child care lettersThis post is not going to be a normal Monday post for me.  I usually try to write something thought provoking or a little out of the box, but that is just not happening today.

Today, is the first day my son goes to daycare.  I have not been looking forward to this day, but I know it is even worse on my wife.  We talked long and hard about what we wanted to do with raising our son and it came to daycare as the most viable option for us as a family.  Please don’t lecture me about the advantages/disadvantages of being a stay-at-home mother or choosing daycare, because we have been through all of that.

My wife has been home with our son for 3 months and if she doesn’t go back to work then she will lose her job, one that she loves.  I wish we could make it work where she will be able to keep the job she has, but be able to stay home longer.  No matter which way we put it together, daycare is our option.

It is so much easier to leave my son at home with his mother.  I don’t have to think about it as much, but it is going to be very difficult to leave him at the daycare.  It is a great facility with very nice people.  Some of my co-workers even use this same daycare, but it is still hard.  It is going to take a good amount of time to come up with a new routine.

Along with daycare comes the new expenses to the budget.  As most of you know that have children in daycare, it is expensive.  This is an area where you don’t want to try to find a better deal or choose the cheapest option.  We looked at many options, some out of our price range and some so cheap, I wouldn’t let them watch my dogs.  We finally settled on one that we enjoyed from the moment we stepped in.  The best part is that it is only 7 minutes away from my office.  Now, I need to just get comfortable with the new expenses.  I have enjoyed quite a few months where I didn’t owe money on any credit cards, so our down payment fund is going to suffer.

So, as you push through the drudges of Monday, I will be trying to keep my brain busy with work and other things.  I know that everything is going to be ok, but it is going to be a difficult adjustment.  I will be happy once we get through a few weeks and get on a new schedule.  Goodness knows, I need a schedule.

Anyone have any good advice on how to get over this feeling?  I am all ears…..

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  1. We were in a pre-marriage class a couple years ago and a lady brought up the whole stay-at-home mom vs. daycare argument and my wife was sooooo pissed! We are almost 100% sure to have our kids go to daycare or have a nanny (if that was an option, but might not be). I don’t have any advice for getting through today (maybe you can give me advice one day when I have kids!) but I’m sure everything will go well!

    1. Thanks DC. If you ever have any questions once you get to that point in your life, let me know. I don’t have any desire to get into arguments with people over the at home vs daycare stance.

  2. Wow, that is a big adjustment. We did daycare for a little bit with our oldest and it was only two days per week and she stayed with a family friend who ran their own daycare, but it was still tough to do at first. I wish I had some salient advice, but I would say to just keep yourself busy and try not to think about it. I know that’s easier said than done, but will help you get through the day better. Let us know how it goes!

    1. We wish we had a family friend that did it, but unfortunately, we don’t, so that wasn’t an option. We have it ok because my wife works only until noon for three days each week, so he will only be there for a couple of hours for a majority of the week. That is comforting.

  3. Yeah dude it’s a hard transition. We have our two daughters in daycare, and it wasn’t easy for us either. Two things though: 1. Your son will benefit enormously by being around other people and kids in the social aspect 2. It sucks at first, but you will eventually get used to it. You’ll get to know the teachers and even some of the other parents. It becomes comfortable. And if it doesn’t, get the hell outta there!

    1. Thanks for the feedback JM. It did suck today, but they were treating him really well and I was happy with that. Only time will tell.

  4. It sucks that she will lose her job if she doesn’t go back. I guess that’s one good thing about my employer, women who have babies get up to a year off from work if they want and their job is guaranteed to be there for them when they return.

    You will have to let us know how it all goes.

    1. That is how they do it with many companies here in the US. We don’t have government mandated leave that lasts very long. The US is really behind the times.

  5. This is hard since your wife wants to stay home, but also loves her job. I’m sure daycare will be fine (I was a daycare kid!) and good luck 🙂

    1. My wife only wants to stay home for a few more months, but many companies won’t allow it. Daycare will be ok, we just have to adjust.

  6. You won’t get over the feeling. I’ve sent two to daycare and – since you’re making the right decision for YOUR family – you eventually learn to ignore the tug as you drop them off, or think about them throughout the day.

    But it never goes away.

    1. Thanks for the comment Sandi. I know it will get better, but I am sure it won’t go away. As long as it becomes more manageable, I will be fine.

  7. Good luck!! I didnt personally have to face the daycare situation but I know many that have and ultimately it may be harder on the parents than the kids. But time cures all right? I do fully agree with you that the US is a bit behind on childcare laws…

  8. I just want to reach into my computer screen and give you and your wife a hug. Daycare will be hard to adjust to but if the place felt right then it will work out great. I use to work in a good daycare where the kids were treated like royalty 🙂

    1. I was just there and he was so tired because he was so curious. Once I picked him up from the swing, he fell asleep instantly. It felt good to hold him for 30 minutes.

  9. rough day! I can’t advise much but at least she enjoys her job… great point about not going for the cheapest most basic daycare, you do not want that!

  10. I don’t have kids so I can’t really offer any suggestions. I can sympathize though cause I imagine it’s tough. I have a puppy and it’s hard enough leaving her with anyone I don’t know well. I wish you guys the best of luck and prayers are with you!

  11. Oh, it is so hard to drop off that baby, even when s/he is in good and caring hands. My heart goes out to you. After my 12-wk unpaid FMLA ended and I had to return to work, we crunched numbers. It was tough to put my baby in daycare, missing her terribly while writing out $900+/month checks (in 2001), AND return to a job I hated. We decided I’d quit and try freelancing. I didn’t make much, about $24K that year, but we saved on childcare, so it worked out. Best wishes to you.

    1. Thank you Susan. That 12 week FMLA goes by too fast as my wife tells me. I was back to work the next week after my son was born, so I didn’t get that bonding time (issue for another post). I crunched the numbers more than I care to admit and I just couldn’t make it work, plus my wife wanted to return to work, just not until about 6 months.

  12. My wife and I aren’t there yet, but we are talking about the whole child-care/work schedule dilemma. We want to be able to either work from home or have one parent at home if possible, but time will tell.

    Keep us updated on how it all goes

    1. Good luck with the decision Jacob. It is not easy to come to a conclusion, but I wish you the best in figuring our what will work for you.

  13. Our eldest started nursery (he’s 3) a few months back. It’s amazing to see how their little minds develop when they’re interacting with new people, though that sounds a little bit too grown up, basically they’re playing and drawing pictures all day, what a life! Doesn’t time fly.

    1. Time does fly. I know that we will get to interact with other children which is great for social skills. Everything will be fine once we get into a rhythm.

  14. Rough day, true. However, I hope to offer you some insight. I’m a school teacher (who sends my kids to daycare). I promise you, kids who go to daycare are almost ALWAYS more ready for school and most often, more high functioning kindergarten students. A lof of the kids who had STAM (or dad’s) cry 1/2 of the day. It does get a little easier, I promise!

    1. Well Amy B., your words are encouraging. I do think that our son will be well prepared for school when the times comes. The first few days/weeks will be difficult, but once we have a schedule and he is used to it, we should be good to go. Thanks for stopping by Amy.

  15. Ahhhh…I remember those feelings. We opted for a nanny (not live-in) who was with us for many years. Now that both girls go to school full-time, she’s moved on, but she became a member of our family which helped ease my mind. I know you Grayson – and you did your homework to make sure your son is receiving the best care possible. Day 1 is the hardest, but it gets easier. 🙂

    1. Thank you for the vote of confidence Shannon. I did do my homework, but there is always the irritation of second guessing your first choice, but it is usually the right one.

  16. I agree with you that the U.S. is a bit behind the times when it comes to maternity leave. Even for the dads, paternity leave isn’t even that long! My husband only received a couple of days leave, when my daughter was born.

    Everything will work out for your son 🙂

  17. The first time I took my girls to the babsitter, I bawled, all-day-long. They tried to send me home from work but I decided I needed to tough it out. It’s hard at first, especially after spending so many days at home with a new baby.

    But it gets easier with time. Now my babysitter is probably one of the only people I trust leaving my kids with, I know they are in great hands. Good luck!

    1. I am just glad that I was able to take him instead of my wife. I don’t know how she would have felt doing it. I was a little emotional, so who knows how it would have gone down.

  18. I can’t speak from personal experience, but I do remember when my niece first went. She was upset for a week or so. However, after a while she became friends with the daycare woman’s daughter and was excited to go. It helped her socialize, something that she wouldn’t have had much opportunity for otherwise. Good luck with your transition.

  19. I’ve been right where you are Grayson but things will get back to normal quick enough. I know when my wife was dropping our first child off at the babysitter for the first time she cried, but thing will get back to normal soon, it just takes a little time.

    1. Thanks for the confidence booster Chris. It was easier today because his regular “teacher” was there and we really like her.

  20. You do what’s right for your family and that’s all that matters not what other people think. Your child may need time to adjust to the Daycare environment but I’m sure over time things will get better for yourselves and your child. I did a post a few weeks back on Daycare and costs, licensed and unlicensed and it was shocking. Off the top of my head I don’t remember but I think one daycare was $1100 a month, sure it’s costly but what can you do sometimes. Keep us posted! We don’t have kids but certainly learning all we can from others has helped prepare us for if we ever do.

    1. You are correct Mr. CBB! I do what I have to for my family and this was our decision. Luckily, no one has provided me with any snarky comment. All have been very nice. Daycare is expensive, but you either go with the low cost option (there is usually a reason they cost so much less) or the most expensive. I had to find a happy medium.

  21. It makes me so sad that you guys (Americans) only get upwards of 3 months off. This blows my mind. I’m allowed 52 weeks after her birth. I was put off work weeks earlier (7 to be exact) because of pregnancy complications and this didn’t count towards my 52 weeks, so I’m allowed a total of 61 weeks off. I wish you well I’m currently stressing about my mat leave coming to an end and returning to work in a few short weeks. I’m told once you find a new routine it will become easier. Good luck!!

    1. Yeah, the US is just so far behind regarding Maternity leave. I told my wife about how it is in other countries and she got upset.

  22. I´m sorry that your wife couldn`t stay home longer with your baby, but it`ll be ok. Most people in the US have to do the exact same thing, and their kids grow up just fine!

  23. This is a sweet post. It reminds me of the new commercial with the dad following his daughter on the bus because it is her first day at school.

  24. Grayson,
    I’ve reaped the same benefits as Catherine and enjoyed a 52 week maternity leave. I can only imagine how difficult it is to drop off a 3 month old baby at daycare. But in my experience the anticipation of going back to work and taking your kids to day care is much worse then actually being back at work.
    I’ve struggled with feeling guilty because I now want to go back to work (I have a 4,3, and 1 year old) and enrol the kids in daycare. We go to a church where everyone seems to have lots of kids, homeschools them, and dedicates every second of the day to rearing their children. I feel guilty because I’m interested in having a career and balancing that with being a mom.

    1. I know my wife would love to have a 52 week leave along with the option to have her job when she went back. My wife loves her job and that is why we did it. I think she should have a career if she wants one. I don’t fault anyone for choosing either path. Each person is different and everyone’s goals are different. My son had a great day today in daycare, so that was really comforting.

  25. I wish the U.S. had longer leave when it came to kids. It will get easier, even if it doesn’t feel like it. If it doesn’t then become a stay-at-home dad 🙂 OK, so I really don’t have very much advice, but I do have to admit I don’t have kids. If I did, I would be torn between work and staying at home, so I look forward to your future progress. It will give me something to learn from. 🙂

    1. I don’t really have any desire to become a stay-at-home dad. I love my job and really enjoy the people I work with. The US needs to change the way they handle maternity leave.

  26. Grayson, it gets a little easier, but I have a 3 year old girl and I find myself driving by her day care at my lunch hour. Dont know what I expect to see, but it makes me feel a little better and it helps that its only 5 min from the office. So it will get easier, but the love you have for them only grows. Its all worth it though!

    1. Thanks Jim. Knowing that he is only 7 minutes away is good for me. I can just jump in the car during my lunch hour and go see him. That gives me a little comfort.

  27. I had to go back to work when my daughter was 6 weeks old. I was the boss, so no one was going to fire me, but if I don’t see patients, we don’t make money, so that was as long as I could afford. It sucked. I was a basket case for about a month, then it got better. I think some day care is good for the kid, but not when they are that little. I don’t think day care kids turn out worse that kids whose Mom’s stayed home. It’s making the most of the time you do have together and being engaged as a parent that counts. Of course, stay at home parents might have other thoughts.

    1. Sorry to hear that Kim. I know quite a few parents that are in the same boat. When you are the boss, you can make the rules, but you also have to keep the doors open. I don’t think daycare kids are worse off at all, and some of them are more social than stay at home kids. I don’t fault either choice.