Holy shit. Monday. 3 days away. I am SO very excited. SO excited.
Now. I love my children more than my own life. Thankfully I know not staying home with them doesn't mean I love them any less. In fact, I think sending my kids to daycare makes me a better mom ~and~ is very beneficial to my children.
I need to make a note here before going forward. I've had ~many~ conversations about this and some stay at home moms will always get upset with me and my opinions. They get very defensive and think that I am dissing their choice. They will inadvertently assume my positives of daycare are automatically negatives to their situation. But that is NOT my thinking. Just because I think daycare is better than staying home in certain ways, it does ~not~ mean it's bad for everyone. The negatives may not be negatives for someone else OR someone else may have a way to turn a particular negative into a positive. I'm taking the time right now to say this because over the years, I have seen this turn into a war. And a funny phenomenon I see during each "war" is it's always the stay at home moms (sahm) who get defensive and pissed, never the daycare moms (dm) from the arguments the sahms bring up (which unfortunately most always happens.) Hopefully this post won't turn into some big debate, but if it does, please debate YOUR side, don't just talk shit about the other side, okay?
Now, back to my opinions ...
First is the case of me being a better mom. Staying at home everyday is hard. Any mother will tell you this. It's definitely a full time job. But the career of being a stay at home mom is 24x7. Seven days a week. No weekends. No days off (for the most part). No sick days. No vacation days. You. work. every. single. day. You know how when you work M-F you can't wait for the weekend? And you feel refreshed come Monday? Yeah, when staying at home, I don't get that feeling. I end up being very reactionary. Reacting to everything.
There is rarely time to myself because there is always something to do. Having three kids under 5 years old makes for a very large to-do list. But I'll admit, having just one child was pretty darned hard too. With one child, there is no one else for that child to socialize with. So it's all up to Mommy. Having another kid really helped out in giving me more freedom to do things I needed to get done.
I end up being spread very thin throughout the hours and being largely mediocre to my kids. I'm still a good mom, but without a break, I end up being very average. But when I go to work, I got 8 hours to be Nancy. The adult Nancy. The career Nancy. And I come home to my 2nd job REFRESHED. And you know what? When I'm working, I make it a point to make every moment I am home ~special~. I understand we get less time when I'm working. 40 hours a week less. But it's amazing at the difference in quality the hours I do have at home are. From the moment I get home until the moment they close their eyes for bed, I'm my children's MOM. We cook dinner together. We play. We read books. We giggle during tuck-in time. This just doesn't happen when I'm home all day. Since I am home all day, cooking dinner, bathtime and bedtime are just another one of a thousand things I do each day. The phrase "absence makes the heart grow fonder" really does apply here for me. (again, I'm not suggesting a sahm doesn't make everyday special for her children - it's just how it ends up being for ME.)
Secondly, I think daycare is good for my children. Without going into too much of the obvious, for the same reasons I think I'm a better mom for going to work, my kids are better kids after school. No, I don't mean my kids are better than stay at home kids. What I'm trying to convey is they are happier/less bored after spending a day somewhere else. The change of venue does them good. And of course this has a lot to do with them loving their school too.
Another reason I think daycare is good is for the socialization. Of course, a kid doesn't have to go to daycare to become social, but it certainly is a place which will give them the practice on a day to day basis. My girls are very easily integrated into new situations, as they will seek out new friends to play with. They ~never~ cry when I leave them with a babysitter either. It helps out in various ways for me too - like if I want to drop them off in the gym's daycare for an hour while I work out, there are no tears. They just see it as a new place to play. And again, I'm noting it doesn't take daycare to make a well socially adjusted child. I've seen plenty of sah kids be just as social and I've seen daycare kids never come out of their shells. Just in my own experience, my kids love daycare and are also very well adapted in most all social situations. Was it because of daycare? Most likely some of it was. I know that I probably wouldn't of been the best to revolve my stay at home life around playdates and whatnot, so for ~me~, daycare was invaluable.
I just wish I wasn't going to have to start writing that $2800/month check for daycare next week!!!