It’s only natural I guess for working parents with children to have a discussion about daycare. One of the first thing that comes up is the cost. I think we should change the narrative up a bit and talk about the “care” part.
I’ll divulge some personal info – for E, my 2 1/2 year old, the cost comes out to about $32 a day for up to 9 hours a day. That breaks down to about $4/hr. Find me even the most desperate of teenagers willing to watch a child for that amount of money. Granted, it’s not perfect. They may give her milk when we would have given her water. They may change her diaper a half hour too late. They may forget to fill out her daily info sheet or any other small trivial thing. They are not her parents – we are. They are just trusted shepherds during the day. We wish ours had a microwave to make a bit fresher meals but understand the liability and space issues around that. Plus, imagine trying to heat up and cool down 20 microwaved meals all with different instructions. I know my kid is special but I Know she’s not the only one there too. Do we wish they were open just a TAD bit later so it didn’t affect B’s play rehearsal and my ability to pick her up sometimes. Sure. Again, small potatoes. For E (and soon L) to be at school with Becky all day has so many benefits. Becky can check on them whenever she wants and there is only ONE place for us to drive in the morning – even for me, it’s right off the interstate so it’s a small detour to drop them off.
But back to my main point, E has been with Ms. Eagle, Ms. Summers and Ms. Thaxton (amongst others but these are the primary people so far…) ever since she was a little over 4 months old. She loves them and they love her. She is learning an insane amount there. Just in this Year 3 of daycare, the phrases and songs she has come home with that were not taught to her by us have been remarkable in scale and number. Even with long breaks for summer vacation, fall, spring and summer breaks, they are a big part of her life and upbringing. During the week, she spends more awake time with them than with us (a sad realization). The other day I stayed around daycare just a bit longer. I think I was a little tired and wanted to make sure I had everything dropped off – lunch, milk, snack,etc. I proceeded to watch 5 of the little girls have back to back to back meltdowns. Some were on the ground sprawled out, some yelling, some of their faces were scrunched up in frowns that looks to be permanent. You couldn’t pay me enough money to have stayed another 15 minutes. But these ladies do it for people who aren’t even their blood or kin.
All this to say, be thankful for the people watching your kids. If you don’t like them, change the situation. I’m excited for L to be there with his sister soon.
Thank you to all the childcare professionals out there.