Remy is six months old. He has been in daycare for two weeks now and I have thoughts. My mother has a brilliant approach to life choices like “daycare vs Stay at Home Mom (SHM)” questions – there are always trade-offs. There isn’t necessarily a right answer, they both can be right and wrong in their own ways.
With that said, I think daycare is the right choice for my child. For a variety of reasons, some of which others told me before we signed him up and some which I hadn’t heard from friends and family.
An upside-downside is the hit to his immune system. Now, we haven’t had anything yet (knock on wood) but it’s also only been two weeks. I can 1000% understand when a mom is going “I can’t work from home and my kid isn’t very sick – I need to work and they need to go somewhere, so… Tylenol!” Is that half-day (until the Tylenol wears off and the fever spikes) worth it? It might be. That little bit of money that mom is making in a half-day of hourly pay might be the power bill or dinner that week… I’m not saying it’s right, just that I understand it isn’t always easy.
Then there is the socialization. We’ve been working hard to introduce Remy to people, but it’s largely been adults. He hasn’t been exposed to a lot of children until now. I don’t have a ton of mommy-friends and even fewer gave birth in the past year. Most seem to be 3+ years old and the age gap – makes a difference. Now, Remy is in a room with a toddling-infant (she can sort of walk) about to “graduate” to the toddler room and a 12-week-ish-old. Currently, it’s just the three. I like the idea of Remy getting to see kiddies around his own age.
Which speaking of – my friends told me I would get to know the other parents and how wonderful that would be (just having more mommy friends). Haven’t gotten there yet. So far, I haven’t met any of the other parents (period). Some of that might be that hubby drops off and I pick up fairly early (4-4:30 is late for Remy). I look forward to meeting other moms.
There is a benefit to hearing from the professionals who work with children every day that my child actually IS on track in some areas, ahead in a few, and a bit behind in a few. Specifically, we really need to be getting him to eat non-milky-foods and we could/should probably be doing more. I finally did the peanut test but we are not doing regular meals with him yet. I expect we’re going to start with “lunch” – I just have to start preparing “lunch” for him (the lunch foods they make require teeth).
Daycare has already allowed him to do “arts and crafts” – it never occurred to me there was infant-safe paint. It exists! AND it means I’m not shelling out the cash to buy a bunch of paints and trying to use them up before they go bad. And that’s just paint. As he becomes more and more dextrous the gambit of activities he’ll have access to will grow. The variety is something I couldn’t provide if I cared for him by myself.
I recognize one of my not-so-strengths (ok, maybe weakness) is that I am shy. Don’t laugh! I actually am. I’m not very comfortable meeting people and I don’t have that easy way of making friends (and I do realize I all-but just quoted Darcy, I know. The very first time I read P&P I went “omg, I get it!”). It isn’t natural to me and is something I have to actively engage with – and I don’t always like it so I backslide a LOT. So having a place to sort of force me to meet other parents and kids – I like it. Getting my kid to build those skills now (yes, at six months!) I hope means when he’s in his thirties he doesn’t struggle the way I do.