When I got pregnant with Aston I intended to return to work after 6 months. Bryton was not keen on that and we both came to the decision that I would stay home for 10 months and go back to work in the new year. BUT after Aston was born I grew a strong attachment to her and decided that I would absolutely not be returning back to work. I mean, how could I? How could I leave this precious little child in the hands of some incompetent stranger who knew nothing about caring for such an intelligent and beautiful soul, and give undivided attention that she deserved? How could I wave goodbye to her when we are both in hysterics not wanting to leave each other? And how could someone possibly be smart enough to teach her all that she needs to know about life and this world and polite behaviour?
Yep, the situation was that dramatic in my head. Way too dramatic and I know I was making it worse than it actually would have been. Every time I would think about it and imagine dropping her off to daycare I would burst into tears. It was embarrassing. So Bryton and I both made the decision that I would not be returning to work. But I didn’t tell my work that. Every time I saw my work colleagues and bosses they would ask if I’m going back and every time I would smile and say “YES! I am!” But really, I was not. But I didn’t want to tell them that. Not yet.
When Aston was around 6-7 months and my maternity leave was moving along quickly I had to make sure I was making a wise decision. There have been days where I just do not have the energy to do anything. Our house is so small and the space for Aston to play in is really limited. Winter was difficult because we’d be stuck inside a small space all day and we were both getting sick of it pretty quickly. She is such a good baby and can entertain herself, but I remember one particular day when I was just feeling exhausted, low in energy, motivation, and strength, and Aston could feel it. It was a horrible feeling. I remember thinking “Aston deserves so much better than this. I can’t be a good enough mother for her”.
I realized very quickly that I’m not the kind of mum who can stay home and teach her children everyday. That’s just not a gift I have. I love spending time with Aston. I love playing with her and reading to her and having lots of cuddles. I have a lot more patience than I expected. I don’t get short with her very often. Her cheeky smile and expressions make it very hard for me to get mad at her. She’s a very happy and content baby. She’s very smart and know exactly what she wants. She enjoys our visits to the library and when we read to her she likes to turn the pages. She observes everything around her and I can tell that her little mind is analyzing everything. She has her daddy’s thinking face and is very serious about a lot of things. And when we thought about all of this we realized that we can’t make the decision for me to stay home just because I don’t want to leave her.
We went to the temple one day and I took a question with me so I could ponder and hopefully receive some guidance.
“Should I go back to work?”
Of course I knew what I wanted the answer to be, but I had very strong promptings that I needed to think about what was best for Aston. I needed to make a pros and cons list. This is not usually something I do to make decisions. Most times I know what to do, but this decision was so difficult because I was torn between two choices. That weekend I wrote a list and the pros far outweighed the cons. The question was no longer “should I go back to work?” It was “what is best for Aston?” The decision wasn’t about me, it was about our baby. I was caught up in the idea that going back to work meant putting Aston into daycare which didn’t make any sense because we wouldn’t be making any extra money, given the high cost and extra expenses that would bring. So what was the point in that? I might as well just stay home.
There are so many things qualified teachers can teach her that I can’t. We don’t live with family and Aston isn’t really around other people often. She regularly sees one other baby, Desmond, but otherwise she’s not around children very much. And I want her to be able to interact with other kids. There were so many other benefits to Aston going to daycare and after a lot of thought and prayer we really felt like it was the best thing for her and the right decision.
Both Bryton and I had strong desires to put Aston into Kohanga Reo (basically a Maori preschool). We really want to give her the opportunity to learn te reo Maori and to understand the culture. For us it was just a great place for her to learn and since she will be starting at the same time she will probably start talking, I think it might come naturally to her. We’ve also decided that we want to start taking a te reo course too so we can learn it at the same time and speak it at home to help further her development. We visited a couple of places this week and she was so curious. She went to the teachers and smiled and talked to them and the kids. I think she is really going to love it.
We have found a great kohanga for her and my bosses have been completely understanding and accommodating. Everything has worked out so well in just the last two months and it is further confirmation that putting Aston into kohanga is absolutely the best thing for her.
But I still don’t want to let my little girl go 😥