Working in a Daycare Didn’t Prepare Me for Motherhood


For as long as I can remember I have always worked with children. Babysitting. Working at a daycare. Volunteering at summer camps with my mom. Wrangling all my little cousins and their friends. I’ve always had natural connections with kids, and I have always loved being around them. (Probably why I have a hard time connecting with adults, right?) Then came the time for me to have my child. I thought all my experiences prepared me for motherhood, but boy was I wrong. Working in a daycare didn’t prepare me for motherhood, if anything, I felt so unprepared when my son arrived.

Here are a few reasons why I felt more unprepared than I ever imagined when it came to my motherhood journey:

I set the schedule

When I was babysitting or working in daycare, the parents would give me the children’s schedules. They would tell me when they woke up, what they ate last, and when their last diaper change was. How often do they need to feed? They would give you a “manual” on how to care for their child. When it came time to bring my own child home, I had a HUGE wake-up call. I was waiting to be told when to feed him and when he needed a nap. Then came the realization “Oh … I’M the parent. I make the schedule.” At that moment, it felt like I got slapped in the face. I was NOT as prepared as I thought.

There is no giving the child back

After a long day of working at the daycare, the parents would come pick up their kids. YES! FREEDOM! As a mom, I quickly realized that after a long day, I still had to be a mom. There was no giving the kids back to their parents. I WAS THE PARENT. Yes, I could pass him off to my husband for a little while, but I still needed to parent.

The exhaustion is insane

I honestly did not think somebody could be this tired and still function. I used to cry to my husband, “There’s no way people can survive on this little sleep.” Every time I would lay my head down to finally get some rest, the baby would wake up. People warned me about the lack of sleep but it was definitely worse than I expected. But hey, I’m here so I clearly survived.

The unconditional love you feel

No one could have prepared me for the amount of love I would feel for my child. No matter what happens. On a hard day, even while feeling frustrated, I still love him. In a moment, when he just snuggles me, my heart feels like it’s going to explode. When he is throwing a temper tantrum, and I want to cry with him, I still love him more than life itself. People told me that the love for a child is a love like no other, but I did not expect to love him this much. It is the greatest love in the world.

No matter how prepared I thought I was, I was unprepared. Motherhood does not come with a manual. It’s all about winging it and learning as you go. I may not be a perfect mother, but I am perfect for my son. And that’s all that really matters. The same goes for you – you are perfect for your children and they will love you no matter what.


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