Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Why Daycare Stinks

Oh, I don't mean my daycare. I mean daycare in general. The daycare Clara goes to is extremely nice- very learning focused and the teachers are wonderful. But having her go there sucks in general.

30 years ago when I was born I think women had it the best. I say this because- they had the option to work but didn't have to. Now I feel like it's the opposite of the way things were in the 50's. Back in the 50's women couldn't/didn't work- they didn't have a real choice to work. These days I don't have a choice but to work. So few women these days can really afford to be stay at home mothers. There are probably more working moms out there now than there used to be. Back in the 50s there were probably very few working moms-today there are few stay at home moms. You see where I am going with this?

That's why I say things were better 30 years ago. It was probably more evenly mixed back then. Or perhaps I romaticize it a little. I just know that my mom stayed home with me and my dad worked and he was the only one who had to work. Now in order to pay our bills, I have to work. And that isn't to say that we live beyond our means. We don't-at all. But we have an electric bill, oil bill, water bill, gas bill, mortgage, car payment, cable, food purchases, student loans and, of course, daycare (notice in there no credit card bills...can't imagine how we'd do anything if we had that kind of debt hanging over us). And although Ray makes a nice chunk of money that chunk would only pay about 1/2 of our bills and my income has to make up the other half. It's totally sucky.

So that's why I say- Daycare Stinks because if it didn't exist we probably would find other means for me to stay home but because it does, and because it doesn't even come close to being ineffective cost wise (i.e. it's still "cheaper" for me to put Clara in daycare than to give up my entire salary to stay home with her)-here we are. And it sucks.

I have this fantasy of when Clara is in elementary school. I'll be able to pick her up after school (not possible now with my 9-5) and take her home, work on her homework or watch her play. Then in the summer I'll be able to take her to the park or out to Nana and Pappy's or up to Grandma and Grandpa's without having to "request time off" to do all that stuff. But it's a fantasy and that's it. Because, it can't and never will happen.

I told Ray one of the reasons (besides the whole pain of labor thing) why I don't want to have any more children, isn't because I wouldn't LOVE to have more (providing I could get over the whole pain of labor thing-which so far, not happening) but because I cannot feel my heartbreak by putting yet another child into daycare. Having someone else watch all his/her milestones, wondering if his/her first word will not be Mama or Dada but a teacher's name. It's an awful feeling.

I try to convince myself that being at work is okay. That being here is good because 1. I get adult interaction 2. I use my brain more (ok some days that isn't true) 3. I am providing a home, clothing, food for my family. But- money is money and at the end of the day I am providing tangible things for my family but what I have to exchange for those tangible things is quality time with my baby. What do you think, at the end of the day, she will remember more? The fact that she had new clothing to wear or the fact that Mommy made her breakfast, lunch and dinner every day, picked her up from school, helped her do her homework, did art projects, took her to swim lessons...yeah that's what i thought.

And now, I must end this post before I cry.


laurenjean said...

sweetheart - you and i are so linked in the brain and heart sometimes its crazy!
First, let me also say I love my daycare - friend of the family and i know ymj is safe and happy...but it hits me sometimes that i am not the one teaching him all the stuff he is learning there. like today - they are going to the firestation...he loves red and lights and i am going to miss the look on his face...or what if he gets scared at the siren and i cant comfort him? PLUS - I HAVE TO WORK...especially with Aric is school. Its a discussion we have a lot and i understand that this is the way it is now and that we are doing what we can and Jack is happy and thriving and such....but it would be a lie to say something my heart does break just a little.

We do whats best for our little ones, and i commend you for the sacrafices you have to make

Ann M. said...

This post hurt my heart. I know this isn't an ideal situation for you, but it is what it is, and you're doing the right thing.

There is one more thing you need to add to your list of why being at work is OK: it will show Clara that moms can do anything. You are setting the example that she can contribute to the household, too. It's not the amount of time you spend with her, it's the QUALITY of the time you spend with her.

Trish J said...

I heart Ann. She said exactly what I wanted to contribute. Even if you're not with Clara every minute, you are teaching her life lessons all the time...

C-Rah said...

I'm sorry you're feeling this way! Times are def harder now than they were years ago. Have you ever looked into working from home? I know a few moms that do that and they love it. I dunno, I guess there's no solution really...