Our Quiver | spelhouseLove

Hunting for a Shadow Mom

Lately, my world is focused on finalizing childcare for my Caterpillar. Nanny, daycare, in-home childcare provider… We began looking for a nanny shortly after the Caterpillar was born. In fact, we found several candidates very early on. I was so excited and began the interview process. I started with a phone screen, followed by an in-person interview at Starbucks. If we still liked the candidate, then we brought them to our home to meet the kids. One candidate quickly won my heart over… until she asked for $700 a week. Seven how much? Was that more than my take home salary? She’s come over twice, but we cannot agree to a weekly amount. I really, really want her to work out because I cannot fathom bathing, dressing, nursing, preparing bottles for the day, packing a diaper bag, strapping a baby in her carseat, getting the Lion ready, AND dropping off Gadget all before getting to work. Oh, and I haven’t even mentioned getting myself ready. And then the commotion starts all over again in the evening, requiring me to rush out of work, pick up the Lion, and then speed home to get Gadget before his after school program closes.


I was hesitant to decide on a nanny. I didn’t feel this way with the boys. But it’s different this time with my little girl. The truth is- I’m not ready to leave her with anyone. She cries even when her grandparents hold her. She knows when I’m in the room and when I’m not. She’s the most precious thing in my world, and I’m not close to being prepared to leave her during the day. Aside from the morning hassle, as the Lion says, “it hurts my heart” to think about her crying during the day because she wants me to hold her and I am not there.


Last Tuesday was especially crazy because I returned to work. As I was sitting at my desk trying to answer a few emails before heading off to pump, the potential nanny texted me that she was having reservations about her salary. Did I mention I was at work? At work. My first day back after twelve weeks at home holding, smelling, and cuddling with my daughter. I couldn’t process her text and work at the same time, so I shelved responding to her on my once-I-get-home to-do list and carried on with my day. So, fast forward to today and we’re still waiting to hear back from the nanny on whether or not we can agree to a number. So in the meantime we signed up my Caterpillar for the same daycare where the Lion goes. And I’m worried about how this will turn out.


I’ve had some traumatic daycare experiences in the past, especially with the Lion. He cried everyday I dropped him off for months. I used to arrive at work emotionally worn out after prying my baby off of me and feeling like I abandoned him at daycare. One morning, he cried so hard I knew something was wrong and could not leave him. He was inconsolable and even the food I’d packed that day did not soothe him. When I got home that evening I took out each item in the pantry one by one to figure out what he wanted. When he saw the box of Quaker Oats he bumped his fists together, making the sign we’d taught him for ‘hungry.’ I vaguely remember the details of those crazy mornings, but I do recall each emotion. I recall feeling guilty that I was leaving a crying baby, but also grateful that I had a job to go to that I enjoyed. This time around is totally different. I still love the job, but I’m just not ready to leave my baby girl with anyone else.


No one does the job of caring for her better than me. Even Hubby is not equipped to nourish her the way I am. And I’m not ready to face to stressful mornings prepping for daycare dropoffs, but more importantly I’m not ready to give up my all day baby fix. Oh my, the joys of motherhood.

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4 Responses to “Hunting for a Shadow Mom”

  1. Danni says:

    What an honest post! This is my current nightmare, we are only half way through this pregnancy but everyone in the northeast has told me to start looking for daycare now! Really!? Luckily I am defending my thesis about 3 weeks before I am due and then taking 6 months off to enjoy this first baby. But, I know when I look for jobs I will be torn. Plus, the cost of daycare in philly is NUTS! just nuts! Maybe we’ll be in a new state by then (hubby is also finishing his PhD too so we are very mobile).

  2. Latonya says:

    I must agree with Danni…this was a very honest post. I can only imagine your turmoil. As a mom to two girls, I am still not ready to leave them. I always say to myself and others that it would probably be different if they were boys. Not that boys don’t need love too, but it is just something about those girls that makes me want to keep them close. I pray that you are able to come to a decision that is best for all of you. Is it a possible consideration for you to stay home a little longer?

  3. Oh I wish I could extend my mat leave. Thanks for the comments of encouragement! We signed her up for the daycare, but I’m looking for early
    morning help now.

  4. Lauren says:

    I’m up late due to my 9 month old teething and stumbled upon your blog. Love it by the way! I can’t imagine leaving my little boy (my 1st) with anyone other than my mom or stepmom. I’m so blessed to work mostly from home and my husband worked it out so he can come home when I do go in to work. However, I don’t know how long it’ll last. I’m just praying that he can stay home at least until he starts talking. I’ll pray your strength, but I know how you feel!

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Hi. I live in North Texas with God, my man, my boys, and a sweet baby girl.
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