I’m Not a Bad Mom Because I Send My Son to Daycare When I’m Not Working

Please welcome Kristen for this week’s I’m Not a Bad Mom. If you would like to submit your own story, please check out info here.

Kelly Family

My husband and I both work full-time.  There is no way around that.  We have a mortgage, car loans, student loans, credit card debt…the list of expenses go on before we even get to basic living expenses.  When we started talking children, we eventually came to the decision that daycare was going to be a reality for us (one more added expense, great!).  There was just no way to live off one income, especially with us working in education and the non-profit industries.

As an educator, I was excited about the possibilities daycare would open up for our son.  He had the opportunity to be around other children, hopefully from different backgrounds and cultures than our own.  He would have a chance to learn through activities planned by individuals who had training in the development of infants and toddlers.  I expected a lot from our daycare, and we visited and interviewed 9 centers before we found one that lived up to those expectations.

We could not have been happier with our choice.  Our son started at 5 months-old, and has not cried a single day when we have left him.  Now that he is 15 months-old, he is usually squirming to get out of our arms and down to play with his friends.

A few months ago, as summer break was upon us, we made arrangements with our son’s daycare to take him out since I would not be working this summer.  As his end date with daycare drew closer, I began to feel guilty about taking him out.  Even though I had joined a playgroup, and had lots of plans for outings and activities over the summer, I couldn’t help but regret pulling him from the friends he had made there and people who had grown to care about him so much.  His teachers have been at his 1st birthday party, know everything that is going on with our family, and miss Patrick when he is out sick or we are on vacation.  They had told us how much they were going to miss him.

Since our daycare was amazing, when we mentioned in passing that we felt bad about taking him out, they made arrangements to have him one day a week without us paying more than planned to hold his spot. I was thrilled!

Here is where the judgement may come.  Some might think that I should want to have him home with me every day since I won’t be working.  If I am off work, then my son should be with me.  Truth is, this is not the only time I’m home while my son is at daycare.  I’ve had days off during the school year, but have sent him to daycare anyway.

Why would I send my son to daycare if he could be home with me?

For him!  His day at daycare is filled with so much.  He gets socialization, motor skill development through play, literacy development through story-time, better meals than I have the energy to prepare most days on my own, and so much fun! The one day a week over the summer that he has gone to daycare, he gets so excited when he arrives.  Most days, he won’t even say good-bye to my husband or I because he is already engulfed in play with his friends.  It also helps keep him in his routine.

For me!  Parenting can be an overwhelming job sometimes.  I remember during my first year of teaching, I was introduced to the concept of “mental health days”.  These were days where you might not have been physically ill, but needed a day to recharge or clear your head, because teaching can also become overwhelming at times.  I can be a better mom if I have that “mental health day” every now and then.  I can get things done around the house, run errands, or even just catch up on sleep.

So yes, I not only send my son to daycare, but also sometimes send him while I sit at home.  However, I will not feel guilty about this. I know that I am making the best decision for my son and myself, and that is what really matters.

Kristen is a 30-something mother, wife, and educator living in Cleveland, Ohio with her husband Dave and son Patrick.  She is a proud alum of Ohio University and loves Steelers football.  She loves getting out and exploring the city and finding new and fun family-friendly activities.  She writes about her experiences, both with parenting and Cleveland, on her blog Ready…Set...Parenthood!  

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About Cristi Comes

Warrior Mom. Wife. Writer. Advocate for mental health, suicide prevention, self care, self image and style. Technology and social media lover. Board of Directors, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Washington State Chapter. Editorial Team Postpartum Progress.

Comments

  1. As a parent who opted to stay home and struggle on one income, I applaud you. I don’t regret the decision I made, but living through it I can see the benefits on the other side of the coin.

    At first, with my first baby, it was wonderful. I was home and I had tons of help because we loved somewhat near family and the baby was new and exciting. I also had lots of babies R us gift cards from the shower and I was collecting unemployment because i had had the good fortune of my branch shutting down while I was on maternity leave. I spent my days as a mom and just as a mom. I loved every minute of it.

    Fast forward- another kid, we moved further from everyone, no more unemployment coming in. Now I am trying to work from home with two kids. I have no sleep. I am not a great mom. I do less with the kids because I am tired and busy. I am stressed over finances. I have lost my sense of identity.

    Now that the kids are a bit older those issues are straightened out but it was hard. If I had had a daycare to put them in sometimes to regain my sanity and sense of self I would have been a better mom on some days. If I had not had the stress over finances I would have felt better, too. I am happy I was here and that I did not miss anything, but looking back it really all balances out with quantity and quality. If I had been working and using daycare we would have had less time but the time would have been better. Again, I am happy with what I did, but what you are doing is equally as excellent and probably much more efficient!
    Christen Pyle recently posted..Spellbinders Celebra’tions Review and GiveawayMy Profile

  2. Hi Kristen! I love this article. As an LPC I see alot of different types of families and there is a broad range of parenting that produces securely attached children and adults. Kudos to you for being brave enough to come out and describe your life and your happy family and child. And how you take care of your own health, physically and mentally! I’ll be it took some guts to write this! Warmly, Kathy
    Kathy Morelli, LPC recently posted..Complexity of Marriage Therapy, Part Three: Dr. Sue Johnson and Emotion Focused Therapy: Modifying Adult Attachment PatternsMy Profile

  3. As a mom with 5 children, I would love to be able to bring my child to some place they love and are well cared for while I took a much needed break. Moms have to do what is best for them – and it looks like you made a great choice for yourself. :-)
    Meeghan recently posted..Motivating your reluctant reader: A penny a pageMy Profile

  4. I don’t have children so I can’t write from personal experience but if your child is happy and you are happy I don’t understand why anyone would find anything wrong with what you are doing. And besides – it’s no ones business but your own how you choose to rear your child.
    Patty recently posted..Catastic Event, Day 6: Happy Goat Soap GiveawayMy Profile

  5. When I was on maternity leave my son still went to all day preschool (aka daycare). I needed the time to be with the baby and if I could have sent both, I may have. Besides, if you still have to pay – why not? People who judge are just jealous ;)
    MryJhnsn (@mryjhnsn) recently posted..4 Ways to Enjoy Cedar Point When It Rains #iheartcp #sponsoredMy Profile

  6. Both of my kids went to daycare. While I sometimes wish I could be a stay at home mom, I realize that it’s MUCH better for my kids that I have a job outside the home. They are happier and truly, so am I. Most of the time they’d rather be at school than sitting at home with me anyway.

    Now my sister-in-law pretends to be at work so that my mother-in-law will keep her kids. That does make me mad!
    Dede recently posted..Are You #Noseblind? Check out how we did! GiveawayMy Profile

  7. As long as your child is well cared for and happy I don’t think there’s anything wrong with sending him to daycare a few hours. It’s actually going to be easier for him to adjust to being away from you during school when the time comes. I’m glad you don’t feel guilty, there’s nothing to feel guilty about.
    Mina Slater recently posted..L’Oreal Paris Visible Lift Blur Foundation – 212 Classic Tan #VLBlurfectionMy Profile

  8. Jenna Wood says:

    I agree, I think that it is an enriching experience for children to engage with others around their age. Just like moms need mom time, kids also need kids time, and to learn to interact and network with their own age group. Daycare can certainly be a tool for both parent and child when it is not a necessity due to work or plans.

  9. I think daycare is a wonderful option and gives kids the learning tool to start their learning process. As long as they are cared for, that is really all that matters:)

  10. My husband & I have discussed this and we’re in the same boat, when children come in to the picture we are going to have no choice but to do day care because we can’t do it on one persons income. I’ve heard its very tough but it eventually will get easier and is great for the development of the child!
    Ann Marie DelFavero recently posted..First Impressions :: Younique 3D Moodstuck 3D Fiber LashesMy Profile

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