When Madison was a baby, she went to a home daycare with a woman who I loved. She didn't advertise. Didn't need to. Whenever one of her kids left, there was never any issue filling that spot. We were incredibly lucky to need a last minute home daycare at the exact moment she had an opening, and one of the parents in my school got us in touch. When we went to visit her, it was that dinnertime "witching hour". Babies and toddlers everywhere (along with their parents) get fussy and cranky after a long day, just trying to make it to bedtime.
Yet in her house, sauce bubbled on the stove, cookies baked in the oven, and three babies and toddlers played and lounged happily in her play area. She exuded a calm atmosphere where she was totally in control. We grabbed that spot. She was happy - we could start the next day! We were happy - she could start the next day!
A few months later I was chatting with her at pickup and she mentioned that I was one of the calmest first time moms she'd ever seen. "You take everything in stride! You're so confident. Nothing phases you", she commented, as I thought, are you kidding me? I have NO IDEA what I'm doing! Should I be panicking? Should I be more worked up?
Somehow I managed to weather two babies and toddlers without losing my mind completely (and there were times where I really would have been justified in doing so).
But as a mom, can we really ever relax? I mean, I have two girls who are moving into school age and completely out of the early childhood stage, and there's still so much I wonder about.
Are they eating right? What did they actually eat today? Did they drink enough? Did they drink too much?
Did they have enough learning time today? Did they have too much screen time? Did they have good screen time, or junk screen time?
Did they poop today? Wait, did they poop yesterday? Too often? Not enough?
Are they in the right car seats? Are they too big? Too small? Is the car safe?
Did I "unbabyproof" too soon? Do I have too many restrictions in place?
Are they doing enough? Are they doing too much?
Are they in bed too early? Too late?
Should they be doing more for themselves? Am I expecting too much?
Am I missing something I should be concerned about?
Are they happy? Thriving? Are they being picked on? Left out? Are they picking on or leaving out others?
And that's just the beginning.
Every time I think about this, I can't help but think, and I'm a pretty chill mom. Outwardly, I present the same demeanor I used to. But my internal monologue is always in a state of worry.
And I wonder if I'm the only mom who presents that calm front, while her mind refuses to relax, even for a moment.