Daycare. Even the word makes my stomach tighten. As a child raised by a creative and loving mother who spent hours upon hours spending time with me and my siblings as we grew, I have always found it hard to believe that a daycare could possibly match that level of love and devotion and personal attention. And although I have a masters degree and value my career, I have always always wanted to stay at home with my kids.
But now that the decision is really, truly upon us, I think I’ve changed my mind. Well, I’m working on changing my mind. The reality is that Benjamin and I have chosen to live in a relatively expensive area (Boston). We love it here, and Benjamin has built a successful freelance business with a lot of local contacts, so we’re not really considering moving any time soon. We value a certain lifestyle, and that lifestyle costs money. And I make money. Not a ton, but more money than we would spend on daycare. Not to mention that my job covers our family health insurance and other benefits like a 401k (since Benjamin works for himself and doesn’t have access to these types of benefits). And beyond that, I feel that I have a lot of career interests that I would like to pursue someday, and a several year hiatus removing myself from the working world entirely would make it difficult to continue the momentum I have worked so hard to develop.
Although nothing is really set in stone yet, we are considering working a reduced schedule (I would work Tuesday – Friday, Benjamin would work Monday – Thursday), and we’ll [hopefully] find a wonderful daycare to care for our child three days a week. This is a very good compromise for all of us, I think. We are very fortunate to have the flexibility to reduce our schedules with our current jobs, and I have recently begun to think of all the positives of sending our little one to daycare. Socialization, learning, exposure to other languages and cultures, flexibility with schedules and habits, etc. But still, the idea of leaving my new baby in a stranger’s care just about breaks my heart.
I think that finding the perfect daycare will be the key to accepting and even enjoying this situation. So, even though I am only 15 weeks along, I started doing some Googling, thinking I would get first pick of the daycares in our area. And do you know what I found? THERE ARE ALREADY WAITING LISTS FOR NOVEMBER 2010 FOR INFANT DAYCARE! I thought the whole “putting your newborn baby on a waitlist for preschool” only happened in the movies. Apparently I am incredibly naive. Apparently lots of parents put their children on waiting lists for daycare and preschool BEFORE THEY ARE EVEN CONCEIVED. Ummm, are you kidding?! I think I’m going to hyperventilate.
If you have a child, did you put them in daycare? How did you find the “perfect” place? If you don’t yet have children, do you plan to use daycare? Did you EVER think you’d have to get on waiting lists before the little guy/gal is even conceived, let alone born?