sending toddler to daycare for first time
Mom Life

Baby Steps: Sending My Toddler to “Daycare” for the First Time

So I’m officially consistently back in the gym after toying around with the idea for months. When I realized what I thought was “holiday bloat” still lingered well into the new year, I figured it was time to take action. Because who was I kidding; gone were the days of relying on breastfeeding to burn off calories

Originally, my excuse was I didn’t have the time or energy to go to the gym after chasing a toddler around the house all day. But I didn’t want to face the reality that I could definitely squeeze in a workout before I started my workday. Before having a baby, I would get up at 5 AM to hit the gym so I could definitely get up at 7:45 AM to go now. 

Finally, I realized that all of reasons for not wanting to go were just excuses because I didn’t want to face the reality of being away from my son. I know what you’re thinking: “Lady, he’s a toddler. Get over it!” Though, it wasn’t just about being away from him; rather, more about having to leave him with a stranger. 

Since the only time that worked for me to go to the gym was in the morning, I would need someone to watch him while my boyfriend was at work. Thankfully, my gym offered daycare services but the thought of him in any type of daycare setting was nerve-racking for me. Sure I would just be right outside the nursery working out, with access to peep in on him at any given moment but it was scary. 

Sending My Toddler to “Daycare” for the First Time

The first few days I tried not to think about it but I couldn’t help but to get off the treadmill every five minutes to check in on him. Of course he was fine, playing with the other kids and watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse but in my mind he was screaming at the top of his lungs wondering where I was. Boy, do kids have a way of humbling you.    

We’ve been going about three to four times a week for about a month now and he even seems to look forward to it. Seeing him reach for the daycare workers and even laugh and smile at his favorites makes me feel a lot better. 

sending my toddler to daycare for the first time

We did have one incident (pictured) where he tried to escape the nursery. He ended up staring through the glass trying to find me and as much as I wanted to run and get him, I knew once he saw me, he would always know where to look for me and I couldn’t give up my hiding spot. I was strong and had to trust the staff to bring him back into the play area.

While I still spend thirty minutes on the stationary bike that sits right in front of the nursery window—and I’m constantly checking in on him—it really feels good to be able to do something for myself while also not having to worry (too much) about my son. Plus, he’s getting tons of interaction with kids his age instead of having to be at home all day staring at me while I work and hiding snacks from the dog.  

For those moms out there who have no choice but to send your child to REAL daycare, I applaud you. Because while the hour my son spends in the gym daycare with me right outside the door doesn’t even come close to having to leave him somewhere all day, I understand the separation anxiety. We will be exploring daycare/schooling options soon and it is my hope that this little step will help ease the pain. 

Lead image: Pixabay