Tuesday, August 26, 2008

At the end of the day

I must be under some test of strength by the universe. If I can handle this, I can handle just about anything, right?

I take it all back. Every last word.

I'd take a full day of tantrums and whining and never getting anything done to never, ever have to drop them off at day care, again.

What was I thinking? This isn't going to work out. I don't have it in me. I'm going to cave.


But, I can't. I'm not working to make money. I'm not working to get away from my children. I'm not working to further a career.

I'm working to help people; to make a difference in my daughters' world.

It's hard right now to keep this in perspective. They didn't eat all day. They cried all afternoon. They sobbed, uncontrollably, again when I arrived to pick them up. Their little hearts bursting with emotion. They don't want me to leave their side all night afterward. We were each other's worlds for so long and now they feel like I'm going to leave them any second.

And, my God, I can't stop crying about it (when they aren't around.)

They are depressed. I can see it. And it's truly breaking every string of my heart. One by one.

I don't think I can take another "it will get easier" comment. This sage advice doesn't help as I have to slide their little tightly gripped hands off mine and walk away, leaving them crying so hard they sound like they will vomit.

My super cool boss said that I'll laugh about all of this in seven years and he's probably right. He's a father himself. And I take comfort that all of this will pass and we'll all be stronger for it.

I'm afraid, I might be the one scarred for life. I'm picturing all the working moms of the world and wondering, seriously, how they do it.

How do they do it and not feel totally, utterly, sincerely crushed?

And then this note from one of their teachers: "They have a lot of trouble transitioning from one activity to another."

Seriously? This is a joke, right?

I'm worried that my only children -- my first born -- my youngest and my oldest -- are getting basic needs, like, say food, water, sleep and that they are smiling and happy for more than 2 hours in an 8 hour day.

But, OK, thanks for sharing your concern about how to get them to ease right from playing hard into taking a nap ON THEIR SECOND DAY OF DAY CARE!

That will make everything better for my depressed 2.5 year olds who feel like their mother has left them and will never return.

But, whatever, tomorrow's a new day and like this morning I'll set out with a smiling, happy face that will have them fooled until ...

I get dressed for work.

Then, it's game over.


Mama said...

Okay, how about this comment?

Keep in mind that if this is still not working in a week or two, you can quit and you can take them out of daycare.

It's allowed.

No one is going to give you a demerit.

You do what works for you and your kids on a day to day basis. Give it and them a fair shot at this. If it doesn't work out, no harm, no foul, you take your kids and go home.

What you are doing is worth a shot for sure. But if you are still miserable in a week or so, staying home is worth it too.

Goddess in Progress said...

I just wanted to say I'm really sorry this is so hard. I don't have any sage advice. I just wanted to send a virtual hug and say that I'm sorry it sucks so much.

Dawn Johnson said...

I'll be praying for you and the girls in the coming weeks. My heart is breaking for you.

kisatrtle said...

I agree with mama. Take a little time, if you are all miserable, re-evaluate the plan.

you will not be out of the cool club. we promise.

Thinking of you tomorrow.

LauraC said...

OK I promise not to say it will get better. Promise.

We make every decision on a monthly basis. We have had many times where we had to wait it out and my heart was torn in two, waiting to see how things would work out. All those illnesses that first year... each time I got a call that a baby was sick, I wanted to run back to the safety at home and keep my precious babies close to me.

It is hard. Very hard. Even now, we have hard moments. I am trading pick up with Jon bc I simply can not take another pick up that hurts me so much. Yesterday I had another walk of shame where I carried one screaming boy tucked under one arm and dragged the other boy screaming as well. It is exhausting.

It is not for everyone. Perhaps it will not be for you.

But to answer your question - I do not feel crushed because I am on the other side of that transition mountain. I can take their tears and their protests (they too have days they don't eat or won't nap, they're 2) because I know what we are doing is right for our family. Our entire family. Me, Jon, Nate, and Alex. But if it didn't feel right, I would change it.

It just takes time. It takes time to learn a new habit and leave an old habit.

RocketMom Cheryl said...

So sorry to hear how you're being torn apart. Wish I could help. Two is tough. (If you can separate it out) do you feel good about the care providers and location?

We dabbled with daycare a few times with our oldest and never could quite get comfortable with it. Instead, we hired part-time babysitters while Dad worked out of the house, and later we got an au pair. Not useful at this moment, I'm sure, but I highly recommend the au pair program.

In a few weeks, I'll send my second off to preschool by himself for the first time. I'm crossing my fingers that it is the right time.

Anonymous said...

I won't tell you blithely it will get easier,but I will tell you the only thing that ever worked for me: routine. It's too early on Day 2 to have a routine emerge, but soon it will and by itself. I would turn to one of the most helpful teachers and enlist her in a goodbye routine with the girls that you begin to effect everyday. Ask for help right where you are. Even ask the girls. Get it all out on the table. You're all in this together.

Kristy said...

You're doing a great job. And isn't it great that your kids love you so much?

Candace & Anna said...

Big hugs for you and your girls! When I was working I cried almost every day going to work. She was in an in-home daycare for the first part of my time working and she would cry every morning when I dropped her off and would be doing that snubbing thing where she couldn't catch her breathe every afternoon. I knew that wasn't going to work so I started looking at the stay at home moms I knew to see if anyone would be interested in keeping her. I was fortunate enough to find 2 that kept her first one that would keep her until the other one was back in town. I felt better leaving her with someone we sorta knew and although she cried every morning but she was happy every afternoon. With the 2nd one she finally started to nap and eat regularly.

I will not sit here and tell you it will get easier because honestly it never did for me. You know what you and your girls can handle and only you can decide if it is worth it. I hope that you can figure it all out and work out something for your family because I know the stress and pain that this is bringing you.

Cynthia said...

I'm so sorry you're going through this! I remember when I first left my daughter - I cried, she didn't. I was crushed thinking she didn't want me. Then she turned two and she wailed, flailed, practically hyperventilated when I left. For weeks. How I longed for the days when she didn't even notice I was gone. I'm not sure what I can say to make you feel better except that I've been there and I am thinking of you and what you're going through. I will be pulling for you and hoping it gets easier for you all.

Claroux said...

Oh my goodness Shawn. Consider yourself hugged. That's about all I can give you. I am a minority because in the beginning I couldn't WAIT to drop them off. The PPD was so out of control and severe for the first 10 months that it didn't phase me one bit to leave them at daycare. And it didn't phase them either. I still beat myself up wondering if my distance will somehow mess them up in the long run - but that's a whole other story.

Now that they are almost two I HATE having to wake them up and get them out of their warm and snuggly cribs. Forcing them to get dressed when all they want to do is stay in their jammies and snuggle with Mommy. Once we are in the car they are usually okay but it still sucks. It REALLY sucks. They just started FREAKING OUT when I try to leave about two weeks ago. My babysitter said it's the norm for this age. I don't care how normal it is - it still RIPS. ME. APART. I have to work. I make much more than hubby and I carry the benefits. I hate being in that position.

I agree with all the other posts - you CAN quit. It doesn't make you a quitter. It just makes you a great Mom. But you'd be that regardless. No matter what your decision it will be the right one - I'm sure of it. *HUGS*

InTheFastLane said...

I have been working since Jack Jack was 6 weeks old and he turned three this summer. He stays with my MIL, who he loves. But, after this summer off, this has been the hardest transition time we have had. This week has been awful. Every day I have had to peel him off to get to work on time. And then, he is so tired and cranky in the evenings that he cries all afternoon after I get him. I cried on my way out the door this morning, because it does break my heart that he is struggling right now. I do feel your pain.

Octamom said...

So, so sorry that it's been tough going--no advice, just lots of prayers for peace and wisdom and comfort for you all.

Jena Strong said...

Me neither on the "it gets easier" front - when Pearlie was four months old, I went to nurse her every day at lunch, sobbing under a tree and wanting to take her and run. She loves "school" now. I have gone through 100,000 phases of ambivalence and questioning and sadness and certainty in every possible direction. What any of this has to do with you is anyone's guess, except to say that yes, to your reality, and to your ability - and theirs - to integrate change, slowly, each at your own pace. Much love to you, Shawn.

Anonymous said...

Things don't get easier. They change. They become part of what you do. Give it time and see what happens.

Perhaps it is like a death really. When my mother died I couldn't imagine how I was ever going to "get over it" or whatever it is people say. You never get over these things but you adapt and then something else happens and there you are.

Not very encouraging, but just know you're thought of. Your girls know you love them whatever you do.

Anonymous said...

Hiya Shawn,

Sorry to hear it's been rocky making the transition.

My daughter is six and she still has trouble with transitions without advance notice.

We've been doing the, "First we're going to do this, then we're going to do this, and then we are going to do that..." routine with her since she was a toddler who had trouble with transitions.

I bet it will take her a week or so to get used to first grade, until she gets what comes after what.

And then she'll be fine. But, even at six, she can have a complete meltdown at the announcement of a sudden whatever.

So, chin up there, mama. Lots of kids, and especially toddlers, have a trouble with transitions.

Anonymous said...

P.S. Come by the giveaway this month...that'll cheer you up a bit, I hope. :)

writermeeg said...

Oh, Shawn. You have such a gift for conveying the heartbreak of parenting. So many of the comments here say it so well, and with such love, that it shows what kind of people and thoughts you attract to your life.

You seem to always lead with your heart, and I'm sure you will continue to. Your girls will learn this, whatever you decide, however long it takes, they will learn this.

Sending you and the girls, and your hubby, many good thoughts this week. Thinking of you...