I’ve written about daycare on the blog before. About why I refuse to apologize for taking my son to daycare, and why I refuse to apologize for my decision to be a working mom. A list of tips for choosing quality daycare. In the broader scope of this topic, I even had someone write into the advice column asking about dealing working when they want to be stay home with their kids.
Why am I so stuck on this topic? Because daycare gets a bad rap. A largely unearned bad reputation.
Another reason is my relationship with the word “daycare”. I find myself trying to avoid saying it in conversation. Sometimes when say it I lower my voice.
It’s silly really. It’s not a curse word. It’s not bleeped out on daytime television. If I say it in the presence of innocent ears they won’t be traumatized. It’s not scrawled in the walls of bathrooms by cheeky teenagers. I won’t be asked to leave a family establishment for saying it.
It’s important to note that when it comes to people other than parents caring for their children, bad things can and do happen. There are bad daycares, bad caregivers, bad everything.
However, my son doesn’t have any of those things. The daycare my son attends has mine and my husband’s paranoid social worker and nurse stamp of approval. I would even go as far as say that the people who work there are his second family.
So what is it about that word that gets me?
That word carries so many insecurities for myself. The fact that I spend 4 days a week away from my son. The fact that he goes to daycare 3 days a week.
Really though, it’s just a word.
A word that doesn’t define me, my family, my relationship with my child, my motherhood, or my merit as an individual.
It simply describes where my son is spends 3 days of his time. Time that he gets to spend with kids and adults that he adores, who adore him in return. Time where he gets a change of scenery, gets to sing songs, read books, eat at a table with a bunch of other kiddos, and play outside (when the Idaho weather allows of course).
I’m going to try to stop being ashamed of that word. It’s just a word. I know my son is taken care of. I am taken care of. Forcing myself to stay home when it isn’t right for my family at this stage of life just doesn’t make sense.
Who knows what the future holds for us, but I’m going to do my best to stop treating daycare like a curse word. Whatever your situation with working or staying home, daycare or other arrangements, own it. You are doing what your family needs. That is what matters, and that rocks!