“I would NEVER put my baby in DAYCARE.”
I sat across the desk from this Mommy friend, five weeks pregnant, stunned that someone would say that. Because she knew my three year old was in daycare. And though she didn’t know that number two was on her way, I was really taken aback by the negative response sending my child to daycare conjured up. I mean, I was a product of daycare.
And who was she to question what was right for my family?
When my first daughter was born, I, too, thought daycare was beneath me. And I had a neighborhood SAHM watch her for the first five months that I went back to work. This was probably the biggest mistake I made in that first year of my daughter’s life. Though we were friends and she was a wonderful Mom to her own children, she was not a very good babysitter. It was evident that she resented my daughter often making unkind comments about her to me when I would pick her up. She would tell me how I should mother her and constantly ask me when I was going to quit my job and raise my own child. And I was told by multiple moms in the neighborhood that she was critical of my parenting style.
Needless to say, I found somewhere else for my baby to go the next school year.
I opted for another in-home situation the second go round. And the lady that kept my daughter was warm and wonderful. But after two years, it was apparent that she needed more structure, organization and academics. At two and a half, I sent my kid to “school” – or daycare. And when my second daughter was born, she went with her big sister.
In the four years that my family has opted for daycare over in home, we have been for the better. The women that care for my daughters do so with love and respect every day. There is a curriculum and they are learning coping skills, academic skills, social skills that an in home (or stay at home) environment can’t give them. But most importantly: my children are happy. And safe.
Certainly there are some conveniences to in home daycare. And getting a call 30 minutes after drop off that one of the kids is sick and can’t come back for at least 24 hours certainly has it’s difficulties. Having to pay even when they aren’t there can be a pain. But you work it out. You figure it out.
And the most important question to ask yourself when trying to decide where to send your kids while you are working:
- Are they loved?
- Are they safe?
- Is this what is best for our family unit.
If the answers to the above questions are YES, then you’ve made the right choice.