This month brought a pretty big change for my family: daycare. Since I went back to work a year and a half ago, Dan and I have been tag-teaming childcare, even though we work full time. It was a great money saver, but a sanity saver it was not. Dan and I both work fairly flexible schedules, and we were each able to work from home two days a week, with my mom making up the gap one day a week, and his mom helping us out regularly too.
Even though Selah is a much happier, easier kid at nearly two than she was as a baby, it was significantly easier to work at home with her when she was small and happy to be in the Solly wrap or on her tummy with some toys, not to mention taking two naps a day. Now she’s an energetic, social, go-go-go toddler, and it’s become increasingly difficult to meet everyone’s needs—hers for stimulation, mine and Dan’s for focused work. We knew from the beginning that our childcare system was fragile and likely wouldn’t work forever—definitely not once there were two babies in the mix (which, to be clear, is not in the near future for us).
The best gift I’ve ever given myself as a mom is the permission to revise, revise, revise. So when our current system stopped working, I revised the plan and started looking for a part-time, in-home daycare. Now Selah spends two days a week with a provider I trust, and we are all happier and saner for it. It’s only been two weeks, but Selah already loves her time with Miss A and is getting everything I hoped for: interaction with other kids, outings to the library for story time, tons of time to play outside, and practice with people who are not me.
The ability to change my mind is a privilege I do not take lightly—too many families lack options for flexible work hours and high-quality, affordable childcare. I’m deeply grateful for the support structures I have in my life—proximity to a loving and trustworthy family; a husband who shares the load; access to opportunity, childcare, medical care, etc.—and I never want to stop exploring ways I can provide those supports for other people too.
Here’s more about what I’m learned, loved, and read in September.
What I Learned
- Daycare is good for all of us. Duh. But to say a bit more: I felt really guilty when I decided to start looking for a daycare. I thought it was a sign that I had failed, that I couldn’t do it all, that I couldn’t be everything Selah needed. Of course I can’t do it all or be her everything—nor should I be—but this is not a failure. If it really does take a village to raise a child, then I just expanded mine.
- I have a ridiculously precise body clock. Actually, I always knew this, but it’s been exceptionally frustrating lately. I cannot seem to sleep past 5:30 a.m., no matter what time I go to bed or what day of the week it is. There seem to be plenty of tips for how to fall asleep easier, but not many for staying asleep. If you have any advice, please share!
- Ben and Jerry’s makes non-dairy ice cream! I highly recommend the P.B. & Cookies. (Maybe this should go in the “What I Loved” section, but I needed a third bullet point here.)
What I Loved
- Film: 13th. This is the history lesson we all should have gotten in school. This documentary uses mass incarceration, the advent of our private prison system, and the war on drugs as lenses for exploring systemic racism in the US. I found this fascinating and horrifying. It’s a must-watch that’s conveniently available on Netflix.
- Podcast: We Don’t Know What We’re Doing. Another amazing and honest episode from my favorite podcast, Sorta Awesome, about work-at-home mom life and how no one really knows what they’re doing.
- Spotify Playlists: Deep Work and The Holiday score. Deep Work was curated by Tsh Oxenreider and features hours of beautiful instrumental music, and it is genuinely perfect for getting deep work done. It’s my new go-to playlist for editing and writing. Related to this is the score from The Holiday. It has just enough Christmas connotation to get me in a cozy spirit as the temperatures cool, but without jumping straight to Christmas carols before we get to Thanksgiving.
- Fall temperatures, forever and ever, amen.
What I Read
- The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas: Given the current conversation about police brutality and our responsibility to listen to voices of color, this book is a must-read. This novel, though fictional, humanizes communities of color, examines systemic issues, and provides a nuanced take on racial identity development through the eyes of a 16-year-old who witnesses the murder of her best friend. It was also stunningly well-written, and I never would have guessed it was Thomas’s debut novel. 5 stars.
- The Little Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan: This book was pure fluff, and I loved every minute of it. I’ve been consuming a lot of heavy stuff lately, and this was just the detox my book-loving soul needed. The story was a bit predictable, but the characters were fun and charming. 3.5 stars.
- Jesus for President by Shane Claiborne and Chris Haw: This book encouraged me to think about the context of the Bible in a different way than I had before—from the stories of ancient Israel to the deeply political messages behind Jesus’ words and the subversive community of early Christians. Ultimately, it helps Christians to see that our faith is not tied up in voting the right way, but rather in the radical and loving person of Jesus. As compelling as it was, I found myself checking out in the final 100 pages when things got a little preachy—but overall, a worthwhile read. 4 stars.
- The One Year Daily Acts of Kindness Devotional by Julie Fisk, Kendra Roehl, and Kristin Demery: I had the pleasure of editing this book earlier this year, which releases on October 17 (available for pre-order now). These women are the voices behind The Ruth Experience blog, and they are the real deal when it comes to Christlike kindness. This yearlong devotional chronicles their families’ journey over a whole year of sacrificial kindness and includes ideas you can do each day. 5 stars.
What I Clicked
- For all the exhausted moms who are wondering if this parenting thing really ever gets easier.
- For the women who are wondering if you can have a child without losing your creativity. (Spoiler alert: YES)
- For all the recovering perfectionists who want to live more fully alive.