When I left my previous job to stay home with my young son, I spent the first few weeks too enamored with him to think about anything else. We would spend our days dancing in the kitchen to country music, snuggling, and bundling up for snowy walks. As you can imagine, when I started freelancing and the idea of daycare became a reality again, thinking about those first days without him was pretty weird. But the volume of work had became such that I couldn’t manage it while also taking care of my son.

And so, we did what millions and millions of other working families do: we got help. For us, it came in the form of a part-time spot at a local children’s center. We took him with us to explore while we filled out paperwork, and then we also did a dry-run, too, getting him up and taking him in, letting him meet his teacher, play with some of the toys, eat at a new table, and experience the routine.

And, then...we dropped him off. Or technically, his dad dropped him off. I stood in the window, watching them drive away. Then it was just me and the dog. If you've ever been a stay-at-home mom whose kid started daycare, you're familiar with that very distinct, odd feeling you have the first time you're home without your kid. Here’s what happens next:

You Wander Aimlessly Through The Empty House


Where was everyone? Why was the house so quiet? Is this what pants feel like when there’s no toddler tugging on them? Weird.

You Walk Around Naked


Is there any better way to embrace one’s freedom than by removing all clothing?

You Take the Longest, Hottest Shower Known To Man


I mean, I did bring bring my phone into the bathroom in case the daycare needed to reach me, but still. It was a great shower.

You Pop Some Bottles


In my case, it was shampoo bottles, but my point still stands.

You Do Some Chores (The Really Satisfying Ones)


OK, maybe this one’s a little lame, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t include it. After a toddler spends almost all his waking hours in one place for months, it feels really good to clean it a bit (or a lot).

You Get Out Of The House


On my son’s first day away from home, I had plans that took me out of the house for part of the morning, which in some ways made it feel like any other day. That said, it went quickly and kept my mind off of our new routine, so no complaints.

You Embrace Solitude


On my son’s second day of school, I stayed home and got a TON of stuff done, so much that I felt kinda guilty for being proud of it. This whole working mom thing is a work in progress.

You Miss Your Kid Like Crazy


Does this part get easier? I kinda hope so.