Finding out I was pregnant instantly brought joy and happiness to our family, but just as quickly brought concern as I began to worry about who I would trust to be with my baby for 40 hours every week while my husband and I worked full time.
I turned to 4C for Children for help gathering information about the different licensed child care providers in my area that would meet our specific needs, and I also spoke with various friends and neighbors who have children or know people who care for children in their own homes. I visited many different centers and interviewed what seemed like an endless number of family child care providers. I felt like my search was hopeless. I couldn’t find that “perfect” person or facility I was looking for. Was it possible that my requirements were unrealistic?
My husband saw the whole situation as ridiculous. Many times after meeting with a center or a family child care provider he would say, “I like them; I think they would be great.” But my motherly intuition kept telling me something about them wasn’t the perfect fit for us. He was frustrated, and so was I. But I couldn’t give up. I knew I needed to continue to work in order to make ends meet, so I continued to search.
We met our current child care provider through an online child care referral service. It was an instant connection when we met. She was just what I was looking for (even though I never knew, and still don’t know, exactly what it was that I was looking for). When we left my husband and I both instantly agreed that she was a perfect fit.
As comfortable and connected as I felt to our child care provider, I was still a nervous wreck the first day (and week and month and half-year) that I had to leave my son in her care. I felt like such a terrible mother after leaving my small and practically helpless 6-week-old child with someone who was, essentially, a stranger. I had so many worries. What if Bryce didn’t get fed when he was supposed to? What if he sat in a wet diaper too long? What if she couldn’t answer his cries effectively? What if he was scared of his new sleeping environment?
In the end, I had to trust my instinct as a mother and trust the woman we had selected to care for our child. But not without a couple of phone calls and text messages throughout the day!
Bryce is nearly one now and has been with the same child care provider for 10 months. I no longer have to question whether he enjoys going to her house. I can see the answer in his smile, in his behaviors. When I carry him in he is reaching for her as soon as she is close enough. When I leave he is smiling and playing with his friends, sometimes not even taking the time to acknowledge that I have called his name to wave at him one last time.
Knowing I made the right choice, the “perfect” choice for us, is a great feeling.