Sunday, January 02, 2011

Day Care

Somehow I seem to have failed to mention that Little G goes to daycare.

Consider it mentioned.

A year ago, I was really struggling to balance my life. Little G is a very. social. very. spirited. baby. What that means, is that we go out and socialize every day. On those days when we are stuck in the house with each other, we BOTH end up going a little crazy. My husband had suggested that we look into a caregiver to come for a couple of days a week to watch Little G, but I couldn't even begin to imagine doing it.

I was so emotionally strung out and Little G was so spirited that I couldn't understand how anyone could watch him for a day and not end up hating him. I knew he sometimes got to me by the end of the day...and I LOVED him!! So it didn't make sense that someone who wasn't his mom or dad could watch him and care for him the same way I could.

Around that time, we held a brunch at my home for a group of girlfriends of mine and it turned out that a good friend of mine was out of work and looking for a babysitting situation. It was the perfect fit. Here was this amazing, Godly woman, who was a FRIEND who could come and watch Little G for the whole day while I got things done. The main intent was to be able to work on my business...but the icing on the cake would be able to run errands and/or do the little things that weren't getting done because I was all mommy, all the time.

Little G and Miss Jenn had their first day together last January and it was great. I was nervous the entire time, but it worked out really well. From then on, we had a standing date with Miss Jenn to come to our house on Tuesdays and play with Little G. It was a wonderful arrangement and I am forever grateful that the very first caregiver other than us our son had was a trusted friend and a wonderful child-caregiver.

Jumping forward a few months...I was reading the posts on our local parenting board and I noticed a posting by a woman who was losing her daycare situation because the provider was retiring. She was looking for someone to share two days a week with her since she worked a modified schedule. I saw the posting, but pretty much ignored it...we had a great situation and I didn't want to go through the hassle of trying to research and find a place...not to mention, I didn't know that much about the original poster.

About a week later, the woman posted again. She commented about how she had exhausted the spreadsheet of 40+ in home daycare services in our town and had started looking in a neighboring town that tends to have a bad reputation based on location. She found a wonderful family daycare center that was restarting after completely overhauling their entire facility and programs. The woman waxed poetic about the values of the place, the care her child would receive, the curriculum, the cost, the philosophy. Basically, she admitted to crying she was so happy to have found a place so great.

I was really affected by her post, especially since she had done so much research and shared it. Then I found out that the woman who posted works for the Massachusetts Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Children (MSPCC) and that she herself has fostered over 70 children! I contacted her right away to see if perhaps we would be a good match to share her slot with her.

After a few visits, some paper work and some other arrangements, Little G started his new daycare two days a week on August 1 when he was just shy of 13 months old. I dropped him off, kissed his head, got in the car, pulled away, drove up the street, parked, called my mom and cried my eyes out. Was I right to transition him from a playful, one-on-one babysitting situation with a trusted friend to a structured, family daycare setting with more kids and strange adults? I picked him up at the end of the day and he was laying in the arms of one of the caregivers sipping his milk. He barely glanced up at me to acknowledge my arrival. He could have cared less that I showed up to take him home!!

The next couple of visits were more difficult as he cried the moment we pulled up to the daycare...but I stayed behind one day and hid around a corner and found out he really DID stop crying about 10 seconds after I left! Soon, when I would drop him off, Little G would scootch off into the play room and barely look behind him to check if I even existed. The kid loved it there!

Daycare has been a wonderful experience for Little G. He THRIVES there. The women who work there are all so incredibly invested in him even though he isn't there every day. They worked tirelessly with him on yoga and stretches and exercises to encourage him to develop his gross motor skills. And his socialization skills are off the charts. I try not to let myself get too discouraged because it is easy to fall into the trap of blaming myself for not being able to provide the same environment for him at our home. I know that I could NOT do the things they do for him at daycare and I have learned to appreciate the time I now have at home to work on my business.

So often the debate with mothers is over being a stay-at-home-mom vs. a traditionally working mom. In the ensuing arguments for both sides, arguments that are silly considering how personal a choice it is in the first place, daycare tends to get a bashing. Traditionally working mom's can feel guilty that someone else is raising their child...not shockingly they may feel guilty about it because some SAHM's say things like "I couldn't do daycare and have someone else raise my child." But the truth is, sometimes someone else is just what the doctor ordered.


  1. It sounds like you have found the perfect situation. I am the first to admit that I am a better mom because I have time away!

  2. WOW that daycare sounds amazing!

    I work full-time and send our 6 month old to daycare. I have so many mixed feelings about it (like you said, someone else is raising my child). Well today she mentioned that our daughter might have an ear infection. I thought she was crazy; our daughter is acting fine, totally normal and happy, but we went to the doctor anyway because I didn't want the daycare provider to say that we needed doctor clearance for our daughter to come baack. Turns out she has an infection in both ears. Sometimes you just need someone else to help you out!

  3. Long time reader.

    I just want to applaud you for making this tough decision. In this time of blogified mommy wars, it takes courage to talk about this.

    Also, don't let people convince you that daycare --> someone else raising your child. Someone else is watching him and being involved in his life, day to day, but when push comes to shove, you are his mother and will be there for the real parenting moments :)

  4. Wow, I'm so jealous. Our girl is similar to how you describe G -- just a full-on job every minute of every day. I read posts by moms whose kids play quietly while mommy does grownup things, and my mind boggles! Long story short, I love our child to death, but after almost 2 years without a break I am BURNED OUT.

    But we can't afford daycare, and she's not good with strangers anyway. (The one time I tried daycare during BlogHer, I had to come back after 15 minutes to stop the endless, heart-rending sobbing. I assume she'd get used to it eventually, but can't put that kind of stress on a daycare provider.) Thought of trading off with another SAHM, but there are issues there too. So, just counting the days till she starts school and feeling jealous over your wonderful situation. Enjoy it!!

  5. I don't have any kids but I have lots of friends with kids and I have seen both sides of this situation. Some others are made to be stay at home moms and some just aren't. There is nothing wrong with either decision. It sounds like you are both happier the way things are. Good for you!