I wish I could say that my husband and I have never had a single issue with our childcare provider(s) throughout the over 2 years since I returned to work from my maternity leave.
However, I can't. When we sold our house, we left a center we absolutely loved to go to a place that we really didn't even like that much. But, we chose it because it was close enough to my dad's house and didn't totally break the bank.
As with most things in life, when you cut costs you also inevitably sacrifice quality.
We tried to make this place work for a good 4 months (which is honestly 4 months longer than we ever thought we would be there), but eventually the number of our complaints outweighed the reduced cost we were getting. So, we started looking again.
The day that we went "daycare shopping," we happened to spend some time with a couple of couples who recently told us they were expecting their first children. Both women plan to return to work when the time comes, and yet, here I was with another one of my New Mom on the Blog horror stories. I tried to back peddle halfway through what I was saying after seeing the horrified looks on both of their faces, but I know I need to go one step further.
The thing is, I've received a lot of criticism from people for enrolling my child in a daycare center. For some reason, daycare centers have this stigma of being dirty, disease-infested, money machines who will abuse and neglect your child for the low, low price of $1500.00 a month. And unfortunately, our most recent experience was pretty much that (give or take a few hundred dollars.)
But, today on the blog, I'd like to talk about all of the reasons why sending your child to a child development center is not just a great idea (and something that you shouldn't fear at all), but also why it is mother-flipping AWESOME.
Reason #1 - Nap time
It takes about a full hour from start to finish to get TIH down for a nap on the weekend and almost always involves taking a ride in the car (which is somehow the fastest way to induce toddler sleep.) At daycare? Not only does he lay down on his cot with minimal prompting, he almost always falls asleep within minutes of laying down, and proceeds to sleep for THREE FREAKING HOURS (on the weekends, we are high-fiving ourselves if we get an hour and a half.) I would love to know their secret to such nap-ful bliss, at the very least to save us some gas money on the nap rides.
Reason #2 - Art Work
If you follow me on Pinterest, you may believe I am some sort of crafty goddess, but you would most assuredly be wrong. In fact, I have an entire Facebook album dedicated to craft projects I've made and not screwed up. (There are five pictures in it. Two of them are of brownies. Made from a packaged brownie mix.)
|Don't get me wrong. It was delicious.|
So, when I've attempted art projects with TIH, it almost always turns into a big, fat, FAIL. Most recently, I attempted to make this project, but instead ended up with this:
Even though it doesn't state it in the directions, you probably should not leave your toddler (still holding a paint brush, still covered in paint, still with open paint pots) alone while you go retrieve paper towels to clean up his hands.
At daycare? They would have never made this mistake. And even if they did, the place is practically a Hobby Lobby filled with all of the crafting supplies you could ever imagine and furniture that can be wiped down within an inch of it's life. My kid is only two years old and I already have a large binder FILLED with his paintings and drawings. It's amazing and it allows me to leave the crafting up to the experts. Otherwise we end up with things like this:
|I wish I could blame this flower pot address marker on TIH, but this one was all me.|
Reason #3 - Parents Night Out
A long time ago, my husband and I used to actually go places and get dressed up and eat dinner and have adult conversations. We are lucky enough to have a bunch of family members who are always willing and able to take TIH so that we can have a date night. But, sometimes those people have lives too. Or, they want to do things WITH US. Enter: PNO. This is where we pay our licensed, degreed, and AWESOME childcare workers a (very, very small) fee so that my husband and I can have 4 hours of freedom while TIH gets fed pizza, makes more of the aforementioned craft projects, and plays with his friends. The result? Mom and Dad still have what resembles a social life/marriage and TIH has a freaking blast. Win/win.
Reason #4 - Spanish
Do you know what language I took in high school? Latin. Yes. The dead language. Sure, my ACT/SAT scores rocked and I still have an above average vocabulary (not that you'd know it from this blog), but as for being functional...nope. And it also isn't really something you can teach your kid (not that I remember enough to do so anyway.) At TIH's daycare, a Spanish teacher comes once a week to teach them basic Spanish vocabulary. If I tried to teach my kid basic vocabulary in another language, it would sound like this:
Reason #5 - Diapers
I've said it before and I'll say it again: I am kind of okay with someone else changing the diapers for 8 hours. If I leave you with no other reason why daycare is awesome? This is it.
I will tell the truth - it isn't easy to drop your kid off in the hands of people you don't really know that well. The first time made me feel like I had been punched in the stomach. But, it gets easier. There will be tears at times, but another great thing about daycare - and this is probably the best part - they're there to give the hugs and wipe the tears that I can't.
And that? Is worth way more than $1500. (Give or take a few hundred.)