In our house, dad is in charge of day care drop off. It means I start work early enough to wrap up around 4 and handle pickup. I get the better end of the deal.
Recently, my husband expressed how hard it is to leave The Girl and drive away each morning. But not because of what you might imagine — baby screaming and holding out her hands toward dad as the teacher tries to distract her? Oh no, not our girl. She practically runs into her classroom these days. Friends and 1,000 square feet full of brightly colored, light up, sing-songy toys? There’s nothing better.
Still, as the door shuts behind dad, and he heads to the office where he’ll spend upwards of 9 hours away from baby, guilt kicks in. We in the mom world like to call this “mommy guilt.” The idea that no matter how hard we try, we don’t do enough or give enough to our children.
But dads get mommy guilt too and it looks a bit like this:
What actually happens — Dad drops baby at school, she’s excited to see her friends and runs off to play.
What dad sees — The Girl loves her teachers and little grimy-fingered friends more than dad.
What actually happens — The Girl is crying when dad gets home from work because she’s tired, hungry and teething.
What dad sees — The Girl isn’t comforted by dad any more because he’s at work during the day.
What actually happens — The Girl spits out her potatoes and eggs because they’re cold and she already ate a plate of waffles and strawberries.
What dad sees — The Girl doesn’t doesn’t like anything dad makes anymore because he doesn’t know enough about her to know she only eats eggs that are full of garlic, cracked red pepper and feta (yes, my daughter is a bit of a food snob.)
What actually happens — The Girl recently started school after being home for a year with mom. She’s brought home a lot more coughs, crud and runny noses because of it.
What dad sees — If he made more money, worked harder, didn’t have such big student loans, The Girl could attend a germ-free day care because those totally exist.