I Love Daycare, and I’m Not Sorry

I am a working mom, a title that I feel is often met with resistance or pity. 

“I’m sorry you have to send your kids to daycare.”

“It’s hard having someone else raise your kid for you.”

“Can your husband get a job where you don’t have to work?”

These are all actual things that were said to me when I had my kids. Was I offended, yes. Did I get over it, also yes. 

In the beginning 

The first time I dropped off one of my babies at daycare, I was told I would cry that whole wee, that I would call every hour and make sure they were okay, and that I would miss them to no end and wish I were home with them.

Some of that was true. I cried for the 5-minute car ride from daycare to the office on my first day back from maternity leave, and that was the last time I cried after drop off. 

See, I like working. I like getting up each day to continue to learn, use the degree I worked so hard for, tell stories, and help businesses thrive. Before, during, and after becoming a parent, I was my own person. I had (and still have) goals in my career and in my personal life I want to achieve that are not directly linked to babies.

Women in business

I was raised by my grandmother, who has been a teacher for 40+ years. She was incredible at her job. She taught at my high school during my senior year, so I was able to witness firsthand how she could connect with her students.

I learned from her that having a strong work ethic is admirable. I learned that pursuing a career can be to provide for your family AND bring a sense of purpose. If my kids can take away even a fraction of the lessons I learned from her, it will be worth it.  

I am thankful. 

Truth is, I love hearing my daughter talk about her new friends. I love hearing the songs she’s learned. I love how she identifies colors on her shirt as we get her dressed in the morning. I love how she grows and imagines new things each day. 

I love that my friend and I run into each other as we pick up our sons from the same class. I love that he is snuggled and loved by his teachers. I love that giant gummy smile when I pick him up every day.

The truth is, daycare did that for my kids. Do I think that I can provide these things to them? Yes, I do. Am I glad that someone can care for my kids while I also achieve and learn and grow in my own ways at the same time? Yes, I am. 

Daycare doesn’t have to be a necessary evil. It can be a joy if you find the right place. It’s not always perfect, but let’s be real, it’s not perfect when they’re home with me, either.  

I’m not saying it’s perfect. 

Do we have our fair share of colds and germs? Yes. Do we come home with rocks in our pockets and dirt on our face? Sure. I’m not here to say that daycare is the best option for every child. Just like each adult may have a different path to thrive and succeed, so do kids. For my husband and me, we don’t feel that daycare is a last resort. It’s a resource we are thankful for in our lives as well as our kids. What works for some may not work for all, but I hope that we can celebrate our differences with encouragement and support.

Jessica is a marketing manager who loves bopping around Lafayette for the best burgers or bands in town. She is a full-time marketing strategist with a passion for storytelling. She and her husband Chris have two littles at home (Jane and Clark) where there is lots of giggling and always a cup of coffee brewing. Jessica is passionate about community-building and empowering working mothers. She is a board member for Downtown Lafayette Unlimited and the Lafayette Re-Entry Coalition, a graduate of Leadership Lafayette, and a survivor of being a mother of 2 under 2.