When Henry first started daycare I was a mess. I was dealing with a lot of swirling negative emotions: guilt, worry, depression and an overwhelming sadness that my baby wasn’t with me anymore. Because I was dealing with all of that, I was doing a lot of internet searches about parents feeling guilty about their child being in daycare. A lot of what I read helped. There are a lot of parents who were going through the exact same thing that I was, and what’s more, babycenter and whattoexpect had articles telling me that what I was feeling was normal!
Since then, I’ve come along way in my thoughts about child care. All in all, Henry being in daycare has been a positive experience. He really is thriving in that environment. I love that he gets the opportunity to make friends and to play with other children his age. From the age of 6 months on he’s been learning what appropriate play is and what’s not appropriate. He’s also had opportunities to learn, and the personal attention they give him is so great!
I think it’s incredibly important for babies to be socialized. I honestly believe that it helps motivate them. For instance, even though Henry isn’t crawling yet, he’s watching other babies crawl, pull up and cruise, and he’sinterested in that!
I’m probably not the easiest parent for a daycare provider. I bring cloth diapers for my baby to wear, and refuse to let them put him in disposables. I like to pack Henry a lunch to eat there, instead of letting him eat their cafeteria food. There’s nothing wrong with their cafeteria – they serve a lot of fruit and vegetables, but I like what I cook better. I provide breast milk for them to feed him (as far as I know, there is only one other mother that does this). I’m picky about how many naps Henry has. I demanded from 6 months on that Henry be allowed to feed himself and explore and play with food (they looked at me like I had a second head, but they went with it). Despite being that demanding, the people at Henry’s daycare still smile at me, and are willing to bend over backwards to make me happy.
I’m happy that Henry was enrolled in daycare. Would I rather that he be with me all day? Absolutely! I would give anything in order to be a stay at home mother to him. But that’s not an option financially for us right now. I know that him being in daycare is a 100% better option than him being at work with me. He has other children to play with, teachers who interact with him and more options available to him than what I could provide at work.
I miss him dearly, and I rush out of work everyday so I can go and get him. But I also know that I’m doing what’s best for him.
Daycare does not, and should not have that negative connotation that surrounds it. There are a lot of wonderful daycare centers out there, who have nothing but the children’s best interests at heart.