Wednesday, March 30, 2011

My Thoughts on Daycare

It's been a year since I returned to work although there are times when it feels like it happened just yesterday.   I am still struggling with my decision on why I even returned to work.  I thought over time my decision would get easier but it hasn't.  It weighs on my mind constantly with no decision feeling like the right one.  Some days are easier than others.  There are days where I finally think, "OK, perhaps I can do this, things are finally falling into place" when the following week something happens at work or with daycare that I ask myself, "Is this even worth it?"

Let me preface by saying I love Jillian's daycare.  Jeff and I looked EVERYWHERE when we made the decision that I was probably going to return to work once maternity leave was over with.  We visited some pretty scary places to say the least.  After a day of "daycare hunting" I almost decided to quit my job right then and there.  I had already arranged that I was going to come back on a part time basis, however, there was no way we were going to take a new born baby to such a scary place.  Even if it was for only two days a week.  Then we decided to try out a center that my neighbor brought her kids to.  I also had received a positive recommendation about the very same place from my co-worker, Janet.  So we decided to give it a shot and we loved it!  As soon as we walked in the door, we experienced the same feeling that you do when your house hunting and you find "the one".  It was such an adorable place, all of the babies and kids were happy, and it didn't have that daycare smell......

So we decided to sign up our unborn baby girl for two days a week and agreed to talk to them a few weeks before I returned to work.  The first day of daycare was hard.  Leaving Jillian with strange women was really hard for me to handle.  I was also worried about the Cutis Aplaysia sore on Jillian's head and if it would get disturbed.  Slowly I got to know the women and the other babies in Jillian's room.  I also started to notice that Jillian actually LIKED these women at daycare.  She was also starting to make friends with the other babies.  As she got older, it was so cute to see her smile and interact with them.  She started to recognize their faces and she would light up when once of them would smile at her.  Jillian loved everything about the Infant I room and it did start to finally put me somewhat at ease knowing that she was getting the social interaction and stimulation that she just wouldn't be getting at home.

When Jillian transitioned into the Infant II room at ten months old, she didn't have as an easy time with it.  I think she was intimidated by the older babies in her new room.  Most of them were walking and she had only just learned to crawl.  Her teachers have told me on a few occasions that they were worried about her being so quiet and not interacting as much with the other kids.  She would just sit and play by herself.  Now when we would drop her off, she would cry and latch on to me with her "death grip" in protest.  I felt horrible.  Jillian obviously just felt more comfortable with the younger babies and was afraid of the older ones.  I tried to look at the positive side and justify it by saying perhaps this is what she needed then, to develop her social skills more by hanging out with older babies.  It was a hard couple of weeks as Jillian got used to her new room.  I feel she was at a disadvantage since she was only there two days a week, I am sure that was only making the transition even longer and more difficult for her. 

One of the biggest challenges of daycare, any daycare, is the sickies! Oh my word, have we been sick this Winter.  It's been an ongoing 3-4week illness/wellness cycle for our family ever since the beginning of December.  It's starts off like this.  Jillian goes to daycare during the middle of the week.  By the weekend, she starts to develop a fever, or a rash, or vomits during her nap time.  Then a day later, I will develop the same symptoms, or Jeff will, or we both will.  Then we lay around all weekend trying to take care of a sick baby while trying to make ourselves feel better.  Sometimes it ends in a trip to the pediatrician on Monday morning.  So then I have take off of work for a few hours to sit in the doctors office.  You already know about the numerous ear infections my poor baby girl has had which has led her to get tubes in her ears.  Our ENT told us as long as she is still in daycare, we will continue to see ear infections and drainage, even with the tubes.  The symptoms and pain that Jillian will experience will just not be as severe as it was without the ear tubes.  There have been a few times while I am working away in the middle of a project and I get the dreaded phone call from daycare.  Telling me that I need to come pick up Jillian because she has a fever or a strange rash that needs to be looked at by a pediatrician before I can bring her back. 

Where does this all lead me to today?   I don't know.  I still struggle with what to do.  I wish that something were to happen one way or the other giving me a huge sign.   A sign from God telling me what path I need to take.  I still like Jillian's daycare, I really do.  We have come to know and like Jillian's care givers and we still love the cute environment of the facility.  I have so many neighbors and co-workers that bring their children there that pick up and drop off sometimes turns into one big social event.  I feel very comfortable knowing that Jillian plays with other children who's parents I know and trust.  All in all, it's just hard leaving your baby, your whole world, and having them get sick over and over again.  As I type this now, I am home from work battling a fever/flu that I have had for five days that I can not seem to shake.  I got it from Jillian who came down with a similar flu this weekend from daycare.  I don't know what the future holds for us but I am still waiting for it to get easier.


  1. While I haven't had to deal with this myself I do understand it to an extent. My nephew stayed with my mom & his other grandma until he was 18 mos. old because my sis-in-law just didn't want to leave him with strangers. It's been wonderful for all involved BUT they realized he needed the interaction with other kids his age & he was to the point that he threw huge fits when they tried to leave him in the nursery at Church on Sundays. They too found a daycare they love. He's been there about 6 wks. & has seemed to settle in & enjoy himself. My sis in law often talks of the first few days with the "death grip"!! I hope it gets better for you.

  2. Good post!!!! Let me just say that I was a working mom with my first child. It worked out ok, but my husband and I knew and always had a desire for me to be home with the kids raising them instead of paying someone else to do it.

    We said, God if you want this for us then make it happen. Well it's funny because He did it in a way that would have looked devastating at the time, but ended up being the best thing for us. I believed that God was telling me to leave my job for a while, but I was just too scared to trust HIM and do it. So He ended up just making me do it by getting fired from my job. At first I was so scared, but God has completely provided for us. I thought I was going to have to get another job, but God is so faithful!!

    Putting on in daycare is easy, it's the two that gets expensive. When you have a second, that is when you might need to reevaluate staying home. But it's also something that really needs to be prayed about. I believe staying home is a sacrifice. It's hard, demanding but soooo worth it. I understand why people do it, some have to! I understand!! :) But it seems to be the desire of your heart, so keep praying for God to show you a way. I'll be praying too!! :)

  3. Thank you for a wonderful post. I, too, struggle with this issue each day. I work part time (M-W-F for a total of 24 hours per week) and I love my job, but that drop off at daycare continues to be tough. I know that they love my son and he has such a great time there, but it's hard to miss so much during the day. I do think it helps to keep it in perspective of all that our children are learning from other caregivers and children. One friend told me that she looks at it as having even more people in the world that love her child. My son's main teacher also has her 3 year old in another classroom in the same daycare center...she said that it is even tough for her to do dropoff just down the hall, knowing that she's only a few doors away. It's nice to know that we are not alone in this struggle. I wish you all the best in whatever you decide is right for your family.

  4. I just blogged about this the other day . .. I am now a sahm and i used to work part time as you do. i will pray for you but you will make the right decision with God :) good luck

  5. I love this post... as you know- I totally relate to everything you said. ((Hugs))

  6. Thank you for a wonderful post I struggle with some of the same things.

  7. Sorry you're feeling under the weather, K...I hope you feel better soon!


  8. Sickness is the worst part of the daycare world for sure!!

  9. My God, I am so feeling you on this. Just today as we got the 4949 email this year that the stomach flu is going around Gage's class, I begin to question myself. HOwever, I do know that I need to work, for various reasons, I just wonder if we should find a 'smaller' place to take Gage. FEel better soon.

  10. karen, i can so relate to you on this post. it is SO hard! as much as i did not want to go back to work and leave libbi in daycare, i truly did end up loving the ladies that cared for her (and so did she!) in fact, when we made the decision for me to stay home, it was hardest for me to say "goodbye" to her teachers!
    now that i am at home, i wouldn't trade it for the world, BUT, there are still some days when i struggle with feeling like i made the right decision and if i SHOULD be working (even though it's not what i really WANT to be doing right now....)
    i will be praying for you, i know it's hard to see your baby sick and to feel like you're being pulled in a million different directions and there's just not enough of you to go around.....praying for peace absolute assurance of the decisions that you make for you and your family.

  11. Karen,

    I'm not sure if you are working because your family needs the income, or if you are working just to have some adult interaction, but here is my take on it:

    First- you hit the nail on the head. Ask God to show you where He wants you to be, and He will! Just make sure you keep your eyes open for His answer.

    Secondly- Let me be an encouragement to the thought of you becoming a full time SAHM. I NEVER wanted to be a SAHM and it was never in my "plan", but that is where I ended up, and over the past 2 years God has shown me repeatedly, how valuable a mother is when she is at home.

    I recently read a great book on this topic, "In Praise of Stay At Home Moms" by Dr. Laura Schlessinger.

    I'm going to warn you that this book is VERY pro sahm, but it gave me a lot of information that I didnt know!

  12. Oh, the sickness is just awful.

    My son is in pre-preschool three half days a week and the same thing is happening (with constant sickness). But everyone tells me that if it's not'll be when he starts preschool or kindergarten.

    I agree though...I wish there was a sign (for a lot of parental decisions)! I need constant signs!! Or a manual!

    I hope you feel better soon! I think spring can't get here fast enough. We all need some fresh spring air to get the sickies out of our homes!

  13. I second Dr. Laura's book. I typed out a big response, but then my computer ate it. :(

    Just weigh why you are really working- if it's to put food on the table or if it's because you like adult interaction/to use your degree/like having 'extras' like a big house, etc.

    I'm usually not a big Dr. Laura fan, but I think she's dead-on that babies would always choose their mamas over any other set up.

    Good luck with your decision!

  14. Hi Karen,

    I love following your blog. I know exactly how you feel about the day care sickies. To give you hope, Grant had the same 3 week cycle his first winter/early spring at day care. By the time June came around, we have only been to the doctor 2 or 3 times a year the last 2 years. I was amazed at how much better he was after he made it through that first winter. I have read and heard that they build up their immunities quickly and although they will still get sick every now and then, the first year is by far the worse. Hang in there as warm weather is hopefully just around the corner!

    Laura Miller

  15. Hello! I found your blog through another blog I read. I too work part time but send my girls to daycare full time since our school doesn't have a part-time option.

    The first year is the hardest, my littlest just turned 2 and she is rarely sick anymore. When she walks in her classroom she waves and says "hi" to all of her friends. Both of my girls have always loved "school." It is hard finding that inner peace about where you belong, at home, or at work, but I assure you that the debate is short lived. Before you know it she'll be in Kindergarten and you'll be there to drop her off and pick her up from school and you'll have the best of both worlds!

    Great post.

  16. Karen,
    You don't know me personally...I found your blog through another friend. Your baby is precious & your blog is so cute. I enjoy reading it! :)

    I have 2 little girls myself and I am a SAHM. I just wanted to leave a little tid-bit of advice, if I may ~ you will never regret staying home full-time. My parents were married very young & had the four of us kids by age 25!! My Mom never went to college or had a "real" job outside of us kids & I've asked her if she ever regrets that she didn't get to do what she wanted. She says hands down, NO. She was always there for us can you regret that? The bottom line in life is not status, or money. Your kids aren't going to remember how nice their clothes/toys were...they're only going to remember someday that you were there & they were the main priority. I guess I'm just sayin' that there could always be a job when your kids are grown & gone...I say choose the kids :)

  17. I read your blog often, even though I don't usually comment. Having read some of the above comments, I feel compelled to write. Most people comment based on what is right for THEM and THEIR family. That does not mean it is what is "right" for you or YOUR family. Despite what a lot of SAHMs tend to think, I do not believe God calls every mom to stay at home full-time. He gave us skills and desires and ambition to do many things. Think of all the amazing women in this world who have accomplished so much with the skills God gave them! I spent a lot of time, money, and effort getting a Harvard law degree. I had an amazing job that paid incredible and opened up many doors for me. When my son was born, I knew it was not the right place for me anymore and now I work part-time a few days a week and my mom watches my son. I have no doubt that is what is right for me and my family. But I know women at my old job for whom it was the "right" decision to stay at a high pressure/high hours job. They would not have been happy giving all that up. I honesty belief kids are happy when their parents are happy, and what makes parents happy is different for different people. I did quite a bit of research before deciding to go back to work even part-time, and you will not find a single (reputable) study that shows that kids do better long term or are any happier if their mom stays at home. What you will find are studies that show kids do better with happy parents and in excellent, stimulating care (whether at home or otherwise). This is long and rambly and you probably didn't read to the end! Mainly, I just wanted to say that people have a vested interest in their choices-- so they assume "their" choices are right for everyone. But God didn't make us all the same, so the idea that the same decision is right for everyone is kind of silly IMHO!

    tdodds (at) post (dot) harvard (dot) edu

  18. will be praying for you while you deal with this decision. for ME, it would be hard to know if it will eventually get better, or if God keeps stirring your spirit because He wants you to make a change. I'm with you... I wish He would sometimes write things out in the clouds for us to understand!!! :)

    i LOVE being a stay at home mom, and while i don't miss working, i do miss seeing people. my church helps with this a lot through Bible studies and play groups. i have austin signed up for mother's morning out on friday's starting in august, and hopefully a 2nd day will come open that she can get into. we'll see. i'm nervous about that!

  19. Hang in there - I had my kids in daycare until the summer after #4 arrived and we realized we could no longer afford for me to work full-time. It was a necessary evil for us, and our kids turned out just fine, and I don't regret it. I made sure I was was very involved with their care givers. And at the end of each day, they seemed happy, well-rested, and had been fed properly. You have to let go of some of the guilt - that was the hardest part for me. Good luck!

  20. I live in Ohio too. It's not just your daughter's day care that had the sickies going around. My son doesn't go to day care. He actually stays with my mother-in-law. This winter he still came down with RSV (and so did I). However, one thing I did find out is that sometimes kids just need to be held back a bit until they are ready to move on. She may not have been ready to move into the 10 month room yet. I know at our church when my son turned 1 I didn't move him to the second nursery. I kept him in the first one because he wasn't walking and not crawling all that well yet. Now he has friends in the second nursery and is happy to see them each week. She just may need to move a step back for a little bit.


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