Am I Doing the Right Thing?

As I got in the car after an unusually difficult daycare drop off, I can’t help but ask myself, am I doing the right thing?

It seems like drop-offs are harder than ever these days. Mornings at home are quick, filled with a cup of milk, some Elmo, and a few kisses in between hair-drying and teeth-brushing. More than likely there are a few tears shed before we even walk out the door; a stubbed toe, singing the wrong letter of the day, both probably the result of too-early mornings and too-little sleep.

This is the outcome of two working parents who time their morning routine down to the minute. All so daycare drop-off happens at a reasonable hour, and we each get to the office early enough to sift through overnight emails and clear our heads enough to tackle the challenges of the work day ahead.

Nightimes are not much different: daycare pick-up followed by an hour or two of playtime. Unwinding in our house consists of tea parties, swing set time and a chaotic dinner. Bath time and bedtime are like stepping through a minefield, trying to get across both without a major blow-up.

Our days are pretty well choreographed to "get through," but that unfortunately leaves us with very little time for relaxation and quality time. My constant internal argument between wanting to spend more unrushed time with her and accomplishing all my other priorities leads me to often ask myself: am I doing the right thing? Is being a full time employee and sending her to daycare for over 10 hours a day the best for her, for me, for our family?

Could I even have her home with me all day? Forget the financial impact not working would have on our family; would the impact on her social and intellectual development be too large, too negative? I'm not sure I'm the kind of mom that has the enthusiasm or the patience to keep her busy, engaged and learning every day. And what about the impact staying home would have on me; could I do all those things and still keep my sanity?

She currently comes home counting in Spanish, speaking in sentences, and using a fork. Would the majority of my day as a stay at home mom be spent in front of the television, or fighting with her to put socks on?

Not to mention, I enjoy work. I'm lucky enough to work for and with intelligent, passionate, caring people who give me autonomy to shine professionally and count on me for the company's success.

I feel valued at work, and most days, I feel like I'm setting a good example for my daughter to be a strong, smart, successful woman.

But this morning, as I left her at daycare in tears, clinging to me for one more hug, I can't help but question myself, am I doing the right thing?

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