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In Defense of Daycare

Categories: Career, Parenting, The Juggle

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Most weekday mornings Nate and I have our regular routine…he eats his cereal bar or toast with honey and watches his cartoons while I inhale coffee and read my Twitter and Facebook streams. When he asks what I’m doing, I tell him I’m reading my news. Among the “headlines” I encountered earlier this week was a tweet written by a woman I follow on Twitter. She wrote there about how badly she is suffering now that all of her kids are in school full-time. She is a full-time stay-at-home-mom who is feeling lost at this point in her children’s lives and doesn’t know quite what to do with herself.

I could not relate to this at all.

Whenever I hear other mothers talk about how much they would love to quit their jobs and stay at home full-time, I become uneasy. It’s not that I don’t support their wishes and goals; it’s just that their wishes and goals are so vastly different from mine at times.

I’m a very happy work-at-home (and some days outside of the home) mom. I would not be a happy stay-at-home mom. This is a notion I feel responsible for justifying all the time. For example, I mentioned to an acquaintance at the end of the last school year that I would only be working at the college one day a week this year. Her response congratulated me on the fact that I’d be able to save a lot of money on daycare since I’d be home with Nate the other four days a week. I sheepishly informed her that we’d be keeping him in daycare full-time.

“He’ll be going to school next September anyway, so we want to keep his routine going,” I said.

“I’ll still be working from home some days with my school work and I still teach those online courses,” I went on.

“He loves going to daycare…he has so much more fun there with the other kids than he’d have at home with me,” I concluded.

Nate goes to daycare

Nate goes off to daycare with his buddies.

I felt the need to explain myself because mothers are supposed to want to be home all the time with their kids, aren’t they? Activities like creating homemade craft projects and healthy lunches together and peaceful, productive outings with our children are supposed to be the epitome of mothering small children, aren’t they? Well, Pinterest lies. Life with kids at home isn’t like that.

It doesn’t matter how I try to describe the reasons why I don’t want to be a stay-at-home mom, they always come out wrong. At first, my defensive nature kicks in and my justifications for continuing to send Nate to daycare full-time while I work from home always rouse my own inferiority complex about the kind of mother I am.

Then I take a breath, tell myself to relax, and remind myself that it doesn’t matter what my reasons are…having Nate in a great daycare arrangement is what works best for all of the members of our family, even on the days when I’m at home by myself.



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One comment so far...

  • I get it. :) Furthermore, how are you supposed to work from home and get work done with a kiddo? No one seems to get that. I can hardly get food ready for all of us to eat. I often find myself explaining to my 9month old we will all starve if I can’t get dinner ready.

    Lan  |  February 2nd, 2013 at 1:11 pm