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They Say: Daycare Makes Friends for Mom

daycareStop hanging your daycare-loving head in shame, Mom. A new study says what’s good for our sanity (and our paychecks) is also good for our circle of friends.

Researchers at the University of Chicago found that moms who put their kids in daycare were likely to have at least one more “good friend” than moms going it alone.

I’m going to admit I’m a teensy bit surprised by this one.

On the surface, it makes sense – where there are kids, there are parents, and where there are parents running into one another, friendships are struck up (the study’s author says specifically that centers with specific drop off and pick-up times help to facilitate meetings, and thus friendships). But having switched just this summer to being a completely work-at-home mother after four years of sending my daughter to daycare part-time, I’ve encountered my first real taste of the at home mom friendship ring.

They all know each other. And they all spend time together.

Able to take my daughter to her daily swimming lessons for the month of July, I was encountering mostly at home moms – the only other people with the ability to spend a summer doing daily trips to the pool (besides the teachers, off for the summer, who were likewise there with their kids).

I’m aware that being an at-home parent is not all baking cookies and throwing playdates. But in my small town, it’s the at-home moms who seem to have the stronger connections – in part because they meet at the daytime story hours, music classes, etc. that their kids take part in . . . and the rest of us simply can’t get our kids to.

Working full-time, I saw more friendships slip away because I don’t have the energy at the end of the day for a phone call after dinner, bath, etc. . . and I want my weekends for hanging with my husband and daughter. The relationship I once shared with my closest stay-at-home mom friend crumbled when she too went back to work and neither of us had the time for stroller walks on a weekday while our husbands were at work or playdates at the park.

Working parents, do you meet friends at daycare? Stay-at-homes, where do you pick up your bestest buddies?

Image: tips for moms

Source: University of Chicago

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