Good morning, girl. Happy Tuesday. Welcome to another great day in your beautiful life. Ready to hit it?
One of my readers ask me to talk about daycare/childcare/please-will-you-keep-my-life’s-treasure-safe-and-sound-and-possibly-teach-them-something-while-you’re-at-it-care?
This is so massive. The only way we can fully function at work and get through the day with any measure of peace, is when we are confident that our children are happy in their care. If you are worried about the safety or well-being of the very small people who matter most to you in the world, you can’t be peaceful or productive.
My husband and I spent more on childcare, and continue to spend more on their school, than we did on our mortgage. We went without furniture to pay for nannies and that perfect Montessori when we truly knew in our hearts that was what our kids needed. We went without vacations, and new cars. I bought our clothes at consignment stores. We were also blessed over this twenty year parenting marathon to find a great ‘regular’ daycare, and we also sent our kids to a public school when that was the right choice for them.
There is no perfect recipe for finding just the right thing for your kiddo. And what’s just right this year might not be right anymore next year.
When I first started in the daycare-decision-making crucible, I was blessed to have a sister who was a Director for a large childcare company. She had oversight of 26 different daycare centers in a large metropolitan area. What a resource, right?
When time came for me to pick daycare for kiddo #1, she advised me to visit every daycare center within a 15 minute drive from my house. “Just walk in,” she said. “Look around. Do NOT call ahead to tell them you’re coming.”
“You’ll know.” She said.
And she was right. I went to twelve different centers. Homes, churches, corporate franchises. I knew instantly which ones I would trust and which ones I would run from. I knew which ones would welcome my high-spirited son, and which ones would punish him for being a curious, high-energy boy. I could tell who really cared about the kids and who was just punching a clock.
Trust your gut. Don’t care how fancy the building or the price tag or the google reviews. If it feels wrong to you, find something else. If it feels right, trust that too. Mamma Radar is remarkably accurate.
My husband and I also decided that husband would stay home with our crew for a time (six and a half years). He made a huge sacrifice. So did I. And neither of us has any regrets. At that time, it was the best thing for our family. (And my husband claims to be the only man on earth who has defrosted a bag of frozen breast milk in a fast running river.)
Your kids’ needs, your resources, your options for care. Mix and match as fits your family. And don’t let anyone convince you to go in a direction that feels wrong.
Like my sister said, you’ll know.