More on the dreaded “Daycare Dropoff.” It was harder this time than before. It’s not that I’m more attached to my third than I was my first. It’s not that I now hate the job I’m heading to or even that it’s a different daycare provider. Nope, ridiculously in love with all three of my girls, still love my job and same daycare.

The difference is this…I checked ESTABLISH CAREER off my list already. When I was younger and a first/second time mom I also hadn’t made a name for myself professionally. I was an Optometrist fresh out of school that made my patients wonder if I had a clue. People didn’t pick me because they heard great things about me or my practice. They picked me because their insurance plans told them to. For any medical provider there comes a point in your career where you realize that some of your patients that you started seeing in Kindergarten are getting ready to graduate high school–and you saw them every year of that time. You watched the cute baby teeth give way to those awful first permanent teeth that are horridly spaced and seem way too big for their mouths. You saw ears get pierced,watched braces go on and off, and noticed when voices got deeper. You watched the awkward middle school years and cringed when they excitedly told you they were about to start driving. It’s an almost daily reminder of how fast this earth spins, how quickly time flies. It’s such a cool part of my job.

Although, I have to admit that once you’ve made those relationships, your practice starts to grow more easily…more smoothly. It’s not a fight anymore, the challenge is decreased. There is no denying that this brings an enormous amount of relief, but…it also gives you a sense of stability that makes it harder to walk away from that sweet little bundle of pink baby girl that challenges me daily. Hell…that challenges me hourly.

I really do mentally make huge check marks in my head beside accomplishments. Once they’re checked, I file them away in the completed folder of my brain and I add another “to do” to the “what makes up me” list. I think that’s why with this baby, at an older age and at a different point of my career, I didn’t have the same comfort when I left her. I didn’t get to reassure myself that I was heading to a job that would help me be able to check off a box. It seemed more pointless this time. Less goal driven and more dollar driven. I’m pretty sure I would have traded a lot of dollars that day to turn around, scoop up that baby girl and take her back to our nice, warm house so I could stare at her in awe some more…that seems to be a box I’ll never think is complete enough to mark “checked.”


The first week back to work, that is. I promise not to be overly dramatic when I describe the process of taking my newborn to daycare. I won’t use any corny cliche’s or make a big deal of what was a tough situation. I’ll just simply and calmly say…”IT WAS LIKE DOING A HEART DONATION WHILE STILL ALIVE.” See? Not dramatic at all.

I had a very methodical approach which upheld nicely until I decided to broach the subject of what to do if she started crying and they couldn’t figure out why. It was halfway through that sentence when I completely fell apart. The poor girl who was working looked lost as this woman started sobbing in front of her.

The piece of advice I was trying to pass on got me boohoo-ing because of a simple fact that every mother knows. There’s probably a hundred different ways to hold a baby…maybe more. I’ve seen pages and pages in baby books describing them. Every single mother knows though, that there is only one single way that they, and only they, can hold their baby that soothes them. It’s innate. It’s beyond a simple definition because it really can’t be described. A mother and her baby find a position where they just kind of melt together…and suddenly the abrupt introduction to the outside world seems to disappear for the infant…she’s right back to that womb-like feeling. She hears your heart, feels your warmth and all is well.

So, to describe this to a stranger who has never held your child and expect to do it without emotion? Never. I might as well have been describing to her how to make my lungs breathe. It’s the most natural thing to me, but incomprehensible to another.

When I got to work, I sat down at my desk and opened an email titled “your baby this week.” It went on to describe that my baby had just reached an age where new situations might make her nervous and she might be a little more clingy to her mommy. Thank you babycenter…that nice little dollop of guilt on top of my bowl of self pity was delicious.

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