I don't fear that my children will be scarred by daycare, nor do I buy into the lie that going to work outside of the home equals shrugging off my responsibility as a mom. My fear is not that I can't do the job I've applied for, or that my kids will be scarred by daycare.
My greatest fear? Mornings. Seriously, my kids are more likely to be emotionally damaged by the hellacious experience of us getting ready to leave in the morning than they would be by even the worst daycare center in town.
I've learned to do what I can to stay a step ahead. I try to get up earlier than them, pack lunches the night before, set their clothes out ahead of time, and have an easy breakfast on hand.
Because they're SO into breakfast.
I've also learned how to put on a bra while holding a wiggling, 25 pound toddler on one hip, to take a two-minute shower, and to pack two gluten-free/soy-free/nut-free lunches in less time than it takes Andrew to drown a toy pirate in a cup of milk.
Still, mornings are wrought with obstacles that I can't plan for. Take last Tuesday for example. I made lunches, dressed Andrew, then Charlie, showered, and ran into my room to get dressed. When I came out, Andrew was standing in the hallway outside my bedroom door screaming "POOOOP!" and waving two poop covered hands in the air. He'd pooped his diaper and then decided to go digging in it. Awesome. It was one of those situations that baby wipes can't contain. He had to have a bath. In the process of pulling his clothes off, the offending substance got onto my shirt. More awesome. I started filling the tub and went to change. Once Andrew was clean, I dried him off and dressed him-- again. Thinking we were ready to go, I grabbed my purse, grabbed Andrew's lunch, and headed for the door. Charlie was sitting in the floor eating the sandwich I had packed him for lunch. When I got onto him for eating his lunch, he started crying. Next I was making another sandwich while trying to reassure Charlie that the world wasn't ending and that he wasn't going to be beaten. (I didn't even raise my voice, by the way, he's just a little dramatic.) With a new sandwich and a still whimpering Charlie, I ushered Charlie out of the kitchen, then spotted Andrew in front of the garbage can, shirtless. His shirt? Why, in the garbage can, of course! I had no idea he could even get his shirt off.
The crazy mornings aren't a result of my failure to plan, or inability to develop a routine. It's a result of the fact that kids are unpredictable. You can develop a routine for dealing with poop-related catastrophes, but as soon as you do, they come up with something new, like stripping down and throwing their clothes away.
My stress level through all of this was lower than you'd expect, but only because it didn't matter. Nobody really cares if I walk into the preschool a few minutes late wearing a t-shirt and yoga pants with baby drool on the leg. Whether it starts next week or four months from now, a new job means I've somehow got to eliminate some of the chaos from the morning routine. I can't walk into work late and ready to pull my hair out because I've had to do every morning task three times-- on top of grading, lesson plans, and whatever else comes my way.
Quick, someone tell me I can do this!