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When I Ditched the “Daycare Guilt”

When I Ditched the “Daycare Guilt”

What My Child Learned in DaycareI thought I was over the guilt of having my child in full-time care. I love our Bright Horizons child care center and the home daycare that Olivia (age 6) attended prior. But when Owen (15 months) came along that working mom guilt came knocking on my door again.

I started worrying. Were the infant teachers going to give him as much attention as I gave Olivia while I was a work-part-time-at-home mom? How am I going to build a relationship with my newborn in just a handful of hours a day? Will his teachers teach him all the life and learning skills that are important to me and my husband?

The first few months in child care were the hardest. My rational side (and previous experience with Olivia) told me that everything was going to be just fine. But still the nagging questions were there.

As Owen thrived in the infant program I felt increasingly happy about our decision and less guilty. But here is the real moment when the guilt really went away.

A few weeks ago we were eating dinner together as a family and Owen was happily sitting in his chair eating…with a fork. My first thought was, “Huh? How did he learn how to use a fork on his own?” It sounds so silly, right? But really he was using a fork to successfully eat his food. This is an important life skill – one that even Olivia has yet to master (she must have missed that month in child care).

It was at that moment that I realized I don’t have to be the one to teach him every little thing. In fact, I was happy to have the help with this messy skill. And as I read his daily What in the World Happened? curriculum sheets I see that the toddler teachers are guiding him in a million little life skills every day – all the ones that are important to me and many more that I probably would have missed.

Now I smile as I see him attempt to hang his coat on the hook in the closet and love that he can sign “more” when he wants additional strawberries. Sure, these are things that my husband and I would have taught him. But I don’t feel guilty anymore about my decision to be a working mom and let others take care of my child. They say it takes a village and I’m so glad I have one behind me.

When was your moment when you ditched the daycare guilt?

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7 comments

  1. Organized Mom February 27, 2013 at 6:37 pm

    I ditched the guilt a few times. Like you, one time was when my daughter, just 15 months, put on her own jacket, by herself. Another time was when I was thanking a teacher for something and realized it really DOES take a village (my village just involved teachers vs. sitters/neighbors/grandparents that were the “village” for many stay at home friends). And then the time I really lost the guilt was when I started to realize that from 6:00-8:00 each night and most the time on the weekends, I soaked up every second with my children. My time was limited so I had to cherish it. While many friends would talk about “wining down” by 5:00 each day, wining down wasn’t my focus by the time the sun set. My focus was sharing stories about our days, snuggling on the couch, playing games. Sure I need my breaks from the kids on the weekends, just like everyone else but not to the extent of so many stay at home friends. I feel lucky to have the best of both worlds.

  2. lisa February 28, 2013 at 1:49 pm

    It took me a few months, but I am happy to say I ditched it pretty quickly. Of course, I still have days that I wish I could spend every minute with him and I get jealous of moms that stay home, but for the most part, I love that he goes to daycare. There are so many things that he learns and so many experiences that I could never give to him if he stayed home with me. We love it!

  3. Kathryn March 1, 2013 at 12:42 pm

    These comments make me feel a lot more comfortable with choosing Bright Horizons for my now 13 month old. Up to this point he’s been at home with me almost 24/7 (give or take the occasional time spent with friends/family) but it’s now time for him to start interacting with other toddlers his age especially since he’s about to be a big brother in a few months.

    I’m more confident that Bright Horizons is the right choice for us and I can’t wait to tour the facility and get him enrolled as quickly as possible!

  4. Profile photo of Amy

    Amy March 1, 2013 at 2:30 pm

    Thanks everyone for the wonderful stories. And good luck Kathryn at your tour – can’t wait for you to join our family!

  5. MediaMom March 1, 2013 at 5:51 pm

    I’m not sure I ever had that kind of guilt, but I sure do remember being pleasantly shocked with both kids when I realized they could drink from a regular cup, as infants, well before I would have ever thought they could. Our Bright Horizons teachers have shown us so much about what our children are capable of if you just give them the environment, the respect and the opportunity to show you.

  6. Kerry July 25, 2013 at 4:53 pm

    Hi NourishMom,
    Our boys are close to the same age (10/6/11), and I am absolutely terrified of enrolling my guy in daycare for the first time. I stumbled across your blog while googling how to make the transition, and I just wanted to say thank you. I look forward to that first guilt-free moment and hope it doesn’t take too long to arrive. Up until now, due to layoffs and work schedules, one of us has been able to be home with Dan, with the exception of an odd day here or there. It hasn’t been easy juggling finances, but we finally both have work and I’m going back to school, so I am about to join the ranks of working moms with a kid in daycare.
    I know this is an older post, but any tips for making the transition?

  7. Profile photo of Amy

    Amy July 29, 2013 at 2:42 pm

    Hi Kerry. I can absolutely relate to being terrified of making the transition. When my daughter went into full-day child care (at age 2.4) it was really hard. It took about 3-4 months for our schedules and her adjustment period. I think the best piece of advice I can give is just to hang in there, give the transition the space and time it needs, and lean on teachers and center staff. The good ones will help you through the tough days.

    Bright Horizons’ has a couple of eFamily news articles that you may find helpful during this period:

    Tips for Reducing Separation Anxiety in Young Children:
    http://www.brighthorizons.com/family-resources/e-family-news/2013-tips-for-reducing-separation-anxiety-in-young-children/

    Moving Up to Toddlers in Child Care:
    http://www.brighthorizons.com/family-resources/e-family-news/2013-moving-up-to-toddlers-in-child-care/

    Good luck and let me know how it’s going!

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