I didn't really plan on ever sharing this story but I feel like my life derailed this past winter and I can't seem to get us back on track. This is really Max's story and I didn't feel it was right to share it. But I never had any idea how much this would effect me. So here it is...
This past winter, the shit hit the fan.
In December, Max's two daycare teacher abruptly left the school. He doesn't always accept change well so I was worried but I thought we would muscle through. In January, I could tell things weren't exactly kosher all the time but no major drama, so I left well enough alone. Then at the end of January, things got bad.
The last week of January, I received calls from Max's daycare every day. Max was rough, Max was aggressive. I needed to pick Max up right away. Finally, the last Friday in January, the daycare director called and told me that Max had hurt a teacher and they were done. Max had been kicked out of daycare.
My son is big for his age and he can be aggressive. But he is a lover and I really find it hard to believe that he that bad. Trust me, I am well aware of my sons faults. There are no blinders here. But I strongly believe things at this school were exaggerated.
I was so in shock when I drove to the school. I honestly didn't know this situation was possible. But weirdly the night before, I didn't sleep all night, like I knew something bad was going to happen. I got to the school and his belongings were sitting by the front door in trash bags. I begged the director to give me a couple of weeks to find another solution but she was adamant. It was over.
I remember sobbing the whole way home that day. I literally didn't know what to do. Around lunch time, I came out of the fog and got down to action. I called my ex and first the first time in a long time, he stepped up to the plate and agreed to take Max for the next week. Then I started hammering the phones. I called every daycare in Fairfield and the neighboring towns.
By the end of the day, I had six appointments for the next week. I dropped Max off that Sunday, determined to find a solution. After a long and exhausting week, I thought I had found a solution. A local daycare, that was less expensive, on my way to work and provided diapers..... cue the hallelujah chorus.
That daycare couldn't take him for two weeks so I managed to find a temporary nanny and then took some days off from work to supplement. Add in snowstorms every Monday and this was a really depressing time period and I know Max could feel the strain.
Daycare number two was bad from the beginning. I wanted to throw up every morning when I dropped him off and every day my stomach would start to hurt right before I picked him up. He sobbed when I left him every day. It was so awful that I would cry on my way to work. The teachers were emotionless. Every day when I picked him up they never had anything good to say about him. It was so frustrating but I was determined to make it work.
That first Friday the director called me and said she thought Max might not be a good fit for the school but we would give it a couple of more weeks. I was so discouraged. How can you make that decision in just three days? Why doesn't my son deserve a valid chance?
By the end of March, it was official. School number two was a bust.
The last week of that daycare I posted ads on care.com, interviewed nannies, called references, etc. It was exhausting. Every lunch hour and every night was poured into this. I couldn't go to a third daycare and fail again. Finally, I found A. She seemed really great. Early to work every day, house was spotless, etc. She wasn't warm and fuzzy but neither am I.
Mid May, Max was offered a spot at the ECC. It is a special preschool run by our town. The best way to describe it, is a program for kids who need a little extra help. Max needs that and I was ecstatic to get a spot... until they told me it was only three hours a day. Who does that work for??
I kept A on to supplement his time at the ECC but she was starting to become problematic. He was always in diapers (even though we are up to our eyeballs in potty training) and then he told me that she spanked him. Before I had the chance to talk to her about it, she quit. No need to rehash that story, but as you can see, I was once again in a bind.
I pieced together the past couple of weeks by using family members, other babysitters and vacation time. Tomorrow the new nanny starts. Then in the fall I hope to place him in his third daycare. He will go there after his mornings at the ECC each day.
Where am I going with all this drama?
Basically, when this stuff happened with Max, my life derailed too. The stress of managing his care eats away at me. I don't sleep well any longer because my mind is constantly spinning. I had to quit my gym because I didn't have time to go. I haven't been on a date since December. I haven't been out with friends since February. The cost of the nanny hindered any extra money to be spent on fun things like weekend babysitters or new clothes. In addition, the ex stopped paying child support.
Side note- this is not a bitch fest. I will admit that my plate is very full. I own an older house, I have a wild Indian for a child and I also own my own business. But my life is not horrible. There are people out there who have much greater challenges than I have. But some days all of these moving parts do feel like they are about to bury me. Those are the days, like today, when I am so sad about all of this.
What I am trying to say, is that when I got divorced, all I wanted to do was rebuild me. Lose the baby weight that won't go away. Make new friends. Buy a house. Finally meet someone I can share my life with. But the basis of all of those things is that I want to be happy. And that is not too much to ask for.
But then this stuff with Max happened and I had to scrap all of that. The bottom line is that your child comes first. No matter what. He has to come first. I am his care giver, his provider, his advocate, his protector. I am everything. There isn't a B team to pick up the slack.
Everyone likes to talk about Me time. But what do you do when there physically isn't any more time left in the day. When there is no money to spend, no more energy to give. What do you do then? How do I put our lives back on track?