Judah just started daycare two half-days a week. That first drop off was much harder for me than it was for him; he was so excited by the change in routine. As a stay-at-home mom, I felt like I wasn’t holding up my end of the deal, like I had somehow failed as a mom.
And then, even as I write this blog post, I remember I’m not just a stay-at-home mom — I’m a working mom, who just happens to work from home. The reality is that as Judah becomes more and more mobile and independent it’s getting harder and harder to get my work done during daylight hours. And with our mommy’s helper away for the summer, I was left with no help during the week.
Truth be told, I had started doing most of my writing at 1 a.m. After waking up entirely too bleary eyed – while my son was getting a wonderful uninterrupted night’s sleep – we knew it was time for a change.
Here’s how we made the daycare decision work for us.
If you’re a work-at-home parent, daycare can help give you some dedicated work time you can count on every week.
Thankfully, my work as a freelance writer allows me a lot of flexibility in when I need to actually be working; I’m not necessarily tied to a particular set of working hours. Since Judah’s only going half-days, he comes home fed and worn out – perfect for at least a two-hour nap, extending the time I have to get as much writing done as I can.
Part-time daycare lets me be both a WAHM and a SAHM.
Two days a week, I can get a solid 7-hour workday while Judah’s in daycare and when he comes home to nap. The rest of the week? I try not to worry about too much for my writing deadlines (as much as I can manage) so I can just spend all the time being “mom” instead of “working mom.”
Daycare helps Judah learn and grow.
There’s plenty I’m able to teach and share with Judah, but there’s so much more he learns and gains by interacting with other children his age and older. His daycare provider allows for a wonderful balance of playtime and learning, helping us to reinforce things we’re teaching him at home (like his ever-expanding vocabulary) and learning how to walk independently. What’s nice too is that Judah is only two miles from our house in a home-centered daycare; we found that the environment is not only perfect for him, but a daycare arrangement that works for us, too.
Putting my son in daycare doesn’t make me a bad parent.
This was the hardest notion for me to accept, but it’s the truth. They say it takes a village to raise a child, and with an active, intelligent, fun-loving child like mine, I totally believe it! There are plenty of family arrangements where both parents work outside the home and that grandparents or other family may not be available to help with childcare, so daycare is a necessity of daily life. I think the reason that I felt like a failure as a mom was because I wasn’t providing my son with direct care 24/7 — and as much as I’d love to, it’s just not realistic to our living and working situations. If anything, I’m giving Judah a lot more opportunities by learning and interacting with other children and adults outside the home.
If you’re a parent who works from home and it’s starting to get too overwhelming trying to juggle your little one and work deadlines, daycare just might be the way to go.
Do you have little ones in daycare? What has the experience been like? Share your advice and thoughts in the comments!