Diving into daycare

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Photo credit: Renee Yarter

Well, I finally jumped into the deep end. I enrolled my daughter, just three months shy of three, in a daycare center. She only went the past two days, but it’s such a difficult thing to do.

My daughter’s been home with me pretty much every day since she was born, and this separation is tough on us.

So why am I doing it?

I mentioned it’s time for me to get a day job so I can amass some money to properly fund my freelance business. And there’s almost no way to look for a job with a busy toddler at home. Her previous sitters, close family, aren’t able to watch her as much as they’d like, so here we are.

So far it’s okay. She tells me she likes school, and she clearly likes playing with all the kids.

But tonight she woke up from a bad dream, saying something about, “I want to go outside to see Mommy. I want to go outside. Where’s Mommy?” Almost broke my heart. The first day I dropped her off at the playground when everyone was out playing, and then I picked her up later when they were outside. So she firmly believes that Mommy is outside, and that if she just goes outside she’ll see me. So far it’s been true. Today I picked her up on their second playground outing.

Both days the teachers said she really wanted to go outside and kept asking to go. They assumed it was for playing purposes. I wondered. Now I know.

Luckily I only have her enrolled part-time, but I

may have to ease her into it a little more slowly. She’s okay, and isn’t crying much, but when she heads out to the playground you can tell that she’s looking for me and getting visibily upset when she doesn’t see me (I was peeking through a window to see how she was doing).

Long story shorter: Daycare is going to be rather hard for us to deal with. I feel horrible for abandoning my baby, but I also need to provide a secure home for her. Maybe when I get back on my feet we can go back to homeschooling, but for now daycare is a necessary part of our lives.

What about you? How has daycare affected you, your business, and your child(ren)?

6 Responses to “Diving into daycare”

  1. Oh … that is tough. 🙁 I can still remember being a little tyke and screaming and crying when my mom left me at daycare. And after she left I was fine.

    On the one hand it is really traumatic (I think) for a kid to think that their mom/dad left them somewhere. On the other hand they will eventually have to go places / do things without you right? So at what point do they learn that you’ll always come back even if you’re away for a little while?

    I don’t have a little one yet but I’d love to be a SAHM. Hubby has already said no way. We’ll see. 🙂

    castocreations’s last blog post..Birthday Contributor Post – The Tyger Lily

  2. crowdstorm says:

    Hi. Just wanted to say that you shouldn’t feel guilty about leaving her at daycare. My parents send my (much) younger 2 year old sister to nursery three days a week and although she was a bit wobbly at first she loves it now – the social interaction is great for her and she’s met some lovely little friends!
    It will be OK in the end, remember you’re doing it for her future so it will all be worth it eventually.

  3. Don says:

    Hi Theda, came by to check up on you and landed here. I can speak form experience on this one as I underwent bypass surgery a year or so ago at 49. Take care of it folks


    Don’s last blog post..On Being Remarkable and Being Remembered

  4. Since you’re paying for the daycare anyway, you could consider doing more gradual entry. When my older child started a twice weekly 2-hour session at a local facility, I would go for just five minutes to “go to the bathroom”. Then 10 minutes “to grab something from the library” (across the hall). Then 15 for a coffee. Then for coffee with so and so’s parent for 30 minutes. Then to the store for 45. Then for something else for an hour. And so on. My child knew that I’d always stuck to my promise and where I’d be and why. I also found it helpful to say “I’ll be back when you finish art” or “I’ll be back after snack”. Now there is no trauma at all.

  5. […] with single parenting and attempting to work solely from home, I’ve had to make some tough choices. Now that my daughter’s three years old, […]

  6. Theda,

    I know its tough to see your child miss you, but she is actually learning some good lessons. As long as you don’t make any promises you can’t keep, such as early pickup or “its just for 1 hour”, she will learn that you always come back to pick her up. A consistent schedule will also allow her to focus on fun activities during the day. Her trust in you will grow. Also, she is getting the opportunity to interact with other kids and adults, which will help her socially. I firmly believe that a good, safe daycare is a positive experience for most children.

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