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Working moms...when you have a day off, do you still send your child to daycare?

post #1 of 33
Thread Starter 
Please don't flame me for this, I am honestly curious! Before I start, YES I realize I probably have better things to do than obsess over my annoying neighbors, but I happen to be always cooking by my kitchen window while they are coming or going

The husband works from home, the wife is a teacher. Her mother comes and picks up their son every single day at 7, drops him off at 5:30. She gets home at 3. Even when she doesn't have work, snow days, vacations, etc. her mother still comes and gets this child. I see her and her husband go out to lunch, do yard work, etc. So it isn't like she is sick or something. Also, her mother comes over every single weekend, both days, and I see her taking the baby for walks in our neighborhood- but never the parents! I find this very strange.

I can understand the whole dropping him off at 5:30 even though she gets home at 3- maybe she wants to unwind, get some errands done...but I am struggling to come up with why the mom takes the baby on all the other days. PPD maybe? The baby is 18 months... or maybe they are just extremely routine-oriented? I mean, she only sees her child for like 2 hours at night, and maybe an hour in the morning. I don't get it!

Send me your theories. My husband won't humor me

I am not being judgemental, I swear- just really curious. Maybe there is a good reason. I just know, as a SAHM who sees her kids all the time, and they drive me nuts- even when I do get some alone time I am still dying to see them after a few hours...
post #2 of 33
my dh is a sahd. ds1 goes to preschool 3 days/week, all day. there has only been one day when i had the day off, when he had school (day before thanksgiving). absolutely, i sent him to school! it was fantastic to have a day off with "only" one kid at home. and if/when it happens again, yes, he will be going to school. he loves it - wouldn't want to miss it. i might pick him up earlier, but i wouldn't keep him home with me all day.

in your neighbors' case, maybe they use that child-free time at home to get all their chores done and connect as a couple & make dinner, so that when ds is home in the evenings and on the weekends, they can focus completely on him. i can see that - in our case, we don't often get time in the evenings because one or both kids will be awake until i need to go to bed, and weekends are crazy-busy.

or maybe her dh just cannot get his work done with a toddler in the house, and his work day doesn't end until 5:30.
post #3 of 33
If she's a teacher, she may get home at three, but it's likely that she still has quite a bit of grading/class prep to do, both of which are much harder to do with an 18 month old around.

Sounds like they have a very supportive and involved MIL. We just aren't very used to families being this close and involved in this culture.

If you really want to know, the best thing to do would be to get to know them better and ask them yourself.
post #4 of 33
I don't know there exact situation, but here is how it was for me when I was working (currently sahming until the need for $$ sends me back to work).

My schedule rotated every 4 weeks from M-F to T-Sat. The days I took Monday off I usually sent ds (then 3) to daycare. He was comfortable in his routine and it made it easier for everyone to stick with that. Even though yes, I saw him less. It is the same as with many SAHMS, I needed time to myself!! I didn't see my job as time to fullfill time for myself, I didn't like it, didn't work with people I necessarily enjoyed and was not being personally fullfilled in any way by it. I worked at this job because we needed money. I still needed time to take a break and unwind and so I really appreciated these days. I often was able to pick ds up an hour or two early and this allowed us to either make our evening a bit easier or I would take him to the park before going home.

That said, when dh had an unexpected snow day (school teacher) he usually stayed home and kept ds at home. He has a harder time giving up time with ds. Whereas I had stayed home with ds for 18 months and experienced some PPD and realized that time for myself was crucial for being able to be a good mom.

Don't worry I'm not flaming you. But you really don't know what this family might be dealing with or what their circumstances and so please be careful not to judge someone elses decisions.
post #5 of 33
Thread Starter 
Yea I know what you mean- I would LOVE to have 2 hours a day to myself! I would just, personally, not feel right about having 3 weeks of christmas break or something and having all that free time, and not spending it with my babies.
post #6 of 33
Yes, I do. It's rare though for me to be off and not her.

I have a school-age child now and I've discovered that she much prefers me to take my vacation while she has a school activity that she wants me to come to (daytime performance, Valentine's party etc) and to send her to some kind of camp or program when she doesn't have school. Not quite your question but it's why I'm taking next Thursday off but sending her to a 1-day "cheer camp" today.

I agree with the PP who said to get to know the family. Circumstances are different for everyone. It IS unusual for us to see an extended family so involved
post #7 of 33
I'm a teacher, and I think she is definitely using that afternoon weekday time to do more work (A LOT of required work for teachers is done outside of the regular work day). Personally, I don't do that, but I also really really don't like my job and don't put as much effort into it as I could. As for vacations like spring break or winter break, I usually send dd in to daycare once, maybe twice. Partly because my dcp often has a holiday party for the kids that coincides with my vacation time, and I don't want my dd to miss out on that. But also because my dh and I have never left dd with a babysitter for an evening out or anything like that, so it's the only time that we have alone together. So, if I have a week off, I'll keep her home for 4 of the days and send her in for 1, and my husband and I will have a date day.
For some kids it's super important to keep a routine going, and so the mom might be sending the kid in just to keep things routine, even though she'd prefer to keep him with her. Like, if the kid is going to freak out the first week back at daycare if he's home with mommy for a break, I think it's a loving thing to think of the child's stability before her own desire to hang out with her child. You know?
As for the grandmother coming over on weekends too, maybe her husband recently died or she's recently retired, or something along those lines, and she doesn't really know what to do with herself. So having her over is actually to help HER, rather than for the parents to have someone watch the kid.
There's just so many things you'll have no way of knowing unless you asked. And yeah, maybe the woman just doesn't really like her kid. That would stink, of course, but then at least you can be glad that the kid has a stable, caring grandparent in the picture.
post #8 of 33
No, I don't. My SIL does. I used to judge her for it, but I've come to learn that every family situation is different, and there is no way I could know the intimate details of what makes other families "click". So now when she tells me that she had a day off and went to the pool alone, I answer "good for you" and I mean it...because I trust that she knows what is best for her family.
post #9 of 33
It's kind of hard to say why anyone does something you don't understand.

Some days, I have sent my kid to daycare when I'm not at work. Almost always around Christmas time, I have (or take) a day or two off and still send my kid in for part of the day so I can shop or wrap. I've left my kid at daycare so I could paint or do birthday stuff for them.

Right now, our youngest son goes to daycare 4 days a week. The other day, he goes for preschool and then comes home. Dh is in school 4 hours a day and I work 8 hours a day. So yeah, he could keep ds2 home for part of the day, but this way, we keep our routine. And either way, we pay the same price for a few hours or a full day. And we pay for 4 days a week whether he's there or not.
post #10 of 33
It would depend on why I had the day off - I had no problem with sending them to daycare if I had to get stuff done, run errands or doctors appointments. My kids always hated that sort of thing, and loved their daycare.

Another reason might be that their baby is very routine oriented and does not like to have the routine disturbed. Some babies are like that.
post #11 of 33
I don't, but we only pay for the days we use, and money is tight. So if a sick day for me corresponds to a day DH has to work, DS stays home. Actually, DH would probably take the opportunity to work a full day (he usually just works mornings) so then we wouldn't have to spend money on daycare for one other morning.

BUT, if we had a DCP arrangement where we had to pay whether DS went or not, he'd totally go if I were home sick.
post #12 of 33
I used to keep DD home from daycare when I had a weekday off. I just assumed that's what everyone did.

Then a friend of mine actually said, "are you crazy?" which got me to thinking. Once I started taking DD to daycare when I had a day off (which only happened rarely), it was so awesome. I could get a zillion things done that would have taken twice as long if I'd had her in tow. And -- god forbid! -- I got to take a little time for myself.
post #13 of 33
Towards the end of last year when I had a bunch of use or lose vacation, I took the time off and sent DS to daycare. It allowed me to run errands and clean and veg. It is impossible to get chores done with a toddler around the house. Plus I pay by the month, so I'd be losing money if I didn't send him. Everyone needs a break once in awhile and you shoudn't feel guilty for having a day to yourself.
post #14 of 33
When my dd was in kindergarten I had her go to childcare on breaks even when I wasn't working or going to school. I didn't before that because I felt like it would be wrong, but I was really stressed out and I think it would have been better to have her go so I could unwind with no responsibilities while she was in good hands with people who cared for her. It is hard to spend all of your time working and being a mom, people judging you and questioning moms having a guilt free day to themselves makes it even harder for mothers to admit that they are stressed out and need a break. Once I let go of the guilt and stopped judging myself by other people's standards I found that I was much happier and so was my dd. I can now take a break quite happily without feeling like I have to worry that my dd is going to be unhappy.

Maybe she is working a second job from home or she needs the time after school and on holidays to grade papers, document, get report cards ready, talk to parents, and lesson plan. Perhaps she finds that it is easier on her child if she works and does chores while he is cared for by others so she can focus her attention on only him when he is home. She may also have ppd and needs her mother's support or maybe family is very important to her and her mom spends a lot of time with the baby during the week and with her on the weekends because that is something her family does. I don't think a baby is worse off because he has many people to love him and spend quality time with him instead of being home with a mom who is trying to balance work, chores, and child care. In many families, extended family members are able to build a wonderful and close relationship with children from a young age, it sounds like that is going on in this case. If work is a necessity for the family to have a house and food then the child's needs can be ignored or reacted to with stress and anger while the parent tries to complete their work, so it sounds like they have come up with something that works for them and their child. Not all working mom's have the same jobs or the same ability to stay calm without time to themselves. Just because you are able to make due with much less as a stay at home mom doesn't mean that she should have to do the same. Is it possible that you are jealous because you don't want to admit how nice it would be to do the same thing she does? That may explain why you are stuck on this subject so much that your husband refuses to humor you.
post #15 of 33
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the replies! I totally agree about taking a day here or there to yourself- I definitely envy her in that sense. I think what a lot of people mentioned- sending in the child one or two days out of the vacation to do errands, is practical, and i would probably do that.

A few of you made a good point about the whole cultural extended family thing. Maybe I AM a bit jealous in that my parents can't hardly be bothered with watching my kids unless it is convenient for them, which is like once a month. My husband and I do not get much time together.

But I do believe that grandparents should be able to enjoy being grandparents, and not have to raise children all over again, unless of course they really really want to, which seems to be the case with my neighbor. I should have mentioned that her father comes most times to pick up and drop off the kid too, so they jointly watch him. As someone who spends nearly all of their time with their kids, it is hard to fathom spending the majority of my time away, by choice, but everyone is different. And my kids definitely feel the brunt of my stress after I have reached the end of my rope, which happens a lot!

Either way, thanks for the theories!
post #16 of 33
Originally Posted by choli View Post
It would depend on why I had the day off - I had no problem with sending them to daycare if I had to get stuff done, run errands or doctors appointments. My kids always hated that sort of thing, and loved their daycare.

Another reason might be that their baby is very routine oriented and does not like to have the routine disturbed. Some babies are like that.
Same here. If I intentionally took the day off to catch up on housework, run errands, have lunch with a friend that I hadn't seen in a while, then yes, DS would go to school as usual and I would pick him up maybe an hour or two earlier than normal.
But like today, I had President's Day off - completely unexpected, but nice, and so did DH. I was able to have lunch with my friend and go to a doctor's appt while DH took DS to an indoor gym, lunch and then they ran a couple of errands together. We all met back at home around the same time.
post #17 of 33
Sometimes. And sometimes, I keep one child home to give them more focused attention. And sometimes, I keep them all home. And sometimes, I take them over, come home and clean my house and buy groceries and do homework. And once in a blue moon, I come home, sit on my couch and eat bonbons while I watch Oprah.

Also, my son is in kindergarten, but he is extremely routine oriented and if he stays home from daycare, when it's time to go back, he can't handle it, even though he loves daycare and has a great time once he gets there. If I keep him home more than one extra day, the hysterics aren't worth the extra time he can spend with me.
post #18 of 33
As others mentioned- there are so many things that could be going on that you have no idea. Maybe they found the perfect daycare that their kid absolutely loves.... right by Grandma's work/house. So maybe it makes sense that Grandma would be the one to pick him up and drop him off, to save on gas and time in the car.

If ds were in a daycare as a young child I probably would have kept sending him on my days off because he is very routine oriented and freaks when his routine is broken (he has autism). Right now he's in kindergarten.... and he's going to freak when they eventually get back to school (yesterday was a school holiday, today is a snow day, it's looking like tomorrow will be too). They haven't had a full week of school since Christmas.... and we've had hell to pay for it.

As a daycare worker I can tell you that I see parents dropping kids off on their days off work a LOT. I think it's cute when I see parents in their pj's, having just rolled out of bed, dropping off their kids. I'm jealous The only time it ticks me off is when the kid is sick, the parent doesn't have to work but they still drop him/her off. Even worse is when they then refuse to answer their phone when I call to tell them to come get the sick kid. But those parents are the exception, rather than the rule.
post #19 of 33
I've absolutely sent my kids to daycare when I had the day off. I got so much done, and I actually got to rest. (StephandOwen, thank you for reassuring me that it was cute when I dropped DS off at his DCP in my PJs. I have totally done that, especially when I was doing hardcore CPA exam prep, or on pelvic rest.)

I want to tell you, also, to keep in mind that not all disabilities are visible, that not all families are the same, that those three hours of parenting time might surprise you in their character and quality if you watched them.

And then I want to tell you that your neighbors probably wonder what the heck it is that you're cooking *all the time*. They probably have totally off the wall theories about it, and wonder whether you ever spend any time with your husband or your kids.
post #20 of 33
Wow. My sisters who are teachers would love teaching jobs where they got home at 3:00. Where do you live? They are usually at school until at least 4:00, sometimes 5:00 due to mandatory staff meetings, bus duty, carpool line, etc. That doesn't include time for lesson planning.

But to answer your question, I don't. When my oldest was in daycare, we sent him only the days that I worked. If I didn't work, he was home with me. Now that he is in preschool, he asks to go and we send him every day.

My mom and dad come by fairly frequently and pick up my oldest two for the day. I would hope my neighbors aren't judging me by how often someone else is watching my children.
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