Thank God For Daycare
A couple friends of mine recently became grandparents. One was showing me pictures of her six-month-old granddaughter dressed as a pumpkin—cute as a button—with the most pinch-able chubby rosy cheeks. I’ve never been gaga over other people’s kids (or grandkids) but even I had to admit this baby was the cutest little thing.
It freaks me out that I would be remotely in the demographic of people old enough to be grandparents. When my eldest son was around the age of six I used to ask him, “How many children are you going to have? “He would throw out some ridiculously high number like “six”and then my follow-up question would be, “And who is going to take care of them?”I coached him until he could provide the correct answer. “Mommy.”
I hope he and his younger brother realize I was kidding. I have absolutely no interest in taking care of their kids while they and their partners work. Not just because I have a life of my own, but also because I know from experience that their kids would be far better off in the hands of professionals.
I have two wonderful sons. When they were in their early teens, neighbours would often comment on their polite manners. My boys always made eye contact and said a polite “hi” whereas many others in their peer group cast their eyes downward. Rather than let me bask in maternal pride for a job well done, my sons would say, “Daycare did a good job raising us.”
But it is so true. I have to give credit where credit is due.
I routinely walk past my sons’ old daycare at the top of our street. I love to see the small kids in the courtyard happily at play. I know they are being well cared for, and participating in activities that most normal parents couldn’t organize on their own. God knows I tried to engage my sons in art projects at the dining room table when they were little (thinking this is what a good mother should do), but they always looked at me cross-eyed and couldn’t run towards their x-boxes fast enough.
Daycare taught my sons well during their formative years. They learned reading, spelling, and times tables even before entering kindergarten. Most important, they learned how to play well in the sandbox and be a great friend to others. Many of the boys who congregate in my basement when my kids are home from university were friends from the Toddler, Honey Bear or Dino rooms almost two decades ago.
Being without their dad and me for most of the day made them rely on each other more. My older son’s daycare teacher regularly brought my younger son into his room so they could be together. My younger son became a sort of mascot for the older kids. I know my older son loved to show him off, and this protective brotherly pride remains to this day. I look at my two sons and their special bond and it makes me smile.
I thank the good women up the street for loving my kids and teaching them well. I know it was a good judgment call to leave matters in the hands of professionals. I’m not too proud to admit it.
[Originally published on The Relationship Deal]
Sue Nador hashes out expectations in the messy world of love. Follow her on Twitter: @Sue_Nador and her weekly blog The Relationship Deal.