I was a stay-at-home mom with my four children. I had a hard time letting go when it was time for them to start kindergarten. My apron strings were made of steel.
But when the day came in March 1985 when I started working at this newspaper, I knew I was doing the right thing. My youngest child was 3 and he stayed with my mother while I was at work.
Fast forward 28 years.
I am still working at the newspaper doing the job I still love — writing. This year, though, I am leaving behind a baby when I go to work. And it’s kind of hard.
My 14-month-old grandson, William, lives with us and, for the first time last week, I took him to day care. I cried (my daughter — who lives next door — typically takes him on her way to work. So far, he’s only going one day a week but that will soon change). His teachers told me that he would be fine and I should go ahead and leave.
“Good grief, Karen. You’re 61 and sitting in your car crying. Get a grip,” I said to myself.
The thing is, it’s not so bad. Day care is actually good. He gets a “report card” every day he’s at the center, and, so far, every card says he’s a happy baby. The teacher notes whether he ate well, how long he napped and whether he was fussy or happy. And he’s happy.
I know the interaction with others, including babies his age, is good for my grandson. The world doesn’t exist in the confines of my home. There’s too much out there to experience — even for a 14-month-old. Since moving in with us in September, William has been to birthday parties, swimming, soccer games, outdoor festivals, cookouts, campfires. He’s played in the dirt (ate a little, too), been to restaurants, the Tennessee Aquarium, goes to his grandfather’s law office, toured the newspaper, played on playgrounds, and he’ll go to his first live play (his cousin, Tilleigh, is an elf in a Christmas play) in a few weeks. He spends quality time with paternal and maternal family members, and, best of all, he’s showered with love.
So, turns out, I’ve evolved from a dedicated stay-at-home mom to a contented working grandmother. Being a working “mom” is working for me. Finally. My happy William proves it.
Contact Karen Nazor Hill at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6396.
Feature writer Karen Nazor Hill covers fashion, design, home and gardening, pets, entertainment, human interest features and more. She also is an occasional news reporter and the Town Talk columnist. She previously worked for the Catholic newspaper Tennessee Register and was a reporter at the Chattanooga Free Press from 1985 to 1999, when the newspaper merged with the Chattanooga Times. She won a Society of Professional Journalists Golden Press third-place award in feature writing for ...