I’m pretty sure I’ve hit on this point before, so call me paranoid, I guess. I’m in this weird limbo of sorts because Wes is one of the only kids I know who attends daycare. There are a few, though usually the kids in my life are watched by a relative, dropped off at a caregiver’s house, or they have parents who work from or stay at home. I don’t think one is a better option than another, but it does cross my mind a lot.
It makes it tough because I can’t really talk through my troubles with many people and sort out my thoughts.
We’re about to transition Wesley into full-time daycare. Currently he attends 3 days a week, coupled with my mom watching him one day, and I the other. When he was still a tiny little guy, my friend Jillian watched him until he turned one year. He’s been enrolled in part-time daycare since then. My paranoia arises even when I type this.
Will we be able to afford it? His school is highly rated, which means it’s worth the money. But. Three days to five days is a big financial jump. I often find my job, of which I love, and of the not-for-profit salary margin, and the words, “importance” “worth it” and “selfish” in the same thought-sentences. It’s an ongoing battle in my brain.
Will we miss out on his childhood and developments? In other words, will I regret this decision later on? He’s only this age once. I don’t know how to answer this question.
Will he get enough rest? On days at home or at his grandma’s house, Wes will nap an average of two hours. However, with all the distractions at school, group naptime is usually about one hour, tops. He is a tired mess of a crank-ball by the time I pick him up. We struggle to get dinner on the table, eating is a challenge, and BOOM, it’s time for bed. I think we spend less than two hours with Wesley every weekday. It’s pretty crummy.
Will he ever stay healthy? I and his pediatrician are looking forward to the end of cold and flu season so we can kick these frequent winter illnesses in the rear end. With a kid who likes to touch his face, we’re pretty much doomed until Kindergarten.
And, of course, what will people think of us? I have to admit that I do think about how others view us. I know it doesn’t matter, but it affects me. His daycare, for instance, doesn’t cloth diaper. So, we’ve had to change our ways, and I feel a little guilty for not upholding my original plans. I feel like I’m now in this outsider realm of “failed cloth diapering parents.” Why, why does it matter? (Besides saving the environment?)
But then again, I weigh all the positive outcomes of his experiences. His school is a sigh of relief. It’s just down the street from my job, and I can be there in a heartbeat in case of fever or emergency or whatever. He mingles and socializes, which I know is a struggle for him. He learns to trust and obey authority. He learns to share and be part of a community. He learns! I mean, some days I have no idea what to do other than explore the outdoors or draw on a coloring page or destroy a block tower. These are teachers with real-life lesson plans geared toward specific developments of his brain’s age.
It amazes me how much he knows at nearly 21 months old. I’m super proud of him. I wish I could have taught him some of the things he shows me, but I don’t know how to teach him. I know how to love him and encourage him and support him, and I will.
The thing is, I want what’s best for our family. I know I am more fulfilled and happy and successful when I am employed in a wonderful position such as my own. Yes, even on the difficult days, I know this. My time, though it may be limited, with Wesley is more enjoyable when I’m applying and challenging myself during the day. I better appreciate and cherish the laughs and tears and snuggles with my son. I also know that my husband is proud of my accomplishments. He is proud of me! Ain’t that something?
So, I guess our situation may change down the road because I’m obviously still struggling with inconsistent thoughts. But for now, we enter full-time daycare. It’s a family effort. We’ll all feel the change.
Tags: daycare, stay at home mom, working mom
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