To the daycare mamas, especially mine, because she’s amazing and today is her birthday…
I wouldn’t doubt there have been arguments about who has the toughest job out there… Is it doctors? Surgeons, maybe? Deep sea fishermen? Police officers? Lumberjacks? Graphic designers (no-brainer)? 😉 Some say stay-at-home moms have the hardest job. While I don’t disagree with any of those jobs being tough, I might believe that it’s YOU, daycare mamas, who have the toughest job. But could it be more than just the toughest, and be the best at the same time?!
I know I can’t be the only working mom who feels an indescribable, deep appreciation for you. You think the Caramel High Rise from Caribou is generous on a Monday morning? If I could give you a million dollars, I would. What you do for me, for my daughter, is invaluable.
There’s nothing like the feeling you get when you drop off your 3-month old baby to be taken care of by someone else for the first time. I cried the entire drive there, regained composure, only to break down when I tried to tell you how much milk she drank that morning and at what time so that you would know when to feed her next. You just kindly smiled because you had been there yourself at one point and because you had seen it a million times from the other mommies on their first days. So, I went out to my car and ugly cried all the way to my office. I left my baby for you to care for. And you did. You became her second mommy.
Not gonna lie, there have been times when I’ve been jealous [of you] and felt sadness. When I handed her back to you after my lunch break visit that first week and watched you hold her while sitting on the couch, but I had to go back to work. (Best job in the world: snuggling newborn babies?!) Or the phase she went through when she automatically said “More please, Heidi” instead of “mommy” every time she wanted more of something. Or when she took her first steps there instead of at home (Best job in the world: Seeing happy babies do awesome things!). Or when I picked her up after work and she fought getting into the car seat, crying “Heidi! Heidi!”. While it is bittersweet at times, the sweet part outweighs the bitter by a mile, because how awful and heartbreaking would it be if she cried every time I dropped her off?! I’m unbelievably grateful she gets to spend her days with someone as caring as you, someone she loves, when I’m at work.
I’m still “jealous” you get to be with my baby every day, but my feelings have also shifted. It’s almost a deeper appreciation for what you do, because God knows how frustrating it can be dealing with kids some days. I feel for you when I drop Finley off and you have eight little kids at your feet, mine included. And I feel bad when Finley is already bickering (in a toddler “bickering” way) with the only boy there before I have even left, but I have to walk out, leaving you to deal with it. While I am at work, in my “grown-up” office (wah-wah), enjoying my coffee, going to “lunch meetings” or getting in a quick workout (which all can also qualify as the most dreadful things ever. Except the coffee.), you are at your home, watching your house get torn apart by kids day after day, caring for the little ones who mean the most to us. You don’t get a “lunch break” and a few minutes to yourself during the day. You are busy teaching them right from wrong, teaching them to share and be kind, tending to their needs, kissing their owies and giving them hugs, throwing awesome dance parties, making them healthy meals, and even potty training them. You are helping shape them into who they will become. You alone are doing all the things we do for just our own children in our own homes. Completely selfless.
You, daycare mamas, have the toughest (but the best!?) job in the world.
A Caribou Coffee and “thank you” will never be enough.