Slow your roll mum, I’m talking about daycare not divorce. That’s right, it’s time to chuck the kid at a stranger and go back to work. This may seem like a small window of freedom and a glimpse at normalcy for some but for me and I’m sure many others it’s completely terrifying and nerve-wracking. For the fact I need to trust another human that is not my immediate family with my child and also that I will need to hold an adult conversation with coworkers for longer than it takes for the Woolies check out lady to scan my groceries. Also not stoked about having to dress corporate again, workout pants can pass off as office attire can’t they?
So I’m not ready to go the whole hog yet, I’ll only be going back part-time but that’s still 18 whole hours I will be baby free a week. Gulp! 18 hours without changing nappies, 18 hours not singing mind numbing amounts of nursery rhymes, 18 hours without hearing the baby cry because she can’t get the draws of the TV unit open as they are baby proofed, 18 hours I could go to the toot as many times as I like without having an audience. You would think I’d be rushing to get back to the grind but it’s also 18 hours I can’t see my baby girls smile, 18 hours I can’t smell her hair like a creep, 18 hours I don’t get to hold her little hands as she grabs for me so she can practice walking, 18 hours I can’t force kisses on her cheeks over and over, 18 hours without knowing I can click her monitor on and watch her tussle around in her sleep, 18 whole hours I don’t get to be with the little piece of me that completes my soul.
I know I complain a lot about how hard being a mother is but I think that first day I drop her off and drive out of my suburb knowing I won’t see her all day will be the hardest part yet. I’ve had the occasional few hours that I have left Chloe with family but the one time I’ve left her overnight with my sister I cried like a little child before she was even in the car then broke down at least another 3 times within the first hour. I miss her when she sleeps and I crave for her when she wakes in the morning. She’s not been one of those chilled happy babies and some days I don’t know how I’ve made it to bedtime but she’s my world and I can’t imagine a day without her. Fuck, she’s turned me into a friggen pansy.
I’ve visited two daycare facility so far and the first wasn’t really what I was expecting. Now I know I shouldn’t compare it to my own home where there is only one infant and a mother with OCD that tidies the toys after the bebe goes down for each nap and vacuums the floors twice a day but I wasn’t quite prepared for the baby detention center I was met with. I’m not saying that it was unsatisfactory, I’m sure to most people it would have been more than acceptable but as it was my first time in a Childcare Centre since I was a tot myself I was definitely taken aback.
11 babies were sitting quietly at the table eating their afternoon cruskits, shockingly only one was not cooperating and demanding some of the yogurt one of the other more privilege babies was eating. One baby was just waking from a nap in the cot room of 6 cots, yes only 6 – so cots are doubled and I’m assuming they don’t change the sheets over for each baby. This was the point I was ready to cover Chloe with my shirt to shield her from the festering plague of germs I envisioned in my mind and usher her out of there like there was just a pox outbreak. I’m not a germaphobe but the thought of Chloe sleeping in a cot that another snotty little crayon eater just woke from kind of gives me the heebie jeebies. The baby that had just woken from a nap had done a nasty nuclear poop and one lonely child was playing in a teepee made of wooden off cuts and a bed sheet like a makeshift refugee tent. The room was quite small and cluttered and there was only a very small kitchen/change room that was shared with the toddler room.
Of course in the mind of Sami it was all dramatised to a degree but I guess I was foolishly expecting a clean white room filled with pops of colour from baby artwork, wooden toys, babies cooing and playing cheerfully and fancy child care staff with faultless winged eyeliner and perfectly imperfect messy buns swooning around after the babies laughing and singing ‘a spoon full of sugar’ at them. Wait, that’s Merry Poppins…not modern day Childcare! In reality there were toys everywhere, the cot room smelt of dirty nappy and the staff looked like they just ran a marathon. But I’m sure if I’d just looked after 13 infants for 10+ hours I’d look pretty wrecked too.
The second centre was gorgeous, a lot cleaner and the staff were very cheery and seemed more content with life in general. Of course they were full and had a waiting list so I pray each night for two consecutive days to become available so we can nab a spot there. But either way I know Chloe will be taken care of at both centres, I have a very close friend that works in childcare so I know they treat those babes like their own family. Now I just need someone to look after me while I’m baby free and deliriously fumbling through life without a mini human attached to my hip. Oh my, how will I cope.