December 8, 2010

When you leave a coat with the coat check they give you a ticket. When you complete your visit, you give your ticket in exchange for your outerwear. If something were to happen to that jacket in your absence, you would hold the coat check responsible since they were tending to your possession while you were gone. Now multiply that scenario times infinity when you leave your child with a caregiver.

Your children are the most important things in the world. And leaving your most prized possession with a person whose job it is to tend to their needs is a very difficult thing to do as a parent. And leaving a helpless, non-verbal infant is even more difficult.

Last week the caregiver we hired to care for Gabriela neglected her. Her diaper went unchanged for over eight hours. The guilt and stress I have gone through has been immeasurable. How could I leave my darling, precious daughter with someone who would not tend to her every need? How could I misjudge people so obviously? Why would I ever hire anyone for a job I should be doing as her parent? The spiral of emotions I have been, and continue to be, going through has been horrible.

Why would any parent bring a child into the world if their sole priority would not be to give them the best care possible? Why would I selfishly have a baby just to pass them off to someone else? All my loyal respondees will write back reminding me that I am, of course, being hard on myself, but unfortunately everything I am saying is true.

Yes, I am working to provide for my family. Yes, I am giving my children a lifestyle that affords them the opportunity to participate in classes, go to camps and do a variety of different activities. Yes, I am giving my children a more centered mother because I have something that gives me satisfaction. However, the truth is still the same – I am away from my young children for a larger amount of the day than I am with them. I spend a lot of money to make sure that other people are caring for my children. No one is going to care for them like I would; yet I choose not to. So who is the one that really neglected Gabriela?

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