The Hardest Thing About Being a Parent (so far)

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Before we had our daughter we had a lot of people telling us how hard it is and how we’re never going to get any sleep and this and that. And while some of that is true, those times are pretty much over and a new difficulty has arisen in the last few months…

The normal difficulties that people talked about, sleeping, eating, pooping, throwing up, crying, etc… were honestly never a problem for us. Our daughter never spent a night in our bedroom, so we never had a co-sleeping issue, she didn’t sleep in her own room from the start (just outside our bedroom), but we never had her in our room. We eventually moved her basinet into her crib and then eventually took it away and she was sleeping in her own room at about 2 months old (although not through the night). It didn’t take long for her to get on a schedule and sleeping through the night from 7pm to 6:30am, which is the schedule we still maintain to this day (she’s almost 1 year old now!)

Going from breast feeding to bottles to purees to solids was never an issue either, she took to everything pretty well without any major issues. Even transitioning her into daycare, away from us, 4-days a week went way smoother than we could have imagined… but it was with daycare that came these new problems, and probably the hardest thing we’ve had to deal with thus far with the kid…

Germs.

We are not germaphobes. I strongly believe that a kid should get dirty and play in the mud and eat with their hands and get messy, it’s part of being a kid. We’re not the type of people to carry around disinfectant gel so we can clean our kids hands after they touch something, it’s just not the way we were raised and not the way we feel we want to raise our kid… and that’s not the way things work at daycare either, although sometimes I wish it was.

We knew that our child would get sick from daycare, it’s inevitable, and you’re naive in thinking that the daycare takes the time to clean every single surface constantly to avoid the spread of germs. They do their best, but it’s unrealistic to expect them to be maids as well as watch your child carefully. So we knew that our child would come down with colds every once in a while, but I’m not sure we expected it to be with the frequency that it has been.

It seems like every other week she’s sick with something ranging from a minor cough/runny nose to trips to the ER because a case of RSV turned into an ear infection and spiked a fever and super rapid breathing…

And of course, like all parents that put their kid in daycare, both of us have to work full-time jobs, so what do we do with the kid when she’s sick and can’t go to daycare? THAT is the hardest part of being a parent so far. The fact that when the kid has a fever, she’s not allowed to go to daycare, and we have to figure out what to do about that. And while I have my parents fairly close, I don’t want to always ask them to watch her when she’s sick and we have to work, it’s not fair, and it’s not their responsibility. They had their kids and now get to enjoy the semi-retired life. And as much as they love their granddaughter, they already agree to watch her one day a week (when she’s not in daycare), so I can’t ask for anything more. And Celeste’s parents live about 4 hours away from us so I would never make her mom drive in just to watch the kid one day, that’s totally not fair. So that just leaves us to figure out who is taking yet another day off of work.

Which is why I need to say a big THANK YOU to my boss, and friend, Mike, for allowing me such freedom with our job. I am thankfully in a position where I work full-time from my house, and while it’s impossible to get any work done while watching a crawling baby, I at least have the flexibility to figure it out. And while I do feel terrible having to take days like this and be in and out during the day to take care of her, I know I can make up the work when she goes to sleep later at night, or on a weekend, so I’m never too far behind where I need to be with projects. And Mike has 3 kids of his own, one that was in daycare for a while, so he is very understanding of the situation since he went through it all himself, so again, I can’t thank him enough.

My only real gripes about the whole situation are the ones I have with the daycare system itself. I don’t like the fact that when my kid is not at daycare I still have to pay for their spot, even though if it’s not normally someone’s daycare day, but there is space due to kids being out, parents can pay extra do just have their kid be a drop-in. I think that if my kid is sick and another kid takes their spot (and pays for it), then I should not be responsible for paying for that day. Or, there should be no drop-in fee and any other kid should just be able to take my kids spot on a day she isn’t there, and in return I should be able to do the same thing on a day when my parents may not be available and we need to find a solution (when she’s not sick of course).

And then of course parents sending their sick kids to daycare. I understand that everyone has to work, which is why your kid is in daycare in the first place, but you’re just making it harder for all of the other parents at daycare when your kid gets the other kids sick. I knew our daughter was going to get sick this week because a parent dropped off their clearly sick kid last week, and even wrote that he was sick the day before but “seemed better” on the sign-in sheet…. he was clearly not better. And I knew as soon as he grabbed the toy my daughter had in her mouth and put it in his mouth, it was eventually going to end up back in her mouth…. and here we are, runny nose, cough, and fever, home sick. She was home sick yesterday (after daycare called me to come get her) and since she was still running a very mild fever (100.1, which isn’t even technically a fever in babies), we still decided to keep her home an extra day.

I know not everyone’s situation is like ours, where one of the parents works from home and has the flexibility to manage things like this, but it’s still irresponsible to send a clearly sick kid to daycare where they are exposing all of the other kids to the germs. So while I can’t control what the other parents do, we try to be as responsible as we can and keep our kid home when we know she is sick

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