The Upside to Having Your Baby in Daycare
When maternity leave comes to an end
I was very fortunate as a second-time new mom to be able to stay home for three months with my new little guy. It wasn’t always easy- there was a lot of crying, not much sleeping, and times when I couldn’t remember what day it was or the last time I brushed my teeth. However, as the weeks went by we got to know each other better, and the beginning stages of a routine was born. We started taking a walk together every morning and slowly started to nap and eat around the same time every day.
Just when things seemed manageable, even enjoyable, my allotted twelve weeks away from work ran out. It was time to put the baby in day care. This was unchartered territory for us. Our older son was cared for by family members when I went back to work and didn’t go to day care until he was two years old. Two years old and twelve weeks old- huge difference! We had a great place lined up, I talked to friends who sent their little ones there and consistently heard positive things. We started labeling stuff and getting his supplies ready. As the start date grew closer, I found myself thinking about it ALL THE TIME. I had moments of panic, sorrow, and worry. This was not going to be easy.
The first day of day care
Finally, the big drop-off day came. I asked my husband to take our son; I just couldn’t do it myself. I called mid-way through the day and was assured our boy was doing well. He was happy, he was eating, he was napping. In fact, he was actually napping more there than he usually did at home. Hmmm.
When the family was all back together at the end of the day, I could tell our little guy had a long day, but was fine. I read over his little progress report from his teacher, which included all his feeding times. She followed a schedule with him, to a T. Hmmm. I was never able to do that.
My husband picked him up and said that when he walked in, our son was happy and babbling away to another baby. His teacher was happy and he was happy. There were no signs of stress, sadness, anxiety, hunger or anything. Any problem that I imagined happening, didn’t. In fact, I dare say, these virtual strangers did a better job managing my baby than I do!
Taking note of the positives
That’s when it hit me. Day care isn’t such a bad thing. Over the years, I have heard friends say this, but never really got it until that moment. I had been dreading day care, but maybe I shouldn’t have. Day care will let him bond with other adults and make baby friends. Day care will let him see other babies in action and may actually help him reach milestones through observing others. Day care will ensure that he has a busy day and will be tired when he comes home, hopefully leading to a good night’s sleep!
My husband talked to me that night about the day care teachers.
“You know,” he said, “they love it. I can tell. These people just love taking care of and playing with babies all day.” As we talked more, we both realized that these people are baby people. Honestly, neither of us really are baby people, and that is okay. We love both our sons with every fiber of our being, but taking care of babies is really exhausting and hard for both us. Sending our son to day care will not only ensure social and physical development, but will also ensure two very excited parents that are just thrilled to see him at the end of the day. We won’t have to be the ones that inevitably get frazzled when the naps just don’t happen or the fussiness goes on and on all afternoon.
Is day care a perfect solution? No! I miss him so much! Plus, as we all know, there will be colds, separation anxiety, miscommunications with the staff, a depleted checking account, amongst many other issues. However, I am starting to see that there are positives in every one of life’s situations, even ones that I previously thought would bring nothing but heartache. Even though we are still only at the beginning of this chapter of our lives, it’s already been full of highs and lows. It’s been a conscious decision, but I am deciding to open my mind and my heart to this experience.
Now, if we can just get that whole nap-at-home thing figured out!