Joy wrote this post about juggling last week – a topic that has been on my mind a lot lately. Sophie turned 15 months old last Friday. The milestones seem to be coming faster and faster (talking! getting ready to walk!), but I don’t have that many photos of Sophie from the last few months to record all the changes. There are a couple of reasons. First, this kid is on the move! She rarely sits still for more than 5 seconds, and if she sees me pointing a camera in her direction she’ll immediately crawl over and try to grab it from me. But the main reason is that Sophie started daycare in mid-September, just after her first birthday.
After being Sophie’s sole daytime caregiver for the entire first year of her life, I was really looking forward to having my days back. Before daycare, I spent my entire day with Sophie, trying to squeeze emails or mini photo sessions into naps or quiet time, but often not truly starting to work until after 7 or 8 p.m. I had to completely forget about trying to get any house-related projects done during the week, leaving lots of not-yet-unpacked boxes from our move in March. It was a rough schedule, and our stress levels were at an all-time high. So when a space opened up at my husband’s work (after being on the wait list for eight months!), we welcomed the chance with open arms.
But with full time childcare came daycare illnesses. Sophie has been sick continuously for the last three months. We’ve had more colds than I can count, two fevers, three ear infections, and endless congestion. Which means several trips back and forth to the pediatrician, and lots of days home until Sophie was well enough to go back to daycare, just to get sick again. It has been an exhausting, endless loop, detracting from the increased productivity that daycare was supposed to allow in the first place.
But mostly? Mostly I just miss my days with Sophie. Even with the exhaustion and late nights, I miss my sweet girl. She’s getting so big so fast, and I know that this second year will fly by even faster than the first. But I know that I can’t do both. I can’t spend my days with Sophie and develop all the new content and features that I want for OSBP. Photo shoots, DIY projects, even just reviewing and responding to submissions takes a lot of time, and that doesn’t even include the mundane tasks of organizing my office and filing paperwork. There are days that I only get to spend a couple of hours with Sophie between picking her up from daycare and when she goes to sleep. I miss Sophie most of all on those days. I love my job, I want to grow my business, and I need to help provide for my family, but I also want to be present while my daughter is small.
So, like Joy, this leads to a lot of guilt and stress, in many of the same ways. But I also find myself questioning my priorities, and the way I allocate my time. I tell myself everything would be easier “if only” – if only we could afford a nanny instead of daycare, if only I could afford a staff to help shoulder the workload, etc. – but that’s just wishful thinking. I don’t have any real answers or solutions.
Sorry for the semi-downer of a post, but this has been on my mind so much lately that I needed to write it down. It’s a daily struggle, and I do hope that it will eventually get easier. But in the meantime, my sweet girl is home from daycare with yet another fever and ear infection. And while it means I won’t get anything else done today, I’m looking forward to taking care of her.
Since I don’t have many recent photos of Sophie, these photos were all taken by the talented CJ of Charlie Juliet Photography during our last trip to NYC in August, when Sophie was around 11 months old.