08 February 2011

Tuesday Confession: Daycare

Fact: The Imp is the best thing that ever happened to me. Ever.*

Fact: Without daycare I would be a raving lunatic.

I'm just not that mom. Sometimes I wish I was; the mom that can come up with fun things to do, crafts that entertain and educate, classes that propel development, playdates with age-appropriate activities. I watch other moms, people in my family and circle of friends who excel at that. The moms that can spend every waking minute with their children, and revel in every second of it. But I just can't. I have tremendous admiration and respect for the moms that are, but I've come to accept that I'm not that person.

So, The Imp is in full time daycare. Monday - Friday, 9am - 5pm.

I used to have a lot of guilt about it. I would berate myself daily, asking what kind of mother sends her kid to spend most of his waking hours with other people. (Other people who are vastly more qualified to spend time with him than I am - I don't have a degree in early childhood education, and they do, after all.) I worried about the cost, especially when launching a new business takes some time to show any income. The reason I started my own business was so that he wouldn't have to be in care, so that I could spend more time with him. So I could be that mom.

But the truth of it? It's not in me. I desperately need the me part of my day. I need that time to do grown up things, to have grown up conversations. And when I don't get that time, it is Not Good Indeed. I become impatient, frustrated, and highly irritable. I become Shouty Mom, and Shouty Wife, and I don't like myself very much.

So The Imp goes off to "school" every morning, and I run my business from home. Best of both worlds; The Imp loves daycare, adores his friends, and gets all the social stimulation, developmentally-appropriate play, crafts, and activities he craves. He's an only child - daycare has taught him him how to share, take his turn, and find his place in the world, independent of me. I'm lucky to have the freedom and flexibility in my work schedule to take him to swimming and gymnastics and pick him up early just for fun whenever I want.

So I'm not that mom. I no longer apologize for it - it's okay. Good even. Because I'm not impatient, frustrated, and irritable. Or shouty. And I'm not resenting the time I spend with him. I'm delighting in it.

And he's curious, and social, and a really, really fun kid to hang around.

And clearly he's thriving.

*Second best thing: HWSNBN, of course.


  1. You said it well, my friend. I feel EXACTLY the same way. In addition to saving my sanity, two other things factor into our daycare decision: my energy level (directly correlated to my being an older mom) and distance away from immediate family.

    As much as I like to think my son came into our lives just in time, 43 as a first time mom is a bit on the late side. I admit it -- I get tired and I now get aches and pains in places I never have. Having an active boy all day drains me physically, especially in addition to the emotionally draining negotiating and boundary testing these little kidlets subject us to.

    As well, living in Toronto where we have no relatives, there is no one to "help" with the childcare other than the paid kind.

    I read somewhere that our job as parents is to raise them well so they are prepared to make wise decisions on their own, especially when they leave us. We can only do this job with help from other caregivers.

  2. I have doubts as to whether I'm that mom too...but then I am that mom because the kids aren't in daycare. I think there are good points to both ways of childcare, and really if everyone is happy no one can fault that can they?

  3. Oh there's no way I could ever stay home all the time with the Poptart. No, she's not in daycare and we have a live-in Nanny (who saves my bacon on a daily basis), but I need to work at least part-time to retain any semblance of sanity.

    We have long days living where we do and working in Vancouver - and the thought of her being not at home for 14 plus hours a day killed me. So we have no money, but we have a happy kid who is thriving in every way. Our Nanny takes her to Strong Start, gym time and they have playdates. And she's happy. And that's all that matters.

  4. I have ran a home daycare for 11 years and love it. I must say my own 4 children as they have grown up have always been my toughest customers (3 in school and 1 still in daycare). I love being home with them but yes, its tough!
    Children do enjoy daycare if you find the right fit and the right setting. I love all the children in my care and we have so much fun during the day.
    Don't feel guilty, its a chance for both of you to grow and develop your personalities. Enjoy your time together and worry about the quality not quantity of your time toghether!
    Have a great day!

  5. It's one thing to be a stay-at-home mom without childcare. It's QUITE ANOTHER to be a work-at-home mom without childcare. I tried with both kids, and couldn't do it. I can immerse myself in my kids' worlds if I don't have professional obligations. But I can't be a present parent and also accomplish paid work at the same time. At least not all the time. Otherwise it just looks like me ignoring the children while I'm in the same room, which isn't good.

  6. Oh Lexi, every time you write something, it completely resonates with me. I could have written this post.

    Except not as well.

    And except I'm still full of guilt for sending O to the sitters every day. I'm still apologizing. I'm still trying to over compensate for it.


  7. I hold out till preschool..I can't afford any sort of daycare..so wahm ideas are worked around chasing Tara around.