Okay. This sounds kind of crazy, but I am really not sure how tomorrow morning will work.
I start teaching tomorrow morning. A January-term class that meets Mon-Thur from 9-12 for three weeks. My office hours are by appointment because I know I'll be skipping lunch and rushing to pick up Coco after half a day of daycare, at least for the first week.
We're sending Coco to the same awesome daycare where we send Zuzu, and I know she'll be fine.
But of course I still am feeling all the feelings about it.
I really like the teacher who will be her primary caregiver, though. Miss A is so sweet and the babies love her.
As if in answer to my anxiety, I got a text from a friend last week telling me that one of our favorite teachers is back in the infant room starting this month. We loved Miss P when Zuzu was a baby, but she left last year to take care of her grandbaby full time. Now she's back, and I'm so thrilled. She's wonderful with the babies and I just love the idea of the girls having the same teacher. It really did give me a sense of relief.
And Coco does take a bottle, which is more than I can say for Zuzu when she started daycare, so that's a big advantage. She might miss her mama, but at least she won't be hungry!
And even though I'm excited about the class I'm teaching, and there's part of me that's ready to go back to work, I'm now feeling all nostalgic about staying home. I hate how much I will miss these girls. I'm also looking forward to being able to have an uninterrupted thought.
In A Room of One's Own, Virginia Woolf imagines what life would have been like for Shakespeare's sister--a woman of genius and talent living during the Renaissance. Her conclusion is that it would have been terrible, in part because women had no privacy, no room of their own, and therefore were constantly interrupted by the daily struggles of running a household and given no time or space for their own thoughts, dreams, talents, imaginations.
I'm not claiming to have Shakespeare's talents (obvy), but lordy I can relate to the idea of not being able to form a coherent thought because I'm being assailed by crying baby or pooping baby or shrieking toddler or a to-do list of household minutiae. "Mommy brain" is a real thing--it's called constant multi-tasking and it is so hard to do.
So, yeah. What I'm saying is, as hard as it is to leave my baby in daycare (and really, if I could take the whole year off to stay home with her, I would), my job is actually easier for me than staying home. And, except for the whole part that I'm her mama, I'm probably better at my job and more suited for it. I like working on big projects, I like talking about complicated ideas, I like thinking strategically and making plans. I like reading without being interrupted.
In spite of my political and personal alignment with Woolf's views, these choices feel so fraught. I've felt a lot of guilt about working when I have little kids, especially since we lost Eliza. I know that babyhood is a short window and that babies need nothing like they need their mamas.
I also know that I worked really hard to get my degree and that academic jobs are hard to come by and that (on good days) I really love what I do and I feel lucky to get to do it. This is only my fourth year working at my first real post-grad-school job. In many ways, I'm just starting my career and I don't want to give it up. I know my girls have good care, with socialization and activities that I, frankly, lack the interest or ability to provide. I know it's good for kids to be exposed to many different adults who love and care about them.
But, oh, I will miss Coco's face. I'm pretty confident she'll thrive in her daycare environment just as Zuzu did/does, but I will miss her.
After my J-term class is over, I'm teaching MWF so I can stay home two days a week with Coco (and keep Zuzu home with us one of those days). Then I'll have the summer off. I know this is a good arrangement for us (I did the same when Zuzu was a baby), and I know it will work out just fine.
But change is hard. And after snoozing until 9am with both girls over Christmas break, it's really going to be a challenge to get into this new routine tomorrow! (Today we all woke up at 8am. Baby steps.)
I'm laying out outfits for the week for everyone. I'm prepping bottles and will be taking my pump to work. I'm showering the night before and getting up two hours before we need to be out the door.
And I'll be giving myself a lot of pep talks.