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Don’t Tell Me Daycare is Raising My Child

By marylweimer |

Kids on Site, Ribbon Cutting Ceremony, USAG-Humphreys, 19 Sept. 2011I’m a woman who happens to be a mother who happens to have a job. As it turns out, my job isn’t one that requires pantsuits and packing my leftovers in reusable containers to eat at a desk during lunch.

I work from home. I don’t have a commute and I’m not forced to arrive early for a good parking spot. But not very long ago that was my life.

For six years I was a working mom, shuffling the responsibilities of a client caseload and the needs of my family simultaneously.

It wasn’t glamorous. I’d return home in the evening to a crock pot charred with chicken and a laundry pile that sat damp on the floor for days at a time.

There were nights when I did the math over and over in my head: daycare costs versus biweekly paycheck were within spitting distance of each other. When my pregnant belly began to swell the scale tipped decidedly to one side.

Working didn’t make sense any more: financially, emotionally, or logistically.

Even though I’ve hung up my working outside of the home hat, I still identify with the sisterhood of daycare moms.

Recently I heard a comment that’s left a bad taste in my mouth. It wasn’t intended to offend, I’m sure, but it reeked of the kind of self-righteous ignorance that unknowingly hits below the belt.

I’m a stay at home mom because I don’t want daycare raising my kids.

While I understood her point, it could have been made in so many more tactful ways:

I’m not comfortable with daycare.

It’s not the right choice for our family.

I prefer to be home with my children for now.

Because let’s be clear. A daycare center is no substitute for a mother.

What’s more, there are many, many families for whom daycare is the only option. There are others who actually (Gasp) think daycare isn’t all that bad. In all the years my children went to daycare they never once complained. I enjoyed interacting with the providers and hearing their assessment of my children’s development.

The staff was invested in my family and cared about my kids. When my oldest developed an issue with biting at age 3, the director took the time to find resources we could use at home to resolve it.

Daycare helped me be a better mom.

I think most of us respect that different arrangements work for different families. No matter what your particular arrangement happens to be, let’s all agree to choose our words carefully about why we’ve made the choices we did.

Whether your children go to daycare or not, I’ll respect your decision. I hope you’ll respect mine.

Photo Credit: USAG-Humphreys/Flickr

Mary Lauren Weimer is a social worker turned mother turned writer. Her blog, My 3 Little Birds, encourages moms to put down the baby books for a moment and tell their own stories. Connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

Related Posts by Mary Lauren:

Why I Was a Better Parent Before I Had Kids

The Measure of a Mom

How to Win the Mom Wars

 

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About marylweimer

marylweimer

marylweimer

Mary Lauren Weimer is a freelance writer and blogger. Her work has appeared in such places as Spirituality & Health and The Huffington Post, and she’s known for her thoughtful and introspective writing about all aspects of motherhood and the parent-child relationship.

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33 thoughts on “Don’t Tell Me Daycare is Raising My Child

  1. Leslie says:

    I totally understand that for many people daycare is a necessity. And some women can come off sounding smug when they talk about why they wouldn’t use one. That’s not helpful. But neither is it helpful for everyone to tiptoe around the issue of whether kids are better off at home than in an institutionalized setting for long periods from an early age. The discussion might spur some women to try to find ways to stay home, or it might lead to better day care centers.

    And moms who use daycare can sound smug at times too: “Oh, my kid loves daycare. I don’t know how you can stand to stay home all day.” Moms at home don’t want to hear that the way they are spending their days is of no additional benefit to their kids any more than moms at work want to hear that their kids are suffering in day care. Thus the dilemma of how to talk about this issue.

    I worked in a daycare as lead teacher in the two-year-old room for six months. It was a nice, new center in an upscale area. And I loved my kids. But working there only solidified my own determination to avoid institutional care for my kids when I had them. And many day cares are not as nice as that one was. My solution ended up involving financial hardship to a degree that many people would find irresponsible but it was that important to me. I do understand that many people could not or would not make that choice.

    So let’s respect one another’s choices, but let’s not do so without taking a critical look at systems/lifestyles that separate mother and child without a second thought, and without making sure that day cares provide the very best alternative to being at home with mom as possible.

  2. bethanne says:

    Amen.

    Daycare is NOT raising my child. Are they having a hand in raising him? Absolutely. But are they 100% raising him as the comment suggests? Absolutely not.

  3. Kim @ seven thirty three says:

    THANK YOU for this! I don’t deal with these comments in my day-to-day life because most people around me are also working moms with children in daycare, but online is another story. I choose to work to provide a better life for my family and because I grew up a strong, independent woman that also knew, even as a girl, that she wanted to have a professional career. I choose to send my children to an inhome daycare that I researched THOROUGHLY before letting my children attend. I stopped in announced during daycare hours to see the conditions of the home and children currently there, etc. Although she provides love and affection and social stimulation to my children during the day, I PROVIDE the love and nurturing that a child needs every other hour of the day and night. They know that I am their mommy and my husband is their daddy and we love them unconditionally. I do not judge those that choose to stay home. I may be jealous every now and again, but at the same time I know my children are building relationships and skills they would not have had otherwise. I have also built a relationship with their caregiver and we have an open communication system that leaves me happy and comfortable with where my children are during my working hours.

  4. Barbara says:

    My son is in daycare 3 days a week for 8 hrs/day. He started daycare at age 9 months (he’s about to turn 1 year old now) and it has been a HUGE success already in this brief amount of time. I’m very thankful that my husband was able to stay at home with our son for 5 months (our son was a micro-preemie born at 23 weeks, 6 days gestation and spent his first 4 months in a real institution: a hospital). Those months with my husband as primary caregiver were a real gift to him and to our son and daycare has not taken that away in the least bit.

    Let me tell you, I’m amazed at how much work the daycare teachers put into my son’s development. He’s at a small daycare run by fabulous people and perhaps they pay special attention to him because he was a micro-preemie, but I readily see the results of their work with him. It’s not that my husband and I don’t put in the time to work with our son on his milestones (sitting up, crawling, the pincer grasp) but the truth is that we spend our time at home with laundry, meal planning and preparation, grocery shopping, cleaning (uh, perhaps I’m being generous here), but you get the picture. And, yes, we play with our son, sing to him, read to him, work with him on his social, emotional, physical, and motor development. But, it is a different environment (when you find the right one for you and your family) when the focus of the entire day is your child’s development.

    I felt really nervous about putting him in daycare (I mean, REALLY nervous – he was my 1.5 lb baby boy!!), but I am so happy with his care there that I feel like it has been a real asset to our son. The bottom line is that it works well for our family. Do I think that stay-at-home moms or dads are missing out? Heck no! Do I judge people for their choices to stay home or use full-time daycare or have Grandma babysit for them during the week? Absolutely not. It’s not my business and frankly, I don’ t know every family’s struggle.

    I do take issue, however, with people suggesting that my separation from my son hurts him and/or me. You don’t know me (or my son), you don’t know what I’ve been through to get here, so don’t be so quick to make blanket judgments about every child in daycare. I also take issue with people assuming that “the mother should stay home” to raise their children when fathers can be perfectly competent and wonderful in the role as well, but that’s another comment on another day.

    Let’s all accept that we must find what works for our own family and not pretend that there is one solution for everyone. Let’s not assume that if people do things differently than we do that the child will be crushed and ill-equipped to handle life’s challenges. Try walking a mile in my shoes before judging me and I promise to do the same for you.

  5. January says:

    I was both a working mom and a stay at home mom. I had anxiety constantly when I worked, mentally adding up the hours trying to figure out who spent more time with my baby – me or his caregiver (who was fabulous and loved him to pieces), and daydreaming about all the things I was missing out on with him…which I’m sure is not entirely unusual for Mothers. (and if you don’t have those anxieties – that’s okay too! – a lot of woman have a fulfilling successful career that they love – I did not). After I got pregnant with my second child I quit 2 months before he was born and decided ultimately that the best choice (for our family and my sanity) was for me to stay home. Like you ML, it made most sense financially too. Believe me, there are days when I wish I worked just to get out of the house but daycare is simply way too much money – it’s not feasible for us. There are definite benefits to both sides and I certainly wouldn’t judge anyone for the choice they make – it’s very personal and there are so many layers to that choice.

  6. Janet says:

    I wish I had the choice, but I don’t – I’m a single mother. My daughter is in daycare all day, every day.

  7. Liz says:

    Maybe the wording in that woman’s comment wasn’t as “technical” as it should have been. Maybe a more accurate statement would have been, “I’m a stay at home mom because I don’t want someone else being the driving force in the upbringing and raising of my kids”.
    .
    The alternative wordings you chose (I’m not comfortable with daycare, It’s not the right choice for our family, I prefer to be home with my children for now) don’t accurately convey the probable meaning of this woman’s reasons for not wanting to put her kids in daycare.
    .
    Looking at what RAISING a child actually means (nurturing, protecting, feeding, and directing the spiritual, educational, and social development, perhaps) daycares often take on the HUGE blunt of “raising” the child. I know many homes where the child is in daycare for 11-12 hours a day, and the only time parents are even with their child is to feed them dinner and put them to bed, and on the weekends. That doesn’t mean that the parents aren’t contributing factors (hardly), but it does mean that the daycare teachers are, yes, indeed, a more influential factor in the child’s development, learning, and care than the parents are.
    .
    Is this meant to cause mommy guilt? Of course not. For many families it is a necessity. Surely attending a high quality daycare for most of the waking hours in the child’s young life is a lot better alternative than living on the streets! But I think it’s not right either to try and downplay the influence of the daycare providers in the “raising” of your children.

  8. Robin @ Farewell, Stranger says:

    When people say that, I always wonder if they have ever had their kids in daycare. I assume not. (If so, I’d cut them a little more slack.)

    As someone who has never had a child in daycare, I can’t imagine saying this. We didn’t have to use daycare because my husband is a SAHD, but there are times I think my son might have really benefitted from the extra structure and interaction.

    So yes, children in daycare full time spend a lot of time there. And most of them are probably loved and entertained and taught by their providers, but they’re not raised there. How is that any different than when your child starts Grade 1? Are the teachers raising our 6-year-olds?

    Ridiculous comment.

  9. Lydia Meyers says:

    Like Janet, I was a single parent and had no choice. I was very lucky that I found a wonderful daycare center run by a woman with 12 children. There was more structure and actual education than I would have been able to provide at home. As I told my mother-in-law when I started sending my daughter to pre-school part-time when I was still married, ” The staff have degrees in early childhood development. All I did was have a baby.” Daycare didn’t raise my child, but they helped her gain confidence, bond with other children (she is an only child) and make friends with other children who had divorced parents. It was actually a great experience for both of us.

  10. Savannah says:

    I’m lucky enough to be home with my boys. My husband and my choice to not have our boys in daycare is a very personal one, but that choice isn’t a reality in some parents cases. Mother’s come from all walks of life and instead of talking down to one another we should be lifting each other up.

  11. Guajolote says:

    I have MIL 2x and nanny 3x per week. I read this yday and can’t get it out of my mind.

  12. linda says:

    I live in a popular, urban area that is very expensive to live in. most parents send their children to daycare after 3-6 months here. i am a SAHM because my husband and i decided to move to one of the cheapest parts of town (not hip, not trendy, and not all white an privileged, imagine that!) in order to afford my existence as a SAHM to raise our baby. we made this choice because living in a great house in a safe but non-trendy neighborhood in order for me to nurture and shape our child myself during these initial years was worth it. it is worth it!

    i often wonder if both parents really do HAVE to work or are just choosing to work in order to afford: that great car, cool apartment, nice wardrobe, boatloads of plastic crap toys for the kids, etc.

    there are many dramatic narratives about “having to work,” and perhaps many of them are true, but i suspect that a good 30% or 40% of these people are prioritizing creature comforts and material objects over exclusive influence over their kids.

    most of the nannies and daycare providers who i am familiar with are very high on giving kids external praise (“good job!!” oh my!!” “you went down the slide!!”) and all of that. i think alfie kohn is correct to say that caregivers and parents tend to do this as a form of subtle manipulation – this excessive commentary that is socializing kids to be externally motivated. it is difficult to find a nanny or daycare that is informed and educated enough to be progressive in these matters. how do parents cope with this? it would annoy the heck out of me. my hope is that my sons become internally motivated and i am trying to raise them this way.

    in essence, i agree that many parents have to work, but many just prefer to work, too. and that’s also the point. it’s a parent’s decision to make.

    if a baby or toddler is in daycare till 5pm or 6pm and goes to bed a 7:30pm, monday–friday, why aren’t people allowed to verbally recognize that the daycare has more of an influence, and yes, more energy exerted in RAISING that child than the parents? you can’t get angry at numbers: on a given weekday, the parent might spend 2 hours with the child with a good 20-30 minutes occurring in the car on the drive home from the center. the daycare might be spending 10 hours with the kid. 10 is five times the amount of 2. are we not allowed to recognize these numbers? are we supposed to say that the center is NOT raising the kid and the parents are?? wtf?!! weird.

  13. Molly aka educationmom says:

    Thank you for your well written piece on a delicate topic! I have worked full-time, part-time, and in -home and my kids have had nannies and daycare. Frankly, I tried the stay-at-home mom thing for 4 months with one of our kids and 6 months with the other and during those times I was not myself. I’m better when I work. I respect those who chose to stay home, but it just didn’t work for me, though I gave it a try. I’m done feeling guilty about it.
    We have been very fortunate to have excellent pre-school/daycare’s available to us. Currently our kids go to a bi-lingual day care so they learn a second language in an immersion environment that I would never be able to provide for them at home.
    Lastly, I wish people would just respect the decision of others because like many other things in life, parenting and child-rearing (even for each child in the family) isn’t one-size-fits-all.
    http://www.educationmom.com

  14. Heidi says:

    I tried to stay home but between cabin fever, and a really high rent raise I had to go to work. I was blessed by being able to work in the same building as my kids were in daycare thru 6th grade. I got to see them all the time, and could be at their side in case of emergency. And once my 3 year old fell on the playground and broke her front teeth. I was there almost immediatly. While it was nice, there was one very important thing, I could pick people who could love and guide my child in the way I wanted. I am now working from home, why? I can’t find people to love, guide, and care for my teenagers! I guess I am doing it backwards, but to me it is more important to do it now.

  15. Janna says:

    AMEN!!!!!! I too have been a working outside of the home mom! I am thankful that for the past year I have been able to bring my youngest to work with me, but those days are nearing the end and daycare is right around the corner! I see daycare as a positive!!! Their inner raising of course is by myself and daddy, but a good daycare can offer so much to little curious, adventurous ones just soaking up all there is to learn socially and academically!!! =)

  16. Ingrid says:

    While not altogether true, I think it is mainly mommy guilt that causes people to be so sensitive about the words someone uses. My kids were in daycare. At this point they still would be in daycare and I was totally fine with that. And my middle son, while he was at daycare they had him more of his awake hours than I did. Often he would fall asleep in the car on the way home. I missed him a lot those days and felt guilty, but really daycare was kind of raising him. I was however a way better mom on the weekend than I am now, so each situation has trade ofs. Right now I kind of wished they would go to daycare so I could take a sick day and go to sleep

  17. Robin says:

    I am a stay at home mom but I do support the mothers who have to work and put their children in daycare.

    I however DO NOT support the ones who put them in daycare when they do not work or goto school. That is the only case I believe the daycare is raising your child! I know a person that does this! I would never say anything to them though it’s not my place!

  18. Tragic Sandwich says:

    “Whether your children go to daycare or not, I’ll respect your decision. I hope you’ll respect mine.”

    Thanks. This is the attitude I have, too. We’re too different for one answer to fit all of us.

  19. Nicole says:

    I love my daycare! I love working, and I love my girls. We have been with the same daycare for 5 years now. They have very little turnover, and we have a great relationship with the caregivers, and other children and families that go to the daycare. I have also seen some pretty frazzled stay-at-home moms, and have thought to myself that their kids would be better off a few days a week in a daycare!

  20. Jennifer says:

    As a therapist, I think that daycare has several benefits. I firmly believe that children who are in daycare or attend a pre-school program have better social skills and adaptability. Not to say that kids who are raised at home do not have good social skills, but I think that kids who are in daycare/preschool learn to make friends faster and can adapt to new situations easier. My two and a half year old can go to the playground and find a new friend and when that new friend leaves, she finds another. She also follows a routine better with daycare than without, I tried keeping her at home and taking a work from home job, it was stressful for both of us and she would cry to go play with her friends. Daycare is not raising my child, it is helping her learn independence, social skills, rules, etc.

  21. Mamalola says:

    I am a working mom, and when stay at home moms talk like they are much better moms, I find it annoying and hurtful. My kids go to a daycare, and at three years old my son has learned spanish, and chinese. He is also adding, and knows his letters. He also takes painting classes, and enjoys his friends. When I get home, I focus in my children, we go to the park, laugh, and I never take a second when I am with them for granted. They have also learned, and this is a great lesson, responsibility, and sacrifice. They know from very early on, their work, like mommy and daddy’s, is school and learning. They know that even if you don’t feel like waking up early, you have to do it. I know also my work is preparing me for the future, when they grow up and need to discuss work, career options. I will be able to offer my experiences, and advice them. Sometimes when I have a lot of work, I make sure to come home and be with them until they go to sleep, then I clean the house, and get back to work from 10pm up until I get finished. I cannot say that one or the other is better. There could be a mentally abusive stay at home mom out there that might be messing up her kids, or a working mom that is never there for her kids at all. I say the majority, working or not, we are all just making sure that our kids know they are loved, disciplined and become responsible, loving members of society… Peace, love, end the prejudice….mom’s rock!

  22. Jennifer says:

    I am a stay at home mom (for the moment) I have every intention of going back to work when my youngest is a little older. I have to say that there are days when I am so jealous of my neighbor. She’s a nurse helping to save lives, holding the hands of a few who won’t make it through the night, getting adult interaction with co-workers, and her kiddos are in daycare. I can tell you that the thought of a job seems very awesome to me. I have no rude judgements of working moms. My mom was a single mom and I went to daycare. I loved it! I got to play with other kids (I was an only child) and I got mommy time at night. I grew up to get married, have kids, and work off and on. Point being I turned out fine. My two oldest girls go to an early pre-school program in our neighborhood mon-thurs from 9-3. They love it. Without the program I would have never caught that one of my girls has a sensory processing disorder because I am used to her version of normal. I guess what I’m saying is that yes I choose to be a stay at home momma with my youngest (I get grief for that somedays too) but day cares and other such programs are not evil either. In my opinion I think the world would be better off without the mommy wars that constantly bud from insecurities in life. There is no owners manual to raising kids, so why not except that there are different ways to do it?

  23. Blessed Mom says:

    @Linda Let’s be frank- if you are able to afford living in a safe part of a large high cost urban area with one paycheck, you ARE VERY privileged. I’m sorry you can’t live in an all white neighborhood (is this really a big deal for you?) and that you have to live in a non-trendy part of town, but I think that you might be slightly out of touch with the economic climate. Many families truly do have to work in order to pay for food, clothing, housing, utilities, etc. Many of them would also be very grateful to have a nicer car, a nicer home, name brand (name brand, not designer) clothing but that is not in the cards for them, even with two incomes. Those “cheap plastic toys” are not so cheap for everyone.
    We have been very fortunate to only have to put our daughter in a very small daycare for limited periods of time. Most of the time, one of us has been a SAHP. We are so fortunate- and are not the norm. When we have used daycare, we have had mixed feelings and were relieved to be able have her home all day.
    Either way, being a parent is hard. We make extremely difficult decisions every day and hope and pray that they really were the best for our family. The goal is providing for your family- financially, emotionally, and spiritually. Kudos to parents all over the world who do that, no matter how. We live in a global community and it’s time to acknowledge that there are many ways to be a parent. It takes a village.
    And, btw, the reason you aren’t supposed to say anything about it is because it’s rude- why would you antagonize someone who is providing for their family.
    trying to do the best for their family?

  24. Marian says:

    I am a SAHM so I have never experienced having a child in daycare — so take this with many grains of salt. But from what I hear from my friends, some daycares want to take the lead on when the child should start solids, drop to one or no naps, start potty training. And I would have a problem with that. I know those things are only part of raising a child, but that’s what I would think of if I heard someone talking about not wanting daycare to raise her kids. To be clear, that’s not a judgment on working parents or daycare, just on the approach that *some* daycares *may* take, according to my *limited* collection of anecdotes.

  25. tegen says:

    We have only had foster kids but even with them. I loved the time they where at home. But I also loved the time they where at daycare after we got them to move the older one to a better daycare. I see it this way if there at a daycare that is a learning center and there not learning anything then they should be home so they can learn things or moved to a better daycare. the only thing the fist daycare was teaching her where things like. bad language she got off the bus one day and the driver was cussing on her phone(I reported her a lot for that they did nothing.) I wanted to go see the school she was at and had to fight with them to let me in. when i did get in it was like a little prison, when i was watching her though the window i saw her do at least 6 thing someone should of done something about(she was hitting others,climbing on book shelf’s and hitting teachers.) I asked them what they did for time out and was told the blanket and pillow next to the toy box so they can still play. I had been trying hard to be good at home but she was only home for about 4 hours a day. since she was a foster child there wasn’t any thing i could do but keep request it it get changed. this one really was a case of them raising the child since she was never home.

    When I did get it changed I got her and her brother going to ones that where with the school district. The first teachers meeting a had with the teacher i asked what the did for time out she said the had a little corner with owls. I asked her to please put mine in a chair where she can see whats going on but do nothing. She did she said it worked a lot better then the corner that work for the other kid. They found way to get her to do group thing the other school could never get her to do. Then one thing they helped with made me so happy a cried the first time she did it. She was 3 and only had ever said maybe 5 or 6 words never more then one at a time. But she can home one day walk over to the fridge and said “apple juice please” I cried as i was pouring the apple juice,
    I had been working with her for 6 months on word and talking just 2 weeks at the new school and she was talking.

    So yes in a since they are parenting the child. Only If there parenting works with yours. but the good really out wight the bad, I would of told the lady “no it not because I dont want daycare raising my child. Why should I work all day to pay daycare when i can spend my day playing with them and earn the same money.”

  26. Kelly says:

    I think God for the excellent, high-quality center I send my kids too. I have never wanted to spend the majority of a work week with small children. I don’t enjoy it and I am not good at it.

    Is daycare helping to raise our kids? I should hope so. I am paying them a crap-ton of money, so they better be doing more than just changing diapers and shoving cheerios down their pie-holes.

    But they are helping at my direction. And I learn so much from my kids’ teachers, most of who have bachelors degrees in early childhood education. Some have masters! And all of them seem not to mind SITTING ON THE FLOOR and giving a shit hour after hour about the things small children do.

  27. Joanie says:

    If we’re going to talk about quality daycare, let’s talk about quality parenting. My daughter’s teachers would never be feeding her doritos in front of the TV at 10am so they could check their email. I would guess every SAHM in my neighborhood has done that — heck, I probably would if I stayed home. I like that she’s with multiple grownups (and a variety of kids) whose job it is to be creative and educational and patient all day long. I can’t thank them enough for all they’ve done for my family.

  28. Angela says:

    I worked in child care for over three years. I never thought I was raising someone else’s kids. Sure, some of the activities overlapped, but in truth there were so many things I would have done if I was raising a child that I was not allowed to do as a child care teacher (like having children say “please” and “thank you.”)
    But, as a teacher in an infant classroom, I saw so many first steps, heard so many first words, I just knew that when I had children of my own I wanted to stay home with them. I didn’t want to miss that stuff with my child (and I NEVER told a mom if their child did these firsts, I didn’t want them to hurt from missing them.) I decided I wouldn’t have children unless I could stay home with them.
    I understand this isn’t a choice everyone could make. I’m incredibly lucky I can stay home.
    And it’s true, a child care is no replacement for a mother. No matter how often a child is at daycare, Mommy trumps all.
    I will admit though, that we had parents that seemed to want to have us raise their kids. There were children I knew that our child care facility potty trained, taught to use a cup, etc. Despite the child care center wanting to work with the parents to do these things together (and on the same page at home as at school) the parents didn’t seem to want to do it. But that was fairly rare.

  29. Cupcake says:

    I find this debate so fascinating. Without wishing to stereotype, I appreciate there are plenty of stay at home dad’s out there, would anyone suggest that a father who works full time isn’t raising his kids?
    I wouldn’t have been able to go back to work if I hadn’t been totally comfortable with my son’s care arrangements. We chose the nursery carefully and his daycare is run by a mother with 20 year’s experience in childcare I suspect that in some cases they will do a better job than I would have done had I been a SAHM.
    I agree that lots of families don’t have a choice, both parents have to work and single parents have to work. I also agree that sometimes we make choices such as where we live which do have an impact on the need to return to work after having children. We could have moved to a much smaller house just round the corner from where we live. My husband and I discussed the impact a larger mortgage would have on my need to return to work should we have a family and we made our choice. Having worked hard and studied for professional exams, I knew with as much certainty as you can know that I would want to return to work after having children.
    Does the fact that I went back to work after having my son mean that I’m not as good a mother as someone who chose not too? If I were a SAHM would I be a better parent than my husband who would have to work, would he have less say in the way our son is raised?
    I honestly believe that a mothers makes her decision about whether to go back to work or not based on what is best for both her and her family. Whilst we all want others to agree with us and validate our choices, we should accept that we’re all different and respect other mothers’ choices.

  30. Cushla says:

    I live in suburban Sydney, Australia and our government has just introduced legislation to ensure a minimum standard of care for all daycares. With this in mind, I feel comfortable sending my 3 year old to a well resourced and established child care/early learning centre. Most staff are tertiary qualified. Both my girls went to daycare 3 days a week from 2 .5 years old and I returned to work part time last year after finishing work 8 years ago to be a SAHM to my eldest and then #2. Quality early childhood care is about their learning and develoopment as much as it is about the day to day routines. I.e. they’e not babysitters. I agree with the previous posting of the benefits of socialisation and adaptability, and this is evident when chlidren start kindergarten. Having said that, I am glad that I had the opportunity to stay at home full time with my girls for 2 years. This was as much a personal decision as a financial one (fees are $115 (AU$ and US$ are on par). As newborns and toddlers, I wouldn’t feel comfortable leaving them in the care of strangers, but as older toddler/preschoolers, they definately benefit by not being at home full time.

  31. SAHM says:

    I am a SAHM. And I love it!!!It was hard at times, but overall I fell blessed and very lucky to stay at home with my son and spend every minute with him. I am so emotionally attached to my son I can’t imagine myself being away from him. We are not rich or anything. We have to be very thrifty so I can afford staying at home. And I am not a lazy SAHM like some working moms call us. I do all the cleaning, cooking etc AND go to Music and Motion class, Parent and Toddler swim class. We go to museums,zoo, playgrounds. We have play dates. I don’t see my child being less socially advanced then children that go to daycare. His pediatrician said he is advanced in his development. (my son is 2 and talks in sentences, especially keeping in mind, he is Bilingual, and usually there is a speech delay because often bilingual kids at first are confused). I do feel for working moms who would rather stay at home, but absolutely have no choice and HAVE to work to provide for family. I will never be able to understand those working mothers who PREFER to work (but DON’T HAVE too). I mean the ones who work so they can afford more material things, that are not a necessity. My SIL is one of these moms. She admitted that she does not want quit her job because she loves money too much.I think women like her have their priorities screwed.

  32. Andrea says:

    Totally agree with Liz’s comment.

  33. Kate Lesny says:

    I have been a SAHM since my daughter was born..she will be three in September. I am sure that I will look back on this period as one of the best times in my life. I have absolutely no desire to go back to work at this time. However, I will be putting my daughter in daycare part time starting tomorrow. There are a number of factors that led to our decision to place her in daycare..the fact that I have lots of things to do that I cannot accomplish with a small child underfoot, the fact that we have no family nearby to babysit, the fact that we recently moved and her best friend no longer lives next door, and the fact that we have not yet found a suitable preschool…these are some of the reasons.

    When she was an infant I was adamantly opposed to daycare. I still do not want to put her in care for more than three hours a day..I couldn’t imagine being separated from her for 8 hours a day, every day. but, I think at this age it is very important for her to learn to get along with other kids and to get away from me every now and then..she is extremely attached to me. And I need a break too!

    I believe the statement that daycare is raising your child is a hurtful way to speak to another mother, and I certainly wouldn’t say it if I had a friend who was a working mom. That being said, there is a grain of truth in that statement. If you are putting your small child in someone else’s care for 40-50 hours a week then you are not raising your child alone. You are still the parent, you are making decisions related to the child’s upbringing, but you are not doing the “dirty work” of disciplining your child, teaching language and other skills, and playing with her, except on the weekends.

    Everyone’s situation is different. And in fact, the me of a year ago would be appalled at this decision..but my child’s needs have changed and she needs more socialization at this point. She is speaking in complete sentences, she is potty trained, knows her numbers, letters, colors etc and is well on her way to learning to read, so it’s not like she has been sitting on the floor eating Doritos the whole time. :-) and, the biggest deciding factor for me was that she continually asks to go to school! So she is definitely ready. And that is the crux of the biscuit for me..making the decision based on what my child needs..I have the luxury to do that, thanks to the generous support of my family.

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