So, it had come down to the wire. I’m starting back at work in three weeks and, despite being on about 20 waiting lists since I was 12 weeks pregnant, there have been no signs of a childcare place. We are told we are top of the list at our preferred centre – much good may it do us. So, it was with quite a bit of apprehension that I went for a tour of a local centre today.

This wasn’t my first tour, I’ve checked out a number of centres. It was, however, my first tour where I left little miss to play.

Related: How I feel about returning to work

I was nervous before we left. I kept trying to psyche myself out of the butterflies. Honestly, it wasn’t like I hadn’t done it before. But this was different. I knew this centre had vacancies. I knew this might be it. I knew that if everything went well – or, given the circumstances, didn’t go spectacularly bad – missy would likely be starting there at the end of the week.

And you know what? It did go well. While touring the toddler and kindergarten rooms I was a little unsure. The kids seemed happy enough, but it didn’t feel amazing, not like my favourite centre. We entered the baby room and carers were just relaxing and talking to the babies. There didn’t seem to be any structure to the play, but everyone seemed happy enough. I put my daughter on the floor while I talked to the centre manager – miss squirmy didn’t want to stay in my arms. Then something happened. She cried. She cried and one of the centre’s carers walked up and picked her up and carried her over to the group to join in with some musical instrument playing. For the next 30 minutes I watched her enjoy the company of other kids, watch a puppet show and get excited about playing with another baby. Suddenly everything was OK. I could almost feel the weight lifting from my shoulders.

It turns out I’m not nervous about starting work. I was nervous about getting a childcare spot, and even more nervous about the possibility that missy wouldn’t cope without her Mumma. Yet, it appears, everything is going to be fine. We got in. In two days we begin orientation.

It’s going to be a rocky ride. My kid is going to get sick. My heart is going to break as I leave her for her first full day and head into work. But you know what? This is the first of many times in my life I’m going to have to learn to let go a little, and let little miss independence do her own thing. And you know what else? It turns out that everything is going to be OK.

Next: Five things I’ve achieved in my first year as a parent

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