'Don't ask, don't tell' has an entirely different meaning for working moms

'Don't ask, don't tell' has an entirely different meaning for working moms

Parenting

'Don't ask, don't tell' has an entirely different meaning for working moms

Victoria Freile’s 10-month-old son Joe pulls himself to standing and has started taking his first steps. Credit: Victoria E. Freile

When it comes to her 10-month-old son’s first steps, first words and other milestones she may be missing, working mom Victoria E. Freile prefers not to know.

In fact, she has a “don’t ask, don’t tell rule” with her caretaker.

In a Democrat & Chronicle story, Freile recalled how it stung when she heard “You missed his first word.”

Seems the caretaker’s 5-year-old daughter divulged that bit of information. Oops.

Freile contemplated what it meant to miss her son Joe’s first words, and while they hurt momentarily, she ultimately thought:

It didn’t matter.”

Consider the reasons why

Some of you may have just read that and thought, what the?! How could she think it didn’t matter? I paused myself.

But hang with me for a minute. This is good. Trust me.

  1. Her baby is loved. Her boy spends nearly nine hours with a friend who is like family who watches her son as though he were her own.
  2. He’s happy. He grins as he greets the caretaker each morning. A good sign for Freile that she’s chosen the right caregiver, I think.
  3. Mom accepts reality. Freile realizes she can’t be there for every moment – whether working or stay-at-home. As a mom to two who had a bit of both worlds when mine were young, I find this incredibly empowering. Parenting guilt-free in the early years doesn’t come easy, and this was especially true for me when I worked and someone else cared for my boys.

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Here’s a gem if you’ve got kids in daycare

Got a kiddo in daycare? About to?

Freile gives advice I wish I’d had when mine were at that stage.

  • Check with your daycare center about their policy on informing you when your child achieves developmental milestones while in their care.
  • Tell them whether you want to know or not.

Freile says The Goddard School in Perinton, NY, lets parents take the lead. I had never considered it could be my choice on this.

Consider asking your daycare provider about this before they divulge what you might not want to know you’ve missed on any given day.

Watch: Joe takes his first steps with help

Putting ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ into practice

Freile’s husband, she explains in the story, travels internationally and has been away a lot during their son’s first year.

I love that she’s taking what she’s learned about not knowing Joe’s milestones have happened, and making that her mantra when her husband is away on business.

Her take:

“No matter when or where these special moments occur, each developmental milestone is new to me.”

The gummy grins. The giggles. The breathy first words. Crawling. Cruising.

Or, the big one that signifies that baby has become a toddler – walking for the first time on his own!

Will she tell her husband whether or not he’s missed any of these moments while he’s away?

“I’ll take a page from our sitter’s book. He won’t know until he sees those wobbly steps with his own eyes.”

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