The decision to become a stay at home did not come easy or without hesitation. When my son was born I had every intention of returning to, in fact, I did go back, and it was HELL! My son was born in June and I went back to work in September, I honestly thought I was ready for the return…Boy was I wrong.
I would get up at 5:30 am Monday thru Friday to make breakfast, get dressed, get my son dressed, feed him, and make sure he had all he needed for his childcare provider. My husband would drive my son ONE HOUR across two cities to every weekday. I would get to work around 7:30 am and I would always start my morning off with a quick pump session. I would then eat again “no one tells you that breastfeeding makes you feel like you are starving to death ALL THE TIME”. The branch would open at 8:30 am and like clockwork so did my depression. Every second of my workday felt like hours it was brutal. I found myself being locked in my office bursting in tears constantly I was hysterical. The only thing that made my day bearable was the constant pictures and updates of my son. He was my safe place and I only found comfort with him around. I would find the strength to pull myself together even if it was just for a while to do some work. I tried so hard to drown myself in any task I could find talking on the work of others to just unplug from my feelings. After a few more pump sessions, a pity party or two, lunch, and a few more ugly cry sessions it was 5:30 pm and time to drive “aka” sit in traffic for an hour to pick up my son and then drive another hour with him screaming in the car. I would finally get home around 7:30 pm if I were lucky and traffic was in a forgiving mood. I would pump, eat go to sleep and start all over again. Stuck in this cycle of complete mental chaos.
I felt so alone depression makes you feel that way isolated and abandoned.
Prior to my return to work, I had the worst anxiety. I always had this feeling that something bad would happen to my son. I would not go to stores that required me to cross busy intersections and if I dared to venture out I was super cautious. And when I say cautiously I mean I was the person you were yelling at because I would wait until there was no room for error to pull into an intersection. I remember this one time in Macy’s and had this sudden fear come over me that the mall was unsafe. I instantly started to scope out exit stairs and back doors that I could use to escape if a gunman were to enter the mall or if a fire was to spontaneously happen. This is what being a new mother was like for me constantly running these scenarios in my head of literally the worst thing that could ever happen. My number one job was to protect my son and care for him. So to do that I stayed home unless it was absolutely necessary.
People would always ask me why was I driving so far for childcare and why not choose a place closer to work and home. The answer to the question is quick and easy when I was younger I had the worst daycare experiences that a child could have from witnessing abuse to eventually becoming a victim. So naturally, I had a hard time coping with dropping my son off to a total stranger. I had no family close by that we’re able to or in a position to watch him. As a result, I took him to the only other person I trusted to watch him. We did eventually move him closer to home to a private school/childcare. They were literally the light in a dark place, they were welcoming and open. They were progressive in their creative curriculum and they encouraged nursing and mothers to come and nurse their babies whenever they could on site. I was smitten with the entire school, but like many things in life, all good things sometimes come to an end. We outgrew our tiny condo and moved to the suburbs/country “more space for a growing boy”! As a result, I had to switch branches terrible mistakes, and an even more terrible mistake moving my child from our beloved school to a daycare facility that did not have properly trained staff.
LITERALLY!! and I know I use this word so much it could probably sue me for misuse or copyrights…but I literally mean literally my worse nightmare come true. After a couple of weeks at this new facility on camera, I witnessed an employee pushing my 16-month-old son down forcing him to lay on a cot for a nap…I was enraged and addressed the situation immediately resulting in my son being confined to a crib for any nap following. Naturally, the confinement of my son did not sit well with me either…in no world will my son be punished for the actions of an adult!!! Needless to say, that was our last week at that establishment. Now the last stop on this train and our final attempt at childcare. At a predominantly black facility which I was all for being big on representation and all…”mind you that on my visit I showed the teachers the video of children at the last facility being pushed down ect…expressed my concerns and was assured that it would NEVER happen at their facility”. Our experience went something like this…
Week one: incident report child fell after tripping over toys, staff will make sure toys are picked up. Busted lip from fall.
Week two: incident report child fell tripping over rug…I don’t recall the plan of action but this was another busted lip. Needless to say, I’m finding it hard to believe that after falling a million times in our new home with no carpet and never having an injury. That now at this facility he is consistently busting his lip. Also, I had to request this incident report.
Week two and a half: I’m at work and have a missed call from the daycare with no voicemail. Of course, I try to call back with no answer. So I try again and again and again with no answer. I then called my husband to see if he had received a call in which he had not. I asked him to please try to call since I had to get back to work. After a couple of calls, my husband was able to reach an employee and he was informed that our son had fallen and obtained no injuries. I did not get the message and after about 10 minutes of not hearing from the husband, I place another call to the facility where I was informed that my son had fallen and instead of catching himself with his hand’s palms down he put his palms up and fell on his face and had a bruised lip…PLEASE TELL ME HOW THAT SOUNDS who falls with their palms up WHO? Livid I grab my things left work and call my sister on my way to the daycare facility. I inform my sister that today would be my son’s last day at the facility and that I needed her to please come down and watch him for a few days. I didn’t even need to ask she was packing before I could even get the words out. I ran into the daycare taken back to see my son’s entire right side swollen. I like to think the spirit of my late grandmother dragged me out of there before I could tear that place apart and the people in it. I grabbed all of my son’s things so fast and headed straight to the door. And in passing mentioning, that day would be my son’s last day. I handed her a typed note for the record. And the next day my letter of resignation was typed and turned in…
…So a little over a year later here I am telling my story and taking care of my baby on my terms. It has been an unforgettable adventure. I am so thankful that I can see the silver lining out of all this. My son is happy, healthy, and brilliant. I remember telling myself that my job will be there when I’m ready to go back don’t worry. Now I tell myself what job…this is my dream job!!