Even though we began looking at daycares since back when I was about 5 months pregnant (yup, I'm an over planner), we only just officially selected one yesterday (yup, I'm also a procrastinator. A strange mix, I admit). I hemmed and hawed over the merits of daycare centers versus a daycare run out of a person's home. How would this affect our budget? Our vaccination choices? Our commutes to work? What were their philosophies on infant care? (You get the picture)
Then after much evaluation, and re-evaluation...well, I had wasted a lot of time. It came down to me deciding that I was procrastinating at this point, because frankly I just didn't want to leave my kid with anyone else. In the meantime, my top contender for an in-home daycare had filled it's last infant slot.
But in some ways, I think it's best we waited so long to decide. Not only because we've managed to find someone who has a lower child to adult ration, is very reasonably priced and in a more convenient location, but more so because in the few days between that decision and my return to work- I am completely deconstructing this woman in my head!
Perhaps she wasn't as "warm" of a personality as I'd hoped. Did I really check every corner of her house to ensure it was clean? How much TV does she watch during the day? Why doesn't she have a rocking chair? Was she believable when discussing her belief in an infant needing to be held often? Shouldn't I have hooked her up to a lie detector? Why did she have an infant space available anyway? Is that an indicator of something?
Any more time to think about it and surely this woman is going to start having horns and a tail in my mental image. She didn't raise any alarms when I met her at all. And I'm trying to remind myself to go off of those instincts. It's the not knowing for sure that kills me. I'm not good at not knowing. And my kid has no sure fire way of telling me if he's mistreated. Of course, there will be some signals he could give me if the setting is unfit-withdrawn behavior; not being well cleaned or fed; injuries or excessive illness. But it would break my heart for it to ever have to come to that.
The challenge here folks, is how to stay present when anxiety looms. As a therapist it's a question I help others grapple with often. Positive thinking; activities to stimulate your senses and remind you that you are in the current place and time; cognitive behavioral techniques that help identify irrational thinking. It would help me to practice what I preach right about now.
I'm working on keeping that anxiety in check by enjoying the baby's gummy smile, reading about how other mom's make working outside of the home work for their family via blogs of other conscious parents and rad women, and reminding myself to trust my instincts. Those instincts served me well in pregnancy and birthing, and (so far) in realizing what my baby needs. I have to trust that they will continue to serve me well in who I pick for child care.
And if all else fails, maybe I will take a picture of the baby being held by his new daycare provider. Something I can look at during the day at work to re-acknowledge that he's safe in her capable hands. Or, at the very least, something to remind me that she does not, in fact, have horns.