The Life of Bon: 4 Hurtful/ Misinformed Things People Say About Daycare

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

4 Hurtful/ Misinformed Things People Say About Daycare

I have had this nice little daycare rant in my mind for months now and the mood is exactly right for me to unleash!  Be ye warned.  People are never directly rude about my choice to put June in daycare, but I get a lot of offhanded, passive aggressive remarks that let me know that people 1) are very misinformed about daycare and 2) do not approve of my choice to put June in daycare.  Of course they never say that outright.  Most people say "Oh, I think it's great!  To each his own!  It's fine that you put June in daycare.  I never could though, because...." x,y,z reason.  X,y,z, reasons are usually misinformed and a slight offhanded insult to me.  I know people don't mean to be rude and they probably really don't know a lot about childcare options, so I'm going to dispel some myths and set the record straight.  I mean, what else is a blog for?


1.  I would put my child in daycare but...  I don't want to miss out on her childhood.  I am not missing out on June's childhood, and I think the majority of moms who have their kids in daycare would agree.  I am there for all of June's big moments.  Do parents who have school aged kids think that they are missing out on their kids' childhood because they are not with them from the hours of 8-3 M-F?  Or do they still spend evenings, weekends, holidays, summers experiencing "childhood" with their children.  You never hear someone say "my child is in first grade now so I am missing out on his childhood."  I do see where parents who are spending 12 or 14 hours a day away from their children would maybe feel like this, but there are so many different options for daycare, I don't think it's fair that we assume anyone who has their child in daycare at all is obviously "missing" her childhood.

June's childhood.  
And me, not missing it.

2.  I would put my child in daycare but...  I don't want to leave my child with a stranger.  This one always gets me and I hear it all. the. time. Leaving a child at daycare is not equivalent to leaving a child with a stranger.  Who in their right mind would just leave their child with some random person they don't know at all?  I know exactly who is watching June, and I have a relationship with her caretakers.  They are loving, sweet women and I feel extremely grateful to know them and to have them spend time with my daughter.  I trust them.  I ask them advice.  They have loved and taken care of many children so they know a lot more about child rearing than I do!  And most importantly, they love June.  I feel like the main caretaker, Terri, at my school is like a third grandma to June- June doesn't cry at all when I pass her off to Terri and June's always happy with her.  Often when I come to pick June up, Terri (or one of the other caretakers) is holding her, feeding her, reading to her, playing with her, etc.  I understand that not every single daycare situation is like this, but I like to believe that more often than not IT IS.  People who spend their entire lives taking care of children usually inherently love children and are well suited for the job.  They give my child love and affection, and I have never once felt like my child was left with a "stranger".

June and caretaker Mariah (and other matching baby) (and awesome life sized stuffed tiger).

Terri and June.

3.  I would put my child in daycare but...  I don't want someone else raising my child.  This one is perhaps the most hurtful and also the most ludicrous.  Since when was watching a child during the day while a parent is working considered "raising the child"?  Greg and I have done all of June's "raising"- we are the ones awake with her in the night, feeding her, taking her to doctor's appointments, deciding when to wean her and what to feed her, watching her grow, taking her to the zoo, spending Christmas morning with her.  We make all of the decisions for June.  Terri and her crew at the daycare help us to take care of her but they do not "raise" her and I think that any working parent would absolutely agree with me that it is hurtful to imply that not having your child with you 24/7 means someone else is raising the child.  (I also gave my whole body to June for 9 months + 1 year extra so she could get milk from my bosom!  No caretaker managed that, so please give all credit of "raising" the child to me!)

Part of me also gets frustrated with the gender stereotype that goes along with this.  I have never once heard someone say about a man that he is not "raising his child" because he works.  "Oh, your husband has to work?  That's so sad that you're raising the child without him."  I mean, that's just insane right?  But we say it to and about women, which is not fair.  Greg and I raise our child.  We also teach school.  Even crazier still, we also watch movies when June is asleep!  We do all of those things at the same time!  We don't have to choose just one of those things!  What a world!

First day of kinderbeets this year.

4.  I would put my child in daycare....  if we really really needed the money.  I hear a variation of this statement a lot.  I don't think people realize, but what they are implying is that daycare is a bad option, only to be used if you are in dire circumstances/ facing poverty.   When I first went back to school last year I felt that some people disapproved of this choice because Greg was working full time and we didn't "really really need the money."  Well, let's be honest, we live in a country of microwaves, carpet, and smart phones so "need" is very relative at this point.  We don't "need" the money, but I really enjoy teaching and it is something that I feel like I am good at.  I get a lot of satisfaction from working, and I love to interact with other teachers, students, and parents.  We also like having extra income- without my salary we would be pinching pennies every month and never have any room to breathe expense wise because Greg as a first or second year teacher doesn't make diddly squat.  That doesn't mean that we couldn't do it, it means that we don't want to.  (Nor should we feel shamed because we don't want to be a family of 3 living on $30,000 a year.  Schools should be shamed for not paying teachers more!)  Our decision to have me work doesn't make us selfish or negligent parents, it means we want to live with a little more comfort and space salary wise, and no, we are not sacrificing our child's well being and happiness to do so.

My favorite thing about daycare miiiiiiiiight be that June gets to ride around in this "bye bye buggy."  It is absolutely adorable when I spot her in the halls in this thing.

I love that June has gone to daycare.  I love that she gets to interact with other kids.  I love that she has a variety of toys and books to play with- much more than we'd ever be able to provide for her at home.  I love that she has time away from her parents and is allowed to learn to trust other people and grow independently.  We will always be her favorites, but June does not cry when she goes to other people. (um... most of the time...)  These are great benefits to daycare!  I totally understand women who want to stay home with their kids and choose not to work.  This is a great option for many women and many children.  Working part time while your daughter is in daycare downstairs is also a great option!  So is working full time while your child is in daycare down the street!   Let's be understanding and kind about other choices.  Not passively aggressively kind, either, but kind kind.

Daycare does not equal someone else "raising my child"
Daycare does not equal selfish or negligent parents
Daycare does not equal leaving my child with a "stranger"
Daycare does not equal missing out on all my child's big moments
Daycare does not equal a decision made only if you are absolutely desperate for money
Daycare does not equal bad parenting.

Thank you and goodnight!

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