After I had a baby, I quickly realized that, despite just having had a human yanked through my abdominal wall, my bills still needed to be paid. And it turns out that my family members have whole lives of their own that do not include spending entire days with my spawn. So it happened: my child became the dreaded “Daycare Kid.”
For some reason that I can’t understand, “daycare” has become a derogatory term. And “Daycare Kid” is even worse. It conjures up images of some kid dropped off at a warehouse where he or she is largely ignored and needs a tetanus shot before playing on the playground equipment. Daycare Kids are unruly. Daycare Kids are the bullies. Daycare Kids are to be feared.
True fact: I was just at a playground in my work attire with my Daycare Kid after I picked her up from school. Moms actually backed away from us. It’s like they knew that the Daycare Kid hadn’t get her cootie shot that day, and how DARE we infect their children with the Daycare Cooties?
I cannot deal with this anymore. There are so many myths surrounding Daycare, and it’s time to kill some of them dead.
1. Those poor babies! They are left alone to cry for SO LONG! Just no. Want to know the rule at my kid’s daycare on this? 7 minutes. That is how long they are allowed to cry in their cribs. Want to know how I know this? I asked them to let my kid cry longer. We were sleep training her and I asked them to let her cry it out (I see your judgy eyes, you stop that right now), and they couldn’t because of the 7 minute rule.
2. Daycare kids need their MOTHER, not a STRANGER. Well, isn’t that first part a kick in the pants to any single dad, stay at home dad, or gay father. I’d venture to guess that children need people to meet their needs in loving ways. Funnily enough, that’s just what a good daycare provides. Oh, and the moment I reached my hand out, said, “Hi I’m Kelly nice to meet you,” and shook the teacher’s hand, she was no longer a stranger. Stop acting like I hand my kid over to a rogue person off the street every day.
3. Daycare kids have no structure. You’re right. That place that takes care of a bunch of pre-schoolers for up to 11 hours a day is just run free-form. Breakfast is at 8:00, lunch at 11:15, snack at 2:45. Outdoor time at 9:00, nap time at 12:30, library time at 4:00. The kids walk up and down the hallway holding rings and in a (fairly) straight line. They wash hands and sing songs and clean up toys and books regularly. Man, it’s just BEDLAM there. I’m sure I’d do a much better job sticking to a strict schedule if I were home every day.
4. Daycare costs as much as you make. Have you hacked my bank account? I’m by no means flush in cash every month, but the fact is, daycare is LESS than I make in a month. By quite a bit. Add in a flex-spending account for childcare and other tax deductions, and it actually makes a whole mess of sense. Also, um, insurance. And retirement. And that college fund. All things I would have to wave buh-bye to if I quit my job.
5. Daycare is simply “bad” for kids. Yeah. The worst. It’s terrible that I send my child to a place where she is loved on by teachers (learning to place trust in people other than her parents), where she is exposed to developmentally appropriate activities (silly education, who needs that?), where she is learning to play nicely with others, cover her mouth when she coughs, and eat with silverware (social skills FTW). All terrible things. I’m sure my husband and I will end up paying a fortune to cover the therapy for all of this trauma.
Related post: 8 Enemies of the Daycare Mom