Love or hate daycare, it’s the choice we’ve made for our daughter. And, so far, we’ve been satisfied with our choice. We know that she is well cared for during the day and clipping right along in her development. But selfishly, I just miss her. There’s a wall I hit in the afternoon where I just ache to be with her. I hate that by the time I get to her, she is exhausted and winding down her day. I want the best hours! But that’s financially not an option for our family right now. And I also remind myself how absolutely bonkers I went during my maternity leave and how relieved I was to return to work.
Ironically, this is not my great daycare debate of late. What is? What STYLE of daycare do we prefer? Our current daycare is very structured and education-based. It’s a spotless environment with daily reports (three pees, one poop and a 2-hour nap). As she develops, she will line up in single-file lines, learn to read at 4 and how to eat lunch in 30 minutes or less, all preparing her for school. The right brain in me LOVES this. The only downside? We’ve recently moved and our daycare is a considerable distance away. A manageable distance, but we’re spending a lot more time in the car than I’d like. And with so few hours with her already, I’d rather they not be spent in the car.
Enter daycare option #2. It’s close to home and endorsed by two people I trust who send their children there and love it. So why the hesitation? It’s a bit more “free-spirited” than our current daycare. Ok, a lot! The emphasis is on “creative play” through a flexible daily routine. Basically, the kids play in the backyard for hours, work on crafts, sing songs and revel in being kids. Quite different than where we are now. The left brain in me LOVES this. (And given that I work in a creative field for a living, I have a vocal left brain.) But the competitive right brain in me worries she’ll be behind when school starts. The kid picking dandelions in the outfield, so to speak.
So the debate rages on. Do I keep her in the environment that best prepares her for school success, but spend more time in the car? Or do I pick the place that’s close to home that lets her be a kid for awhile; there are plenty of years for structure later.
Either way, I’m sure I’ll second guess myself and wonder if I made the right decision.