To daycare or not to daycare?

Women are judged for their choices all the time. We are judged for staying with men who treat us wrong (their behaviour is our fault?), we are judged for when we have babies (how we have them, how we feed them, what we feed them…the list goes on. Becoming a Mother opens you up to a whole new level of judgement), we are judged on our careers, our bodies, the choices we make with our bodies…if I had a dollar for every time I have politely sat through people running their mouth about being anti-abortion, I would be filthy rich. Seriously, I could go on ALL DAY.

Lately, I have heard a lot about women I know being judged for returning to work ‘too soon’. What on earth makes other people think that when a Mother returns to work is their choice? Or that their opinion matters? It doesn’t. Women return to work for an array of reasons and a woman should never have to justify herself to anyone, but herself. If you decide to put your child in daycare, then you get judged even more (insert eye roll).

I am an early childhood educator and have been for 13 years. I can tell you now, that there are just as many pros (if not more) as there are cons when it comes to sending your child to daycare.

I believe that having social skills is by far the most necessary skill when it comes to being happy in life. If you have friends and feel that you ‘belong’, you are more likely to be happy. It doesn’t matter if you are shit at maths or can’t spell – no one is not going to not be your friend because of that. But if you are rude, can’t hold a conversation and have absolutely no idea how to interact with others, then you are going to feel rather alone – this will most likely result in feeling miserable (Edit: your happiness does not depend on others acceptance of you, but it certainly is a massive contributing factor). Now, don’t get me wrong – you don’t have to go to daycare to gain these skills, BUT it is imperative that children interact with an array of children their age. I have noticed that I can tell the difference between children who interact with an array of children their own age (i.e. attend daycare) and children who do not. Plus you know, you have the whole education side of things. Not only will your children utilise and develop an array of skills (fine motor, cognitive…) but they learn to take turns, learn to share, sort out disagreements and have many different experiences.

There are so many options for children to develop social skills – playgroups, playing with cousins and friends who have children. But by children learning to play with other children, without Mum around, teaches children a whole new array of skills.

There are downsides to daycare – illness’, shitty daycare workers and it is expensive. If you send your child to daycare – great. If you don’t – great. It is YOUR choice and no one else’s, but don’t judge anyone for sending their children to daycare.

We are all trying to do a great job. We question our decisions daily and do what we feel is best for our family. We are all different, have different opinions and think differently. Once you have a baby, you enter a Sisterhood. Sometimes this sisterhood will be the biggest support network you have, other times (and it’s NOT just Mother’s that judge you about daycare…and basically everything else) they can be your worst enemies. I don’t understand why this sisterhood can’t be supportive all the time? Let’s just trust that we are all doing what we believe is best for our families and drink wine together often!


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