When I Ditched the “Daycare Guilt”
I 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?
- Bright Horizons: Great Places for Babies & Growing World of Toddlers
- E-family news: Choosing & Starting Child Care – How to Adjust as a Parent