A Mom’s Tale: Tears in the Daycare Parking Lot

I only have a few days left of maternity leave, and as I write this I’m sitting in a coffee shop after dropping Lincoln off at his first day of daycare.

Everyone told me the first day is a doozy, and to try to send him a few days before going back to work to get into a routine.

Had you been a fly on the wall at our house last night, you would have seen a mama trying to soak up all of the snuggles from her sweet boy and choking back tears as she got his daycare bag put together.

I’m so glad I took this advice to give us a few days to settle in, because this morning was tough. I was able to keep my tears at bay until I got to my car, and I made a point to go sit in a public place after drop off so it would force me to buck up and not cry.

And honestly, I need to buck up. Lincoln was all smiles, babbling this morning as we were getting ready to leave the house. We listened to music on the way to daycare while I kept telling him how much he was going to like his teacher and how many new friends he was going to make. But really, I was saying this more for myself.

The truth is, Linc is going to absolutely love his time at daycare. The teachers are amazing, and they share a lesson plan with the curriculum. This month’s theme is “giving back,” and this week they’re learning about “gratitude towards all living creatures.” Today, Lincoln will learn about different animals, have reading time (Clifford the Big Red Dog), touch different textures of stuffed animals, practice tummy time and learn the word “dog” in sign language.

There’s no way I can be sad about this – this is exactly what he needs! At 11 weeks old, Lincoln is already a really inquisitive and social kiddo. This, daycare, will be perfect for him.

So why is it so hard for me today? Well, he’s my sidekick. My everything.

The first six weeks with Lincoln we were in survival mode; learning different cries, likes and dislikes, and taking on our new role as parents while our little boy was taking in this big, new world. But fast forward to today, and I take Lincoln with me everywhere.

I’ve hit my stride as a mom; I feel completely comfortable with him. I know what every grunt and cry means. I know his smiles and coos, and my heart melts when he babbles back at me when I talk to him.

That’s why this is hard. I feel like we just got into a really good groove. Heck, he’s sleeping through the night!

But, that’s part of it. Change. And that’s ok – change is good. It will be so good for him to interact with other kids and learn something new every day. It will be good for me to go back to work and get back into the swing of a day-to-day routine. It will be good to start a new normal together. And as soon as it gets comfortable, there will be something else that changes. And that’s ok, too.

So as I sit here writing this post, sipping a hot coffee (whoa – actually hot coffee!), I’m also looking forward to this evening when I pick up my kiddo from daycare, and I get to give him all the snuggles and talk to him about our day.

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