Before I had my daugther, Ryleigh, and went on maternity leave, I already feared the inevitable:
We would have to put her in daycare when my maternity leave was over.
I was terrified of leaving my tiny, helpless child with strangers who wouldn’t know what she needed or liked. I researched daycares in the area and I would always wind up finding articles about how a freak accident happened to a child at daycare. How could I leave my child with one of these places? Well, I had no choice.
When I first went back to work I was excited because my husband and I have jobs that were able to schedule us opposite shifts of each other. This meant one of us would be able to stay home with her while the other worked. It didn’t give us any time for ourselves, or each other, but it would prolong having to put her in daycare until she was 6 months old. We thought this was much better than having to put our 8 week old in a daycare with stranger caregivers
We visited the daycares in our area in advance and found one that we really liked. The director answered all of our questions and gave us a ton of information. The daycare looked clean, the kids looked happy and well taken care of. We picked a date in the future for her to start and enrolled her.
The day she was to start came way too quickly. I dropped her off and spent the entire day at work waiting for some phone call with terrible news. Of course that didn’t happen and I picked up a happy baby. I was given a sheet that detailed her day for me. It told of when she ate, had a diaper change, and her nap times.
As the days went by I could see Ryleigh’s excitement as I dropped her off to play with her friends. I started to realize that daycare was going to be a helpful tool for her to learn to socialize with other children. She was also learning at a much quicker pace and as I watched her interactions with the teachers I could see why. They were great at helping her develop her motor skills.
As much as I’d love to think that I would be the best teacher for my daughter, I have no formal education is early childhood learning or development. The teachers at Ryleigh’s daycare do. They know how to best help develop Ryleigh’s skills and also what to look out for in case of any delays in abilities. They even had a parent-teacher conference with me to go over her development.
I started to realize that I was happy we had Ryleigh in daycare. She would come home with little art projects every so often. Honestly I didn’t even think to try out painting with her. I thought she was too little! I was glad to see her creativity blossoming.
Daycare also gave me a chance to have a little bit of “me time”. Originally we had her in daycare two days a week, but after seeing how well she was doing after starting we increased to three days. I was off from work on Wednesdays, but decided to have her in daycare anyway. This gave me a chance to schedule some doctor appointments, start getting back into a workout regime, and have a little alone, relaxation time.
I’ll admit part of me felt a little selfish to have someone else watching Ryleigh while I ran errands, wrote blog posts, or worked out. I then noticed how much less anxious and stressed out I felt and how much more attentive to Ryleigh I was when I picked her up. That little bit of extra time for myself, even though most was spent cleaning, helped me to be more relaxed and I feel like it makes me a better wife and mother.
I’m happy that we chose daycare for Ryleigh. If I had to go back and do it all over again I would choose the same. Ryleigh has developed so much since beginning with them and her creativity, social, and motor skills are all thriving. She gets excited to see her teachers and friends when she’s dropped off and seeing her happy makes me happy. Spending time at daycare has also given me time to focus on myself and become the best mom and wife I can be.
Did you choose daycare for your child(ren)? Did you like it? Why or why not?