The Benefits of Daycare (This Mother’s Perspective)

The Benefits of Daycare (This Mother's Perspective) -Distracted by workI am keenly aware that I am writing this post from a place of privilege. It is the middle of the day and I am sitting in Panera Bread enjoying lunch and being with my thoughts while Baby Girl is (most likely) fighting her nap at daycare. Many women do not have this luxury. For sure, I desire to work outside the home—to live into the fullness of God's calling on my life—but for now I have not found or been found by the place where God would have for me to settle. Until then, she goes to daycare and learns and plays while mommy prepares for the next move. With the exception of hiccups around nap time, daycare has been good for us. Yes, I said us. Having Baby Girl in daycare has been good for me. Let me share with you three ways I have been blessed by this experience:

  1. I have been able to reconnect with myself and what lights my fire. These last few weeks have afforded me the opportunity to move through life at a different pace. I spend the first part of my day—before Hubby and Baby Girl wake up—energizing my soul in prayer, Scripture reading, and preparing breakfast to Gospel music. After Baby Girl's needs are tended to and she is at school, I spend about an hour or so energizing my body. Three days a week I run at the park in preparation for the Trenton Half Marathon and 10K on November 9th. On the other days I go to the gym for my Body Works plus Abs and Yoga classes. Post-workout time is mostly spent doing something vocation related—sermon prep, blogging, job search, etc. Sitting down at my laptop to write has been amazing. It energizes me as much as prayer and running.
  2. I have been able to catch up on rest and housework. I cannot speak for anyone else, but I found it difficult to keep up my standards of a nice home while attending to my daughter's every need (and her needs are legion).  So, imagine my delight when I spent the first week of Baby Girl being in daycare cleaning the house. I organized the closet that had become the hub for any and everything under the sun. I deep cleaned the kitchen. I had the carpet deep cleaned. And not only have I done a thorough cleaning, I have been able to put myself on a schedule to keep the house in order. But cleaning wasn't the only place I had a hard time keeping up; I also found it difficult to rest. Even if I did have the chance to lay down in the middle of the day, my mind would race: to-do-list, fears about the future, etc. Like most mothers, I was running on fumes for a long time. And while I haven't used this time to lay in my pajamas all day, just yesterday I made an executive decision to rest. All day. After I dropped Baby Girl at daycare I skipped the gym and came straight home where I put my pajamas back on, got in the bed, and rested until it was time to pick her up. And guess what? I didn't feel guilty. Folks earn vacation days after working a certain amount of time. Surely I had put in enough work for fifteen months to earn one (or ten) days of doing absolutely nothing.
  3. I have learned to cherish my time with Baby Girl. I now fully understand the joy my husband feels with each moment he has with our girl. Not that I didn't love her deeply, but as a full-time, stay-at-home mom there was no time to miss her (and have her miss me). Things that delight my husband—like the ways she playfully rolls around on the floor begging to be tickled—had become mundane to me. Each day that I pick her up from daycare, I anticipate our time together. The fun of bath time has intensified. Her laughter excites me. I will admit, every moment is not blissful—molars coming in, anyone—but I have learned how to approach even the crankiness of teething with joy.

What I have learned in these months of motherhood is that every baby is different, every mom is different, and every family is different. While daycare may not work for some, it is working for us. And for that, I am extremely grateful.

Full Disclosure: While writing this, three mothers with brand new babies have come into Panera Bread. My smile widened and my ovaries danced when I saw them. I think I'm coming down with a case of baby fever…. either that, or I'm missing my baby girl. Or both. 

 

Check me out over at From Time to Time

 

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