For me, the cost of daycare is much more than writing a check each week. I operate a daycare out of my home - sharing my time with children other than just my own. Sometimes I wonder if I'm the one really paying the price.
Yesterday, my daughter bit another child. Is that to be explained away as two-year-old exploratory behavior? Or, did she pick that up from a four-year-old who bit another child a few months ago?
She also flip-flops between calling me "momma" and my given name, "Sarah." I suppose she hears the other kids calling me by my name. I cringe when I hear it - I went through labor with her just so she would call me "momma."
So much of my time each day is given away to children other than my own. I understand the alternative. I could be dropping them off each morning at someone else's house; writing a check so someone else could spend their day with my children. I have already tried that. It lasted a mere three weeks; with moments of guilt that still well up in me.
Yet, I wonder? Am I, and my children, paying the price for the influence, the chaos, the endless messes? Am I being greedy? Wanting to keep my home, my mini van? (Okay, maybe not the van.)
Or is this just mommy guilt? Would I second guess every decision involving my children no matter what? Will I ever feel confident that I have done the best I could for my kids?
In a perfect world, I wouldn't have to operate a daycare. But this is my not-so-perfect life.
Noah and Tucker - I want you to forever know - that at this moment in your young lives, I am giving you all that I can. Thank you for sharing me with other children. Thank you for enduring the chaos, the mess, the unintended influence. Your daddy and I are committed to you, and only you. We love you so much more than you will ever know.