am trying to prove myself to my harshest critic… myself. And man, she’s a critical bitch.
But, regardless of the amount of time I waste by unfairly judging myself and criticizing my parenting choices, even I can’t deny that my daughter is loving daycare. She loves being around other kids. She loves her teachers, and I love the idea that hopefully she is learning more, or at least learning differently, than she is learning at home. Sometimes she fusses a little when I have to leave her, but just as often she fusses when I come to pick her up. She is having so much fun that she doesn’t want to go home. Oddly, I feel equally upset at either scenario.
Will I ever get to the point of feeling confident in my choices as parent? Of ceasing to worry about how what I do today will affect my daughter tomorrow? Of feeling satisfied with how much I have achieved or how far I have come? Or will I at least get to the point of learning to cut myself a break? Somehow I think that the day that I can do all of these things is the day I stop being parent. But, giving myself a break from my own critical eye is a good place to try to start.
Now I gotta run. I have some work, some laundry, and some self-flagellation to squeeze in before lunch.