How in the world am I going to leave Kent at daycare for six hours a day, two days a week? I have just over a month to figure this out.

We keep him in church with us every Sunday, though in the last couple of months, Jack or I often leave with him partway through the service because of his rambunctiousness. He's been to the nursery a few times, and one of us has always stayed with him, knowing that he'd get upset if we left and wanting to avoid that. Plus, it's cool to stay with him and play with the other kids, talk to the college girls who work in the nursery, and help him get acclimated for the eventual day when he'll stay in there without us. I've been thinking that it was about time for us to see how he did alone for a little while, so today, I took him to the nursery toward the end of the service, stayed and played for about 5 minutes, then decided I'd leave to go to the bathroom. He started crying before I had even shut the dutch door behind me, and I could hear him wailing down the hall the whole time I was gone. When I came back about three minutes later, he was red-faced, tear-stained, and looked at me as if the nursery people had been beating him the entire time I was gone.

He's attached. We've wanted this — wanted to be closely bonded with him, wanted him to trust us implicitly, wanted to know him so well that we could anticipate his actions — we've wanted all the things that sound so great about attachment parenting (and are). It's a gentle, high-touch style of parenting that doesn't involve letting your child cry without comforting, so I have a big problem emotionally and intellectually with leaving him in a room when he's crying and I'm walking in the other direction. Even though I know he'll get over it in a few hours/days, I know it'll be great for his socialization, and (the main reason we're doing it) I know I need more time to work on my diss, it still kills me inside to imagine how it'll feel to leave him that first day.

When we first decided back in January that we needed for me to have some time alone to work, we started looking into daycare options, and I was elated to imagine even a day by myself for researching and writing. As we've made our decisions and the time has drawn nearer, though, I've developed a sinking feeling in my gut, like I'm saying goodbye to something I'm not ready to say goodbye to.

Part of me feels like it's ridiculous for me to leave him with someone else when we have the financial means for me to be home with him, and I have the desire to do it. It's just this pesky dissertation that will not go away, and the remaining 2.5 years of my 7-year deadline that also will not go away. Reconciling motherhood and academic pursuits in my mind and in my heart is not an easy task.

In some ways, I think it would have been much easier to make the transition to daycare if he were younger, but I wouldn't have traded this first almost-year alone with him for anything in the world. And we'll still have three days a week with just the two of us... I'm sure there will be times even on those days when I'm ready for someone else's help, as I've craved many times in the past year. Once we get past the initial shock of this new situation for our family, I think some time away from him will be good for me as well, so that I can get back in touch with who I am by myself. It occurred to me the other day that I don't really have moods of my own anymore; everything is dependent on how Kent is feeling and behaving. That seems crazy, but at the same time, it's not. It's just motherhood.

Bah. I don't know where I'm going with this. Pray for strength for me. That's what I've been attempting.

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Oh, E. I feel your pain. Ugh, ugh, ugh. Hugs and prayers your way.

(I suppose hiring someone to come to your house isn't an option?)

I WISH I were closer and could help you through this difficult time.
Oh, E, I'm sorry this is hard. You & Jack are fantastic parents, and I know you will make it through. I remember crying when my parents left me at summer camp, but after a few minutes of course, I was fine. Isn't it interesting how we never escape being deeply emotionally attached to another person, and the sadness when you have to separate from them? First parents, then sig other, then your own child. Circle of life I guess.
You are such a wonderful Mom! Its okay. You are feeling all the things a loving Mom feels. It is sad this world cannot offer us life without conflict.
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