Transitioning to Daycare

Can you really prepare to send your child to a daycare?

Transitions are never easy and no one prepares you for them!

Last week, we started our baby, who is 17 months old now, at a home day care. It was probably one of the hardest things I have felt since breastfeeding. Only that it didn’t hurt me physically but did emotionally. The months before leading to this day, as I spent my mornings and afternoons taking care of my little bug, I would look forward to this day. I planned for how I would spend my free time, all the places I would go, all the blogging I would get done. However, on the day we were to drop her off at the daycare, it felt like I had a huge lump that started in my stomach, went through my heart and stayed in my throat. I realized that my baby may be ready for this change but I surely hadn’t prepared myself for it.

I woke up early on Monday (the week of July 4th), got a few things done and waited for my baby to wake up. She called out my name and I went in to get her with a bottle of milk in my hand. Halfway through her bottle of milk she pauses, takes the bottle out of her mouth, and goes ‘so gook’. She says and does the quirkiest things that makes all of us smile and laugh at the same time. After she was done with her bottle, I talked to her about the exciting day that lied ahead of her. All the friends she would make, the activities she would be doing and the yummy food she’ll be trying. As I talked to her about these things an uneasiness took over me, a realization that I wasn’t going to be the one feeding her, changing her or even putting her down for her naps. My baby would be taken care of by someone else for most part of the day and my heart just ached. Every time I think about it I feel the ache and a sudden sense of guilt takes over me. Guilt of not being there with my child, guilt of not having her here with me, by me at all times and the guilt of freeing time and space for myself. I know I should not be feeling this way, but this is motherhood. There are a lot of self-imposed guilts that we live with.

We dropped her off at the daycare. She was lost in this new environment, unfamiliar faces, unfamiliar toys, everything was new. Just as she was lost, so were we. My husband and I felt heaviness in our hearts. We waited about 20 minutes before messaging, the sweetest day care teacher, Miss K, how our baby was coping. We got a few pictures; she was already exploring the play room with her new friends. I felt a sense of relief knowing she was doing ok. We continued to get more updates throughout the day and were so happy to know that she was ok with this new change. However, my husband and I did not know what to do with our time. It was as if we just did not know a life without our daughter. We had so much time in our hands, a lot of chores to do, yet we had nothing to do. We lied down, scrolling through her pictures and videos, talking all about her and checking our watches to see if it was time to go pick her up. Remember all the free time I was excited about? Well, this did not feel that exciting. We made every effort to make sure that we prepared our daughter to be comfortable and at ease at the daycare so that she wouldn’t have separation anxiety, we did not even realize that it was something we would be going through. I imagine, this happens to a lot of parents and that’s ok. It’s ok to feel sad, it’s ok to be anxious, it’s ok to worry about your children because these emotions are your love being manifested to your little one. You don’t need to fill up all your time, being engaged, doing something to keep yourself occupied. You can instead stay with the feeling you have, know what it means and thank these feelings for being there because they are helping you grow and prepare for yet another phase of life.

That week, my husband and I spent a lot of time talking about priorities, what we wanted from life, for our children, and most of all for ourselves. We went to the movies, went out for lunches and chilled, just the two of us, which felt refreshing for our relationship as well.

The second and third days were particularly harder as she would grab on to us, crying, and did not want us to leave her there. I cried a little each time she did L. The guilty feeling kept creeping through my being. She also cried when we picked her up from the daycare, but the cry didn’t last long as she knew she was going home with mumma and pops. She knew she was going HOME. She got particularly cranky, throwing tantrums the first week and first day of the first two weeks. We have never seen her cry as much as she does now (she’s always been a happy baby) but that’s because she’s going through so many changes, she’s dealing with new people and new environment and that is tiring (emotionally). We talk to her to understand why she’s crying and what she wants. We give into certain things, like watching songs for 15 minutes but still work with her to explain that throwing tantrums is not ok. When we are home, we try to spend as much time with her as possible because she gets tired and wants to go to sleep early. We hardly get 2 hours with her. However, we know that she is in good hands, she’s learning about social settings, making friends, appreciating flowers and jumping and she’s happy. Knowing that she is happy where she spends most of her days, while we are working, is literally the only thing a parent could ask for.

It’s so important to make a child feel that their experiences are meaningful and important; whether it’s spending time at home or at daycare. For me, I don’t want her to associate daycare as a negative experience or a punishment. It’s not a place she goes to when she misbehaves. If the patterns she experiences in the day care are replicated at home, she will adjust to the change a lot easier than having two to adjust to two different lifestyles.

Update: it’s week 3 and our daughter looks forward to her play time at the daycare. She enjoys her friends, her teacher and is learning new things everyday. We get a big hug when we drop her off and a huge smile during pick up. This is bitter sweet moment. Like I said, no one prepared you for the transition 🙂

For all the moms and dads out there: I know so many parents living in the US need to send their kids to daycare at such early ages, some as early as 3 months. I can’t imagine how hard it is but also as a parent no age seems like a good age for your child to be away from you. We are all doing our best to raise our kids, give them the best life and live a life that matters for ourselves. Whatever you are doing is for the best of your children based on your circumstances. Every parent and child have a different path and a journey and no two journeys are similar. So, you do what is right for you, without worrying about judgements and guilt. You know the best for your family. Enjoy your time as a family, as a couple and as individuals, we all deserve it.

Please feel free to share your experiences: What were some of the things you did to prepare for daycare/pre-school/kindergarten and deal with your emotions?

Xoxo,

Naya

Postpartum Body & Fitness – Diet, Workout and State of Mind

How I feel about my Postpartum Body and what I am doing to get back into shape

Healthy lifestyle has been my priority for a long time. People often tell me look almost the same over the years. To me that is one of the greatest compliments I could receive. That just means that I have been able to successfully maintain the level of commitment to myself, through self-care which includes healthy eating, staying active and surrounding myself with positive intentions. Healthy lifestyle is demanding and requires dedication. Just like with anything in life, you have to work for things you want, nothing in life is easy, right?

I don’t feel like myself postpartum

After the baby, I had the hardest time accepting my new body, in fact I still do. The fact that you do not fit in your pre-pregnancy clothes and need to buy a whole new set of wardrobes to adjust to your new body isn’t quite the same as going on a shopping spree. I refused to buy any new clothes and bough 1 pair of stretch band Levi jeans. I was not one of those lucky ones with the body type, who could lose 20 pounds right after birth or by breastfeeding. Also, Instagram really can be your biggest enemy (or an inspiration) sometimes. You compare yourself to those women who flaunt (which they should!) the postpartum body or look like they never even had a baby. Going through postpartum blues and being sleep deprived, I just did not know how to make time for myself. In between taking care of the baby, breastfeeding, pumping, washing bottles and Instagram (jk/lol) I was always exhausted. I was really hung up on looking the way I used to before pregnancy, it was not a number, it was an image of me that I had in my mind. The thought that these clothes may never fit me again really haunted me. I was not being nice or fair to myself. What was I thinking? I was 5 months postpartum; I was no super model and I just did not have the time or the energy to put in for a workout. However, the thought of fitness kept lingering with me every day and my thoughts were taking me to a dark place with each passing day (hello postpartum blues!). I talked (complained) to my husband everyday but him being a sweetheart would always listen to me patiently and then tell me that I look just as beautiful as ever :). I knew I had to take charge of the situation to get myself out of this rut. I know so many women that go through this same feeling of being lost and you are not alone!

How do I make time for exercise?

So, I started with regular walks with and without my baby (left her with my husband or in laws). Exercising releases hormones that makes you feel good (endorphins, serotonin, and dopamine). The days I walked I was happy and felt like myself again. However, I knew that walking alone was not going to get me in achieving my fitness goals. After seeing a million Instagram ads I thought I would give BBG by Kayla Itsines a try. BBG is a 28 min HIIT workout that you can pretty much do anywhere. Could I really not spare that 28 minutes in a day to do something for myself?! So, I created a schedule for self-care; a plan of how, when and what. I worked out when the baby was napping, again since the workout is 28 minutes, even if the baby only naps for 30 minutes, you are covered (yas girl!). Yes, there was laundry to fold and bottles needed to be washed but they did not have to be done right away. My husband was more than willing to help take care of the laundry and bottles after he got back from work, but I had prioritized chores over self-care. Chores could wait, self-care couldn’t. I realized quickly that there are trade-offs in order to make time for self-care and I was on a mission to make the most of it. I took great care in watching what I ate (see: post). I felt that I had more energy post workout which helped me get a lot of those chores taken care of. I was good about my water intake, sleep (thanks to sleep training) and staying active. I also did a 5K, 6 months postpartum (I was back to work full time by now) and a 10K, 8 months postpartum. The first round of BBG showed some great results and I felt really good about myself. I started 12 weeks challenge of BBG Stronger this year and as hard as it was, I have never felt stronger, energetic and more grateful for my body. I don’t know if I’m in the best shape of my life or if I’m back to how I was before pregnancy but I feel good. Although, looking back, I realize that I never appreciated my body for what it was. The basic human desire of always wanting more can sometimes be so cruel. There are certain outfits that fit me better than others and I flaunt them. And for the rest of them it’s time for spring cleaning anyway :). I have accepted the fact that my body has transformed during the pregnancy/postpartum journey and I am at peace with it. However, I am also determined and working towards my fitness level and look my best!

Tips on starting exercise postpartum

  1. Give yourself time! Don’t be harsh on yourself. Love yourself, be kind, encourage yourself and listen to your body.
  2. Assess your fitness level by going on a light walk or a jog
  3. If starting with a workout program, commit to it and show up!
  4. Make time that works best for you! Energy wise, baby schedule wise or simply your state of mind.
  5. Chores can wait!
  6. Make your family aware about your personal time and goal
  7. Have nutritious snacks readily available (nuts, cucumber, berries, avocado, yogurt)
  8. Stay hydrated and have a bottle with you at all times
  9. Lastly, do what makes you happy. You are fabulous and inspiring!

BBG (Bikini Body Guide) and transformation

Today marks the completion of my 12 weeks of Bikini Body Guide (BBG Stronger) challenge by Kayla Itsines found in the Sweat app. For those of you that are not familiar with BBG, it is a 28 min HIIT workout that you do 3 days a week (arms, abs, legs). You add on some cardio on the remaining days to continue to stay active. Now, let me just reiterate that I have been active and healthy at least for the past 10 years of my life. I have run a few 5 & 10Ks, a half marathon, done the Jillian Michaels- 30-day shred and have been a regular at the gym. However, I just felt that the BBG workout has by far been the most challenging, yet promising. If you are looking for a workout that is sort of guided you should give BBG a try. I have to warn you though; it is not easy. In fact, it’s one of the hardest workouts I have done. Take it easy, go slow but get it done! The truth is, your results are based on the work you put into it. I did this for myself and I showed up for myself, every time! I made a commitment and I knew that if I just showed up, I could make it through. There were days when I was just so tired and wanted to nap with the baby or just did not feel my 100%. On those days, I gave myself a break and said ‘you’re doing great, give yourself a break’. On other days, I knew, I was letting my laziness creep in so all I had to do was leave the house, and I did.

Your thoughts can be your biggest enemy sometimes. Your body listens and reciprocates to the way you treat it. Let your body and mind heal, listen to them and give it time, it will work with you. Otherwise, no matter how much hard work you put into looking your best, you may not feel that way. Something to also remember is that given the changes in our bodies (hormonal, physical), working out, staying active and eating right should be part of our lifestyle.  Otherwise, personally I have felt that my muscles tend to loosen up quicker.

I also highly recommend Headspace if you are looking to calm your mind, find some space and be present.

XO, Naya