The words thank you don’t seem to do justice to how thankful I actually am for you. You’re more than just a daycare teacher. You’re my wing woman. When I pick my daughter up out of her crib each morning, I cling to her because I know in a few short hours she’ll no longer be in my arms. She’ll be in yours.  

My relationship with you is one of pure love, but also hate. Every morning, I slide on my heels and out the door I go for yet another whirlwind day of car seat carrying, daycare drop off, office talk, conference calls, meetings, daycare pickup, playroom cleanup, bath time, and bottles.

But when I walk in the room to drop my little girl off, you are there smiling, ready to care for my daughter for those hours that I cannot. I envy your t-shirt and jeans, but what I envy more is the time you get with her. 

In the beginning, it was brutal – handing off my tiny baby to a strange woman I didn’t know – a process I would venture to call inhumane. I hated everything during those weeks. I hated my pencil skirt. I hated the drive to work. I hated my job. I hated the guilt. But most of all, I hated you

But now, I adore you.

I’ll never forget the day I got the call that my daughter was sick. It was the first time I, as her mother, wasn’t able to rush to her side. My husband called me later that afternoon, and I broke down in tears as he described the love you showed our sick little girl. You rocked her ever so gently, stroking her back, comforting her as she was throwing up. Just the way I would.

I realized then that I love the love you show my daughter, in the moments when I cannot. While it ripped my heart out to not be there with her, I knew you were.

As a mother, my purpose is to care for my daughter, and while wearing the Mom badge will always be the one I’m most proud of, another badge I wear with honor is working Mom. That badge carries a hefty weight of guilt. But you, you make the guilt a little easier to carry because I know you’re there with my daughter, loving her, comforting her, teaching her.

You’re my right arm. You’re my wing-woman. You allow me the opportunity to wear my badge with pride.

Working mom.

So until I can find the words to convey my profound appreciation, “THANK YOU, wing-woman” will just have to do.

This piece originally appeared on the author’s blog.