4 Stages of a Daycare Phone Call

4 Stages of a Daycare Phone Call

My kids have been in daycare since 10 weeks and 7 weeks old (respectively). My first one is finally, mercifully in Kindergarten, which means that I have been fielding daycare calls at work for the past 6 years. Over the course of these years, I have gotten almost every imaginable type of call:

“You have to come get Oliver, he’s running a fever”

“You have to come get Milo, he threw up.”

“You have to come get Oliver, he keeps biting his friends.”

“You have to come get Milo, he looks like he has a rash” (sidenote – it’s eczema. His old daycare finally stopped calling me on this one after a strongly worded letter from his pedi.)

“You have to come get Oliver, he has a rock stuck in his ear.”

I still have that rock.

Regardless of which kid and the timing, there are always 4 stages of emotion that I range through during the call:

Stage 1: Blind Panic

Oh, no. It’s daycare – what meetings do I have? Is their Gigi free? What is my husband’s schedule?

Stage 2: Bargaining

Please let it be a hit on the head call. Or a bite. Yeah. Hopefully another kid bit him … or smacked him in the face.

I am not proud of this stage.

Stage 3: Acceptance (or Relief)

Acceptance: OK, I’m on my way!

Relief: Oh, thank goodness he was just hit in the face with a toy car … did I just say that out loud?! The best thing about these calls is that they always go the same way. “Yes, he was crying. He seems ok now and he’s playing.” Score one for mom.

Stage 4: Guilt

This is a crappy stage because it doesn’t really matter what kind of call it was. If it was a “come get your kid call” – I get the work guilt. I have so much to do, I can’t leave – who will cover for me in these meetings? I’m letting down my team.

If it’s a “hit in the head” or “biting” call – I still feel guilt. Guilt at the relief that my child was simply injured at the hands of another (or sometimes himself, let’s be honest). I know that he is fine and I know that these things happen – but I shouldn’t feel happy, right?! (Regardless of the answer, these are the best calls you can get from daycare in the middle of the day – you just have to make peace with that in your own way.)

We have about 1.5 years left of daycare calls, but it doesn’t really matter. Because just when you think those are over … the school calls come. They may not be as frequent … but it’s still very much the same.

“Oliver threw up, come get him.”

“Oliver was hit in the face by a ball. He’s ok.”

And the stages? Exactly the same. Blind panic. Bargaining. Acceptance/Relief. Guilt.

But looking back at this … I guess this is how I can summarize motherhood for myself, in general. It’s a vicious cycle of churning emotions that are set to repeat well beyond what you initially anticipated.

Laurel Hess
Laurel Hess is a mother to 2 young boys, a rescue pup, an off-balance cat and likely a few foster pups. She spends her days as President of a local marketing agency, helping craft integrated digital strategies and leading a team of creative collaborators. Once at home, however, Laurel is just trying to find peace with being the World's Okayest Mom. A Dallas transplant in a Louisiana world, Laurel graduated from Loyola University New Orleans in Broadcast Production. She met her husband while she was evacuated in Lafayette during Hurricane Katrina. They lived 5 wild, kid-free years in New Orleans while Laurel served as the Sales and Marketing Manager for the Superdome, Arena and Champions Square, before finally returning to Lafayette and into the wildest phase of life yet ... Parenthood.


  1. Our call goes like this
    Caller: “Good Morning cane you come get Your child he has diarrhea”

    Me: “he had a banana at home and apple juice at school which both are diuretics therefore it’s goung to run, call me if it happens again”


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