A Time of Mothering Transition

It seems pretty appropriate that this time of transition for Frances, this BIG move from the land of daycare to the land of public school (her home for the next FIFTEEN years), coincides with what feels like a big shift in my experience of motherhood.

Up to this point, my main goal as a mother has been to keep my kid alive and safe. The things I’ve had to offer her, the things I’ve been focused on have been practical things: is she eating enough, is she getting the right amount of sleep? I’ve been focused on the things she needed to master in these early years: first rolling over and then crawling and then walking. Sleeping through the night. Potty training. Learning to feed herself, dress herself, put on her own shoes. Really basic, but vitally important things.

But in the last few months, I’ve felt my gaze start to shift from the practicalities of the here and now to the open landscape of the future. How do we teach her to be a good person? How do we strengthen her core, so that when the harsh winds of the world blow, as they will, she will remain strong and confident and whole? How do we help her become a good person, concerned about justice and the world beyond herself? As we enter a time where her own memories of her life will begin, how do we want her childhood to look? How can we make it a good one – one where she learns what she needs, feels protected and loved, has the space to explore and have fun and make mistakes?

It’s daunting. But exciting too.

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A Time of Mothering Transition

An Ode to Daycare

This morning I wrote out our Very Last Check for daycare. There will be plenty more kid expenses in our future, but for the past three years, we have been paying the equivalent of a second mortgage payment every month and it’s pretty exciting to be stopping that. I have loved Frances’ daycare so much. They have been such a big and important part of our lives for the past 3 years, and this seems a good time to celebrate them!

Oh, daycare, I love you so. Let me count the ways:

1. You kept me sane. My first months home with Frances were filled with anxiety. Is my baby broken? Am I breaking my baby? Is this NORMAL? I cannot even explain the weight that lifted off of me when I dropped Frances off for the first time and realized that for the next 10 hours multiple people with years and years of experience with babies would be taking care of my child. If something was wrong with her, they would notice. If she needed something new, they would notice. BECAUSE THEY HAD DONE THIS BEFORE. Amazing. So helpful.

2. You taught me super useful stuff. Like how to get rid of cradle cap (olive oil on the head, comb it out). You told me, gently, that it was time for Frances to have shoes. (Babies need shoes before they start walking? Who knew?! Daycare!).

3. You taught Frances super useful stuff. Blowing her nose? I never taught her that!

4. You did crafts. Every day. I hate crafts. Thank you for handling that for me!

5. You fed her. After she started eating “regular” food, you made her breakfast, lunch and snack every day. From scratch. One less thing on my plate, for which I am so grateful.

6. You gave me friends. Other parents with kids the same age who I like spending time with. It’s so amazing to have folks like that who you can just hang out with at each other’s houses while the kids play. I do not take that for granted.

7. You loved my daughter, more than I thought it would be possible for someone not related to her to do. I feel so lucky, that every teacher Frances has had at daycare has been loving and nurturing and has thought my kid was the bee’s knees. (She’s totally the bees knees). What a gift to a child to know that there are adults other than their parents who care about them deeply. Thank you for being a part of our village.