How daycare gave me a better kid

Filed under: Toddlers Preschoolers, Preschoolers, Work Life, Childcare, Day Care & Education

I was just reading Susan's post about looking forward to Mondays and I have to agree. Though I'm bummed about having to go off to work, the routine is calming.

When I was pregnant with my first, I remember envisioning myself as this perfect mom. You can read how some of those ideals went down the toilet, here. Perhaps the hardest thing to reconcile with myself was that I wasn't good at schedules. Oh sure, I made them, tried to abide by them, but, being an artsy type who doesn't wear a watch, I was never able to stick to them for more than a couple of days. Something always came up that intruded on the 10:30 AM snack and I would find myself scrambling to make Nate something to eat an hour too late. Naps often got pushed because we were at the grocery store too long, or some other excuse due to my poor time management. I always thanked my stars that I had been given a flexible, adaptable child.

He started his new daycare in a preschool setting in January and the change in my son has been dramatic. The highly regimented, stick-to-the-clock method of the caregivers has brought only positive developments. He no longer needs to fall asleep in my arms, nor does he cry when I place him in the crib. Mid-story he announces, "Mommy, I want my bed." He's eating better, he knows lots of songs and enjoys telling us about his day.

Though I'm often sad that I wasn't able to provide this for my boy, and that he has a whole life that I'm not a part of, I can finally stop feeling guilt about sending him off each day. Because you have to do what works for your family, and though it's far from perfect, this is how our family works. Literally.

I know I'm not alone. Be it daycare or school, families often get a lot from their time away from one another. Read Kristin's daycare pros, or follow Heather's great advice on smoothing the transition from parent to caregiver.

What's your experience with school or daycare been? How did you get over your initial guilt at leaving your child in the care of others?

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.