Geeky Mom discussed the reality of daycare, including costs, inspiring a flood of comments from her readers. We’ve outlined our own experiences in the discussion, but one aspect I haven’t yet seen brought up much is the experience of being second-generation daycare.
Yes, I went into daycare as a child. Not for all my preschool years, but for a while there, as my mother was working on her master’s degree, I went to a lovely home daycare centre. It was a fine time. I saw my first lava lamp there. That thing fascinated me and I could, if allowed, spend hours staring at its ebb and flow, trying to predict the size and trajectory of the next blob up or down. I also got in trouble for peeking in the backyard during naptime and inadvertently spying our daycare provider hiding the chocolate easter eggs (I didn’t get any!).
All the specific memories aren’t important, though. What does matter is that, as far as I was concerned, daycare was a normal aspect of childhood. I can’t recall ever, even for a minute, contemplating not having my kids in daycare. That they didn’t go in fulltime wasn’t any result of mommy-guilt or loathing of the system. That was due to the cold hard economics of the situation (an very junior assistant professor’s salary is not enough to support fulltime daycare charges). When we had a bit more money, in eldest’s JK year, we were able to swing fulltime care: youngest in a daycare where she was starting to get more specialized attention for her tentative ASD diagnosis; eldest in half-day care at her school to complement her half-day school schedule.
I’ve always looked incredulously on all the wailing and moaning over how horrible it is to have to resort to daycare. I mean, really!, if people don’t like the care their kids are getting someplace, sure, it’s important to move them to a different situation or maybe take them out, all together. But slamming all daycare because they aren’t giving the exact same care as mom would give (why is the standard of judgment never the dad’s care, I ask?)? That makes no sense to me.
Nobody does things exactly the same as I do: that’s an impossible expectation. So to decry daycares because they’re not doing exactly what I would do? That’s idiotic. To slam daycares because they’re imperfect? Well, I have news for you that absolutely every child-raising situation has a fair share of imperfection. People don’t become horrible monsters for being brought up with some daycare time. At least, in my experience, not yet, and at nearly 43, I think I can safely say it’s not going to happen.
So, here’s to daycare, long may it help parents to raise their children!