As my pregnancy comes to an end I’ve been going over the final preparations for baby’s arrival, including lining up daycare. Thinking about dropping off our infant reminded me of how terrifying it seemed to me with our son. Looking back I can see how much my perspective has changed over the last three years. I had the guilt that seems so common for moms to feel as they leave their baby to return to the workforce. I mean, I’m paying someone to experience all these milestones with my child while I’m at work?! It was a struggle, but over time it became routine and I got used to it. It’s hard to believe I’m even going to say this, but, as I look back now I’m actually glad he’s been in daycare. Here’s why:
- I love seeing his social interactions with kids and making his own friends already. Listening to him tell stories about his classmates is always entertaining on the car ride home.
- His friendships at daycare have expanded our connections as parents. My husband and I have both enjoyed getting to know other daycare parents through birthday parties and other activities.
- It makes our times together more cherished. Only having evening and weekends makes our time together spent more intentionally, since it’s all we really have.
- I had to learn to give up control on some things. Obviously I won’t be able ensure everything he eats is healthy and organic. Or shelter him from nasty colds or bad habits from other kids. I’ve had to learn to let a few things go and it’s probably best for everyone.
- Since I can’t control what he’s eating at daycare it makes me more motivated to cook balanced meals for the whole family in the evenings and weekends. I try to get him in the kitchen experiencing it all with me, which makes him even more excited about what we’re eating.
- He is exposed to so many more subjects than I would probably introduce to him. I’m sure I wouldn’t have been teaching him about ladybug larva, but the kiddo can certainly tell me all about it.
- I enjoy speaking with his teachers and daycare staff. They always have a great perspective since they have been doing this so much longer than I have. And as a parent there are always questions.
- I get to be a mom and a working professional. It’s a huge challenge at times, but it’s what makes me happy and that is good for the whole family.
It’s certainly not always perfect, but daycare is what works for our family. I’ve grown to love sending him there and I know he’s always happy to go but just as happy to see me at the end of the day. I’m sure I’ll get that sense of guilt again as I drop off my baby in a few months, but at least I know in the long run, it’s worth it.