The Other Women

I go in for the goodbye kiss; she looks away into the distance at someone who will spend all day doting on her, watching her every move.

I nuzzle her cheek to mine; she nuzzles her cheek to the neck of someone else.

I spin, tears about to prick my eyes, dejected and rejected. I try to convince myself it’s not me; it’s her.

But as I drive away, pain sears through my chest anyway.

Hours later, I bound through the door — easily the best part of my day (next to waking her up). I lift her up out for a squeeze … and her eyes pan the room for the other woman.

No, I’m not talking about a torrid love affair; I’m giving a (slightly) melodramatic take on my daycare drop-off and pick up experiences to date.


Sometimes I think Maya knows her name — or maybe just is understanding our intonation of her name? — and she will look up upon hearing my voice when I enter the room.

And sometimes when I pick her up, I get what I think is a a glimmer of recognition, usually in the form of a gummy grin, a coo, or maybe even a squawk or raspberries. Those days I feel good about going back to work and leaving her in the care of someone else. Those days I don’t feel like I’m making a mistake.

But more often than not, I get a blank stare, wandering eyes. And it hurts. It brings me back to the days of crushing on boys who only liked me as a really great friend …

Rationally, I know she’s only four months old and she doesn’t resent me (yet!) — and I also know she absolutely isn’t trying to hurt me. But it does.

Everyone says it gets easier–and some days I feel better than others … but just knowing it’s not me with Maya 24/7 hurts like hell. I’m sure there will come a time when this doesn’t weigh on me as much as it does now, but it’s really, really hard.

And since she was in bed by 7:30 tonight … tonight was one of those hard nights, and with my husband in Canada for the week for work, it just hit pretty hard.

How about you? Did it get easier? Is anyone ever truly OK with their decision to return/not to return to work?


10 thoughts on “The Other Women

  1. Aww, sorry chica. I know you’re probably tired of hearing it but it DOES get easier. You will come to appreciate her trust in “the other women” if you decide to stick with daycare. I love how much Connor loves his daycare “moms”. They don’t replace me but they give him so much love during the day and I appreciate that.

    I would say (and this is not to scare you) its harder for me now than it was when CJ was a babe because I have guilt over the choices I made then. I wasn’t rushing there to pick him up because work was taking the front seat. I would, often, be the last mom there. Now, I’m really trying hard not to do that. I hope its not too late and that he won’t resent me later but it is hard.

    Its never the easier decision to go back to work but for many of us, there is no other option. *sigh*

    1. Thanks honey … I know she is in good hands and I know how much they adore her but still, it’s hard. I appreciate your insight too. I tend to book it around 5 now with no guilty feelings, realizing if there’s something needing attention it can be done from home. But I know that isn’t always going to be the case. I’m glad you’re able to be there earlier and he won’t resent you, nor will Maya resent me. I think I’m just having a pity party …

  2. It’s still hard for me and Nate isn’t even in daycare – he’s home with his dad, and what should be better than that, right? But there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t wish I was home, even though if I was, I’d probably wish I was working. And as much as my husband needs a job, I know that will also bring immediate, 5 day daycare and all sorts of new issues that I dread. I’m kind of figuring that it’s never going to be easy. :-/

    1. Oh Candice … I feel ya! There’s just something unrivaled about a mama’s love … though Daddy’s is a close second πŸ˜‰ And like you, I’m not sure being home all the time would be my best solution, either … I think I’m just feeling a lot of guilt right now that I hope does, indeed, fade. I think you’re right, too … it will never be easy. My SAHM friends have their own set of challenges, so it’s not like it’s ever easy.

  3. It is hard, SO hard at the beginning when they are so little and needy. It can feel awful to think that your baby loves somebody else more than you. I worried about that more than I could tell you. But it’ll hit you eventually that nobody could ever take your place. You will look back and laugh at some point that you ever thought that would be possible.

    When I was going through what you’re experiencing, I comforted myself with the following thought: “I am so grateful that there are other people in this world that love Noah (almost) as much as I do. He is learning early on the value in community and in trusting others. I am his mother, and nothing will ever change that.” It is true that other people may be caring for her in your stead, but nobody will ever love her as much as you do and, trust me, she can feel that.

    1. I think you’re right, Christy–and hopefully I’ll get to that place soon. That is an EXCELLENT way to reframe things (and lord knows I’m all about reframing!) I am going to try to remember that. And when she looks up at me and smiles or just snuggles up to me, it’s like the world stops and all is perfect. I need to remember that those days or nights when it feels particularly hard.

  4. It gets easier… She will not be going to bed at 7:30 forever. ANd as she gets older, daycare for her will be where her (same age) friends are, not just the daycare provder and it will be easier to see her dash out of your arms to play with them, not just the sitter.
    I think your discomfort with going back to work is causing you to see her interactions with the sitter differently than you would otherwise. She knows who her parents are and the sitter will never replace you. You are there when she’s sick, you put her to bed and wake her, you care for her when she’s sick. Soon she’ll be reacting to you more actively and that will help to.
    Good luck!

    1. Thanks Sara–I know you’re right … and that is true, too … eventually she will do more that just stare at her classmates πŸ™‚

      I think that is true, too, that it’s probably because I’m not secure in my decision to return to work that I view this so tragically (when it’s not tragic at all). And I should note, when I’m here (at work) I’m not thinking of her 24/7 miserable or anything … but it’s those pangs during the day that get me in knots. And I think you’re right, soon she will be kissing me goodbye and I will look back on this time and laugh. But for now, it just hurts.

  5. I’m sorry…I know this is probably really hard to hear and you might hate me for it…I haven’t had kids yet myself or anything (trying…) and I KNOW there are huge economical (and other) pressures on everybody but especially young families…but…to me it IS tragic for both baby and mom when the person who loves a baby the most can’t be with it most of the time for the exact reason that no one can match the love and care of it’s parents. Thinking about leaving a baby each day makes me want to cry. I’m not judging you – moms get enough of that(!) – but the feelings you have are really valid! I just don’t think I could go back to work so soon if I had a baby. I totally know that sometimes going back to work is really necessary to get the basic bills need to be paid etc., but as much of a “career” person I am, I will do anything to be able to stay at home most of the time, including taking in boarders, getting a night or weekend job, or wearing second-hand clothes for the forseeable future. There will be plenty of time for me to be in a regular job, but the ways we spend our time and our money shows what our priorities are. It sucks but it’s true.

    1. I don’t hate you, of course not. Everyone is entitled to their decision and I’ve weighed this out long and hard. I always assumed I would stay at home … and then by the time I had a baby I was 31 and my career was going well and I have future goals in mind which would require me to stay at my current role. I am not working out of necessity; it’s fully a choice I’m making and therefore it’s one I need to accept. I think I’m just in the crux of it because it’s still so new for me. I am going to give it three months and then see how I feel. I think, only 6 weeks in to being back at work, I’m not quite able to speak objectively yet.

      I want to work — it’s not that — I just wish I had more time home with her, so maybe what will work for my family … would be me working part-time (which would still fulfill my career desires as well as give me more time at home) or work two days a week from home, if I was allowed to. Having Fridays at home is great and because there are no other distractions I manage my time (I think!) very well at work during the week so on Fridays I am through the bulk of my projects and can use my time for organizational/logistical tasks. So we’ll see.

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