From Chicken Soup for the Working Mom's Soul

Dear Working Mom

From what we get, we can make a living; from what we give, however, we can make a life.

Arthur Ashe

You just left your child with me. As I opened the door for you and your son, I saw your forehead scrunched up in worry even as your lips tried to smile. In your eyes I saw the pleading, make this easy for me. I couldn’t tell if you were sending the thought to your boy, so that maybe he wouldn’t sob as soon as he saw me this time. Or maybe you were silently asking me to work some day-care magic and make him content to be here without you. Or maybe it was the end of a prayer you had been praying since you went to bed last night.

I have a special perspective working as a day-care provider. I have left my children with others and others have left their children with me. I have shut the door on my son’s wails and then cried all the way to work, and I have sat and rocked a child who just heard mommy shut the door.

I understand. I am here with your son. I can help the sadness I see on his face, but I want to ease your sadness, too. Leaving your child with me does not make you a bad mother. His crying when you bring him does not mean you are a bad mother. Your son cries when you bring him to my house because he wants to be with you as much as you want to be with him, and he doesn’t have the words to tell you. Hemakes it hard on you because he loves you best. You are his world.

I will never be as good as you are at kissing away the boo-boos, and when he snuggles in for a story, my lap will never be as comfy as yours, but he does have fun at my house. And what’s more, he is learning how to make friends and many socialization skills. He is learning independence at my house.

So go ahead and call me when you get to work—you’ll hear no crying in the background. Because the crying stops before your car leaves my driveway. He starts playing with his friends by the time your car turns off my road. Before you eat your lunch we’ve been singing and laughing.

I’m sorry today was not easy on you—again—but I promise that it will get better. One day he will smile and wave as you leave. One day he will walk through my door on his own with a big smile, and you will have to call him back saying, “Don’t I even get a kiss good-bye?” And then he’ll walk back to you with big heavy steps, his head tipped to the side, and he’ll sprint away as soon as your lips touch his cheek. One day he will cry when you arrive to pick him up because he just started playing with his “bestest” friend in the whole wide world. One day . . .

I wish I had day-care magic to make “one day” come sooner. Until then, please remember that you are doing something wonderful by going to work—for you and for him—and it will get better. For now, just think of his cries as his saying, “I love you, Mommy!”

Love, Your Day-Care Provider

Mindy Potts

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