On the subject of daycare....
This post I read was regarding women who leave their children at daycare for eight plus hours a day, people like myself who have jobs they must go to and no other option than to pay for their children to attend some sort of child care. The person writing the post stated that these moms who did this were selfish and were paying other people to raise their children.
Ahem. No. I am not. Thank you.
Reading that sentence just made my blood boil. And it upset me even more as I read the comments where other women said the same thing. I even remember reading the word "neglect," in that women who just leave their children in facilities to be cared for by strangers are neglecting their children. Hurtful words, yes. And if I may say so myself, ignorant ones at best.
It was never an option that Aubrey would not go to daycare. There were several reasons for this, but from the beginning, we knew she would be going to daycare. We found out we were pregnant in June and began researching daycares in August. We wanted to get on the waiting lists for the top quality, well-respect centers out there, and unfortunately, in order to even stand a chance at getting in these places, you basically have to sign the baby up before the sperm even reaches the egg. (Hell, the place we use has a waiting list of 100 infants!) We fell in love with the daycare where Aubrey is as soon as we walked in the door. It was clean, the staff was friendly, they interacted well with the children, it was state accredited, and it was close to both of our places of employment. It was expensive, yes, but you pay for what you get, in my opinion. So we signed up that day to get her on the list. (It was so early we didn't even know she was a she!)
I chose to go back to work after Aubrey was born for several reasons. I'm not going to lie, the biggest factor in this decision was financial. I went to school for seven years, so you can imagine the student loans I have, and we also have a mortgage to pay. The expenses we have simply do not allow for us to survive on one income. My maternity leave was unpaid, as well, so I needed to get back to work as soon as possible. However, I also chose to go back to work for another reason. I love what I do. I love to work. I love my job. I chose to be a working mother because I wanted to have both- a child and a legal career. That's what I've always wanted. I went to school to do what I do, and I don't regret that for a second. And I've always wanted to be a mother. I guess I never saw it as an "either, or" type of deal. I believe you can be both. And that does not for one second make me a bad mother. Nor does that make me a neglectful parent.
On a side note, I'm not one of those women either who thinks that being a stay-at-home mother isn't a job either. That's a full-time job and then some. I admire women who do that very much. All I'm saying is choosing one or the other doesn't make you a bad parent or a better parent than others.
I want to encourage my daughter, too, that, if that's something she wants to do, too, then do it. I will encourage her, similarly, if she wants to stay at home with her children. It's her choice, but making one decision or another doesn't make her a bad parent. It doesn't mean her child would be neglected. It just makes her a mother who works outside the home? Someone who, yes, relies on others to care for her child during the day, but that doesn't mean she would love them any less, would be any less of a parent, would not participate as much in their upbringing and development. It doesn't mean she couldn't be a good parent.
Do I hate having to leave Aubrey at the daycare? Yes. Somedays it takes all I have in me to walk away from that cute little face. I have pictures of her all over my office, and I find myself looking at them always. I have videos of her on my phone I watch several times a day. I miss her during the day. And the best part of my day is when I get to pick her up from daycare and take her home. I look forward to that moment all day. And when we get home and when we are with her on the weekends, we spend all the time we can with her, playing, teaching her new things, etc. We raise her. Just like any parent would.
I do not feel the two lovely women who care for Aubrey during the day are "raising" my daughter. The ultimate responsibility for Aubrey and her development rests with T and me. We tell them what we want and how we want things done. We provide them with everything she needs during the day. We get up with her in the middle of the night, love on her, care for her when she is sick, work hard on her development, make her try new things and experiences. We are her parents. If she's sick, I don't leave her there and say "hey, you deal with it - that's what I pay you for." No, I go and get her. She is my child, she's my responsibility. I'm her Mommy.
We provide our child with love, support, a warm environment where she feels safe and secure. And when she grows up, I have no doubt she will not say "my teachers sure raised me right!" or "my parents abandoned me!" No, what I want her to feel and say one day is "I was loved." And I think that makes me a pretty darn good parent.