Content for now

As a working parent, I admit that I experience a lot of guilt and, yes, even sadness that I am unable to spend as much time as I would like with my daughter. It is on my mind every single day. Yes, I realize that I’m not leaving my daughter in the care of others so I can pop bonbons while getting a massage. By working outside the home, I am helping to provide for my family, which I feel is certainly a noble enough reason to leave her.

Still, my heart gets heavy at various times. I am fortunate to work in an office situated in the heart of a bustling downtown area. I love the location. But it does give me ample opportunity to see moms at play with their kids in the park or moms getting in exercise (a foreign concept to me) while walking their little ones. I admit that from time to time, I wish I was out there with my daughter too. Facebook plays a part in my guilt as well as I see friends and family members doing fun things with their children and posting the resulting photos while I am behind my desk at work.

Believe me when I say I’ve read a lot on the topic of working versus staying at home with children. I know I am not doing any damage to my child. But I do wish I could see her more. Period. Thank God she is happy where she is, and we are so fortunate to have wonderful, trustworthy childcare lined up.

Still, I wonder…

But today, as I dropped my daughter of at school (aka daycare), she didn’t cry like she often does when we walked in. She walked with purpose toward the book shelf and began to play with toys. She, who is generally pretty shy, even initiated a conversation with her teacher and took me around the room to show me all the cool stuff with which she plays. As she wandered, I chatted with her teacher. I can’t get enough info from her and the other teachers on how Meghan does at school, what her favorite activities are, how she interacts with the other kids, how she naps, and the like. I could pump them for details for hours. In fact, since my husband does pickup, I make him share every detail. I call him promptly at 4 p.m. to learn what she was doing when he first came upon her, how she reacted to seeing him, what her teachers said, what activities she enjoyed that day, etc.

So as I talked to Miss Kelly this morning while Meghan got settled in, I began my usual line of questioning. It never ceases to amaze me that my energetic (okay…wild) daughter promptly and obediently walks to her cot and curls up to go to sleep when the teacher says the words “nap time.” No complaints, no dawdling. She just goes. Whose kid is this? Certainly not the one I put down for a nap at home! Miss Kelly went on to talk about how Meghan likes to curl up with her in her lap, how Meghan chats about kicking balls, and how Meghan enjoys interacting with the twin boys in her class.

As I left the school this morning, Meghan didn’t cry (a rarity). And I felt proud–and yes content– to know she is so well behaved, interacting with other kids her age and taking advantage of the many activities offered. And for much of this morning, I have felt good about her being where she is. I know come Monday, I will wake up with a small pit in my stomach that our weekend together has come to an end. I know I will be sad to leave her in someone else’s care for yet five more work days. But for today, for this moment anyway, I am happy she is where she is.

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