I just got back from taking Saul to the doctor again. The receptionist greeted us warmly. By name.

Saul has viral tonsillitis. Not a really big deal. Just one more thing.

He has been sick pretty much continuously for months now. Never anything too serious - viruses, ear infections, colds, rashes, and general contagion. But this time the doctor told me that some kids are just more prone to picking up all this stuff when they go to daycare. She sat down and looked at me and said, "You should take him out of daycare. He never manages to get his immune system back up to full strength before he goes back and picks up another virus."

I sputtered something about how that was impossible and how we didn't have the money to just give up an income and we don't have family close by. She was noncommittal but said something about how hard decisions had to be made and how we needed to add up the cost to Saul of being sick all the time, and not just the costs to us.

I was stunned. It took everything I had not to break down right there. I have been working from home since Tuesday, taking care of Saul. I'm at my breaking point. I have spent hours holding him while he whimpers and cries, trying to reach my arms around him to get some work done on my laptop. I'm sure she didn't mean it like this, but I felt like she was telling me that all my efforts just weren't good enough and that I was selfishly harming my child.

So maybe she's right. I have been thinking that daycare was good for Saul. I thought he was benefiting from interacting with other kids and from playing with neat toys that I couldn't afford. But I guess I have to weigh that against the constant illness.

Here is what went through my head in the minute or so after she said that as I stared at her with my mouth hanging open: "I am a bad mother. Maybe we could sell our house and buy a cheaper one. No. I don't want to quit work."

I know for a fact that I would be a terrible stay at home mom. I am not patient. I have to work very hard to control my temper. I am pathologically anti-social and I'm sure that I wouldn't take Saul or myself out enough. I am pretty sure I would end up depressed and miserable, and wouldn't that make Saul miserable too?

Or maybe I'm just making excuses.

I don't know.

The only thing I can know for sure right now is that I need a break.


Materna Unit (and proud of her chick) said...

You are an Excellent Mother!!! You always put Saul first and go to a lot of effort to make sure everything food, toys, etc... are safe and non toxic. You go above and beyond... BTW: Your doctor is a woman and works... Where are her kids?

MyUtopia said...

I can't imagine what I would have done in that situation. You aren't a bad mother--at least not for putting your child in daycare! I was a daycare kid and also a child that was always sick.
Besides quiting work, have you looked into a day time nanny? I know a couple from Church does that. I was a nanny all through college.

Steph said...

Thanks for the support.

Mom - I don't think she has any kids.

Myutopia - I don't think I can afford a nanny. I can barely afford a group daycare. But I'm not sure how I would be able to find a nanny I really trusted. At least the daycare has webcams so I can spy on him all day. It makes a big difference to my peace of mind.

Blake said...

I am both relieved and heartbroken to read this... Loving Moms who also love working outside the home are forever torn.

Madness certainly has set in with me. It doesn't mean I love Zoe any less than someone who adores staying home with her kids. But insanity is not pretty. At the same time, our pediatrician told me today that when we put Zoe in day care, we'll be seeing a lot more of her (the doctor), and just to expect Zoe to be sick for about six months. It feels like being punched in the stomach.

Wishing you the best in making your decisions...

sewit said...

Hi Steph,

I just read this post and wanted to let you know that I totally sympathize with your problem. If you have to take Saul out of daycare, you might be able to find someone to do a nanny share with you - that would make having a nanny a bit more affordable. I don't know if that will work for you, but I wanted to suggest it in case you haven't thought about that yet. Good luck!

Steph said...

Hi Sewit!

I'm feeling much better after the weekend. Saul has been sick a lot, but he loves his daycare and I love his daycare, so I think we're going to stick with it. He's only been there 6 months, and I've heard it takes a year for their immune systems to really adjust. So maybe I'll revisit again in December.

How are you?!