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Day Care Disgust

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MomLogic's Jenny: I'm sending my son to day care. So why does that make me a horrible mom?

kids playing

When I made the decision to return to work after being home with my baby for a year, my husband and I went through the difficult process of deciding what we would do for child care. Initially, we thought that we would hire a nanny. I prayed that we would find our very own Mary Poppins. Translated in to modern terms "Mary Poppins" means finding a nanny that: speaks fluent English, is CPR/First Aid Certified, has an extensive resume and experience with babies, has actually taken courses in Early Childhood Development, has a clean driving record and car insurance and has been TB tested. Translated into modern terms this also means: You better be rich, because this Mary ain't cheap.

Once we opted to put our son in to day care full time, I will admit, the decision wasn't easy. But I have been appalled by the reaction I've got from people about sending him to day care. "Oooh," one woman said, "I would never send my kid to day care." "Isn't that going to traumatize him?" "You sure about this?" said another parent, "I just don't trust them." With every comment and wince, my anger and frustration (and even self doubt) grew. But why, when there are so many wonderful and nurturing day cares, replete with many Mary Poppins, do they get such a bad rap? Surely, all nannies aren't great. If they were, there wouldn't be such things as "Nanny Cams."

In fact, in many ways my son is safer at a day care. Not only are the teachers and staff trained and accredited, but they all have had complete background checks and are required by law to be TB tested. (Good luck asking your nanny to go get tested for that.) Sure, the chance of my son getting a runny nose or cold more frequently is a little higher. But at least his chance at getting cancer is lower. That's right! A recent study showed that children who attend day care cut their risk of the most common type of childhood leukemia by around 30%! Another study showed that children who attend day care also may be less likely to suffer from asthma and wheezing; being exposed at an early age to infectious agents in day care centers can actually prevent and protect a child from developing asthma.

So unless you literally have hired Mary Poppins to watch your child, please stop looking at me with disgust when I tell you I'm sending my son to day care. Even Julie Andrews could traumatize your child...


Jenny HerschenkoJenny, author of Perfectly Disheveled, is a writer/producer, and first time mom to a 1 year-old boy.


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52 comments so far | Post a comment now
Trina September 24, 2008, 12:35 PM

THANK YOU!!! i went thru the same exact thing.

abadmommyblog September 24, 2008, 1:26 PM

i sent my child to a ‘day mother’ which is basically a mommy whose job it is to look after three or four babies during the day.

my son absolutely adored it, i took him out, because my time with him before i have to return to work, is slowly dwindling away…

but when i go back to work, day care it is for my son.

no worries - it’s character-building!

Kristen September 24, 2008, 1:27 PM

I think you need to find new friends. A true friend won’t look down on you when you make a decision that involves your child. Instead, they will support you along the way!

Barry September 24, 2008, 1:30 PM

There are a couple of big benefits that we saw from our kids in day care, and have noticed it time and time again with other kids:

1) Less susceptible to older childhood illnesses - once they’ve run through RSV and Rotovirus a few times in daycare, you never see it again in elementary school and on. The whole family went through a couple rounds of it when our kids were 2-4, but since the youngest got out nobody in the family has gotten sick again. Even when the nasty bugs were floating around the school and kids were dropping like flies. The immunity from those early days has lasted for years.

2) Social skills - kids learn to interact, play, cooperate and enjoy other kids early. When a kid hits kindergarten and rarely if ever socialized with other kids, they have no clue what to do. Starting early gets them ready to be part of a class and peer group.

Tammy September 24, 2008, 1:32 PM

I’m a single mom and I had to put my kid in daycare. I am so blessed to have found a place that is small, well staffed with wonderful ladies that are fluent in english and spanish, christian based (maybe not what you want), the very reasonable weekly price includes all food (the menu is OK) and she gets lots of one on one time with her “teacher” (she’s almost 3…my daughter, not the teacher). This place is great and I feel that my single child is getting the socialization and a jump start on her education, that will help her to thrive in this world. Her 5 y/o+, stay at home cousin is not as advanced as my daughter in anything other than height and weight, and she has a hard time in social situations that seperate her from her mother. I’m all for daycare, as long as you find a good one and you stay involved with your kids care givers. I have all of their numbers and we chat often about my child’s progress and areas that I can help her improve in.

Barry September 24, 2008, 1:55 PM

Oh yes, and one thing I was very happy about - the last year of daycare was almost like a kindergarten in regards to education, etc. I feel like my kids got a big jump on real kindergarten, and have been ahead of the game ever since.

That really depends on the quality of daycare you choose so that specifically might not apply in all cases, but more often than not.

Sonja September 24, 2008, 2:30 PM

I agree with Kristen that you need to find some different “friends.” True friends understand that you have a right as a parent to make the best choice for your family.

As a hard-core “care at home” mom, I do have to say I’m not sorry I took care of the kids at home, and used in-home childcare when I couldn’t. Our kids have done well overall. That said, there are a wide variety of care levels in homes and in centers! Some day cares (and homes) aren’t very good, I think we can all acknolwedge, while others are top-notch and are almost impossible to fault.

So, let your conscience be your guide with regard to childcare. If it makes you feel better, I was given a really hard time for not working outside my home for years.

Katie September 24, 2008, 7:48 PM

I completely agree. I love day cares! My daughter is too young to be going right now, in my opinion (she’s 10 months old) so my parents are babysitting her while I’m at work. But when she’s about 18 months to 2 years old, she will probably be going to a day care.

Laura September 26, 2008, 6:48 PM

Sounds like your kid (like mine) is thriving in daycare. You’ve made the right choice. Some people just pass judgment on everything!


Anna September 28, 2008, 1:29 PM

It’s also good to socialize your kids. I totally agree with this article

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