We Survived Daycare: If You Count Flu as ‘Surviving’

kids playing

There are worse places on earth than daycare. Credit: Micah Sittig

We’ve made it through two weeks of daycare. Well, technically one week, as the first week was a shortened trial run to make sure I could do it. And I did it. We all did it. And we survived.

Funny thing about daycare? The germs. Everyone who has ever had kids in child care (which is everyone I know) has said that their kids are always sick. And by the fourth day, my daughter came down with the flu. At least, I assume that’s what it is. I can’t blame daycare for everything—she’s been picking up coughs and sniffles since September through play dates and story times at the library and music class—but now she’s dealing with an oh-so-fun combination of vomit, fever and ear infection. It’s all sorts of Not. Fun.

But other than the illness? It’s actually gone quite well. I think going through all of the gym daycare difficulties has helped my daughter adjust. She’s definitely ready to see me at the end of her day, but there is no drama at drop-off and she’s happy when I head out the door. My son? It’s been tough to leave him. My tears the first day were only stopped by the fact that my husband and I couldn’t figure out how to get out the front door of the building. But I keep telling myself that it’s only 10 hours out of the whole week.

How have I felt about it? Actually, great. Sure, I don’t love dropping them off. But having time to work when I really need to work? To have peace and quiet to be productive? It feels great. I’m excited to get things accomplished and then I’m excited to pick them up at lunch time. I feel like it makes me a better, more balanced and more sane person and therefore, a better mom.

It was really interesting and reassuring to read the comments regarding daycare on my last post. One commenter, God bless America and her, is pregnant with her EIGHTH kiddo and has managed to home school and work. I would really love her tips on how she remains sane doing all that—or the scoop on how she cloned herself!—because for me, it just wasn’t possible balancing all of it—or I couldn’t figure it out. Daycare may or may not be a long-term solution for us. But for the next six months while I have a major work commitment pending, it’s a necessary evil. And I do have a feeling that much like millions of kids across America, my kids won’t be scarred from it and will still know that mommy loves them most.

Anyone else dealing with the terrible-horrible that is the flu right now? —Erin

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  1. Atisheh says:

    Daycare is not a necessary evil, because it’s not an evil at all. What’s bad is poor childcare, whether it’s a relative or a non-relative who’s giving it.

  2. Erin says:

    Atisheh – You’re totally right! I say that phrase all the time and certainly didn’t mean it literally, especially because I’m trying to ease the guilt that moms feel about child care instead of add to it. Thanks for pointing that out. 🙂

  3. Atisheh says:

    🙂 I didn’t mean to jump on you, not at all! I just wanted to underscore the main point of your post. Because as I’ve seen in comments on other posts here, some people do really think daycare is an evil. I tend to think they have little experience with it, or at least with *good* daycare, which is why they feel so comfortable condemning it, or suggesting women give up their jobs to avoid it. I think it needs to be said more often: even for women who nominally have a choice, and for their kids, daycare can be great.