I bristle when people start talking about, (well, judging really) "daycare." I was there once too, I remember. Sending kids "away" seemed like a strange way to deal with parenthood. You had the kid, you should take care of the kid. And yet, here I am, my child away for 3.5 hours a day, in a place with "strangers."
But no, that's not what it is, I realize now.
My child, curious, talkative, social, engaging, has a big village loving him. His guides at school are part of his village. He doesn't keep love from them. He doesn't hide from them or cry when he sees them. They are part of his village. The village that's raising him.
Everyday I am grateful for that village of willing adults, some related, some not, that share time with K. He's a bright star in the world, and he can be exhausting. But I don't let my lack of energy and my self-judgment cloud his world. He loves school. I love that he loves school.
I know other mamas who can spend 24/7 with their littles and I applaud them, but I don't simultaneously beat myself up for not doing that. It's not fair. It means I'm telling K that our choice to put him in school wasn't a choice at all. If I beat myself up, I'm saying we failed.
But that's not the case.
We just grew our village some more.
And that village is huge, to contain the love of our kid. He's capable of loving outside his DNA. He's interested, he's engaged, and he's surprisingly already aware that his circle of influence is larger. Who am I to keep him from that?
So when I see those comments flying around about who should be caring for my child, I speak up and say that my kid just has a bigger village now. And anyone who has a heart big enough to care for children they didn't originally intend to raise, gets a hug of gratitude from me. Thank you for caring so deeply for my child. Thank you for your patience and willingness. Thank you for inviting us in to your village, too.