Second only to “to breastfeed or not to breastfeed”, the choice to put your child in daycare ranks at the top of the “mom guilt” ratings scale. I think every mother envisions themselves baking cookies with their child or doing crafts at the kitchen table, wiling away the afternoon hours and reveling in the thought that you have given your child all of your love, attention and time during the most formative years of their lives. If that works for you and your family, more power to you.
My kid goes to daycare 5 days a week for 8 hours a day and loves it. And you know what? I love it too.
- She’s exposed to germs and will build up her immune system. Well, yes… she’s gotten colds and gotten over them (which means I’ve gotten colds as well). Of course, if she stayed at home, she could’ve eaten a handful of dirt or licked the bottom of my shoe and built up her immune system that way. But whatever works.
- She’s getting her world validated by someone other than me or my husband. She’s learning from other people, other kinds of people. I think that’s so important. I don’t want to be the only person she learns from.
- She’s socialized. OK, yes… when I came to pick her up the other day she was putting the smackdown on another classmate but that was just a one-time thing (I hope!). But I look at her and think how independent she is already, and how relaxed she is around other kids and adults. Isn’t that what we’re supposed to be preparing them for anyway?
But here’s the crux of the matter: To be a stay-at-home mom… I don’t think I could do it. I don’t think I want to do it. And I have no guilt about saying that.
When I pick her up at 5:15, she’s happy to see me and I her. We chat all the way home and when we get there, my attention is 100% on her. The TV is off; it’s just me, my husband and the kid until she goes to bed. Stay-at-home moms may have quantity of time, but I think I definitely have quality time.
Having her in daycare reinforces the concept that there is a world out there, filled with different things and people and places, but home is always safe and where she is loved the most.