By Kelly Bay of Beer and Junk
The question of whether or not I would be staying home with our kids arose frequently during my first pregnancy. The answer was a resounding no; that I would, in fact, be returning to work as soon as my vagina healed. It rarely bothered me to answer this question. I loved my career, and those conversations almost always led to insights into being a parent and working, stay at home or otherwise.
But occasionally, some ass-wipe would follow it up with:
“Oh, so you’re ok with someone else raising your child?”
I was nearly 30 years old, had spent the majority of my life uncertain of motherhood and probably hadn’t been alone with a newborn for more than an hour in my entire life. Was I ok with someone else raising my child? Hell yes, I was! There had to be a more qualified candidate out there.
Seven years after first facing that intrusive question, I have realized one simple fact: If we are lucky, there is always going to be someone else raising our children.
And we have needed every single one of them.
We needed the daycare provider who took our son as a newborn, a woman whom we barely knew, who spoke in a thick Canadian accent and planted artificial flowers in her yard, to rock and hold him through those early months, to tear up as she waved goodbye when we moved back to Iowa.
We needed my best friend to walk across our yard, demand the baby and a Pack and Play to take him overnight when we were clearly exhausted and overwhelmed those first few weeks.
We need our current daycare provider and her husband, a couple who, without a doubt, have spent as much or more time shaping our children into the amazing little people we know today as we have.
We need our own parents to watch the kids and pick them up from practice, school and daycare. To show them the unconditional love that only a grandparent can provide. To invest the one-on-one time with them that they don’t always receive from their often busy and preoccupied parents. To beam with pride over their accomplishments, whether from across the country or across the yard.
We need teachers and coaches to inspire a love of learning and activities; to teach our kids the importance of respecting other adults and their responsibility to the people and environment around them.
We need the aunts and uncles, cousins and friends, babysitters and neighbors to jump in, to want to know our kids and interact with them and have fun, and sometimes, simply, give them a break from being our children.
So, to the other woman raising my children and everyone else in their lives: thank you.
It takes a village, and we are grateful to have been given an entire damn army.
This post was originally published on Beer and Junk.
About the Author
Kelly Bay is a wife, mom, business owner and all around boss lady. In her spare time, she enjoys writing, day drinking and not cleaning her house. Read more of her thoughts on friendship, parenting, work and not losing your effing mind at Beer and Junk or on Facebook.