From the moment I found out I was pregnant, others inquired about my plans for returning to work - or more accurately, if my baby would attend public childcare. “Whatever you do, don't put him in daycare until you can't avoid it,” was something I would often hear.
And no one hesitated to provide reasons to avoid it. For some people, it was the importance of the bond between a mother and child; they felt that my son had needs only mom could fill. For others, it was a fear of running into a daycare horror story like the mishaps we hear in the news - that one terrified me as well. But most people were concerned with the cost. Cuz daycare ain't cheap.
All of these things made me reluctant to let others watch my child. Thankfully, when I choose to work, I could either take opposite shifts from my husband or find an acquaintance to provide childcare while I worked limited hours. But as time passed, those available friends got busy, and the jobs became less accommodating. Upon finding a career I could work from home, I accepted that daycare would never work for us. All of that changed when an acquaintance of mine posted that her daughter's daycare had an opening.
I wasn't looking for a provider, but I contacted them, decided to visit. After hearing references, I was sold, and that day changed my life. Below are a few brief ways that putting my son in daycare has made me a better mother.
Daycare has allowed me to make better use of the time I have with my son. While he is at daycare, I can focus on whatever my task at hand is. When my son is home, it's easier for me to take a break knowing I completed my workload.
Before, there were times when I saw him as the obstacle standing between me and whatever I was trying to complete. But now that he goes to daycare a few times a week, I miss him. It's a weird feeling not having him with me constantly, but I couldn't help but notice how it has affected my patience and our quality time for the better.
Now, I have little to no excuse not to take quick walks, run errands or get my hair done. Before, I would often feel stressed about having to manage those things with a sleepy or grumpy baby present. Now that I have a little bit of time each week that I know is available it is a lot easier to schedule my appointments both for work and for leisure. I have joined a gym and have been able to exercise multiple times a week for the first time ever.
But the biggest pros are those that he gets from attending. Through daycare, he gets time to interact with other children. As an only child, this is a pretty huge benefit. The decision of whether or not to put your child in daycare is a personal one. I do not know if I will have my son in daycare until he starts school. But I do know that for now, this has helped me to maximize my time as a working mother along with improving the way that I interact with my son.
About the author:
Rochaun Meadows-Fernandez is a writer who specializes in sociology, health, and parenting. Her work has appeared in Healthline, Yes! Magazine, HuffPost, Allure, and many other publications. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter or check out her website.