April 25, 2006
This morning, I finally got up the nerve to tell Noah's daycare teachers that next Wednesday will be his last day. It was fun. FUN. Tomorrow, I think I'll just have someone lob bricks directly at my chest instead.
They CRIED, people. IN FRONT OF ME. They handed me a camera so I could take their pictures with Noah. They asked if I would bring him back to visit. Then one of them had to leave the room. Then the other one told me how happy she was for me while her voice cracked and shook, and then she went off to sit in a rocking chair with Noah, holding him tightly to her chest while she tried to compose herself.
As I silently restocked Noah's cubby, I heard her whisper, "I love you, I love you."
And just like that very first dark day in December, I made it all the way back to my car before I started crying.
Baby Photos: They're like real-life emoticons for your blog.
I hated the rushing, the hassle, the colds, the room full of infants on amoxicillin and the endless forms for Pedialyte and diaper rash creams, but from the hours of 9:30 am and 6 pm, I knew Noah was safe. And happy. Every morning his face lit up at the sight of his teachers. Every morning he reached out his arms for hugs and kisses. Every morning he would smile and laugh as his teacher held his hand and blew me kisses goodbye on his behalf.
You know, I've gotten nothing but praise and support for my decision. So much praise, in fact, that I've read posts on other blogs about it because DAMN. Guess it's pretty obvious what choice is really seen as the right choice, the best choice, the universally loved and praised and petted choice.
While a lot of readers are genuinely happy for ME, because they know this is the right decision for ME, for RIGHT NOW, there were plenty of comments that bordered on (or flat-out trampled over) the idea that while some women can't stay home, if it is an option, it's the choice you MUST make. The choice you SHOULD make. The subtext is clear: if you can afford to stay home but choose to work anyway, you sir, are worse than Hitler. Which is why, back in January, the trolls chose to hurl that particular accusation at me. You can totally afford to stay home! You just don't want to!
Ooh, snap! Damn these uppity women with their "choices" and "options" and "personal fulfillment."
People -- coworkers, neighbors, family members -- who were totally, "Good for you!" when I went back to work are now sighing with visible relief because thank God I came to my senses and am getting that poor baby out of that awful, awful daycare.
Last week I told his teachers to start giving Noah an afternoon snack of Cheerios, and they clapped their hands in excitement. Cheerios? Noah eats Cheerios? Our big boy! Our big smart boy! When I picked him up that night I got a detailed and joyous description of just how well Noah can pick up a Cheerio and get it into his mouth. He takes such good naps! He's almost crawling! He offered a toy to a crying baby! He laughs when they sing! He gives the best kisses!
I asked these women to care for Noah. They did. I asked them to love him. They did. They really, really did.
And now I'm asking them to be okay with never seeing him again.
The Guilt, it gets you coming and going some days.
Aw, Amalah! I'm so sorry you are feeling bad about your decision. Please don't! Don't let anyone make you feel as if you are FINALLY making the right decision or whatever. That's stupid. You are doing the best thing for your family NOW, just like you did back in January. And for doing the best thing for your family, I say "Good for you." Its not always easy to make that decision.
Oh, and what a CUTIE Noah is. But you already know that. :)
Posted by: SilentlyHoping | April 25, 2006 at 01:35 PM
You can always go back and visit. My mom did that with me, and they loved it.
I used to take the kids I nannied out again once every couple of months, too, just to see how they were growing up.
Not that you have to do any of those things.
But how great a mom are you and how great a dad is your husband and how great a kid is Noah to make you all so hard to say goodbye to?
Posted by: Meg | April 25, 2006 at 01:37 PM
His teachers' genuine sadness just means you chose a really wonderful daycare.
Posted by: Liz | April 25, 2006 at 01:37 PM
That last picture? Is so gorgeous I felt choky.
It seems like Guilt is #572 on the list of things They Don't Tell You about Motherhood.
Posted by: Kristin | April 25, 2006 at 01:39 PM
Such a great post. Sounds like you picked a terrific daycare. I really can't wait to read whatever it is that is in the works. Thanks Amy. And thank YOU Noah.
Posted by: Carrisa | April 25, 2006 at 01:40 PM
Amy, thanks for saying that. As usual, you put it so well. If our situation changed and I had to break up with our daycare, everyone would cry about it--me, kid, teachers.
Posted by: Monica | April 25, 2006 at 01:41 PM
Awww, Amy, you can't win and that's because there is no right or wrong. You can only do what's best for you and your family. Best of luck.
Posted by: sarah | April 25, 2006 at 01:41 PM
Dear gussie. Too many tears.
We need some happy thoughts here, maybe a zoo/Chuck E Cheese/playgroup agenda here.
This + PMS + pending paperwork from our Russian adoption = using massive quantities of Kleenex, hence killing trees.
But good for you Amy, for doing what you feel is best. Ignore the naysayers and the extremists, and just be you.
That's why we're all here reading, anyway. Just to see you be you!
Posted by: Me | April 25, 2006 at 01:42 PM
There have been so many days in the last two years when I thought my daughter would have been better off being taken care of by lovely, loving, paid(!) daycare providers than my underslept, underpaid underinspired ass.
You can't win in the guilt department.
Posted by: madge | April 25, 2006 at 01:43 PM
Thank you again! It is so great to read something positive about daycare. My son loves his teachers ( we call it school) and his classmates. They also love him. Yes, some days, even more than a year there it is still hard to leave him in the morning but I know he is having fun , learning and god knows napping better than he ever does at home! Even if we could afford for me or my husband to stay home I still would want to work part time and have him experience time with other kids. Cause that is what would work for OUR family.
Best of luck again to you and yours.
Posted by: HBT | April 25, 2006 at 01:44 PM
and the last picture, my god woman, you make pretty babies.
Posted by: Amy | April 25, 2006 at 01:45 PM
That last photo? Caused my uterus to burst into flame.
Damn you Amalah! You're kick starting my biological clock! :)
All kidding aside, you, your site, your writing & your adorable child are some of my favorite peeps on the internetwebosphere. Thanks!
Posted by: katie b | April 25, 2006 at 01:45 PM
I am getting all teary-eyed over here! I would definitely take Noah back for visits. You know he would probably like to see them every now and then too! Saying good-bye is always the hardest thing. Best of Luck! BTW: I don't think I ever posted here before but, I read almost everyday!
Posted by: carin | April 25, 2006 at 01:45 PM
Guilt is a pain in the ASS. Sorry you're feeling it. I hope you know in your heart that the right choice for you is the right choice, period. Wait, I know you know that. But here I am to affirm it!
Guilt is one of the most evil feelings in the world when it's not warranted, like in this situation. Guilt is warranted when you do something that goes against your values, I'd say. And I don't sense that here.
I hope you make it through the guilt. Cause I have a friend who has slipped into depression (just wrote about it on my blog) and I hate to see anyone there.
Clearly my comment is somewhat colored by my own recent experiences. But hang in there.
Posted by: Jenny P./Lastewie | April 25, 2006 at 01:46 PM
They'll get over it I'm sure. I wouldn't waste too much time feeling guilty over it. He's YOUR baby and you get to make the decisions. Shame on them for making you feel guilty (although it's good that they love him so much. I'm sure everyone wishes that their daycare provider loves their kid(s) as much as Noah's teachers seem to love him). I hope my earlier comment on your announcement post didn't come across as judgemental - I'm glad that you get to do exactly what you want and that it's working out for you. If only we all could be so lucky.
Posted by: Jessie | April 25, 2006 at 01:46 PM
But how wonderful for Noah (and you and Jason) that he spent his days with people who loved him so much. You wouldn't want it any other way--but of course that's what makes it so hard to say good-bye.
And for the record, I'm happy about your decision because *you're* happy about it. :> (Using an emoticon in the absence of appropriate baby pictures.)
Posted by: Hannah B. | April 25, 2006 at 01:46 PM
Screw the guiltmongers. Screw 'em.
Posted by: Patchie | April 25, 2006 at 01:46 PM
Thank you, Amy for speaking for those of us who WOHM and are not the spawn of Satan. I swear, when I tell someone my girls are in daycare, they say "Awwww", like they were terribly sad for them. My girls have had a good daycare experience, diaper cream notes and germs not withstanding, and they are better children for it. Anyway, just wanted to say thanks and best of luck to you in your new adventure!
Posted by: Traci | April 25, 2006 at 01:46 PM
Imagine what the daycare people's emoticons must be like... so many baby faces to choose from. They could practically cover the entire spectrum
of human emotion!
Posted by: Cailin | April 25, 2006 at 01:46 PM
Sometimes, Amy, there are just a lot of people who miss. the. point. But as another poster before me said, you are making the right choices for your family *at this moment.* And those choices are not always the same for everyone, so anyone who tries to oversimplify them as such, should choke and die, really. Or at least, not clog up your comments section or your inbox with their judgments, whether subtle or overt.
And finally, Noah's daycare teachers' reactions should make you feel good - because it's clear that your child was loved and happy there, and that's all you could hope for.
Posted by: Sadie | April 25, 2006 at 01:46 PM
I'm 22 and I still see my daycare teachers, babysitters and my former au pair came to my high school graduation.
Now, if your goal was to make me cry because my god, I totally can understand how his daycare teachers must feel? Then you've succeeded and I'm a little teary eyed.
Anyway, your child is an absolute pleasure to be around and I really feel that you and Jason need to go out on more dates.
Posted by: Heather B. | April 25, 2006 at 01:47 PM
Wow, for all the horror stories on the news about day cares it's very resfreshing to know that there are some out there that actually care for the kids. Actually LOVE the kids. You are so lucky to have found one. Noah is even more lucky to have such a wonderful Mom.
Posted by: jessica | April 25, 2006 at 01:47 PM
LOLOL!!!! It was all snot and tears until I scrolled to the last picture! PERFECTLY PERFECT!!! lolol...so so cute
Posted by: HG | April 25, 2006 at 01:48 PM
I don't know you, but I felt so happy when I read about how much the day care workers love Noah, like it was my own child in day care.
How wonderful to know that if you CHOOSE to go back to work, you will have place to take him where he is loved.
I believe CHOICES are what our foremothers fought for. Some people just don't appreciate that. Being a mom has helped me become less judgemental(I wish motherhood would have that effect on ALL moms). Whatever works for good and sanity of all family members, is the right choice to make. Other people's opinions are NOT welcome, unless specifically asked for.
Posted by: Margarita Mama | April 25, 2006 at 01:48 PM
Amy, it sounds like you made a fabulous choice with choosing a daycare for Noah. What a lucky baby to be loved so much by so many people. And you're also making a fabulous choice to stay home with him. There's no one right way.
Posted by: Martha | April 25, 2006 at 01:50 PM
it is so hard to make these choices. and what lovely sounding care providers you must have. visit or perhaps you can do drop in care when you need to have both hands on what ever you are working on. it just might give you some extra options. how great!
Posted by: lindsay | April 25, 2006 at 01:50 PM
The last picture is really beautiful. You can see the tiny tips of Noah's toes!
I quit my full-time job when my son was 15 m/o. Now i'm a sahm AND I send my baby to daycare twice a week.
This admission doesn't usually win me too many friends, but it's working for our family right now and that's the important part.
You can always change your mind. You can always decide something else.
Posted by: andrea | April 25, 2006 at 01:51 PM
I usually laugh outloud and almost get caught reading your blog at work. But lately, you know, you have been making me cry. It's just not right, Amy! I duck behind my flatscreen crying.. and laughing... and crying... I think my co-workers think I need some meds!
The last pic made me laugh though. He's a cutie! And, lastly, you can always go back and visit the ladies who loved your son!
Posted by: Stephanie | April 25, 2006 at 01:53 PM
As a working mom I hate leaving my 5 month old each and every day (I am a teacher). I forgot to mention that I leave him with my husband - his daddy! I feel so guilty when I leave in the morning... But then I see how much fun the two of them have, and I feel guilty for being sad. Mother's face such a conundrum - if we don't work we aren't fulfilling our true potential, but if we do work we are abandoning our precious children. Ever since you posted that you are going to be freelancing I have been trying to figure out ways that I could teach from home. You should be selfish - there is nothing wrong with that. Noah belongs with his mom - end of story!
Posted by: earlyduckie | April 25, 2006 at 01:55 PM
Aw! This made me cry just a little bit at my desk and made me remember how my mom always described sending me to daycare: she said that at first she had to send me to daycare because she needed to work, but eventually she needed to work because she had to send me to daycare. Some of them, including the one she sent me to, are wonderful! Every family is unique and as long as a child is loved and well-cared for, as Noah was when you were working outside the home, and will be when you're working in the home, how can a choice be wrong?
Posted by: Laura | April 25, 2006 at 01:56 PM
Hi! I read your blog daily and you are a wonderful writer. Just thought I would pass along a bit of wisdom gained from my old age...my kids are 19 and 20. I both worked for a time and stayed at home for a time, and worked at home for a time and worked outside the home again for a time. As new situations rose within our family, new decisions came with each new episode of our life. My kids were in daycare, at home with me, at home with my mom, at preschool, homeschooled, and in college. One is a very academic, focused, self-starting mover and shaker. Graduating from college at 20 with a 4.0 and is a Truman Scholar, heading for DC to spend the year working with the Rural Health Initiative. The other is laid back, sensitive, compassionate and always available for a friend. Loves to party, and has dropped out of college to work fulltime waiting tables at Chile's. They are BOTH wonderful kids. I'm sure the choices that we made at each time affected our kids, sometimes for good and sometimes probably not so good. But, they learned to cope...because we showed them that we coped. There is NO perfect situation, and you do what you need to do, when you need to do it and your children see that and learn from it! They also recognize that you are looking out for their best interests, whatever THAT may be at any given time, and learn that they are loved. If you love your child and show that by your actions, and it is obvious that you do, whether you work inside, outside, or any combination thereof, Noah, and any other children you might have, will be fine. Listen to your gut...you will do fine, and so will he!
Posted by: Roz | April 25, 2006 at 01:56 PM
I didn't even make it to the end of the POST before I started crying.
Posted by: Nothing But Bonfires | April 25, 2006 at 02:01 PM
Wow, what an awesome day care you have. I'm so jealous! My day care seems to like Owen, and he's happy to be there, but it's nothing like what you've described. That's beautiful.
Posted by: kelly jeanie | April 25, 2006 at 02:04 PM
You are making the right choice for YOU and YOUR FAMILY. Screw everyone else's thoughts on what you should do - are they paying your mortgage? Your groceries? Your electric bill? No? Then they have no say in what you and Jason should be doing.
That said, you are very lucky to have Noah in such a great daycare center. You really lucked out on that!
Posted by: Megan | April 25, 2006 at 02:05 PM
This post moved me to tears. Both my daughters are in daycare four days a week. Although it might not be the "ideal" situation, their teachers love them and even if I were to start working from home again I'd have my 3-year-old enrolled in preschool. We ran into one of her former teachers Sunday at the grocery and my daughter kept saying "I want Miss H back" over and over and nearly cried because she misses her teacher so. Every decision we make as parents has positives and negatives. It's tough. But what a blessing (gah...hate that word) that Noah had such loving caregivers. Maybe it wasn't home, and maybe it wasn't with his mama, but it wasn't too bad. Oh, and I LOVE that last picture.
Posted by: Jamie | April 25, 2006 at 02:10 PM
Sure, there will be those who are glad you came to your senses and are doing the "right" thing now, taking him out of that hell hole where those nasty witches cried that he was leaving and whispered "i love you" (how could you have put him in that place???). There's also a small group of us who knows what it is like to work from home while parenting toddlers, and I'm inwardly laughing wickedly (yet adoringly!) at what fate awaits you as you try to get work done while Noah (a year or so from now) is destroying the house, and then at some point in the future fighting with a future sibling, and both of them are yelling from separate toilets in the house "mommy! I went pee pee AND poop poo!!!" while you're still trying to figure out WHEN you're going to take a shower and maybe eat lunch after you get just a little bit of work done, but then one of your squabbling children just opened the front door and let the dog with muddy paws run through the house...... (wink, wink! Enjoy!)
Posted by: Pam | April 25, 2006 at 02:16 PM
Aww, I'm in tears. Screw the people who make it sound like you've been doing something wrong all this time.
My SIL is a SAHM and my nephew goes to daycare a couple of times a week. I think it's totally cool because he gets to play with other kids.
Are you going to take Noah to visit them at all? I'm 27 years old and I still try to visit one of my daycare teachers every time I go home. Is that crazy?
Posted by: Megan | April 25, 2006 at 02:18 PM
GAWD, is there an end to the judgment? I must be in a crotchy mood today, but the negativity, it's slowly killing me.
I'm so happy for you. So happy for Noah. And if you'd decided that you would work full-time either because you had to, or because you simply wanted to, I would be happy for you then, too. Because CHRIST, there is enough divisiveness in this world, and maybe, just maybe, if women took the time to support each other, no matter what, perhaps we wouldn't be each other's harshest critics. Maybe instead of yelling at each other for their choices, we could work together to find solutions that help everyone, be it extended parental leave, better healthcare, or more flexibility in the workplace or WHATEVER.
I'm just sick of it. And quite honestly, this is why, with a few exceptions, I avoid many mombloggers. Because, for as many who humanize the job, and use it as a venue to voice their previously unspoken struggles (like you, and the others I do read), there are some who use it as a platform to preach and judge, and MAN does that suck.
And, to end this hopelessly painful rant that likely has you all wanting to stick white hot needles in my eyes, I disagree with some comments that those women at daycare were intentionally making you feel guilty. They did, as you said, love him and care for him, which is truly amazing and not everyone is that lucky. They are good women. And now, Noah's departure will leave room for another baby to be loved like that. Everybody wins!
I'm so happy for you all around. But most of all, I'm happy that you gave people the perspective of the struggle that so many see as black and white.
Posted by: jonniker | April 25, 2006 at 02:22 PM
Oh, Amy. You poor thing.
It really does get you coming and going, doesn't it?
I think it will be hard no matter what you do, because you're no longer making decisions just for yourself, and not even just for yourself and Jason. Now there is a Noah involved, and you will always second-guess yourself, forever.
You have already done many fantastic things for Noah, and you will do many more. All your decisions have been right because they WORK FOR YOUR FAMILY. That's what matters-F the guilt.
Sending good thoughts your way. All will be well.
(and if that isn't the cutest little bottom I've ever seen... oh my goodness).
Posted by: bethy | April 25, 2006 at 02:23 PM
The teachers at his daycare became part of your village and that is not something to feel sad about. There will be so many people who come and go in your life with Noah. He will become part of everyone who loves him and in turn carry a part of them with him.
My dad gave me the best advice when I was younger and so far it has applied to almost everything: "In life, you will almost always be faced with choices. The only thing you can do is make the best choice for yourself at the time. Maybe in 6 months, a year or ten, you won't be the right thing for you anymore but it will have been the best choice at the time." This advice has always given me confidence in my decisions. You can't have regrets, if you changed one thing, it would change everything.
It seems to me you made the best choice for your family at the time when you went back to work and it sounds like this is the best choice for you at this time.
Posted by: Jess | April 25, 2006 at 02:26 PM
That last picture is the BEST EVER! It's perfect. I'm quitting my job right now! (Sigh - wish that last statement could be true.)
Posted by: lovemydox | April 25, 2006 at 02:27 PM
I won't parrot what everyone else has said, except to heartily agree with the sentiments to this point. I don't envy you the decisions you've had and will have to make. I will say that I sincerely doubt that I could have handled it all with such grace and balance.
I must highlight the sidebar comment, though - "Nobody tells you what to do when the dog eats the baby's most favorite 99-cent plastic keys and now you have to find more 99-cent plastic keys and no one has the right 99-cent plastic keys and also there's the little problem of your DOG having SHARDS of PLASTIC KEYS in her DIGESTIVE TRACT."
Hah! *Now* that made me laugh even after reading your most serious post.
Posted by: Linda | April 25, 2006 at 02:32 PM
I've always maintained that 99% of the time people are Mean because they are unhappy with their own situation. I would argue that theory holds true with the majority of your Trolls. Bah.
Personally, I am very excited about this new chapter in your life and am looking forward to visiting your site often and persistently punching the damned refresh button until you just post already. :-)
P.S. Noah? What a sweet, cute little bug. But toned he is - damn girl, you could bounce a dime off of his back. What's his workout secret?
Posted by: Cagey | April 25, 2006 at 02:33 PM
This is such an awesome tribute not just to Noah's care givers, but really to all of them. How can you not love and bond with a child you see every, single day?? I've always thought that argument--that care givers won't care as much as you do--to be one of the weakest. They do too care, so, so mcuh.
Posted by: Polichick | April 25, 2006 at 02:35 PM
I wish I could remember where I read/heard this so U could give them credit:
"Today's society dictates that the best mother an educated, upper middle class married woman can be is a 'stay at home' mother. To leave her kids for work is essentially selfish.
On the other hand, the best thing a single, uneducated, or lower class woman can do for her kids is get a job. A stay at home mother on welfare is essentially selfish."
Motherhood does get you every which way. You are society's bitch for 18 years. Me too. :^/
Posted by: spammit/ anne nahm | April 25, 2006 at 02:39 PM
I haven't read any comments yet so don't know what has been said. That said, I was (WAS) of the firm belief that every woman should stay at home with their children. Period. The end. Now, I am much older and wiser, meaning everything I *thought* I knew about parenting and motherhood and could tell my husband what you (the universal you) they were doing wrong as a parent and how I would never do those things, went OUT.THE.WINDOW. when I became a parent. What I have learned and now FIRMLY believe that there is no one way that is better than the other. There are kids who do better in certain situations (like Noah, they love daycare and other's who cry and want to be with mom all day) but I hope that as mom's we all do what is best for our families, make wise and informed decisions and put the needs of others above our own. Do we sacrifice our happiness? Of course not, but parenting and marriage are about sacrifices whether you sacrifice time with your kids to work or sacrifice a nice vacation and a little larger house to be home all day. To sum it all up, every family, child, marriage is different form every other and the solutions are not the same for everyone. Be confident in your choices, Amy, because you are doing what you feel is in the best interest of Noah, Jason and yourself. And they are the only people you are responsible to.
Now, go out there and conquer the literary world!!
Posted by: Starbuck | April 25, 2006 at 02:40 PM
err.. I could give them credit. Sorry. Typing one handed and the nany just crapped in my lap.
Posted by: spammit/ anne nahm | April 25, 2006 at 02:41 PM
errr. baby crapped in my lap. I give up.
Posted by: spammit/ anne nahm | April 25, 2006 at 02:42 PM
Another awesome post Amy. : )
Posted by: Carole | April 25, 2006 at 02:42 PM
If this mothering thing has taught me one thing it's this:
There is always someone who will support whatever decision you make and a million who don't.
On another note, doesn't it warm your heart to know that they didn't just do the job because they were paid to do it, but also because they love him?
I've worked in a daycare before and when I left I cried for days. I missed each and everyone of those kids.
Posted by: Jessica | April 25, 2006 at 02:43 PM
Just my $0.02...
Since I'm a single woman with no children, I didn't even really think about your Stay-at-home- vs Working- Mom situation (in fact, I almost posted to ask if you would leave Noah in daycare at least some days so you could write).
Anyway, just to clarify - all of my 'Good for you'-type accolades were completely referring to your bravery and gumption in giving up the steady job for the heady world of freelancing. So no Earth mother-style 'Phewing' from me!
Posted by: Barbara | April 25, 2006 at 02:45 PM
ACK, the crying at the desk must stop. You're killing me.
And the guilt, the guilt that finds you wherever you go...sneaks up and ambushes you when you are least able to handle it...you really are able to put it into words. It helps to see it there, in black and white, and know I'm not alone.
This motherhood thing is not for sissies. These are some strong, amazing women on the job. I wish we could stop judging and attacking each other and preaching about "the right way" to do it all. Can't we just acknowledge that we're all trying to do the best we can with the hand we're dealt? It would sure take the sting out of some of the guilt.
And feel less lonely.
Posted by: MKN | April 25, 2006 at 02:48 PM
I gotta say, I posted on your first quitting post, and I'm now afraid I'm one of the ones who said "congratulations" and may have made it sound like I thought you were correcting a mistake.
The thing is, your posts since going back to work have scared the crap out of me. I'm a professional late twenties woman, and my husband and I are thinking baby time is right around the corner. But I'm terrified because I love my job, but at the same time, I think I would love being a stay at home mother. I feel like we would be in a similar financial quandry to you and Jason. Yes, technically we can afford for me to not work, but it would mean giving up everything we currently do for fun and worrying about how we would pay for unforseen emergencies.
But the big thing is that I would love to continue working, but I've never been good at going without sleep, or working through cold. And I can feel the difference it makes to me mentally and physically when I can't make it to the gym every so often or I have to start relying on meals eaten out for my regular nutrition. I just don't know how people can keep all that going, while working AND parenting. IT just seems like something would have to give, and that that something would probably be my sanity.
So, in summary, any tone of relief in my comment was not relief because I think you're making a better choice (screw that judgement!), but rather relief because what you were doing looked so very hard, and it was scaring the crap out of me. I really hope this turns out to be fantastic for you.
On a completely unrelated note, someday I'm going to email you a photo of my homemade Care Bear. My mom sewed my a Cheer Bear when I was 5. It's absolutley my most valued childhood possesion. I'm wondering if our moms used the same pattern.
Posted by: Kate | April 25, 2006 at 02:50 PM
Daycare gets a bad rap. I have a 15 month old in day care- he also loves it. Loves his teachers- they love him. You were able to find a good day care(which is worth all the money you pay for it)while you were working and now you can spend this time with him. It's a win-win. I hear what you are saying, the guilt never stops. Accept it. Don't be hard on yourself. Be happy.
Posted by: Amy | April 25, 2006 at 02:50 PM
we've gotten pretty full of ourselves, haven't we?
Posted by: jay | April 25, 2006 at 02:56 PM
I, too, was crying before I got to the end of the post.
I just want to say - there is no right choice (or wrong choice). There are only the choices we make as we try to be mothers to these little people we've been given. And hopefully we live good lives and our choices were okay.
Posted by: reenie | April 25, 2006 at 02:56 PM
great, now i'm crying for the teachers, too.
also, for the expecially poignant seeming baby-butt photo.
so, that's just a little extra guilt for you, i guess.
one can never have enough, right?
Posted by: tiffers | April 25, 2006 at 03:06 PM
i meant 'especially,' not 'expecially.'
Posted by: tiffers | April 25, 2006 at 03:08 PM
Another amazing post with an equally amazing pic at the end, oh I loves me some baby tush.
As Mothers, we live in a damned if you do, damned if you don't world where on most levels we just can't win, I know most days I can't.
I applaud your decision because it is right for you and for your beautiful family. And I too, don't think the daycare workers were trying to make you feel guilty, I think they love beautiful Noah with all their hearts (face it, who wouldn't). My youngest was in daycare for only 9 months and her teacher cried the day I told her she wasn't coming back and on her last day had to leave early because she couldn't bear to watch her walk out the door and she wrote her the sweetest note that Abby still treasures. I took her back a couple of times but the center has since closed and it makes Abby sad that she doesn't know what happened to Ms. Lorinda.
Anyway, I too cannot wait to see what is in store for you and even better to see what inspiration lies in your future posts, I know you have inspired me to look at different options because really things just aren't working for me right now. Already you have had an impact on one small person in the big big world - see you are amazing!
Posted by: flybunny | April 25, 2006 at 03:09 PM
That shows such compassion that you would care so much. Most people would yank him out, promise to visit, end of story.
Posted by: kalisah | April 25, 2006 at 03:11 PM
Hey, Jay, who is the "we" you speak of? Got a mouse in your pocket?
Posted by: tracy | April 25, 2006 at 03:13 PM
I was super close to the lady who raised me (who's 92), and would speak to/visit her on a regular basis, until she moved back to Cuba (don't ask). I always refer to her as "Mami #2," because she was like a real, true mother to me. I think that kids benefit from that kind of relationship, and since Noah's caregivers were so great with him, I would encourage you to let him/them continue their thing. Additional sources of love is never a bad thing.
Also, I'm sorry that people have been acting that way about your decision. I don't necessarily think that being a SAHM is always the best thing - how many kids have moms at home with them and yet they're still ignored, neglected or otherwise lacking? And how many moms stay home and feel completely unfullfilled and inadequate?
The obvious choice isn't always the best one, that's all I'm sayin'.
Posted by: Tere | April 25, 2006 at 03:15 PM
in the words of Mary Chapin Carpenter: Sometimes you're the windshield, sometimes you're the bug.
sorry you've had to play the role of the 'bug' lately. i'm quite happy for you and for noah and all the exciting changes that are ahead for your sweet family!
Posted by: HolyMama! | April 25, 2006 at 03:18 PM
Tears at work are just so NOT cool. Thanks.
Posted by: Pegomh | April 25, 2006 at 03:21 PM
I want it to go on record that the loud sigh of relief I released when you announced that you were going to be able to change your employment situation had nothing to do with me believing that you were finally making the Right Choice, and everything to do with the fact that it seems (at least from what you've written here) to be something that will make you very happy. Which makes it the right choice for you, and I am so, so glad that you get to do it.
That little man is beautiful.
Posted by: Arwen | April 25, 2006 at 03:23 PM
Any choice you make for yourself is the right choice. Be sure to take him for a visit once or twice to help them get over the trauma though.
Posted by: MoMMY | April 25, 2006 at 03:24 PM
Of course they love Noah. He's so damn cute and always looks so smiley and fun in all the photos you post (up until today's crying one - ha).
You can take him back for visits. And as others have mentioned, you never know -- him going to daycare one day per week so you "can get some damn work done already" might be a good thing for you MAYBE LATER.
Posted by: SprengBlingBling | April 25, 2006 at 03:26 PM
You shouldn't be allowed to make me cry at work. Good for you for having the balls to make a tough decision for you and your family. Nothing else matters.
Posted by: Ella | April 25, 2006 at 03:28 PM
Oh gosh, the same thing happened to me when we moved and had to change daycare. :-(
It happens on a less heart-wrenching scale when my daughter leaves a grade for the next. I guess we've lucked into a streak of really caring teachers.
Anyone who cares for other people's children and loves on them like they were their own get a do-not-pass-go direct-to-heaven card.
And I happen to have a few highway rest stops close to me - I'd be happy to check out their supplies of baby keys! (Seriously, post a picture - maybe someone can find those exact same ones for you.)
Posted by: Pam | April 25, 2006 at 03:28 PM
Noah gave a toy to a crying baby? What a sweet, empathetic, kind child you both are raising!
Posted by: Mizburd | April 25, 2006 at 03:28 PM
Awww. It sucks, the guilt.
Posted by: wordnerd | April 25, 2006 at 03:36 PM
Mothers are hard-wired for feeling guilty. Get used to it! :)
Posted by: Lori | April 25, 2006 at 03:38 PM
This is the day you made me cry and therefore, I comment at long last. I'm not going to talk about kids that I have or don't have or dispense assvice about what's "right"...I just want to thank you for such a beautifully bittersweet post about how the answers aren't easy even when you're making the choices that are indeed right for you.
Posted by: chasa | April 25, 2006 at 03:39 PM
Ah, guilt....the gift that keeps on giving! Dontcha love it. I never made mention of it, but you are INSANELY INCREDIBLY lucky that you found such an awesome care situation for Noah when you went back to work, and how SPECIAL it is going to be for you to see your little man throughout the day, when he offers YOU a toy because you're down.
All that said, I'm a SAHM with a design business out of my home with no care help and MAN IT'S HARD. Keep those amazing ladies' numbers, because 1) you've put all that time and work into building that relationship, and 2) there will be times you'll need them while you're taking meetings, calls, actually trying to work done, ha!
And THEN they will get their Noah ration, and enjoy nibbling on his toes. :> See, everybody wins.
Posted by: kym | April 25, 2006 at 03:47 PM
MAN, I'm glad I read this entry at home and not at work, where my colleague roommate would have been all, "What's wrong? Why are you crying?" and I'd have to explain about being upset and empathizing with a complete stranger about her mommy guilt issues. I hope you're going to get paid for this stuff soon, because DAMN, woman, you are SO GOOD.
Posted by: lizardek | April 25, 2006 at 03:48 PM
My six month old son is going to daycare for the first time tomorrow and every possible worse case scenerio is running through my mind. Thank you Amy, for giving me hope. Hope that I, too, have found a wonderful provider to care for my child. Best wishes to your family.
Posted by: Bella | April 25, 2006 at 03:53 PM
It's WONDERFUL that they love him so much. Just remember that no one loves him the way you do; I think that's all anyone was trying to say. I think women who choose to stay home, like me, just know how good it feels to be at home with your baby every day and are happy to see that another woman will be having the same good feelings.
Posted by: blackbeltmama | April 25, 2006 at 03:54 PM
He must be a REALLY good baby for them to cry over him leaving. LOL I know I felt so guilty when I called my daycare and told her I was staying home. I'm sure she was a bit pissed also that she'd be losing $800 a month too.
I'm excited for you! I've been staying home/working from home for 3 years now and wouldn't have it any other way.
Love the back shot btw!
Posted by: Sabrina | April 25, 2006 at 03:56 PM
I went to daycare as a wee one and loved it and I am a stable, well-adjusted adult now. I went back as a teen and volunteered at that same daycare during summer breaks. Daycare isn't always the big Bad that some make it out to be.
Either way, that last pic with the curve of the cheek and the baby belly pudge is the cutest.thing.ever. Well, that and every other pic of the little man.
Posted by: Nicole P | April 25, 2006 at 03:57 PM
Crying because I am happy for you that you're going to be home with Noah. But as a mom with 2 kids in day care -- kids who are SO MUCH loved by their teachers, and who love their teachers as well -- I'm also crying because I know how great it is to find a place where the teachers give so much love.
Those teachers do know that leaving is part of the deal -- they learn to love the kids while they have them, and let them move on and grow up when need be. I hope you can take comfort in that.
Posted by: Nancy | April 25, 2006 at 03:58 PM
It sounds like you found an amazing daycare. And that is just plain awesome. It's great that they're not "oh thank god we're getting rid of that one..." (Or at least to your face).
And really, guilt and one level or another is hard to avoid - however, this whole crap about staying home because you can and you are such a evil wench not to is all the same "sacrificial mothering" shit that people try to feed mothers.
You did what you thought was best with what you could do at the time. Now you have other opportunities that allow you to keep Noah home. Rock on. And I'll roll my eyes with you for the "I told you so-ers." It's about time women/mothers decided to take care of themselves.
Posted by: Kristen | April 25, 2006 at 03:59 PM
This sounds like I could have written it five years ago when I took my son out of day care to stay at home. They cried too and I felt like a TROLL. But on the other hand, how wonderful that they loved him so much. It sucks, sucks, sucks.
As for the whole work/stayhome *thing*... You had to go back to work. If you hadn't you wouldn't know, right? I don't think there is any "best" choice, just a choice that is best for that individual. Some woman should NOT stay home. Some women should NOT work. But I don't think the majority should sit back and dictate who is who. How do they know?
Posted by: callistawolf | April 25, 2006 at 04:03 PM
Just goes to show you that no good deed goes unpunished, doesn't it?!
Noah offered a toy to a crying baby? I love him so!
Posted by: European | April 25, 2006 at 04:10 PM
I love that last picture.
What I love about you? That you can paint pictures with your words. I never thought about the daycare ladies who miss the children who leave. You always provide such good perspective.
And Jay, if you were trying to be snarky... what a douchebag you are.
Posted by: Kelly | April 25, 2006 at 04:12 PM
First of all, how awesome is it to know how much these daycare teachers love Noah? How heart-breaking! However, it seems like they could have wanted you to feel a tad guilty for pulling Noah out of the daycare? Or maybe they were all super emotional and PMSing (you know how women who work together tend to cycle together).
Maybe a few visits, a small gift to say thanks for all they've done, and photos for them to keep will show them how much you've appreciated them.
You've made the right choices (then and now). Don't doubt yourself! :)
Posted by: Dillygirl | April 25, 2006 at 04:13 PM
Henry's last day of school is Friday. I spent today buying presents for his teachers, and crying. They loved him so much.
Guilt! No matter what!
Posted by: alice | April 25, 2006 at 04:14 PM
I recently became addicted to blogs and came across yours. I am a huge fan. I applaude you!!! Being able to work or stay home is a HUGE decision and any woman who can make that choice and still be happy is awesome. Staying home with the kids is not for everyone. Working is not for everyone. If you can find a balance for yourself screw other people, you have to do whats best for your family. We don't see anyone voluntery to pay the bills if we choose to stay home now do we? Good Luck! I also had to take my daughter out of her daycare. She was in there since birth and when she was starting kindergarten, I had to find a new daycare where she could get on the bus for school. My daughter was in the same daycare for 4 years. The teachers and I had a bond, you have to if you are going to trust them with your children. I cried, they cried, we all cried. we still keep in touch.
Posted by: Tasha | April 25, 2006 at 04:22 PM
I agree completely with what others have said here. Forget about anyone who thinks they know what's best for your family. Your family is yours and yours alone. Yours, yours, yours, not mine, mine, mine. Re: work. I hate working/I love working. I hate staying home/I love staying home. It all works out. When it doesn't, you change it around again.
Posted by: Wacky Mommy | April 25, 2006 at 04:40 PM
I was very blessed when my son was in two home daycares where the ladies loved him and treated him like their own. They both cried when he left them, so I know how you feel. And you can go back to visit and send them pictures (heck, just make sure they have your blog address and they can get constant updates!) But no one, NO ONE, is gonna ever love that baby like you and Jason will, so being with one of the 2 people on Earth who would gladly give up a spleen for him is much much better. Of course you know that, but there's my 2.497 cents.
Posted by: Missie | April 25, 2006 at 04:41 PM
my kids' teachers loved them like that when had them in the montessori school before, and while it was my wish and my dream to take them out and keep them home with me, it still gave me tears and guilt because i was taking them away from a place they were safe and cared for - even if i knew that i was making an excellent choice for them.
yeah, that guilt. it gets you every time. this makes me want to take the kids by their old school, just to say hi.
thank you for writing, and for the wonderful pictures of noah all the time. i love it here. :-)
Posted by: rachael | April 25, 2006 at 04:44 PM
Sorry to be infighting in the comments section, but blackbeltmama, I can't leave this alone:
"Just remember that no one loves him the way you do; I think that's all anyone was trying to say. I think women who choose to stay home, like me, just know how good it feels to be at home with your baby every day and are happy to see that another woman will be having the same good feelings."
Yes, because I am sure that Amy was very worried that her 'motherly love' had competition, or was inadequate. And by "reminding" her, and all working mothers, that 'no one loves your baby the way you do,' you are feeding the guilt machine that makes mothers feel like SHIT for working outside the home. I'm glad you're happy that Amy will have 'the same good feelings,' except maybe SHE WON'T, because everyone's experience is different. GET IT?
Posted by: Sadie | April 25, 2006 at 04:49 PM
Oh, God. I am crying. I hated that day - when I had to tell daycare I was staying home. Even though I bitched about daycare I loved those women that took care of my daughter. The logistics were a nightmare, but their hearts were immense and their love infinite. It takes a special person to love and care for other people's children. And all I could do was cry with them that day. Then, give them scented bath products on her last day as a feeble attempt at a larger than life thank you.
Posted by: Heidi | April 25, 2006 at 04:50 PM
I just want to know... how you feel comfortable leaving him sitting without a diaper??? ;-)
Posted by: Jazzy | April 25, 2006 at 04:51 PM
For the love of God, you can't catch a break! I feel so bad for you right now for that rollercoaster you're riding. I know, from experience, how crappy that is.
I am so sick and tired of the "Mommy Wars" that I could scream. Why in the Hell would we want to judge each other? We're all in the same boat, trying to do the same thing, each with a different set of circumstances. The only thing that should matter is that the children we are raising know that they are loved and safe. Whether or not we do that personally all day long or have help while we work shouldn't matter in the least.
~a mom of a 17y/o & 11y/o who worked full-time for 5 years, took 12 years off, and just went back part-time who feels that each decision, at the time, was the best for her family and doesn't regret any of them.
Posted by: CartwheelsAtMidnight | April 25, 2006 at 04:54 PM
There is no "better" or "best" situation. You do what you need to do PERIOD. Even if the comments section is awesome and supportive, or bitchy and psychotic, every situation is different. Instead of torturing yourself over the comment battles that seem to be gearing up maybe you should close this sucker out? Just saying. Again, who am I to make any calls in YOUR life. Meh.
Posted by: desiree | April 25, 2006 at 04:56 PM
For the love of crackers. I think us commenters could do with a big rehab-esque group hug right now.
Amy, that is one seriously cute kid there. I'm with the person that wanted his workout secrets, ha!
Posted by: Angela | April 25, 2006 at 04:56 PM
How is it that you never fail to transform me, on a regular basis, into a lump of slobbering idiocy after reading a post like that?
Damn, woman. Yo' good.
It's amazing you found such impressive and caring women to care for Noah. Of course, you'll take him back to visit and, perhaps they'll even let you drop him off for the day here and there when you need a Mommy mental day just to yourself. Could that be the answer to make the wound not so deep?
Best of luck to you, and, in the future? Warn me about these posts because I'm outta Kleenex.
Posted by: Sherry | April 25, 2006 at 05:04 PM
Mixed emotions during such large changes in your life are completely normal. You would not be human if you did not feel them. Hope you feel upbeat soon.
Noah looks so sweet, but so vulnerable in the picture. That's what I think of my daughter too. When she is dressed, up and about, running around, she looks so grown up and independent and then she sits on a changing mat after a bath, all naked and small and pudgy and I want to cry because she looks so vulnerable. I love how his little belly is poking from the side.
Posted by: lolismum | April 25, 2006 at 05:05 PM
In order to diffuse any tension in the comments here, I will go back on my sacred promise to myself and mention a totally taboo topic:
Jazzy, Noah's hanging around diaperless because his antibiotics gave him...dun dun DUN...DIAPER RASH.
DIIIIAAAPPPERRRR RASSSSHHHH! AAAEEEIIII!!
Posted by: Amalah | April 25, 2006 at 05:06 PM
I don't see why any of this is such a big deal or why people are having such strong reactions to it. Amy quit her job. Amy is going to work from home. Will Amy be able to make ends meet as a free-lance writer? Dunno. Hope so. Will she enjoy it, over a long period of time. Again, I have no idea. I hope so. That seems to be the most important aspect to consider, and yet no one is talking about it. As the wife of a free-lance artist, I will state that, no matter how talented you are, it is very, very difficult to make a lot money selling your work free-lance.
But as a pregnant mother, I really have to say that I find this whole work-out-of-the-home vs. work-in-the-home vs. stay-at-home-mom thing to be a huge distraction from anything that is important with respect to parenting.
There is NO EVIDENCE, I repeat NO EVIDENCE that shows that children whose mothers stay at home fair any better or worse than children whose mothers work outside the home. None. There is lots of evidence that shows that babies left in the care of bad parents or bad daycare do not do as well as children left in the care of good parents or good day care.
There is also lots of evidence that shows that children who have happy mothers are happier than children with unhappy mothers.
Posted by: Amy | April 25, 2006 at 05:06 PM