I felt very strongly about keeping my son out of daycare once he started kindergarten, and it wasn’t just about the cost.
I don’t want to stay at work after I’m done for the day. Why should I do that to Conlan?
Plus, truth be told, I wanted him to ride the bus. He loves the bus. What little kid doesn’t? Ever since he could talk he chattered about how once he was old enough he would be able to ride the school bus. I think he was looking forward to that part more than the actual kindergarten experience.
So I adjusted my work schedule to start a little later and eliminated any need for before-school care. And I lined up babysitters for the afternoons, eliminating need for some sort of official after-school program.
And after a bit of a rough start, we got into our groove. It was working wonderfully. I had no worries, Conlan was happy, he rode the bus, and everything was taken care of. I even got to sleep in a little later. Life was good.
Until I started second-guessing myself. Realizing that Conlan had lost his unstructured play time, got short recesses, and had no PE made me wonder – should I have put him in an after-school program with a bunch of other kids so he could have more time to play?
Up until that moment I had been perfectly content with my decision. I was so happy that he got some undivided one-on-one attention from a babysitter after a long day as just another number in a chaotic class of twenty-four. He got to talk, listen, be heard, and play thirteen back-to-back hands of Uno Thomas in the middle of our living room.
He told me he loves having a babysitter.
But that second-guessing still persisted, even though he was perfectly happy. Even though I got exactly what I wanted.
Why does this happen?
It happens because we want to do it right. We want to do it perfectly. But there is never any perfect solution. And the other side of the fence will always tempt us with greener pastures.
And that’s true of everything. Jobs, circumstances, homes, locations, friends, family, schools, vacations, marriage, stuff.
So how to do we combat this?
We do our best to stop listening. I’m pretty sure that little voice will never go away. And it does push us to be better in some areas. But in other areas, it’s just annoying. So while it will still whisper, we need to whisper back. Whisper back the reasons why the path we’ve chosen is the right one after all.
And even while I type this, I’m fighting that little voice. Scrambling to cobble together childcare for early dismissal next week, it tells me this would be so much easier if you just had him in the after-school program.
And I’m trying my best to whisper back, but then he wouldn’t ride the bus, have quiet down time in the afternoon, and get the attention he craves.
He’s completely happy. I need to be, too.