By Kelsey on November 11, 2013 31

6 Great Things About Day Care

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In some circles it seems like day care is a dirty word. I’ve been told (by an Internet stranger) that I worship money instead of God because we send Rooney to day care. That was hurtful and made me question our decision, but right now this has been working for us.

I don’t think all women are called to be stay-at-home moms. For me personally, working part-time has been a wonderful blessing for our family. Our entire family is happier when I’m working outside the home. It took me a while to feel comfortable saying that out loud (and it still makes me feel a little guilty), because if Rooney is the most important thing to me I think I should feel content to stay home with her and that I shouldn’t feel like I need to do something else.

Don’t get me wrong…I think women who stay at home are doing incredibly important work. I will probably go back and forth in my mind forever about what is right, but maybe that’s another post for another day.

What I wanted to write today is that after 18 months of experience with day care, I think there are lots of positive things about it. Here are a few reasons we love ours!

6 Great Things About Day Care

1. She has friends! It is so cute to see Rooney get excited to see her friends every morning. These friends not only provide her with playmates, but she is also encouraged to try new things that she sees them doing, like taste new foods and brush her teeth (positive peer pressure!).

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2. She learns patience. I know Rooney has to wait at times for her snack or milk or lunch or nap or comfort or a diaper change. With a required teacher to child ratio of 1:4, that is reality (however, I like that our center usually offers a lower ratio of 2:4). Although sometimes this can be hard to accept, I think in the long run Rooney will be better off for learning patience and sharing at a young age.

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3. It is a partner in raising my daughter. Day care is not a competitor for Rooney’s love. Rooney loves all her teachers and they are a valued partner in her upbringing. I think outside influences can be healthy and positive for our children. They practiced purees with her daily when we were still trying to figure it all out. They did her neck stretches when she had torticollis. They provided good ideas on how to introduce solid foods to her. They come up with menu ideas and introduce her to new foods that we don’t typically eat (like lima beans). I like that they expose Rooney to different perspectives and ideas.

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4. They have toys we don’t have. I don’t feel as bad that we don’t own a baby doll stroller or crib, play kitchen, train track, dress-up clothes, magnetic balls, or kid’s rocking chair, because they have all that stuff at day care and she gets to play with it four days a week. I think we will eventually get a few of these toys at home, but only the ones that are her favorites (kitchen, baby bed and play clothes). Day care even rented a bounce house earlier this year!

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5. They let her get messy. At day care Rooney has painted pictures with yogurt and colored shaving cream, played with PlayDoh, and eaten spaghetti. They play with the water table inside. If I was home with her I know I would be more hesitant to let her get messy, and I don’t think I’d be giving her the social or educational stimulation she needs.

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6. It allows me to work four days a week. Although I have shifted from working 40 hours a week to 32 hours, which I am overjoyed to be able to do, day care has allowed me to continue to develop and use the gifts God has given me as an editor. We don’t have family in town, so day care is crucial in allowing me to work outside the home.

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I repsect all moms and the choices they make around working full-time or part-time, working at home, or staying at home. I think we all work really hard to support our families the best way we know how. For us at this stage, it has been great for me to work part-time, and I am so glad we have found a day care we love so much!

*Some of these photos were taken by Rooney’s day care teacher and sent to me in the past year (another reason I love her day care!).

Facebook Discussion

Facebook Discussion

Kelsey

I love my husband, my daughter and the Internet.

  1. I had a conversation similar to this earier in the year: a friend’s mother asked me what my boyfriend and I intended to do when we had kids, and I told her that we’d probably send our kids to day care. She was absolutely shocked, and told me that my mom would never have sent me to day care. I then had to inform her that my parents DID send me to day care, haha! My mom was in law school at the time and my dad worked full time – they really didn’t have the option of having anyone stay home.

    I also worked at a low-income day care for about two years, and though it’s definitely given me a different perspective, seeing it from the other side didn’t change my mind. I deeply loved almost every single one of those kids. I think it’s hard not to when you work with the same kids almost every day. :) People always asked me if it was good birth control (ha!), but in reality, it made me want kids more! Hopefully most people working as day care workers felt the same way.

    Again, coming from this perspective, I’d definitely say the most important factor in whether a day care will be good or not for a kid is whether the staff truly care about the kids. It sounds like Rooney’s teachers really care about her, so I’d say you guys made a great decision for your family. :)

    xo Madie

  2. Emily Montgomery November 11, 2013 at 6:45 am

    As a day care teacher I can tell you that I see it as an honor. I can’t imagine how hard it is to drop off your baby to people you don’t know! It amazes me the trust and responsibility I am given daily. I can tell you I love my kids as if they were mine and I hope my parents know that.

    That being said now that I am pregnant I am debating about whether to be paid to watch other families children or stay home with
    own! I am pretty idependant and I am not sure I could give up having co-workers :(

    • It is a little hard in the beginning, but then you get to know the provider and you see your child fall in love with that person, which is awesome.

      If you choose to go back to work after your baby is born, will your child go to your day care? Or would you be in different rooms?

  3. I am in such disbelief that someone actually said that to you. This is the problem with today. Everyone thinks they can parent other people’s kids better than them. I am so sick of mamas tearing each other down for parenting decisions.

    That being said, I stay at home and some days I can honestly say I don’t love it. The activities at daycare are something I wish I could offer to my son. It also sounds great to have support on new things, like table food, etc. Sometimes I feel so lost on what to do that it would be nice to have someone help me out. Rooney looks like she loves it and what is the difference in her doing daycare now and school later just like my kids will! Just keep going mama! You’re doing great!

    • Yeah, the lady emailed me and told me that she stopped reading our blog after hearing that we were sending Rooney to day care. It was hard, especially because at that time I was a new(er) momma and much more fragile.

      I’m sure you are doing a great job at home with Gideon! I have to say that now Rooney is older, I like staying home with her much more than I did when she was younger and more dependent. I think 18 months was a turning point for us.

  4. I would say that I’m shocked that someone said that to you, but I’m not. People can be awful. My son came to me through a kinship foster placement while before I was married to my husband. One day I was sitting on a bench with my son on my lap at a shopping mall waiting for my husband (fiance at the time) to come out of a store when a woman sat down next to me and started small talk. She asked if I was waiting for someone and when I said I was waiting on my fiance, she pointed at my son and said, “Well, you sure did that a** backwards, didn’t you? Baby first?” I was so appalled that I didn’t even know what to say back. I just stood up and walked away. It’s amazing that people can make split second judgments about you without knowing your heart. Whether my son had been mine biologically or not, he is my greatest joy and it hurts that others don’t see that all the time.

    That being said, I think you and your husband and making excellent choices and are obviously doing what is best for YOUR family. My husband and I both work full-time and were fortunate enough to have a relative watch our son for us during the day. We just recently placed him in preschool and it was a great decision, and something I wish we had done sooner. He’s benefiting from all of the things you mentioned Rooney is and I really feel like it’s going to prepare him for school (and life) later on.

  5. Great post, Kelsey! I read a lot of American Blogs (I am from Germany) and the majority chooses to be a SAHM. I also don’t see it as wrong (of course not!) but in Germany a lot more mums choose to go back part-time or full-time after having kids. I guess part of it is because in Germany you can have a year of parental leave where your employer cannot terminate your employment relationship and you get paid 2/3 of your former income by the state for a year *yay*. After that you can choose to stay home for another two years (unpaid) or go back part-time and your employer, by law, has to really try and make that work for you. So the legal circumstances are quite nice here.

    Another Point is, that just like you, I think my relationship with my Partner, with my Baby (that I don’t have yet) and life as a familiy would tremendously benefit from me working part-time. I have a lot of friends saying that they are a lot happier and balanced because they get to work (Jobs that took them years of education to get and that also fulfill them), have social interaction, earn Money and then get to enjoy their children. The children get a LOT of social interaction at daycare (social skills!) and, in turn, are happier as well. Plus I (personally) would hate to give my Partner the Feeling that he alone is responsible for bringing home the Money. I always want to give my Partner the Feeling that, should something happen, I could provide for the Family.

    And, let’s not Forget that some families cannot survive on one income. So it’s external circumstances as well.

    But I also have friends who are completely fulfilled with being a SAHM and just cannot understand how I am choosing that road (or at least think I will).

    Sorry about the long rant, it’s just that this post really hit home for me! It is such an individual thing, really. No one should ever feel bad about choosing one Option or the other because there’s always an individual reason behind it!

    • Oh, and my sister’s been working at day care (plus at a day care for children of abused women) and just hearing her talk about each and every single kid (and being a little heartbroken when kids left, especially at the daycare that helped abused mothers) made me realize that those daycare teachers really really do care deeply about “their” children!

    • My favorite foreign exchange student friend was from Germany, and I know she had last year off when her daughter was born. Let me just say that most of us American mothers are very jealous of you!

      I think it’s really great that you’re able to anticipate these things and discuss them with your partner already. I originally thought I’d want to stay at home and was really blindsided :)

      • Yes, we are quite lucky :-)

        A friend of mine will be working in the US for two years and she actually made the decision not to have kids before she returns to benefit from the German legal advantages. Plus we have to pay a lot less for hospital care here, I think! For example if you get a caesarian, you don’t have to pay for it (or the longer hospital stay), your insurance will cover it. Same goes for a regular natural birth at a hospital.

    • This perspective about how things are elsewhere is really interesting. Thanks for sharing! I think your comment on choosing your option and being happy with it – though everyone has rough days either way – is the key.

      • You’re welcome, Vanessa!

        Yes, this topic is so so individual for each and every mother, kid and family that I would love for every mom (or mom-to-be) to be able to get the support she needs!

        The big issue we have here right now in Germany is the number of spaces at day care, especially for children under the age of 3. So here you pretty much have to register for a space right after you get pregnant (seriously!) which is why a lot of people weigh their options quite early as well.

  6. I don’t have kids yet, but I think I would have to work at least part time as well. I’m sorry someone decided to be critical of your personal choices! I was lucky enough to have a grandma that could take of my sisters and me when my parents worked. My sisters were so close in age it was like our own daycare.

    Does your work provide the daycare? Or offer it at a low rate? Sorry if you have discussed that before. Where I live daycare can be do expensive! A lot of my friends have stayed home a couple years just to save that money. I think it would be worth it for the social interaction alone, but I was just curious.

  7. I’m a teacher and I can tell you, without question…kids who to go to daycare do better in school during the first years. I, personally, think it’s great for kids to go to daycare, if even for part time.

    • Interesting! Are you a Kindergarten teacher?

    • There are a lot of factors that impact a child’s performance in school; maturity, learning dis/abilities, special education factors, emotional/home environmental influences, etc. How can you, even as a teacher, responsibly claim that “without question” kids who go to daycare do better in school? My son never went to day-care and he’s being tested for the gifted program; he is reading WELL beyond his peers, his math skills are WELL beyond his grade level, among other “academic advantages.” He struggles socially because he is on the autism spectrum and not because he was at home with me!

      I was a preschool teacher for a few years before becoming a mom, so I’m not anti-preschool or anti-daycare, I just think it’s very bold to make an absolute statement that says “without question” kids who go to daycare do better in school. I am not arguing that there are definite benefits to day-care, Kelsey listed several, but this kind of statement makes moms who really do have a “calling” to be at home with their babies feel guilty because “What if my child falls behind because I want/need/find fulfillment in being at home?”

      I’d be interested to hear your definition of “better.”

  8. i love this post because i feel the exact same way about all of it!! daycare has been awesome for helping austin get over his social anxiety, he has friends and they are potty training him!!!!!!!! :)

    • That’s so great to hear, Sandy. I know your parents and in-laws lived with you for the first year-plus, so it’s great to hear that you’ve been happy with your day care! The transition can be rough, but I really do think it’s great for all involved!

  9. Being a mother is the most rewarding thing I have ever done. That being said, it is not the only thing I am. I am also a wife, a homemaker, a crafter, a volunteer sunday school teacher, and so forth. I think every mom has to find their balance. For you, it’s working part-time, among other things. I am a stay at home mom, and while it is the greatest job I have ever had, I still need to have a balance in my life. I have found that balance by becoming crafty, being a homemaker, being a giving wife, and other fulfilling activities like reading.

    I used to be one of those people (before I had kids) who couldn’t understand how mothers could go back to work after having kids. (But I would never have said that out loud, especially to a new mother!!) I have always known that I would stay home with my kids. I understand now that that is the right choice for ME and everyone else needs to find the right choice for them. I know that when I get to “clock out” of my mother job once my daughter goes to bed and get a little alone time and one-on-one time with my husband, I am refreshed and renewed and I can be a better mother. It doesn’t do me or my daughter (or my husband!) any good if I burn myself out tending to her needs and forget to take some time for myself.

    The mommy guilt is hard. No matter what choices you make you always find yourself second guessing them and wondering if you are doing enough or being enough. My struggle is being present for my daughter. I might physically be there all day, but am I being attentive enough? Do I talk to her enough? Am I feeding her good foods? Do I need to read her more books? The list goes on and on. Some amount of guilt is good because it pushes us to be better, but we can’t let the guilt tear us down and make us depressed.

    If it helps, this stay-at-home mom thinks you are a good mother!

  10. Another Emily commenting! I had a similar conversation with a woman in the nursery room at church yesterday. She was surprised and slightly appalled that I put my child is in daycare. “9-5?!” and “five days a week?!” Yes, I am a full time working mom, but that does not make me any less “mom” then those who stay at home. I was not created to be a stay-at-home mom and I love working. It was hard for me to accept this about myself, but I truly believe I am a better mother for it.

    What gets to me is no one is ever phased that my husband works full time!

  11. great post Kelsey!!! amen.

  12. Thanks for sharing about your journey to find your fit as a mom and working. It has made me think more creatively about what I would do when I’m a mom one day. It is easy to think that you either have to work full time or stay home full time with no in between.

    • Glad it got you thinking! There are lots of options and every time I meet a new mom I learn of a new way to do it! It’s really awesome that we have so many choices.

  13. love this!!! you’re amazing!
    i’m a stay-at-home mother of 4, but i taught part-time until i had my 3rd. when i worked, i felt like everyone was judging me and making me feel guilty for leaving my kids. now that i don’t work, i feel like everyone is judging me because i’m obviously not able to earn enough money to justify working. haha!
    it sounds like rooney has the perfect day care situation and i would not doubt that decision for a second. with that being said, i think another interesting aspect to examine is that all kids are different and have different needs. similarly all day care/school experiences are different, even within the same day care/school. i have had two kids that would have done very well in day care, and two kids who probably would have done terribly in day care- they were sickly, lots of ear tubes, didn’t love leaving siblings, etc. anyways, y’all are fantastic and obviously making the right decision!! i hope someday that rooney will have siblings and they will get to experience the exact same day care situation!! (should you continue to work) xoxo!

    • Interesting to hear that you’ve done it both ways and see the advantages of each. Sorry to hear that you feel like others are judging you, but I know I feel the same. Working part-time, I guess I feel like I can relate and connect with both full-time working moms (since I’ve done that) and stay-at-home moms, since I stay at home one day and also felt like I experienced that side a bit during maternity leave. There’s no easy answer. Did you always want to stay home, or did it become a financial thing after your 3rd?

      Thanks for being so supportive of us. I also pray we are able to give Rooney at least one sibling and that he or she will do well in day care, since I will likely continue to work! With the day care just down the hall, it would be such an advantage to breastfeeding (if it works better next time)!

  14. The first paragraph makes me laugh because someone recently told me I was selfish and spoiled for being a SAHM instead of going to work to help my “poor” husband with the finances. GIVE ME A BREAK! lol.
    Girl, we all have different gifts. My mom was a working mom and I’m glad because she just would not have been good at this SAHM business. She is SO awesome at the work she does and she needs to be out there doing her job and being awesome. I’m in awe of her and I’m grateful for her sacrifices. She’s been a great example of a hardworking, progressive woman. And I never felt neglected by her or anything. She was always there for me and my sister growing up.

    Aaaanyway…this is a great post. I think you found a great day care and that’s why you can sing its praises. Unfortunately many of the day cares around here are downright bad. I wouldn’t trust them with my kids. And the good places are priiiicey. That’s why I’m SO happy that we found Liam’s current school. It’s a school (K2-6th grade) run by our church and it’s fantastic. We get a discount because Alex works for the church which is an added bonus. But yes, the downside is they don’t start taking kids until age 2…so I will be staying at home until Isabel is old enough to go. Don’t get me wrong, I love being a SAHM, but I’m starting to think I *need* to work too. I have talents and abilities that God has given me and I need to use them. :-)

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