I’m *that* mom.

December 2, 2011

When I worked as a daycare supervisor several years ago, I remember dreading the kids that came once or twice a week. Not because they were terrible children, but because 99% of the time they were kids of a stay at home mom.

I wasn’t a big fan of stay at home moms as a nanny or in a daycare. I found them pesty, hovering, anal, and usually convinced that their child would burst into flames and die the moment they walked out the door. I knew what I was doing, I knew their kid would be fine as long as they would stop “peeking” around the corner, and I wanted them gone. I referred to them as, “That Mom.”

When the moms came back that evening, the kids usually burst into tears, which prompted mothers to ask in horror, “Oh no! Was little Jonny like this all day? You should have called me!” This was given with an evil eye and a look of shock that little Jonny was left to cry in a corner alone, friendless, and terrified.

When in fact, little Jonny had been playing outside making mud pies and doing crafts.

I was pretty convinced when I became a mom my kid would be in daycare full time. My child would be normal and I would be one of the awesome moms with complete confidence in my daycare providers.

And then I became a mom.

I became THAT MOM.

Yesterday my friend Tanya and I visited a gym right down the road that offered daycare. She has a little girl 7 weeks younger than Bella, and a 4 month old. We were excited to do an hour of kid and tantrum free yoga.

Until we got to the daycare. People, I have worked at a daycare. And this place wasn’t up to par in the cleanliness department. (Now, before anyone says, “Would anything be for you?” you just need to trust me – this is not be being a clean freak.) But the ladies in charge, while rather distant, seemed sweet and I tried to convince myself the worries I had were simply because I was a mess over leaving Bella anywhere and she’d be ok.

Then she fell apart. I could hear her. Then I couldn’t and I wondered what happened.

So I peeked in the window.

She saw me and screamed.

I ducked.

Still hearing her, I leaned over again and looked.

Sobs.

The daycare lady threw up her hands and shooed me away.

So I had Tanya go peek.

And she got shooed.

By this point I could hear her screams and I was such a mess thinking about how upset she was. I went to yoga wondering if she was going to be left all alone to cry.

When we went to pick them up, her little tear stained face with the paci hanging out of it greeted me at the door with a sobbing, hiccuping, “Mommy, Mommy.”

I couldn’t help it. I gave them the evil eye and asked if she’d cried the entire time.

::hangs head in shame::

They assured me she’d played and loved the toys.

When did this happen? When did I become that mom?

Stranger still, how come I’m fine with being that mom? I’m ok with being over protective and an annoyance to someone who doesn’t know Bella like I do.

Yet I wonder if anyone else has found they’ve turned into a different parent than they thought they would be?

25 Comments

  • Anne-Marie

    December 3, 2011 at 10:10 am

    Can I just pipe in here and mention that when childcare is good, it’s good for everyone? Early childhood education matters so much, and there’s a lot that we get to do in a good “school” setting because our whole focus gets to be on enrichment, attention and play for the children in our care. Google “Heckman early childhood” if you want to see the huge reaction to one researcher’s findings that the skills/skill set build between 0-5 pay off, even in an economic sense, later in life. I’m devoted to my job caring for infants and toddlers in a day care setting, and it’s so much more than “leaving them.” I am not judging anyone here, but I have to add, too, that you are so lucky if you can choose to spend so much time with your little ones. Most women don’t have that option, so early childhood care is really important because it makes a different in the lives of the kids your kids will go to school with, become friends with and one day work with. Check this site out for a really beautifully laid out picture of why early childhood education (not “just” daycare) is so important. http://www.heckmanequation.org/content/heckman-101

    Again, I just want to make that point clear; I don’t think anyone here would argue with me. And people have negative associations with “daycare” so I’ll just say this, too: early childhood education in a group setting matters. It’s not always visible, or tangible, but we actively do good things for kids. The providers must do more than feed, change and clean the children in order for this to be true, obviously. But I came to this career from a high-profile PhD program because it matters to me so much more than academia does, now. I’m taking the cut in pay, prestige, the looks I get from people who don’t think my job matters or that child care is only for moms who don’t care enough about their kids. I’m taking it all because nothing compares to seeing a two-year-old who can already resolve his own conflicts, who is motivated to learn new words by interacting with preschoolers, who stretches herself physically on the playground to try something a three-year-old just did. Even the babies are completely fascinated with each other and their older classmates. There’s a lot to be said for GOOD daycare!

  • story

    December 3, 2011 at 6:14 am

    Oh I don’t leave my baby with anyone either. And my “everything in moderation” philosophy gave way to completely giving up caffeine and wine for my whole pregnancy and the first 6 months of breastfeeding (and still mostly wine). And I used to think I would have no problem giving some formula once in a while. And that I could totally let her cry sometimes.

    I’m not really ashamed of the mom I am, but man, it’s so much harder than the mom I thought I’d be.

  • Kim

    December 3, 2011 at 6:05 am

    Oh, you know I’m that mom. And? Why in bleep was her face tear stained if she’d played with toys the entire time? You have awesome instincts. She’s yours. You know her best. Go with that.

  • Jo

    December 2, 2011 at 9:47 pm

    I was an English teacher, teaching 10-year-old kids in a tuition centre. I used to be the cool teacher who never shouted at her students and I’d advise my fellow teachers that the more they shouted, the worse the kids become.

    And then, I became a mum… first child was still alright. Second child, I got a little louder. Now after the fifth kid, I swear my neighbours know the full names of all my kids.

    I’m not sure if I should feel proud or ashamed of being A MUM now. Lol!

  • Teresa

    December 2, 2011 at 9:09 pm

    yup. I am THAT mom. *sigh*

    Which is why I don’t go to church at the moment. The nursery and my stress don’t mesh well.

  • LA

    December 2, 2011 at 1:38 pm

    It’s called foot in mouth disease. I have it big time. We all do. You got to do what your momma bear instinct dictates even it makes you appear to be hovering, over protective etc. You should check out the YMCAs the one by us has a phenomal daycare area. Nice enough that I will leave the 4 month old and it’s really about the only non- family place I will let him go to.

  • Janelle

    December 2, 2011 at 1:11 pm

    I don’t think this qualifies as a ‘that mom” situation – sounds more like a “good mom-cop” situation! 🙂

  • becca

    December 2, 2011 at 12:59 pm

    Welcome to the group! Ha! I always got so annoyed with my sister in law….they wouldn’t go anywhere unless it was naptime and her kids couldn’t have propel water cause the gatorade company puts bad chemicals in their drinks….I swore I would never live my life as a mom that had to work around her kids schedule. That the kid would work around mine! That is utterly and completely the most absurd thing I’ve ever said or thought! When I had ben (my first) I didn’t let anyone hold him. I didn’t leave him wwith anyone! (EVER!) Not joking. I didn’t go anywhere from 9 am to 11 or from 1 pm to 3 pm for an entire year! He went to the bathroom with me in his bouncy seat…even id there were family members at my house! Its amazing how everything u thought you would do ends up being everything you will now never think of doing and vice versa. We wised up by the 2nd child and by the third I now know when and when not to be worried. But I am still against daycare. I am way to paranoid to leave my children with people I don’t know. (Mostly with children that can’t talk)

  • Stacey

    December 2, 2011 at 11:02 am

    We just interviewed nannies for our kiddos for when I go back to work. I point-blank warned them that I am THAT mom now, too. I’m a K teacher so I’m familiar with shooing parents out and saying that things will be fine. But I can’t do that with my kids… I used to go back to comfort Colby over and over and over when I dropped him off at daycare which is something I swore I would never do…

  • Jennifer @ Also Known As the Wife

    December 2, 2011 at 10:55 am

    I’m THAT mom too. At least I will be whenever I bite the bullet and hire a nanny / day care provider. I just keep having all of these awful images run through my head; most of them involve people stealing my adorable and loveable baby. (I’m so oblivious to the fact that her shrieks & cries may be a deterrent.)

    I also thought my kids would be in daycare from the time I went back to work until they were school aged. Yeah…I can barely leave her with my husband without worrying.

  • Anne-Marie

    December 2, 2011 at 10:27 am

    When I’m providing childcare and they ask “Has he been crying like this the whole time?” I have an ingenious answer, if I do say so myself: “No, not at all, but you are his favorite person in the entire world, so he was bound to miss you!” Gets a small smile out of Mom every time.

  • Ashley

    December 2, 2011 at 9:43 am

    I am so curious about how I will be. I’ve worked in daycares and I nanny so I have all these “ideas” of what I think I’ll do but I know myself better than to say I will never do something because I have no idea when it’s my own child I’m caring for.

  • Amber

    December 2, 2011 at 9:02 am

    I am not only that mom, I’m worse.

    I can barely leave him with the hubs for more than a few minutes without freaking out. My parents are the ONLY people I can leave him with without turning into a crazy person.

    Sigh.

  • Desi

    December 2, 2011 at 8:27 am

    I will let you know how it goes when I start working. It should be interesting!

  • Cams

    December 2, 2011 at 8:09 am

    yes, yes…i do this too when i go to the Y and drop Moo off at childcare. i found myself wondering if i should wipe down some of the toys with a wipe before i left her to play with them. lol.

    i have to control myself and just walk out without looking back.

    “that mom” is in all of us i think.

  • Jenny Georgio-who

    December 2, 2011 at 8:00 am

    I am part owner of the daycare that my daughter goes to and I’m still THAT mom. Not the type the won’t leave or worries how the kid is 24/7..but I’m the type that texts the teachers to see how she is, request to get pictures text messaged to me, and believe me, nothing is ever good enough for me.

    If i pick up my daughter and her shirt is dirty I ask “Why wasn’t her shirt changed? There are extra clothes in her diaper bag….” If I pick her up early and there is food on her face I’ll get all angry and be like “What, you couldn’t wipe her face”.

    I know what its like. I own the damn place…I worked there before. There is one of you and 8 of them. You can’t possible clean all their faces after every single bite of food…. but as a mom its annoying.

    (I’m not a clean freak but I can’t stand to see a dirty child…I see a kid with a dirty face and think “what kind of mother would let her kid go out all disgusting …”)

    And yes, we all do things we thought we’d never do!

  • Jess

    December 2, 2011 at 8:00 am

    There’s something about gym daycare that just screams: “we don’t need qualified workers that give a crap or clean facilities!” I don’t know why. I’ve only ever liked the gym at Lifetime Fitness. But at the prices they charged, they had to offer some awesome daycare. And they did.

    Unfortch, there isn’t one in El Paso. But that place? Heaven. Aveda Salon/sauna/pool/you name it. Oh say what? Dropping my kid off at daycare to get a haircut and not work out? Don’t mind if I do.

  • Good Girl Gone Green

    December 2, 2011 at 7:57 am

    I am becoming that mom I can feel and see the transformation.JP always says I dont want you to be like your sister and never let anyone babysit little E. I swore I never be like that but I am so like my sister! oh well, my sister is a great mom and has amazing kids!

  • Summer Davis

    December 2, 2011 at 7:54 am

    That’s too cute. I’m NOT that mom. I feel stressed out and overwhelmed with a husband who is literally never home and my 3 needy children. When I drop them off somewhere I tell whomever is working, “They WILL cry and scream the whole time I’m gone but please do NOT come track me down”.

    It sounds terrible, but if Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.

    At least that’s what I keep telling myself 🙂

    You will both get the hang of it (as you well know). But until then, ((HUGS))

  • Adam @Hanging with Dad

    December 2, 2011 at 7:51 am

    I’m pretty much what I thought I was going to be. Then again I’ve always been laid back and more of a “go with the flow” type.

    When we put Isaac in Mother’s Day Out this fall I dropped him off and didn’t worry about how he’d do because his personality was perfect for the situation. Plus it’s at our church so I was 100% comfortable with the environment.

    I am probably a little bit more of a “Daddy Bear” than I thought I would be, I would stab a man for my son a little quicker than I would have thought.

  • Law Momma

    December 2, 2011 at 7:48 am

    My kid is in daycare full time and I LOVE his daycare. That being said, I refused to leave him at the gym daycare.

    You’re not “THAT” mom… you’re a good mom. There are right and wrong places to leave your child. Sounds like that was just a wrong place. 🙂

  • Kim

    December 2, 2011 at 7:47 am

    Before i had a baby, i always used to say i, too, would put my kid in daycare full time and be fine with it and all. Then the MOMENT i gave birth, i said outloud, i am NOT leaving my baby with ANYONE. And i haven’t. Actually, in 10 months, i’ve let my MOTHER watch my baby ONE TIME, for about 5 hours. That’s the only time i’ve left him (with anyone other than his daddy).

    And i have to admit. If i had to leave my kid in a daycare, for an hour even, i’d be the SAME. EXACT. WAY. 🙂

  • A Desi Mom

    December 2, 2011 at 7:30 am

    What a beautiful post.
    Seems like it came from the heart. I’ve never been to a daycare (kid is too young right now) but your post reeks of truth. Takes effort to write from the heart, and you nailed it.

  • Mrs. MidAtlantic

    December 2, 2011 at 7:28 am

    I thought I would want desperately to be a SAHM. I thought, being forced to work, I would cry tears at every day care drop off. I think the first week of day care was a little hard, and certainly we have bad drop off mornings… But for the most part? Laura is just as happy to run into her classroom as I am to leave her there!

  • Sol

    December 2, 2011 at 7:07 am

    *raises hand* I am not anything like the kind of parent I thought I’d be. I worry about things I never ‘got’ other moms worrying about until having a child. I was the one who’d sit back and scoff at the idea of doing A LOT of the things I find myself doing now.

    That is okay! I give myself permission now to be different from the way I thought I would be. How could I or you know how it would turn out when we were childless?

    I worked in daycare and there were many moments I thought to myself “Geez these women need to get a grip.” And now years later? I am totally THAT MOM!

    Be fine with it, because you know what? You freaking rock as a mom!

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