Yesterday, Nikola went to the laboratory to pick up the results of his and Peatuk’s tests. Everything was normal, as we expected, and we dropped off the results at his daycare this morning. We met with the director and the nurse of the school and then we were taken, briefly, to Peatuk’s class, where his main teacher was playing guitar and one of the helpers was dressed in a bright pink tutu. There were about eight other children in his class, of varying ages. One of them was in full-blown “I want mommy” breakdown, but other than that it seemed like a bright, sunny, fun place.
Peatuk stared at the room, not really sure what to think, and we left before the other children started asking for their mommies too. Since the class just formed, most of the children are new to daycare and haven’t settled into a strong routine yet.
We are all set to start school tomorrow at the ungodly hour (or overly godly hour?) of 830 in the morning. Honestly, I wasn’t quite ready for them to accept Peatuk for tomorrow. I assumed he would start next week. Now I am feeling all of the feelings again, mostly the guilt and the extra special guilt for not feeling guilt.
Part of me is very socialized with the idea that being a mother is the ultimate sacrificial role that an adult can take on. That as a mother, I should want to spend every second of every day with my child.
The wanting is easy. When I am apart from him, I do ache for him. I wonder what he is doing. But I am also very introverted, which means that being around another person non-stop, even a little person that does not require high-level social interaction, can be exhausting for me. I am not referring to the exhaustion that comes with the lack of sleep and running after a toddler. That is something I have gotten used to. I am referring to the mental and emotional exhaustion that comes from not being able to hide in myself every day. The type of exhaustion that causes slight mental breaks in me, which lead to depression and, possibly, mania.
So, I know that I have to send him to daycare, at least part time, in order to be a better mother for him. However, it is that last little nuance that makes me pause and think. Why can’t I admit that I need to send him to daycare for my own health? For me? To live a better and enjoyable life? And, yay, it also benefits him! But I can’t admit that. I am conditioned to emphasize that it is for his own good. Everything I do, every decision I make, must be for him. Selfishness just isn’t allowed as a mother. Or at all. We all qualify our decisions to say how they benefit society, or our friends, or our family. It is just a magnified guilt that I feel as a mother, I think.
I guess it all comes down to my idea of what a good and worthwhile person is, which is someone who is aware of how they are part of a greater society and looks to benefit that society in their actions. And I want to be a good person. Or I want to be seen and thought of as a good person. So I feel a great load of guilt when I realize that I am making a selfish choice, even if the choice is an okay/valid/safe choice for others around me.
Basically, I am very excited about daycare tomorrow, but I still haven’t gotten over the guilt that I feel about sending my young little guy out into the world when I do not absolutely NEED to for financial reasons (which seem to be the only socially acceptable reasons for being selfish).