A lot of people are going to be upset with me on this, but let the debate begin…
Discussion Point: Stay at home mom or daycare?
Background: My wife and I have our first child in daycare at 13 weeks. So far, we absolutely love where she is. I’m sure the reasons will come out. For us and our income, it makes financial sense to have a child in daycare.
He Said: I don’t know if it was having a stay at home mom growing up and the conversations with her where she mentioned that she always wished she went to law school, but something in me always wanted my wife to work. I know many people will disagree with what I’m about to say, but I’m a firm believer in daycare. All parents are first time parents, not knowing much about child rearing until your baby comes in the hospital, the nurses teach you a few things, and then you’re home within a few days, learning everything as you go.
Think about how little you know about parenting. Then think about how much schooling you have to have to get a job. It’s funny with something as important as the development of the future of our world how little you have to be taught (at least in the US, don’t know about other countries).
Then think about daycare – yes these people may not love your child as much as you do, but they are typically educated in child development and have WAY more experience than any of us in raising children. As long as you find the right daycare and can afford it, I like it more than the stay at home mom for the following reasons:
- More children means more social interaction than staying at home
- People with more experience than me in child development
- Mom AND dad are both excited to have the child at the end of the day (there’s no handoff when one comes home being exhausted from the child wearing them out all day)
- Sickness exposure – yes this isn’t a good thing, but exposure earlier means more immunity later. I think this is often a con from people but I think this is just delaying the inevitable
What are the cons of daycare? Basically, someone else is raising your child. That sucks, but if it means that mom and dad can get individual fulfillment at work AND come home and be so excited to play with their child, then I’m ok with that. Particularly if I feel like the people raising my child know more about child raising than I do. I learn from them and continue my child’s development in evenings and weekends.
So when doesn’t it make sense to have children in daycare? I don’t know the exact child count or income level, but generally I believe if there are 2 or less children and parents earn $50k or greater each, then daycare is a good path. This also assumes that both people like their jobs But every person’s rationale and experience is different.
She Said: During my pregnancy I’d be asked “so when are you quitting your job?” When I responded that I wasn’t some of the incredulous looks I received made me feel like a horrible mother-to-be. It wasn’t even worth explaining my position to these people, but here it is for you…
My mom alternated between being a working mom, stay-at-home mom and a work-from-home mom as conditions allowed, but I remember her as a working mom, and I mean that in the most positive way possible. I admired her intelligence and learned the importance and rewards of working hard. I want to be a positive role model for our daughter as a professional mother, especially in today’s world, which increasingly requires dual incomes to get a family started. The next logical question then is whether that means I should go back to work and put our baby in daycare this early… that brings me to the second reason behind choosing daycare.
I’ll be honest, I love our daycare and actually look forward to Monday mornings when the teachers sing the “welcome” song. For us, having Cara in daycare means we’ve expanded the group of people in her life to include a handful of women who make their living caring for babies in her age group. They know what to watch for, what development to encourage, which toys to try with her, how to encourage positive structure, and perhaps most importantly, how to communicate with first-time parents trying to do the right thing for their child.
For me, it’s not about continuing to make money or furthering my career. It’s about giving our family well-rounded dynamics.