In the last four years I’ve experienced a home day care, a center and a babysitter. Here’s the recap:
Note #1: If you are pregnant, please stop. Although you need to consider your options this decision can wait until the baby arrives.
Note #2: Your decision is based on your intuition. Miraculously Motherhood blesses you with this gift and your job is to trust it.
My dentist recommended a home daycare, but they were full. The recommended daycare provider recommended a friend of hers down the street. My husband and I, along with Lu, our son, went for a visit and hired her on the spot. The pros were: We loved how she kept her home, there was a room specifically for the kids, she had a great backyard, was close to my work and home, and the cost was within our budget. The most important thing we liked was the daycare provider herself. She was loving and stern. She was empathetic as a mother herself and held my hand when I needed it. The cons: We didn’t agree with some of her decisions, but on the flip side we had an open relationship that we addressed it. If you do not trust your daycare provider, for even a second, find another provider. Although her sick days were few, when she was sick finding a sitter last minute was stressful, so have a backup plan. She did not follow a strict school curriculum, but this wasn’t important to us.
We changed to a center because our daycare provider unexpectedly closed. Although in the moment this felt horrific, when one door closes another one opens. A new center had opened in town. We signed up on our first visit (yes, we made decisions quick, but our gut told us, ‘do it!’). The pros: The curriculum was incredible. There were many women to watch our children. The center was ALWAYS open, except for bad weather. Everything was ‘new’ at this new center. The cons: Disease. Yes this happens in a home daycare, but when there are one hundred young infants in one building, cleanliness is imperative. Be aware if teachers are stressed or overworked (do they take sick days when needed?). At a home daycare I fell in love with the person, but at a center I had to fall in love with the curriculum (this was hard for me). Again, have an open relationship with your children’s teachers and the director of the school (as she is the teacher’s coach) and address any concerns ASAP.
We left the center because of money. We paid a pretty penny and the education was worth it. We also felt that the kids needed more attention. Pros: Our children get more one on one time. They get to stay in their home and play with their own toys. The friendship between our two children is stronger because they play with each other all day. They get to just ‘be kids’. There’s no pickup or drop off and no need to pack up the kids and their belongings. Trust can be built quicker because there are no other parents and children to distract you. Cons: Like the home daycare center, her sick days are few, so we have a backup plan. I do need to meal plan more, but it feels nice to have control over what they eat.
Our #1 choice is…. our new babysitter.
I can admit one sad thing. With each change mommy guilt bubbled over. The first day is hard because if you’re like me you’d give anything to be with your children. Each new provider reminded me that I chose to be a Working Mom. Each situation forced me to swallow this big pill of guilt, but like I’ve said before guilt is a feeling that you choose to feel. I am happy that I own a home and that my car is safe and taken care of. Would I love to be home with my children? Yes. Hopefully that day will come but until then I’m OK with accepting 2nd best.
On a funny note, here’s the results of my #MomMetaphorMonday post:
The feeling you get when you know you must leave and attached to your leg is your child is like…
… going to the dentist to get a cavity filled.
… your 16 years old again and you’ve disappointed your parents.
… your last day of vacation.
… bubblegum stuck to the bottom of your shoe.
Stay tuned for next Monday’s Mom Metaphor! Thanks for all who contributed!
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