by: Emma Aguirre

All of a sudden we have a laundry list of first birthdays coming up. It’s been quite a year, and although my daughter’s still a solid three months away from her birthday, I can’t help but wonder where the time has gone. It’s so cliché. As she grows and becomes more mobile and ridiculously self-confident (I found her in amongst the pots and pans on Friday!), I’m wondering if I’m doing everything I can for her developmentally speaking. I’m beginning to wonder if a Mother’s Day Out program might be in our near future.

Since I was “allowed” to take my daughter out at six weeks old, I have done it. Sure, I’ve had plenty of down days where we don’t do much, but for the most part we are out and about. I’m not a Houston-native, so it’s been a wonderful opportunity for me to explore the city. I joined several mommy groups and was actively involved with TMC for a while too. Meeting people and getting both of us out of the house was a huge priority for me and really did wonders for our well-being. And I’m having a lot of fun doing it honestly. Every day is an adventure and I love sitting down on a Sunday and planning our week. But several of my friends will be putting their kids into daycare of some sort in the fall. Most are choosing a Mother’s Day Out program, but a couple of them have daycares lined up. I used to very strongly disagree with daycares and I still disagree with at-home daycares. But I understand they serve a purpose and it’s really a parent’s own responsibility to find a credible one, suitable for their family. I just wonder if instead of banging on pots and pans in our kitchen if my daughter is really getting all the stimulation she needs, and if her little buddies will learn more somehow.

I wonder if having her with me 24/7 is holding her back. Generally, I can leave her with my husband, my mom, her other grandma, and we’ve also left her with friends who babysat and a sitter. She does ok. At the gym a few weeks ago, I left her in the childcare facility they provide and she cried for a few minutes the sitter said (which breaks my heart to hear), and then just moved on. She just hit the nine month mark and I know this could be when the separation anxiety kicks in and I’m learning how to handle it if it becomes an issue (for either of us). I just feel like she’s so little still. Yes, she’s crawling and singing and clapping, but she’s still my baby and I don’t know if I can send her off to any kind of program, even just for a few hours a week. I love those sweet moments right before she takes a nap and snuggles and right when she wakes up and is so excited to see me. I can’t imagine someone else seeing all of that. So why do I find myself Googling “Mother’s Day Out, 77040”?

I think it comes back to finding balance and I think it’s also to do with … sacrifice. Look up “parent” in the dictionary and this word is what you will find. Balance is something I’ve never been good at. I go, go, go, 300 miles an hour and then collapse in a corner somewhere for a few days. I’ve come to accept it. But I think if I can learn to use the time I have with my daughter constructively, and then focus on MY interests when she’s napping or in the evening, rather than trying to juggle her, my coffee, laptop and dinner, we both might be better off. I also need to weed out things that might not be as important as they once were. Time is precious to any mom and you have to decide how you can utilize it in the best way possible. There are things that I would love to do – take cooking classes for example, maybe take some language classes – that I know will be put on the backburner marked “retirement” as of now. The stack of books lying next to my bed is not as important to me now. So if I’m sacrificing a few things here and there, so be it. It’s just not all about me anymore and time is just flying.