Living in the 'Burbs

Don't get me wrong, I really like the community we live in, and it's not even in the same time zone as East Jesus. I'm glad we moved last fall before Sarah was born.

However, I'm noticing something that's odd to me. When I meet new people in the 'Wood, one of the first things they ask me is "do you work?" and then I get this odd, sympathetic look when I say "yes." Then comes the inevitable "so does your daughter go to daycare?" - well, yes she does. It's not very common to strap your baby to your back these days, so unless I leave her in the not quite capable hands of the cat, she's pretty much got to go to daycare. My family is several hundred miles away, and my mom also works, and her cats are slightly less capable of full-time child care than mine.

It's not quite a Stepford vibe, but it's still odd. I guess I have begun to live in a world where most moms work, even moms with little kids. Sarah started daycare when she was six weeks old, because I had no paid time for maternity leave, and those pesky bills don't care that you have a darling baby who needs your attention.

Plus, and I may be in the minority here, I was ready to go back to work. Six weeks of staying home with a baby and not getting any adult interaction was getting to me. If things had been different, I might have felt differently. But I couldn't hang with the lactation support group (especially after my breastfeeding attempts went so badly) - I was one of only two moms with a diaper bag that did not have a designer logo plastered on it. The other mom had some bag that proclaimed it was made of hemp fibers, and she was nursing a kid big enough to walk over and pull out what he needed - don't get me started on that. Earth Mother of the Year I am not.

So back to work I went. Sarah has progressed just fine and is a happy, well-adjusted kid who doesn't seem to have suffered by having what I lovingly refer to as "extra parents" during the day. Her daycare isn't one of those that starts kids reading early, she's not counting apples or anything just yet. She's being a kid and learning about the world through playing and learning to interact with other kids her age. Maybe when she's older I'll worry more about educational things, but for now I'm content to read to her, let her play with her alphabet blocks and spell things out to her.

I don't know why I get that "aw, bless your heart" look when I tell people I work full-time. Are there times I'd really rather stay home with her? Of course. But it doesn't make me a bad mom. It just means I can't do the ladies lunch during the week, or the Bible study you have on Tuesday mornings at 10, or the Zumba class at 2 in the afternoon. It means I can't meet you at la Madeleine for breakfast on Thursday. I don't get to participate in what seems to be the social norm.

But then again, when have I been normal?