The Benefits of Daycare…for Parents
This Huffington Post article about the benefits of daycare for moms recently caught my eye. It discusses a study conducted by sociologist Mario Small and reported by the Greater Good Science Center about the social benefits for moms who have their children in daycare. Basically, Small found that the brief chats during drop off and pick up formed strong connections that had positive emotional, and even financial, benefits.
If you had asked me a few months ago I would’ve said, “No way! I’m not getting this benefit at all.”
Let me explain. Before returning to the 9 to 5 world, I was a SAHM (stay at home mom) for two years. One of my biggest personal hurdles returning to work was giving up my SAHM connections – playdates, coffee dates, music classes. I had formed close friendships with moms who were essentially going through the same crazy parenting journey and were always there to share similar horrific stories of nursing strikes, temper tantrums, and sleep deprivation.
As the years passed those connections shook out naturally but the stronger friendships survived. Can I say that I have formed the same type of friendships with the parents at my daycare center? Not really – or should I say not yet.
Prior to Owen starting in the infant room, I was the drop-off early mom zipping in and out of the center before most of the kids arrived. I rarely bumped into other parents let alone have time to chat.
Recently returning from my maternity leave, however, I managed to arrange to work some days from a shared office space at the child care center (thank you Bright Horizons for awesome work/life balance!). Now I’m actually there when other parents come and go – and not only Owen’s infant friends but those in Olivia’s pre-Kindergarten class too. In three short weeks I can say that I’ve had more mom conversations than I’ve had in the center in the three previous years.
Do I think I’ll form closer bonds with the parents of Owen’s friends than I had with Olivia’s? Who knows but I hope so – right now I could use some emotional benefit to balance out the sleep deprivation!
- E-family news: Choosing & Starting Child Care – How to Adjust as a Parent
- Bright Horizons: Great Places for Babies