To My Children, Whom I Am Sending to Daycare

To My Children, Whom I Am Sending to Daycare

My darling boy, it’s been a year and a half since we left Montreal and you stopped attending daycare. Since then, you’ve been my constant companion, jumping on my shadow, holding my hand, making me laugh with your dance moves and making me scream when you try to get my attention by smashing my keyboard. My baby girl, you’ve never been away from me for an entire day. You might have a great appetite for all kinds of finger food, but you still drink my milk and ride on my back to fall asleep, and get into trouble when you wake up before I’m done my work. As much as I am looking forward to spending two days a week entirely dedicated to my  work—instead of scraping by on stolen minutes while you’re entertaining yourselves or watching TV, or putting in hours when I should be sleeping—I also feel like I’m failing you. I’m failing you because I’m not the mother I always thought I would be.

I always thought I would stay home with you until you started elementary school. I always thought this would be enough for me. I always thought I would be completely fulfilled by the day-to-day banality of motherhood. I always thought I would budget and sacrifice and scrimp and save to avoid returning to work. I remember wondering: “Why have kids if it’s just to pay someone else to look after them?” And now I feel guilty because I know I could avoid daycare entirely. We could get by on one income with some careful budgeting. We might not be able to put money aside, but we would still be okay. In fact, I am not even sure putting you in daycare makes financial sense. But it’s not about the money. It’s about me.

I started a blog in the very early days of my maternity leave. I loved taking care of my baby, I loved staying in my pajamas til late in the day and going to play dates that involved watching our newborns sleep and drinking tea. I loved picking out a new cloth diaper at each change. I loved binge-watching Netflix while breastfeeding. Don’t get me wrong: it was exhausting and scary and lonely at times, but I was happy. Yet I also felt an itch. A need for expression. A desire to maintain the creative, pedagogical and linguistic parts of my brain that I once put to use every day as a teacher. So I started writing. And my writing became my blog, and my blog became my business. It was rarely a business that we needed to pay the bills. In fact, for a long time, it brought more conflict that it brought cash. But it has always been what I needed to maintain a part of myself that’s separate from being your mother, though inextricably linked. Without you two, there is no Maman Loup, and without Maman Loup, there is no Lindsay.

Maman Loup at Work

I always imagined what I would do as a stay-at-home mom. I imagined playing games and reading stories, baking cakes and gardening, going on day trips and bike rides and picnics. For the past year and a half, we’ve done those things, but I’ve been watching the clock. I’ve been calculating how much time I’ll have to finish an assignment if we spend the morning at the zoo. I’ve been saying “no” to LEGO-building and book-reading because I have a deadline. And I don’t think you’ve suffered, not at all. I think you’ve learned to play independently, and I know the flexibility of my work has meant we get to do a lot of things together that families with two parents working outside the home cannot, since there are just not enough hours in a week. But, unlike a parent who works outside the home, I’m never off. I’m constantly seeking an extra fifteen minutes here, a quick Instagram post there. And I get stressed. I get stressed because I want to do it all. I want to be a present and perfect mother, an attentive and affectionate wife, an efficient housekeeper AND an active and professional blogger. But it’s too much to juggle. And I know that, on paper, it seems like I could drop that last bit. I could wait until you’re both in school. I could scale back, drop my clients, only blog once in a while. We don’t need that income. If I stopped doing it tomorrow, the bills would still get paid. But if I stopped tomorrow, part of me would die.

So that’s why I’m putting you in daycare. Not because I have to, but because I want to. Because I don’t want to put you in front of the iPad every time I have a business call. Because I don’t want to yell at you for just being kids. I can’t expect you not to interrupt me while I’m working, or to understand that when I’m at my computer I’m not playing games. Being able to meet my professional commitments with set hours blocked off every week means I won’t be so frazzled when we’re home together. I’ll be able to make cookies with you and go to the library without simultaneously responding to emails. And I’ll also be able to read a magazine or zone out on the couch while you’re sleeping or watching TV because those moments will no longer be the only moments I can work. Heck, I might even take a shower that lasts longer than two minutes!

So here’s to hoping it works. The cost of daycare is obviously going to mean I get to keep a lot less of what I earn, but the trade-off is keeping a part of myself so I have more to give to you.



18 responses to “To My Children, Whom I Am Sending to Daycare”

  1. Lexy Overstreet Broome

    So sweet! It’s good for you to take a couple days to yourself to get work done and also get a tiny break from your kids. It will be good for them to get the social interaction with other kids at daycare. It’s good for the kids and you.

  2. Anna Cole

    Enjoy your time to focus on your work! I’m a better mom as a working mom – and my kids have so much fun at daycare. They’ve learned to trust other people to meet their needs, and they’ve had so much more time to play with other kids.

  3. sabina Edwards

    A lot of women loose themselves when they have kids. Not many look past their roles as mothers. I applaud you for not caving in. I’m sure you’re going to get nasty posts about this, but not from me. In my family I work because I have to in order to support my kids, feed, clothe, them and myself. I don’t do this manual work at my age because I enjoy coming home to daily pain. I do it because its a necessity and I fully took the responsibility that if I wanted to have kids, I had to pay for them. We’ve gone through so much hardship this year but I’m sure we’ll pull through because at my age (I’m in my 50’s) we won’t give up … here’s to a 2017 being kind to all!~!

  4. Ahh, I can totally relate to this, as a self-employed photographer. I used to make enough to contribute my share to our family expenses, and I started working again when babe was just 4 weeks old (now 6 months) but every time I’m with someone else’s family, I feel guilty that I’m not with my own. Yet the thought of not working at all doesn’t appeal to me either. But I don’t want my son to grow up seeing mommy on the computer all the time. So I’ve been working less, playing more. But eventually I will need to find another way. I look forward to hearing how it works for you!

  5. Mandy


  6. Aw, I have been struggling with these feelings a LOT lately too. I want to do it all, even though I know I can’t. It’s very frustrating. I blog for fun and don’t make much money off of mine like you do (trust me: compared to me you make a lot. lol), but I still feel like I’m struggling to find a balance between it, still adjusting to having two kids (it’s a lot harder than I thought!), having another practice year of homeschooling before we start the real deal, and trying to build our farm up so that it’s profitable some day. And, you know, the whole “being a wife” thing. It’s a lot! I love being busy, but I have a hard time of letting some things go, if that makes sense.

    Anyways, hope your new arrangement helps out!

  7. janie vezina

    love how this is written. feel the same as they start school.

  8. Ruth Entwistle

    This. this makes me cry. Because this is me. Thank you for putting it all into words.

    1. Lindsay

      You’re so welcome!

  9. Amber Ludwig

    Preach on mama!! I love everything about this!! Mama’s need to express themselves and never lose themselves 🙂 For our sanity 😉 I bet the kiddos will have a blast at daycare!!

  10. Molly

    I needed this post so much today. I currently work 3 days a week and have to return full time in December. I have been lookin at daycares and it is crushing me. I feel like a failure as a mom. I would give so much to be able to stay home with her. I know I’ll be setting a good example for her. This post was what I needed – thank you!

    1. Lindsay

      You’re so welcome!

  11. Dulce Finegold

    Daycare will help them socialize and learn to be independent!

  12. […] I’ll discuss a bit more in my August report, I decided to put my kids in daycare so I could dedicate my full attention at regular intervals to my business. It’s making a huge […]

  13. Candy

    So sweet!

  14. I really really love this post. I am actually so thankful that I didn’t start blogging until this past year and my youngest is 4 so going to pre-school for 4 hours a day M-F because I am loving working for myself and finally found something that I am passionate about so I totally understand what you are doing and why. I had a very difficult time this summer when they were home because I really wanted to work on my business but couldn’t as much as I wanted to but knew that I needed to spend time with them. I now learned that I definitely need to plan ahead for next summer to have a bunch of posts saved up and social media scheduled so I don’t scramble for 15 mins here and there and have them saying “Mommy, get off the computer!”.

  15. Oh my gosh, AMEN TO ALL OF THAT! Getting both toddlers in preschool two days a week last year was AMAZING, and having one of them in full day kindergarten this years means more picking up and dropping off time, but it also means more time I can work during the day (which leaves evenings and in between times for playing and eating together and being more present instead of waiting to get back to work!). I’m already excited about the day when all three are in school and I’ll have a huge chunk of each day to do more blogging! 🙂

  16. Julie

    Beautifully written. I am all for women choosing what works for them, what works for their family. Whether that be to work outside the home or not work outside the home. Good for you.

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Welcome to my Wolf Pack!

My name is Lindsay and I am a 40-year-old mama of four trying to live an eco-friendly, budget-friendly life! I am a substitute teacher and Child Passenger Safety technician in Calgary, Alberta. Join me on my adventures!

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