Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Daycare Dilemma

Before I had a child, I THOUGHT the issues people had with choosing to send their kids to daycare stemmed from wanting to be at home, but not being able to afford it or not wanting someone else to raise their child. I THOUGHT that daycare was an option that no one really wanted, and thus we all tried to make up excuses for why it was a good thing.

I was wrong. And though this is a potentially controversial topic, I think it is important for me to state I was wrong with the hope that maybe it will enlighten someone else who might have the same misunderstanding.

Yes, there are many parents out there who would much rather be with their children and raise them at home without the use of daycare, who potentially can't because they can't afford it. And yes, there are people who think that carting your kid to daycare every day is akin to having someone else raise your child.

But daycare can be so much more to your child. We send Little G to daycare because he has a more social experience there than I can provide for him at home. When we get to daycare, I help him clamber up the steps, reach to ring the bell, and then wave when he slightly turns back after the door has opened to wave goodbye to me before running to meet his friends.

Before allowing myself to appreciate the time it gave me to do what I needed to do to work from home, I used to beat myself up about not being a good enough mom to be able to keep him as entertained as daycare can. But I'm not a troupe of 5 kids, and I can't provide them at home, so if he's going to get that experience, it is going to be at daycare.

So I openly apologize to me for judging myself for needing daycare to get through my weeks. Now if only I could adopt the same attitude about Elmo.


  1. I always feel so unqualified to comment on these types of posts because I don't have children, but I just wanted to say good for you for having such a healthy attitude about daycare! Everyone has to make the best choice they can for their child (without unnecessary judgment from others!) and it sounds like G is having a fun, positive experience there :)

  2. Thank you for this post. We will be doing some sort of day care out of necessity, but it never occurred to me to feel bad or guilty about it until I got some judgy-mcjudgerson comments from friends. After walking through the most recent center we visited, which was fabulous, I almost feel guilty wanting to keep my kid at home with me when he could be doing all of this fun, social stuff with cool projects and activities!

  3. :) Don't judge yourself at all.

    I am not in the "I want to be a SAHM but can't afford it so we take L to daycare" camp, but that's what most people automatically assume WHO ARE NOT sending their kids to daycare. Some of us have children and have made the decision long ago that Mom would not be a SAHM but a working mom because that's what is best for everyone (and has nothing to do with money).

    Miss L adores going to school. Would a part-time situation be ideal? Yes, but it's not possible. But knowing that she's being overly enriched each day and having a blast with her friends makes me feel guilty when I keep her inside and alone on weekends.

  4. If it weren't for day care, my daughter would practically be feral.

  5. Small steps. :)

    My child went to day care and I work because it makes us a better family. Thanks or sharing this.

  6. I love this perspective! Then, immediately, I think, "Duh...we take our dogs to the dog park so they can get socialization. Why the heck wouldn't we take our (future at this point) kid(s) to daycare to get the same socialization?"

    Thanks for posting, M. Even though IT Geek's gonna be a SAHD, this definitely has me thinking 1 or 2 days a week in daycare is a great idea. :)

  7. Socialization is definitely something we stress about. It's actually one of the driving forces behind having another baby sooner than later because he needs someone to play with.

    I do think that maybe I over-stress about it though, because what about only children that live in isolated areas? Are they all socially retarded (and I do *not* use that word as an insult or interjection ever, I am trying to use it correctly here) or does it really matter? I have no idea.