Transitioning Back to Work After Being a Stay-At-Home Mom

After slogging through three years of motherhood while teaching nearly full time, I was heartily ready for a break.  Last spring I took a year’s leave of absence to be with my children and experience stay-at-home motherhood.

I loved the intensity and importance of being with my kids full time, until one day, I didn’t.  Was it a dramatic episode?  Nope.  I simply reached a point where the endless cycle of laundry, meals, and playtime wore me out.  My brain felt rather mushy and creating daily structures and routines exhausted me.

Plus, although frugal living is a passion of mine, it felt a bit uncomfortable to have absolutely no spare room in our budget.  I longed for the occasional dinner out or swimming lessons for the kids.  If we stayed exactly on track and no emergencies came up, we still had to take a little out of our savings each month.
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Eco-nannies: Does Your Child Go to a Green Daycare?

What is a green daycare, anyway? A hay bale structure in which youngsters learn to compost and recycle? Sounds nice!

I know when we began looking for someone to take care of our baby when she was eight months old, I was most concerned with two things: cloth diapers and breast milk. Would our future provider be okay with changing cloth diapers and leaving the wet ones for us in a bag to take home? (Joy just wrote about this!) Would she be willing to thaw out my expressed breast milk and bottle-feed it to my daughter?

We ended up finding someone who did both of those things, and we didn’t need to find a special “eco-friendly” daycare to do it. Our daycare provider operates inside her own home, where she watches three or four kids at a time. She had never had a child in cloth diapers before, but she was happy to try them out. In fact, she was happy to have less trash to deal with (and pay for).
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Eco-Friendly Daycare Exists!

The memory of dropping my five-month-old son off at daycare for the first time on that winter morning still takes my breath away.  As I walked the long gray hallway, I wasn’t sure my arms would be able to surrender him to anyone else.   It felt as if handing this soft-cheeked child off to a stranger would be like cleaving off a part of my body.

When I was eight months pregnant and everything was hypothetical (including the love I’d feel for my newborn), it seemed like a perfectly logical arrangement.  The daycare facility was close to my work, recommended by other families, and certified at all the right levels.  I hadn’t even thought to ask whether they would be willing to use organic food or work with cloth diapers. (To find out why I later decided to use organic food, watch for my upcoming blog “Organic Baby Food on The Cheap”)

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