So Hesitant To Start Using Daycare - Mothering Forums
Life with a Toddler > So Hesitant To Start Using Daycare
GuavaGirl's Avatar GuavaGirl 06:53 PM 05-16-2012

I'm a stay at home mom to a 2 year old boy.  About 6 months ago I decided I needed more balance in my life.  I wanted something that I could do outside of the house a couple days a week, that was fulfilling, other than taking care of my son. I began working on certifications and going to trainings (postpartum doula, infant massage instructor, belly henna art, and belly casting)  Now I'm to the point where I'm stuck between deciding on fitting my work into the evenings, after dh gets home from work, or setting up some sort of childcare plan for my son, a few days a week.


To be honest, I feel completely terrified of that.  I've never taken my son to daycare or even had anyone watch him besides family or a close friend...(just for a couple hours)  and that's barely even happened because we don't live near family.  In my head, I know my son will be fine.  He's super social and would love hanging out with other kids.  ...but in my heart, it just feels so scary.  I'm paranoid about bad babysitters, various forms of abuse, that I'm being a bad mom for leaving him when I don't absolutely have to, that I'm going to wish to wish that I stuck with the full time stay at home gig because he'll be grown up so fast, that they won't watch him close enough and he'll get into something dangerous or hurt himself, scared that I or he will feel like I'm abandoning him, and maybe just the sad realization that he's growing up and with time comes more separation.  I also remember not liking my babysitters/childcare providers when I was little.  


I don't really know what I'm looking for.  Maybe some wisdom?  Anyone else felt this way and lived to tell about it?  :)

So many of my friends have used childcare for their children from an early age, and I feel like I am the only one that feels so hesitant about it, and I'd love to get past it.  Thoughts?

littlec's Avatar littlec 07:05 PM 05-16-2012
Our kids go to a preschool 4 hours a day 2 days a week. They love it. I felt just like you, only its my H who stays home. We didn't have to put them there, but in order for my H to get some work done adlnd for them to get out for a bit, we felt it best. My son cried the first couple times I dropped him off, and I almost pulled him out, but I am so glad I didn't. They only have one more day then they're out for the summer and I'm sad! I worry about all the things you mentioned, but this school came highly recommend by so many people I knew and its a great fit for them. I ask my daughter regularly about her day, and I do get specific about people touching or hitting her, just to be safe, but at the end of the day I trust my instincts about the place. There is nothing wrong with not sending him though...its just worked for us. Good luck with your decision
Peony's Avatar Peony 01:26 PM 05-17-2012

I was VERY hesitant to leave my kids for a long time. DD1 did not do daycare or sitters or school until she was 6! I have since have a regular sitter so my two younger ones have been left. We have had our fair share of sitters over the years since we live in a college town. We have never had a bad experience and most do really like kids. My 3 year is with one right now while I spend some time with the baby, or rather he is sleeping on me in a quiet house for once.

Asiago's Avatar Asiago 05:30 PM 05-17-2012

Unless it was absolutely necessary I wouldn't leave my child with a stranger, if it was avoidable. .

MamaMunchkin's Avatar MamaMunchkin 06:35 PM 05-17-2012

Have you visited any daycares/preschools or interview babysitters?  If you do want to go this route, it's - crucial - to feel you can trust your DC's child care providers. 


Take your time and visit as many daycares as possible, or interview as many babysitters as possible.  You don't have to make up your mind or anything but after a few of these, you'll get a better feel of what kind of childcare will work best for you, if at all.

Snapdragon's Avatar Snapdragon 07:22 PM 05-17-2012

I knowhow you feel, Guava Girl. My son is just barely 2 and I also never leave him with anyone but me or dh- except family once in a while for short periods. Just recently I havebeen feeling a need for some time together with dh- it is always one of us who has ds and that leaves little time for us to hang out. And thinking about babysitters- I wish I had someone great I already knew and trusted cause I also feel scared about leaving ds with anyone at this point! And I also feel mixed feelings about it because he would probably be fine and maybe even benefit from it- I have some thing about feeling weird about him bonding to someone who I don't really know. Anyway I am sort of on an aside but lately I feel sometimes burnt out with the hcildcare and lack of time for me and dh to be together without ds- so I think about how it would be nice to have a babysitter. But I think on a gut level I still want to just hang out with ds. The more I am around other parents I start to see that I Am quite overprotective, but this is also common with first time parents.

so anyway I can totally relate to how you feel. I think if you find a good care provider they can be absolutely fine with them, and give you some much needed you time. If I had someone good whom I trusted who was able to watch ds I would probably go for it. But at the same time I in some ways like the indulgenece of just hanging out with him all the time, knowing that soon enough he will be in school and all that.

so bottom line- trust your instinct.  If you find a day care or babysitter you feel safe and happy with- then go for it! If you keep feeling unsure about it and don't find anyone who makes you feel at peace with leaving him some, then don't do it.

I think the kids turn out okay either way, provided that the caregiver is good and attentive and kind and loving and all that. I know in some ways my ds may end up being overprotected and all that, but I accept that about myself- it is kind of my personality anyway.

so sorry to ramble on your post- back to you- just that I can relate to some of those feelings and I think there is no right or wrong it is just whatever makes you feel good in the situation.

gitanamama's Avatar gitanamama 08:56 PM 05-18-2012

I can totally relate GuavaGirl. My son just turned two and I've never left him with anyone other than my mom since he was born. But, like you said, I'm feeling the need for more balance in my life, and I'm having a hard time getting work done with such an active toddler!


I feel like I have a dual perspective because I worked as a nanny for years before my son was born, and I currently run a part time "playschool" from my home, watching other kiddos. As a childcare provider myself, I should be comfortable leaving my son with someone else! But as a mom, it's still scary for me to trust anyone with my child. I'm starting to feel more comfortable now that my son is becoming more verbal---I think it helps when your child can tell you a little bit about their day, or about their feelings, if they're having a rough time in daycare. 


I would take the transition slowly and listen to your instincts along the way. Like Mamamunchkin said, check out a bunch of different daycares/centers and see what feels best to you---and pay attention to how your LO reacts and how comfortable he seems. Another option might be a mother's helper. I'm considering having one of our neighbors, a high schooler, come help out once and awhile. It's not the same as interacting with kiddie peers, but I know my DS will love the one-on-one attention, and a break from mom!


And, from a childcare provider point of view, your son will probably do really well at daycare if that's what you decide. A good childcare provider will be able to ease your child's fears, make them feel safe and comfortable, and engage and distract them as necessary to make the transition as easy as possible. 

zenquaker's Avatar zenquaker 10:44 PM 05-22-2012

Guavagirl, my son is 5.5 and in FT daycare out of necessity. I was home with him full-time until he was nine months, and from then until he was 4.5 he was in two days/week (by choice rather than necessity).


All of the things you're feeling are normal and it is OK that they feel like they're in competition. It is Ok to want to carve out something for yourself (healthy!) and to want to keep your son close (also healthy!).


It helps me to realize that there is no way I can be everything my son needs. I love the way my son's preschool teacher is with him--how she is calm but firm, how she thinks of crafts and activities I never could, how innovative her pre-reading curriculum is. I love when I take him to our Quaker meeting and members of our meeting take turns with childcare, and he gets to know and play with different sorts of people (with me in the next room, which is nice).


If you do decide to go with some outside care (and I heartily second the advice about trusting your instincts), you will probably notice your ds blossoming in ways he doesn't at home, just by the exposure to different ways of being in the world. You may find that the time you have together is more connected and loving and that you appreciate it more, especially if you have had space for your own personal growth.


I feel very close to my son. He tells me so much about what happened during his day, and I am amazed all all he's learned from his teachers. I am grateful for the opportunity to share him. The kids love him and he loves the kids. He's learning how to work out conflicts with other kids and learning necessary skills for school in the fall (following directions in a group, for example).


I do miss him during the day and wish we could do PT preschool in the days leading up to school. But I also miss him when he's sleeping AND am glad for the break after our evening routine!


You'll find your own way, Just thought I'd share my experience. Peace to you!

zenquaker's Avatar zenquaker 10:48 PM 05-22-2012

Oh, and I forgot to mention that I've also used a childcare co-op. I don't know if you have any in your area, but it can be a great way to be very involved in your child's care AND get a break from time to time.

Laurski's Avatar Laurski 12:45 PM 05-23-2012
Originally Posted by Asiago View Post

Unless it was absolutely necessary I wouldn't leave my child with a stranger, if it was avoidable. .


Asiago: I'm not sure how this comment is helpful, to be honest, particularly without elaboration as to why you believe it should be avoided. 



I think it's completely reasonable to want more balance in your life, GuavaGirl, and given the fragility of economic situations around the world, I think it's actually really wise to pursue paid work, particularly work that you enjoy!


I went back to work part time when DD was 4 months old, and put her in a Group Family Daycare.  I struggled a lot at first with feeling guilty about putting her in daycare (particularly feeling like a "bad mom" who was abandoning her daughter to the care of strangers!), but she was a baby who needed a lot of stimulation and I believe the experience was good for her.  She was home with me over the summer, and the transition back to daycare for longer hours (I went up to 3/4 - full time in the fall) when she was about 13 months was a bit harder.  There were some tears at the drop-offs in the morning for few weeks, but she was fine once I left (I could tell by peeking through the window!).  I think the "trauma" of leaving her those mornings was worse for me than for her, since she merrily went on her way once I was gone, while I spent a lot of my mornings feeling awful!  A really good daycare provider will be experienced in helping children through the tough drop-off transitions and will have methods of helping distract your child if he is having trouble letting you leave.


DD is now 20.5 months old, and she absolutely adores daycare; I honestly think it was the best thing we could have done for her (and me as well, as I get to balance my mommy identity with my non-mommy identity).  She gets to interact for hours with kids near her age, playing outside, doing crafts, singing songs, and reading books.  She's learned to share and cooperate with others.  And she gets to tell me all about her day on the car ride home, which, besides when she yells "Mommy!" and runs over to hug me when I get there, is one of the best parts of my day.


My advice is to do your research and find a place that feels right to you.  We decided to forgo formal daycare centers, even one that came highly recommended, because the ones by us felt too sterile.  The Group Family Daycare we chose is licensed by the state, which ensures that all the employees have had background checks and which provides at least a minimum standard of safety and hygiene that must be met; of course, you want to find a place that provides more than the minimum standards to one that feels like a place where you child will be appreciated and nurtured.


I won't lie, it's hard sometimes.  I feel incredibly guilty at times because my daughter isn't always with me, but I see her thriving, and I know that daycare isn't the big evil I was afraid it would be when I was pregnant with her and considering staying at home.  If you decide to bring your son to daycare, it will probably be tough at first for both of you; just remember, they're resilient, these little ones, and, with all of the love, affection, and nurturing they get from us at home, they know that we haven't abandoned them.

marsupial-mom's Avatar marsupial-mom 10:40 AM 05-27-2012

My son is nearly 2.5 years old and he attends preschool twice a week. We love our current preschool because he loves it. He likes to go there; he learns and plays. Overall it is a very positive experience for him. And it's good for us, too, to have some time to do adult things.


But the first preschool/daycare we enrolled him in was not as good. He did not enjoy it. I thought it was good when I toured but after he was there a few months I realized how many shortcuts they took. I don't feel he was ever in danger but the level of care simply wasn't up to my standards. Do your research and choose a place that really feels right to you.

MrsKoehn's Avatar MrsKoehn 10:55 AM 05-27-2012

Are there any SAH moms you are comfortable with that you could ask to babysit for you? My SIL babysits and homeschools our niece and nephew and has since they were born. I babysit for hubby's cousin while she goes and cleans once a week all day.We used to babysit every day of the week for a neighbor's 2 kids, three days at our house and two at theirs, when I was a teen. The parents worked around their huge farm and needed the help.


Honestly, to me, if a a Mom's radar goes off in a situation involving her child, she should stay away from it.

graciegal's Avatar graciegal 09:41 PM 05-30-2012

Not sure I understand... you dont want to leave your son in daycare but when school times comes he will go to school all day, every day without issue.... what's the difference? Daycare providers have to be licensed and trained. They know CPR, they are teachers, they are providers, and if you get a good day care they have great ratios of staff to children. WAY better than school will ever be.


Just curious why parents have daycare issues like this with their kids but then are perfectly fine putting their kids in pre-school/kindergarten sometimes the very next year.

Amy@STL's Avatar Amy@STL 12:14 AM 05-31-2012
I feel the same way as OP. I think there is a difference between a 2 yr old going to daycare and a 5-6 yr going to school/ kindy. Most 2 yrs still are not verbal enough to even let you know if somthing is not going right. IMO.

OP, I am struggling witbh the same feelings. I too want just some personal space and we can afford the daycare. But the feeling of abandoning him and the fact that he has never liked any daycare I tried makes it difficult. He is very social, loves people and we do playdates almost everyday. But he still needs me for a lot of things that I feel he can't express yet.

That being said, I am going to try again this fall for a moning toddler program. Hoping he will be mature enough by then eyesroll.gif
Asiago's Avatar Asiago 01:30 PM 05-31-2012

Laurski I was agreeing with OP's original statement ("I feel like I am the only one that feels so hesitant about it"). That's all, just letting her know she is not alone in her feelings.

Laurski's Avatar Laurski 11:22 AM 06-01-2012
Originally Posted by Asiago View Post

Laurski I was agreeing with OP's original statement ("I feel like I am the only one that feels so hesitant about it"). That's all, just letting her know she is not alone in her feelings.

Ah, ok.  Thanks for clarifying.

anjsmama's Avatar anjsmama 07:52 PM 06-01-2012

OP, I totally relate. My kids are currently 3 years 9 months, and 16 months, and I'm feeling like I need more balance. DS is starting 2 days of preschool in the fall. I feel OK about this because close friends use the same preschool and love it, and DS is very mature and I feel he will let me know if anything is wrong. Plus it's very part time, and he wants to go.


But, I am considering taking a career opportunity I have always wanted that would begin in December, and DD would be just shy of 2 y/o. Though it's something I really want to do, I often keep coming back to the feeling that I just *can't*  leave her when I don't have to (DH makes enough for the family), and that I just can't trust someone to take care of her properly. Will she miss me too much? Will they pay her enough attention? Will she be safe? I keep changing my mind. I have thought that hiring a highly recommended nanny who would watch them at home (with DH also home, but sleeping) would be a safe and secure type route, but then I saw a very close SAHM friend who is a nanny completely ignoring the kids she was watching and completely spazzed. I worked when DS was younger and it was "easy" because 1) it was financially necessary and 2) MIL was caring for him. I had no doubts. Now we don't live near family or friends and I have nothing but doubts! Right now, I'm feeling like I'm just not sure that I can leave her when I have the availability to be here and care for them myself. They'll grow up soon enough, right...?