OK - My LO goes in daycare part-time in a few weeks. It seems everywhere I turn I see SAHMom's who have horror stories of anything other than having them, the moms, with their child. Yet, as a teacher, I know better. I have many, no, the majority, of students I have taught use some type of daycare or sitter and they are fine. They know who their parents are. So, why do they make it seem like "selling out?" I mean, I miss working out for pete's sake and adult conversation. Is it really necessary that all my conversations be about parenting now? I'd really love a dirty joke or curse word at an appropriate moment!
Ha ha, thanks for the laugh!
My daughter has been in daycare for 2 years now and she loves it. I can guarantee you that she is happier there than she would be with me at home all day! Yes, I work full time so it's not an option, but I am certain that if I were staying home I'd want her exposed to a social setting, making friends, learning to be independent, etc.
I was really glad to see your post. I just had twins in November and I expect to go back to work soon. However, I've been feeling really guilty lately about putting them into day care. I too have read several articles and several friends have left subtle (and not-so-subtle) hints that perhaps I should consider staying at home. To be honest, we can't afford it financially, but I too want to pursue my career. I spent years obtaining my educational background and I believe in balance. In any case, I thank you for your candor.
I believe in balance too and I guess I just want to say that balance looks different for every woman/mother. If you are seeing horror stories everywhere you turn, then perhaps there is a message in those stories for you, about being cautious, making a wise choice about where you put your child into care -- but that doesn't necessarily mean that going to work and having your child in care is not the best option for you to have balance in your life.
Do you know what I mean? There are a lot of wackos out there, and the daycare industry is no different, unfortunately. But that doesn't mean that there aren't really loving and nurturing providers out there that can give your child a really great experience while you are earning an income doing what you love (and being around adults who make you laugh, rejuvinate your spirit, and help you be happier).
I really believe children can sense when their moms aren't happy and if not working would make you not happy then better to go with your instincts and work...just listen to those messages that are surrounding you and do your research so you know you can trust the person you choose to leave your child with.
My son has been in a preschool daycare dince he was 2 months old and he loves it. Where I grew up, everyone worked and it is normal. However, where my husband grew up, They did not and there was a lot of pressure for me to stay home on that end. However, he's been there for over a year and he loves it! We just had two back to back 4 day weekends and I cannot tell you how excited he was to go back to see his friends! He loves going every day. My husband has been totally convinced that this was the right choice for him. He went one day to drop off more diapers and saw our son playing in the playground with his classmates. He said that he had such a big smile on his face and was having such a ball that it made him really happy. Of course, this is a very good school with lots of security and very loving teachers. I don't know that he would have been so happy at some of the other places that I visited while searching for the right school.
As parents, every decision we make seems to be laden with import. We see these "studies" that claim that our children will turn out to be monsters if we fill-in-the-blank. So we agonize over every. little. thing. hoping that we are doing what's right for our kids. But, sometimes, what that means is that people generalize their decisions to be the BEST decisions for EVERYONE no matter WHAT. And it makes us feel better about ourselves as parents and about our decisions if we try to make everyone around us believe that our way is best for all children, not just our own. Which is where we go wrong by not giving other parents the benefit of the doubt that they are doing the best they can for their own kids.
I suspect that this is what is happening with your social circle. It's SO HARD to be confident in our own decisions for our kids when it seems like everyone around us is trying to get us on their "side." But we have to know, deep down, that we are competent mothers who are capable of making wise choices for our children. We have to TRUST ourselves! I struggle with this every single day over many, many issues. That's why it's so important to have people in my life who will say, "Hey! Stop it! You are a GOOD MOM!" And it's one of the reasons I love this site. It gives me perspective and support.