I cried when I left my children’s daycare. And no, I don’t mean I cried when I dropped them off to head to work. I cried when my children no longer needed a daycare, and I had to leave her—this woman who had not only loved my children like her own but mentored me through the early years of motherhood.
She was so much more than my children’s daycare provider. I’ve only known motherhood these last 10 years with her. I know not every woman chooses to share her children or her motherhood journey with another woman, but I couldn’t imagine mine without her.
She loves my children like her own.
They look forward to their time with her. She’s monumental to their childhood. They loved and they learned with her.
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For me, when I’m struggling or unsure, she’s been such a strong voice of reasoning and a reassuring voice that I’m doing OK when I doubt myself. She was the one to teach me I don’t need to do motherhood alone. She lets me know it’s OK to ask for help and that it’s OK to not be perfect. This motherhood thing is hard for all of us. Even though she and I did not do motherhood the same way or even at the same time—as parenting has changed so much from decade to decade—she seems to understand me in a way few do.
As a working mom, one of the biggest challenges is finding who is going to replace you while you work, and accepting that someone is taking your place while you’re gone working more than half the hours your child is awake for typically five days a week.
Not just any woman would have done, either, in being the other woman in my children’s lives. I took precise care in choosing her to be the one to share my children with every day of these precious young years of their life.
And if I had to choose again, I’d choose her to share my children with over and over again.
Now after 12 years, all three of my kids will be in school and this woman who has become a part of our daily family won’t be there to greet us to start or end our day. I’m mourning the loss of this change more for myself than my kids. All young mothers should have older, wiser, been there and done that women in their corner.
We didn’t just send our kids to daycare these past 12 years, we sent them to a second home. We found people—women and the men in their lives—who loved our children like their own.
I’ve been a full-time, working mom through my children’s whole lives, and believe me, I’ve heard all the “why’d you have children for someone else to be with them all day?” or “I could never leave my child all day every day with someone else,” and every other working mom jab that gets dumped our way.
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But if there’s anything the year of the pandemic reinforced for me, it’s that I did the right thing for me and my children these past 12 years. I would not be a very good stay-at-home mom, but I also knew from the beginning I didn’t want to just leave my children anywhere with just anyone. She took care of my children, taught my children, loved my children.
And as a woman who had raised her own children, she became a valuable mentor of motherhood to me.
As working mothers, we question our choice frequently, but I always knew my kids were in the best possible hands they could be in.
Me being a working mom wasn’t going to ruin their childhood; in fact, these past 12 years gave them something they’ll treasure forever from their childhoods—the love and memories with someone who loved them.