Let me just take a moment to praise daycare providers. Yes, I know that there are daycare providers who are not wonderful. Someone is bound to post a reply telling me about their terrible experience. And I know that many, many mothers do a wonderful job as stay at home moms. Let me just say that I am not that mother. I need a break. I need time away. And I need to work...at least a bit.
I'm a bit in awe of both stay at home mothers and daycare providers. The mere idea of spending my days only with my wonderful wee people gives me the shakes. I love my kids, truly. But I reach a limit. And I have thankfully found that there is a balance for people like me too. (Believe me, there was some guilt in trying to figure out the balance.)
I've been working as a freelance editor and writer for a few years now. I decided when Xander was 18 months old that working full time wasn't the right choice for me (although, some of that had to do with the people I was working with and how terrible the work environment was at the time), so I struck out as a freelancer. This has been far from easy, but...it is made SO MUCH easier by our phenomenal daycare provider.
She adores our kids. In fact, our children think that they are so much a part of her family that my older son was talking about her children the other day as if they were his cousins. There is no greater compliment from a small child than that!
Our DCP (daycare provider) has helped us through separation anxiety, illnesses, allergies, potty training, birthdays, and even the arrival of our littlest one. When Liam arrived, Xander spent the evening with K and her family, who provided an atmosphere of excitement. Basically, they had a big party over there waiting for the new baby (and Gramma and Grandpa to arrive from out of town to take Xander for the weekend). Xander was a celebrity for an evening! And I credit K and her family with making the transition from only child to big brother a smooth one for Xander. In fact, other than Mommy and Daddy and the medical staff, K and her family were the first ones to meet Liam.
Xander stopped going to daycare on a regular basis last fall, when he started preschool. However, now Liam is going. We started with 2 half days a week and he is now going 2 full days a week, in preparation for big brother going to school. And he LOVES it! He gets to play with different kids and go to different parks and just socialize. It is a different experience and he is thrilled. The older kids see him and they descend upon him and he laps it up! The expression of joy on his face is priceless. And the way he sleeps soundly at night after a full day of running around is amazing!
So, knowing that my baby is having a good time and is well cared for allows me to come home to write and edit. Working my own business effectively. It also allows me to work during the day (rather than scrounging desperately for time at night) and have time during the days the kids are home to concentrate on them: so that I am a better mommy.
It's a balance for me. And I couldn't do it without my phenomenal daycare provider!