This is the story of how I learned to listen to my “mom gut” and ended up switching daycares. For the record, the little guy’s health and safety were never in danger and it wasn’t dramatic in the least. In some ways that made it harder to know it was time to switch. For any mamas out there having that internal battle at the moment, I hope you find this relatable.
I was a SAHM for the first year of August’s life. It was as rewarding as it was exhausting and I’m so grateful that I had the chance to be with him for as long as I did. When it was time for me to get back to work, we decided the best financial option for us was to send him to daycare.
My husband and I scoured the internet, talked to all our friends whose kids were already in daycare, and checked out a handful of great places with our son before we decided on one that seemed to be the best fit.
We liked that were able to keep tabs on Auggie’s eating and nap schedule using an app. The daycare felt very secure, pretty clean, and about a 10-minute drive from home. It looked like a fun place, too.
I felt all the feelings in those first few weeks of daycare. The biggest hurdle for me was just learning to trust others with my child after more than a year of being his sole caregiver.
I struggled with the initial separation anxiety and cried in the car every morning after I dropped him off. The first few weeks are the hardest part, I told myself. All of my veteran daycare mom and working mom friends were quick to agree.
From the outside, it seemed like things were going pretty well with our new normal. But on the inside, my gut was nagging me.
I wish I could pinpoint exactly what was wrong or what signal went off that made me feel like this wasn’t right for him. The best way I can describe it is that I felt deep down that my son could be happier and that leaving him didn’t have to be so hard. We just weren’t at the right place.
My mom guilt kicks in when I say this, but it really took a serendipitous decision to buy a house about 30 minutes away for me to finally listen to my gut. I used our impending move as a way to justify looking for new daycares in the hopes that something would feel “just right”.
And I’m really glad we kept looking because we found the absolute best place for Auggie. This time my gut was telling me that it was a wonderful opportunity for Auggie and a new community our whole family.
Auggie actually started at the new daycare before we lived in our new town or even closed on our house. Sure the drive each day was long, but from his first day there I could tell he was truly happy and that meant everything.
What sealed the deal for me was that the new daycare was able to do more than just keep him safe and looked after. Their particular philosophy, nature-filled campus, and meal program were all enhancing his quality of life and adding value in ways that frankly, I couldn’t.
Now that I’ve had a chance to look back and reflect on the experience, I think we just didn’t get it right the first time – and there’s nothing wrong with that.
I know there will be plenty of instances in the future where we try really hard to make the best decisions for our kids and we strike out the first time. What I’ve learned is that as long as I trust my gut and my husband trusts his, we can’t go wrong.