Tuesday, November 20, 2018

What I Have Come to Realize About Daycare

My thoughts and emotions have run the gamut around daycare and its role in the life of my family. For our family, the reality is that I will need to return to work soon and my husband is also working, so our daughter will have to be cared for by someone other than one of us. This being a reality and pretty much our only option doesn't make it an easy decision, though!

My Dilemma with Working
I really enjoy working, but I would also LOVE to spend my days with my daughter and any future children we may choose to have. I look around me, and a lot of the women in my life have chosen and are able to stay at home with their babies. And it makes my heart ache to be like them!

However, as I inch closer and closer to my return to work, I actually feel super excited about it! There is something to be said about having a regular routine that is outside of the house, to have responsibilities that do not revolve around my child or my family, and to have this part of my day that is just for me.

Heading in to maternity leave, I knew that I would have to return to work, but a major goal that I set for myself was to figure out what I truly want in this regard. I was feeling quite conflicted, partly due to the pregnancy hormones, and partly because I didn't actually know what was best for our family, or what I even wanted. For me to stay at home, or for me to work. Even though I knew I needed to return to work this time, I wanted to know if I was returning in order to focus on my career, because that's where we wanted me to be, or if it was for the ultimate goal of staying home one day.

To be honest, I still don't know. But, I do know that I am excited to go back and that is in large part due to my recent feelings about daycare.

My Thoughts About Daycare (For Our Family)
We have all heard the arguments for and against daycare; "your children need socialization," "you don't want someone else to raise your children." No one is right or wrong, because everyone's circumstances are different. But to have all of these opinions thrown at you makes it really difficult to figure out what you think and what is best for you and your family.

I think I fall right in the middle - my perfect situation would be having Isabelle in daycare around 60% of the time, with me working 40% so I have a bit of time at home or in my week to do other things before getting to focus on her. But that's not how it is for us.

Something that really helped me to realize daycare is a good fit for our family right now is learning Belle's personality as she has grown. She is extremely social. I mean extremely. She waves and says hi to any person we encounter; she thrives off of playtime with her cousins and friends; if she is grumpy and sleepy but not going to sleep for some reason, I just need to get her around other people and her mood improves before having the best sleep once we get home; and she can skip naps and not be affected as long as she is with other people. I am so much the opposite. I am an introvert, through and through, and while I can totally handle quite a bit of socializing, I don't think I can handle nearly as much as she actually needs. Enter daycare. She can spend her days playing with other children and learning to take direction from another adult, all while I go to work!

I am super thankful to have found daycare arrangements for Isabelle that I am very comfortable with and confident in. That has been the biggest challenge and stressor for me, so I am happy to have it settled. I would offer to share tips, but I don't really think I have any, and each city seems to have a different landscape when it comes to daycare. However, if you have any suggestions or tips for others, feel free to share them in the comments!

What ended up being the best situation for your family? Or what do you think would be best for you one day?

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