At every turn in my parenting adventure I am surprised with how laid back or relaxed I am about parenting the sweet Potamus. In so many ways there is this sweet understanding between the two of us, where I anticipate his needs and we have a great time. He cries and is demanding and tantrummy and I have said ‘shut up!’ before, but for the most part, I have surprised myself with my lack of severe black/white rigidity that I had anticipated as a parent. In that way, I am nothing like my mother. I have boundaries and we have a routine, but it’s loose and can change and is more about preserving love and happiness than simply doing something “because I said so damnit.”
But nowhere more does my mama guilt or feelings of inadquecy rise like dealing with daycare. Now, don’t get me wrong, I really like his daycare. The teachers, for the most part, have been really sweet and helpful and have taken good care of my sweet boy. But there are comments and issues that arise that have made me question my parenting skills, my child’s adjustment, labels and make me freaked out about the future, since it will only intensify as he begins school and the rest of his life, right?
Potamus is still struggling to eat at daycare. Since we’ve stopped sending yogurt he has gone hungry (though it’s been the equivalent of 3 days, so I’m not super worried…yet). He naps and seems happy when we get home and isn’t STARVING right away, so I’m sure he’s not lacking the nutrition he needs. But it makes me worried, because mamas want their kiddos to eat, and the daycare workers keep saying things like “he doesn’t eat. this is something he’ll have to practice at home.” I start to second guess myself, though MY KID EATS AT HOME! Tortellini, ravioli, broccoli, blueberries, mandarin oranges, cauliflower, peanut butter crackers/toast, rice/beans, french fries, pizza, chicken tenders, crackers, freeze dried bananas, yogurt, banana/egg pancakes are all things he will eat pretty consistently. Not sure why he won’t eat anything at daycare…sigh…
Last week they informed me that he will be moving up to his big-boy classroom (yay! out of the infant room! with kids his own age! less money!), and on Monday his teachers took him over there to get settled. He did AMAZING. He didn’t cry and he napped like a champ, and besides the not eating issue, he was so well adjusted. Today’s morning drop-off, though, was less than happy. Not knowing the routine yet, I had to fill out some paperwork and then we went back to the class, and I made a BIG mistake. He was crying, teacher scooped him up and distracted him, and it was all calm and so, before I left, I peeked my head back in the window and BAM eye contact and hysterical crying all over again. In the almost-6-months of daycare I haven’t made that mistake, but for some reason, today, I couldn’t help myself. I wanted to see him be fine, and I probably ruined it for him for awhile. Sad times.
I don’t knwo why I just feel so…off…in my parenting as it relates to the daycare. I feel like a terrible mom for forgetting shoes on Monday, though I didn’t know he was going to need them (since they don’t need them in the infant room) or a crib sheet (again, since they don’t use them in the infant room). These were things that I DIDN’T KNOW, and yet felt bad about. Or feeling bad that my kid will, probably, go hungry today and be labelled a “picky eater” at school and that might affect his development or peer relationships and then I start to spiral downward and think that my kid is going to end up in some freaking special education class drooling on himself because he doesn’t eat their oatmeal.
Boof says to stop worrying about it. He says that it is THEIR job to get him to eat at school and THEIR job to inform us of changes and policies. I get that. My logical brain says, “no sweat,” to dealing with daycare expectations. Talking with my other career-loving mom friends, daycare drop-offs are hard for them, too…and they too feel judged. One said, “it’s like they think they could parent better than me. sometimes I wish they would.” Preach it sista!