I Send My Kid to Daycare and Don’t Feel Guilty about It

Here’s the thing: I am tired of feeling like I am supposed to feel guilty that my kid goes to daycare and/or is with a caregiver while I work full time.

I’m just over it.

I like to work. I do! And my kid likes hanging out with her grandpas and with her teachers and friends at daycare. And we’re all thriving.

There are two things in my situation moms are supposed to feel guilty about: working full time (or at all) and relying on a daycare center (not even an at-home daycare?!?! No, not even that).

Being a well-rounded working mom

I just finished reading Laura Vandercamp’s I Know How She Does It, and I felt incredibly grateful reading about other successful working moms who were not frazzled, harried, or completely exhausted, guilt-ridden and worn out.

So, I feel like it’s important to share my thoughts, too. Sure, I miss my kid while I am at work, but I am a better mom when I am with her for the time I am away from her at work. And I like my job.

My life is full but I am sleeping, exercising 5 days a week, spending quality time with my kid and my husband, squeezing in some hobbies (like writing this blog), and working full time à all things that matter to me. I’m just saying – you can do the things that matter to you. Sometimes I think it’s the guilt that drains our energy more than our full plates.

Sure, it’s possible this reality is because I only have one kid, but I have a feeling it’s more than that.

Daycare is awesome

It’s amazing to me how strangers look at me with pity when I tell them I send my kid to a daycare center. They say “Oh” and look sad and there is an awkward silence. This actually happens! Then I mumble something about how much she likes it and they’re like “I’m sure, dear” and pat me on the head à OK that part doesn’t actually happen, but sometimes it feels like it could.

Actually, what really happens is that they comment how nice it is that she gets to spend time with family, and I confirm that and then say how much we also like daycare and we would send her there full time but we are lucky to have family who wants to help. I’m surprised they don’t call the state on me 🙂

Anyway, why do we do this? Because we like judging moms? It’s like our national pastime or something (sorry, baseball).

My daycare is awesome (and yes, we need more awesome daycares but that is a whole other thing). I know enough about her day to feel like she’s happy, but not everything. I am confident she’s well cared for and she’s learning some independence (which is good for my mama’s girl).

Working it

I wish we could shift the narrative to be more about thriving than surviving as working moms. There’s some chaos in my days but a lot of joy, and I think that’s actually true for most of us. For some reason though, most of the stories that are told are about the guilt and the missed activities and the scrambling and the lack of sleep. While those things happen (probably even to stay-at-home moms, too, BTW), it’s not the whole story.

So let me proclaim it from the mountains – I send my kid to daycare and we both love it!

Photo by Quentin Keller on Unsplash

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Stephanie (Harig) Prause

Stephanie Prause is a corporate communications, sustainability communications and investor relations professional, juggling a career she thrives in with being a mom and wife. She is also passionate about staying active (as in, she’ll lose her mind otherwise). Other interests include sampling craft beers, cooking from scratch and reading voraciously (at least for about 20 minutes before she passes out mid-sentence).

6 CommentsLeave a comment

  • Good for you, Stephanie. Bring a working mom is hard. Being a stay at home mom is hard too. We don’t need to make it harder on ourselves by judging it each other for our choices. Glad to hear you are finding a balance. Keep up the focus!

  • Thank you for this ! 100% on. My husband and I work full time and share our daughters day care between an in home sitter and my in laws. Wouldn’t have it any other way and we are all happy at the end of the day /week !

  • Love your comment about shifting the narrative to thriving working moms. Most of us working Moms actually like to work. Shocker!!! I spent two years away from my profession. And I knew I needed to get back to my career, for both me and my kids! Because I’m a better mom when I work!!

  • I’ve never understood why women judge each other so harshly over so many things and this is definitely on the list. In fact, being a mother carries judgement of all kinds and it’s so much worse in this generation than generations in the past. An older woman once told me that younger generations are crazy with all their judgement of parenting, they used to drink and party more, allow their kids to do much more, their kids were more independent. as in they could go to the park by themselves and play with their friends unsupervised. These days, a mother can get in crazy trouble over this.

    Out here in California, parents have to drive their kids to school. We just rode the school bus when I was a kid. My mom was a stay at home mom and she never felt guilty about this. In high school we lived in Westlake and I went to Magnificat in Rocky River. I had to take 2 busses and it took about an hour one way so that was a 2 hour commute every day. it’s just what we did.

    I’m so glad to here a woman say this, you go Stephanie!

    And i say, enough of the shaming of girls and women over every little thing!

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