When Abby was 7 months old, she began going to daycare part-time. Now, full-time at 2 1/2, it’s been something that I’ve struggled with on and off with both of my kids. I’ve dreamt of being a stay-at-home-mom. I’ve also dreamt of having a career, doing something that I love. These two polar opposite desires inevitably collide with the reality of needing to be a two-income home.
The wants and needs outweigh my yearning to be at home with my kids all day. I’m not that mom who can accomplish a full work day at home while home-schooling and/or providing quality, interactive learning and development activities for my kids. Nope, not me. Not without loosing my mind. Not without a screen being the babysitter in a daily mad-dash to get it all done.
I’ve broken it down like this: diet and nutrition are an integral part of how we choose to spend our time. All of the food growing, canning, meal-planning and from-scratch cooking that we do take time. The kind of care that my children deserve requires time. The bills that require being paid require, in part, my money — my time. So, we weighed out what works for our family. We evaluated what we deem to be truly important. I examined just how much I could fit into a day while still remaining happy. Joyful. A non-stress bag version of me and thus my family. My sweet babies. (Yes! They are still my babies! That’s my heart on my sleeve there, no poking.)
Over the years, my self-inflicted guilt has waned. (Even though I get pangs of wishing I could have it all, where I could invest in time like stock shares in the largest growing industry known to man.) I feel mighty fine about the qualitative, loving environment that I leave my little girl in every day and the time is nearing where she’ll be spending two of her days at home with us for next year before she starts kindergarten. (A decision we made a few months ago, which required giving a month’s notice to the daycare.) I can do that. I can juggle that much without loosing my cool. In fact, I look forward to it.
Last week Abby graduated from the “Toddler 1″ class to the “Toddler 2″ class and one of her teachers created one of the most amazing things I’ve ever been given — really and truly. It made me ugly cry (the kind where you’re smiling and crying at the same damn time) from deep within that mother-ship place (we all know it, us moms). The place where all the pent up emotion over wondering whether you’re really screwing up as a mother lives. Yeah, that place.
What could this amazing thing possibly be you might ask? A scrapbook. Not just any scrapbook. This monolith of memories collected and displayed ever-so creatively took time my friends. Time and heart. It made me fully realize that we’ve done the exact right thing for our family, for our Abby, and the reasons filled up in my brain, piling on top of one another like eager participants, as if they had always been there, set free. If you’re struggling with the daycare thing and guilt and desire is eating its way through to your own version of the mother-ship place, then perhaps this will help. You’re doing good, mom… dad… whomever. Mighty fine, in fact.
These are my own 10 reasons on why daycare is indeed awesome. Perhaps you can identify?
A is For Awesome 1 of 12
The proof is in that face, right there...
Incredible For HER 2 of 12
So who cares about my feelings anyways? All that matters is that she loves it and her teachers love her too. So much so that they totally 'get' her. Except they left out the part about mischievous. Written all over that sweet, precocious face.
Independence 3 of 12
Abby's sense of independence has really grown in daycare. She gets to play independently and creatively, with a plethora of options as they've been included into the program planning that her centre does each and every week.
Endless Options 4 of 12
The opportunity for exploration and discovery in daycare really is endless. It's kind of what they specialize in. Group daycares are built and designed to be safe, enjoyable, learning and play rich environments for children. Most have better gear and furniture, (made especially for little ones), than you probably do at home! Toddler height sinks and toilets at home we do not have.
Fan Club 5 of 12
Abby (and her brother before he started school), have quite the little fan-club going for them at the daycare. All of the special relationships that she has built with her daycare teachers, including one in particular (yes the woman who made some of the scrap-book I've shared with you here), does my doubting heart good. Daily reassurance like that is the key to sanity and ease of mind when dropping off one's sweetheart to daycare.
Structure 6 of 12
I know that everyday Abby is getting exactly what she needs, in abundance. Play, nap, eat, play, snack. I've learned that kids really thrive on this kind of routine, they in fact crave it.
Never Bored 7 of 12
Abby gets to thrive on her interaction with others and the choice of a multitude of activities at her disposal anytime she wants. I know that I don't have access to the combination of academic training and time to required to provide the sort of interactive and educational activities at home, in the same way that she gets at daycare.
School Prep 8 of 12
Aside from supporting healthy emotional and physical development, Abby is getting all the time she needs to get ready for school! Right now Abby is getting a preschool and kindergarten model as her 'classroom.' The program planning that her teachers work hard to create each and every week is also fashioned after preschool and kindergarten.
Work / Life Balance 9 of 12
Daycare helps our family achieve a pretty darn good balance between work and home life. Abby doesn't have to contend with my (or her dad's, as he works from home too), attention away from the computer screen. She doesn't need to hear mommy explain to her about how I can't play with her because I have to work, on a daily basis. This is so important to me, in achieving overall health and happiness as a family.
Socialization 10 of 12
At daycare, Abby is learning how to play with others, how to share and how to resolve conflicts. This reinforcement of social skills amongst other kids her own age is something she wouldn't get at home. Unless, you know, I opened up a home daycare.
Stronger Immune Sytem 11 of 12
But what about all those germs?! Yep, all those immunity boosting germs. The (constant) exposure to common viruses and bacteria means that Abby got more colds than she used to, but after a few months her susceptibility grew; as she continues to develop a healthy immune system that may help her resist more serious illnesses down the road.
All Those Babies 12 of 12
The biggest bonus, if one were to ask Abby, would no doubt be all of her babies at school. No way I'm buying her that many dolls (although the pile is growing and it's not all me), even though the way in which she plays with them is adorable. Class is in.
More Babbles From Selena…
- On Giving In To The Unexpected In Parenting
- Through One Mom’s Lens: Life With Little Ones on a Russian Farm
- That’s No Blizzard, That’s My Sister!
- New Year, Saner Me: 10 Things I’m (Trying) To Do Before The Kids Wake-Up
- Holiday In Review: Our Best One Yet
- 10 Things I’ll Never Regret Doing With My Kids
- 7 New Year’s Resolutions I Hope My Toddlers Make For 2014
- 20 Unique Challenges That Parents of Toddlers Face Everyday
Selena is a crafty, culinary mom. Regular writer here and on Disney Baby. Part-time mischief maker, all the time geek. Elsewhere on the Internets … ia her humble beginnings, mastering in general mayhem: le petit rêve