You were most likely concerned if you ran into me at any time on January 9th. My eyes were puffy and bloodshot, and I am quite sure I had the look of a lost puppy on my face. You see, that was the day that two of my babies went back to college after the holiday break.
I am unsure why I reacted so dramatically this time but watching them pull out of our driveway crushed me. My emotions caught me off guard, as I was totally fine during the fall move-in. Why was this so different? Maybe it was because move-in was so stressful. We all ultimately got on each other’s nerves. I for sure know my daughter was ready for us to leave. This visit, however, was wonderful. We had such a fun time together, and I just didn’t want it to end. Of course, it probably didn’t help when we pulled out old photos the night before they left and shared stories of when they were toddlers.
Seeing my older kids spread their wings reminds me so much of how it felt to send them to daycare. In each instance, you are entrusting your kids will be safe, happy, and thrive in a new environment. I don’t know about you, but my search for childcare started almost immediately after finding out I was pregnant. I was worried there might be waiting lists and wanted to get a jump on things. Touring centers and asking questions was fun while walking around with her safe and sound in my belly. I was so comfortable and excited about the center we chose and could not wait to meet the other moms, make play dates on weekends, etc. However, all that changed once she arrived, and it was time for me to return to work. How would I leave this dear sweet gift with a total “stranger” all day? I quickly learned that the caregivers at the center were not there to replace me during the day, but to help me. After all, they had way more experience than I did. They taught me all kinds of tips and tricks and not only took care of my sweet girl, but helped me be a better mom.
The comfort of having excellent connections and complete confidence in your daycare provider is immeasurable. Finding the perfect spot for your family does take some research, visits, and questions. As you begin your search, I encourage you to flip to check out this month’s feature, How to Find a Safe, Quality Daycare by Kimberly Blaker. Once you put together a list of what you are looking for in a provider and are ready to start touring centers, this year’s Child Care Guide will come in handy. The directory includes a list of all the full-time and part-time daycares, Mom’s Day Out programs, and preschools we could find in the area. As I say every year, childcare is not one-size-fits-all. Everyone needs and wants different things in a center, so do your research, take tours, and listen to your gut.
Whether you are watching your little birds spread their wings or just getting settled into the nest, it is important that we teach our kids age-appropriate independence. One area we can all work on no matter what age our children are, is modeling a healthy lifestyle. This month Cheryl Maguire has some helpful information for us in 7 Ways to Promote Your Child’s Healthy Lifestyle.
Speaking of healthy lifestyles, there is plenty to help foster healthy family time in the February Family Calendar. We are excited to share all the local activities, Mardi Gras festivities, charity cook-offs, local music/drama productions, and much more! I hope you find many fun things to fill your February calendar and heart with beautiful memories!