My husband is on his way to take our baby to daycare for the first time.
Ugh. I have such mixed feelings about this.
I never thought I would take my kids to daycare. I wasn’t exactly in the “I’m not going to have kids so someone else can raise them” camp, because hello, nobody says that about teachers. I don’t know of anyone that drops their kid off all day so they can go re-live their pre-mommy days.
Buuut….I also have a fear of bad people. When I was pregnant and just after having her, I swear there was a daycare horror story on the news every freaking week. I won’t share them here because I don’t want to scare anyone else and I’m sure you’ve heard the stories anyways. Seriously, though, it was like the universe was telling me to never leave my baby. Ever.
Since that is impossible for our circumstances we decided daycare was the best route. So here are 5 issues we’ve struggled with and 5 affirmations that have helped us come to terms with daycare.
Struggle #1: What is with creepy daycare names?
Like any normal person, I looked online to see what daycares were in the area. Little did I know, people in the early childhood development sector have a thing for creeptastic daycare names. Which then lead to a general Google search of creepy daycare names. Let’s get real here. If you name your daycare “Fantasy Farm,” you can be sure I won’t be bringing my kid there. No way I trust the judgement of any place that sounds like a bad front for child trafficking.
Struggle #2: Cost*
Normal people also ask for references to good daycares. Everyone where we live recommended the same place. It sounds amazing–and it better be for over $1,000 a month! Daycare is so freaking expensive. I totally get why so many parents don’t work once they have kids. It’s the sad irony that it is too expensive to work. If my husband was working, rather than a student, I honestly would probably do the same thing. But as we’re both in school, someone has to work.
Struggle #3: Guilt
Even though I think my daughter will love daycare, I still feel a lot of guilt for putting her in daycare. Guilty that I didn’t see the future as an undergrad and realize that I was going to change my grad school plans, which would push back my earning potential.Guilty that it took me two years to commit to pursuing Speech-Language Pathology. Guilty, guilty, guilty. I know I’m not the only one.
Struggle #4: Worry about mean kids. Or bad kids.
Um, this will totally be me one day.
Struggle #5: Worry about mean/bad employees.
And this is even more likely.
The mama bear rage is strong in this one.
So you can guess that I’m a worrier. Here are 5 things that I keep reminding myself.
Affirmation #1: She loves being with people.
We take our daughter on multiple trips to Target every week so she can walk around and engage with people. It’s her favorite thing in the freaking world, after gouging out our eyes with her razor nails. She will love being around that many people for a few hours every day.
Affirmation #2: We need to eat and stay dressed.
I’m sure she’d love to run around naked all day every day, but that’s illegal, so we keep our family clothed. Jokes aside, we do need to support our family. At the beginning I mentioned the phrase, “I didn’t have kids so someone else could raise them.” Well, cool, I agree. I also didn’t have kids so they could go hungry, and working is pretty crucial to that.
Affirmation #3: Working parents are good examples to kids.
While there is more and more evidence showing the good impact working mothers have on children, I think it’s important for children to see parents working in general. That doesn’t mean both have to work full-time or that it’s not good for a mom to stay home. What it does mean is that I believe it’s important for kids to see a strong work ethic in their parents, regardless of what setting that is. If yours happens to be in a paying job, then good for you and you’re not ruining your kid by being at work.
Affirmation #4: I really enjoy working.
Aside from the physical necessity of working, I also like it. I love spending time with my girl more than anything, but it doesn’t mean that it’s the only thing I like. When she was born, I was working full time and living around lots of family. Within three months we had moved across the country without any family nearby. It was a surprisingly hard adjustment for me. So many unanticipated changes happen when you become a parent that it’s easy to feel like you’ve lost yourself. Working is something that helps me remember who I am in addition to being a mom and wife. And if I’m going to teach my daughter to know and love who she is, I better feel that way about myself.
Affirmation #5: We feel like this is the right thing for us.
With all the worries I have, this is number one for me. My husband and I feel like this really is the best situation for us. Whether it’s your faith or logic or necessity that gives that feeling to you, trust it. You get to determine what is best for your family. I’ll be keeping this on repeat all day.
My husband said this morning, “I’m so sad she’s going, but I need to be okay with this.” So that’s where I am right now. A mix of sadness that she’s going and super excited for her because I know she’ll have a blast. Parenting definitely opens up a whole new world of emotions. Have fun little girl, you’ll be great!
And to bring some lightness to your daycare life, the good people at College Humor made a great video to get you nice and relaxed about it. Can’t be as bad as here, right?
*The only way this is affordable for us is because we are using state benefits to help with the cost of daycare. It’s not free, but I appreciate any amount of help we receive. This help allows me to work and keeps us from being completely dependent on government assistance. If you’re in a similar situation, look to see what help your state offers in regards to daycare. You can google your state’s DSHS for info.