On our way to a birthday party the other day, my kids and I took a route that went past their old daycare. They immediately got excited and began reminiscing on memories they had. I slowed down as we drove past so they could see if the same play equipment was there which then led to them laughing and talking about what fun they had there. I smiled listening to them act like it was so many years ago and how they are so much older now.
They are only five and eight.
Then another memory came flooding back to me – the memory of the days I would cry on my way to work after dropping them off at daycare.
I can still feel them crying and clinging to me as one of the daycare workers would lovingly scoop them up and start to distract them. The best thing was always for me to just get out of sight as quickly as possible. I knew by the time I got to my car, their tears would be dry and they would be fine.
But that’s when my own tears would often begin.
There were so many occasions when I would sit in my car and cry. I would think, this is too hard! I would try to compose myself on the drive to work while second-guessing my choice to be a working mom.
Some days, my kids would give me a break and be all smiles at drop off. On those days, I practically skipped to my car thinking, being a working mom is the best!
Many days, I would just have my husband drop them off and I would do pick-up. According to him, the kids never cried when he dropped them off. It’s possible he was lying to me, but I believe it’s more possible that the kids intentionally save those moments for mom. They are miniature geniuses when it comes to pulling on our heart strings.
In the moment, when your kid is crying and you have to make a 7:30am meeting and you go running to your car fighting back tears, it’s nearly impossible to tell yourself anything that will help. When you arrive at work, you feel like you have just run a marathon. But really, your day has just begun.
But now here I am a couple of years out of daycare and into the school-age season. The transition from daycare to school was seamless because my kids were equipped and ready. The only tears from me now are on days like the first day of school. There is no crying in my car on the way to work. The morning marathon now feels more like a 5K.
As my kids reminisced in the car, there was not one comment about “remember how we used to cry when mom dropped us off?” It was 100% positive.
This made me smile and I wish I could go back in time and tell myself this.
If you are in this stage of daycare and have emotions flying each morning when you drop your kids off, I am here to tell you it does get easier. You are doing the right thing. Your kids are well cared for.
They are gaining skills each day. They are playing with friends, being silly and having fun. They are not making memories of crying at the door, I promise you that.
Dry those tears and remember you have a community of moms here that feel these emotions with you! We’ve got you, mama!
Read more of Stephanie’s contributions to allmomdoes here.