We can all agree raising children is better with a tribe, a squad, a group, help, whatever you want to call it. For a majority of working American families that support system is inclusive of a full-time or part-time caregiver Monday through Friday. Finding said caregiver can be tough, especially before you’ve even birthed said child. For me, the options seemed overwhelming; should we go with a traditional daycare? A combination of a Mothers Day Out program and grandparents? In-home daycare? A nanny? It’s all too much, I should just quit my job and stay home!
Then along came a golden recommendation from a friend, that supermom friend we all have and want to absorb all that expert mom-wisdom from, that brought us to Mrs. Julia. We had a few “meet and greets” at her house, and it seemed Mrs. Julia’s in-home daycare was the right fit for our soon-to-be family of three. But that “start back to work” date came quick, and the questions began to seem overwhelming again; is it all going to work out? Is Mrs. Julia going to do things like we do? Is she going to love him? Is he going to love her? And of course the occasional wait, where the heck am I supposed to pump at the office?
Our son Parker, now 20 months, has been spending his weekdays at Mrs. Julia’s house since he was 14 weeks old. Almost immediately, we realized what a perfect fit we’d found for Parker, our schedules, our parenting style and our piece of mind. Julia quickly became my go-to source for the answers to my ongoing questions: Is he ready to drop a bottle? Is he teething or was it allergies? Was he ready to drop a nap? He’s so close to walking…right? How do we get him to share? Do you think he’ll always hate eggs?
This month, we got into and started a school, much quicker than we ever expected. Saying goodbye to Mrs. Julia was so hard. Every day for the last month on my way to pick him up, I’d tear up a little bit thinking about our final time to do it. There were so many tears, so many sentimental “lasts” — the last Monday to drop him off at her house, the last time to bring a new bag of diapers, the last official full day for him to be with her. My husband and I both went together to pick Parker up on his last day with Mrs. Julia. I sat on her couch with all of these wonderful memories running through my mind while the tears streamed down my face.
Before I had children, I remember mom’s talking about the difficulty of school transitions. Turns out it’s because it’s difficult for the parents! Finding a caregiver that loves your child like their own is such a special gift, and moving on from that person is certainly emotional. Luckily for us, that new school I mentioned, is about 500 yards from Mrs. Julia’s house.
Do you have a Mrs. Julia in your life? How did you cope with moving on to the next phase?