When we were little, most moms stayed home with their kids. If kids went anywhere during the days it was to a relative’s house. I’m not sure I knew of anyone who went to daycare, though I didn’t have a cell phone at 2 years old to text my friends and ask them. It was, after all, 1975.
When I was in high school, I lost a really crappy babysitting job because the family hired an au pair. Poor thing. She was from France. The husband was a letch and the wife was a “lady who lunched.” The kids were hell. Did I say letch? Yep. I think I did. Christ I’m old.
Anyway, that was the late 80’s and probably the first time I became aware of the whole “sharing the raising of your children with others” idea. At least that’s what the naysayers called it on Phil Donahue and Oprah as the Stay at Home Mom’s hashed it out with the shoulder padded career women of the 80’s.
Cool Dad and I are lucky enough to have jobs where we can work from home and just schedule our times to be out of the house as long as we clear it with each other. This has worked really well so far. On the days we both needed to be out of the house, we hired a sitter. The plan was to eventually move and then consider having a live-in nanny when #2 arrived.
And then the Pirate. She crushed those plans. Funny how you learn things just by existing and observing.
Cool Dad and I began our house hunt several months ago. We’ve come full circle from wanting a house in the suburbs, to a house in the suburbs with top schools, to the reality check that I, Bad Mommy, would be wayyyy out of my league in those fancy school PTA meetings, to realizing the Pirate loves and has thrived in the city. She’s done well here. She’s independent, she’s happy, she’s friendly. She says hi to anyone and everyone she sees, and the more people she sees the more curious she becomes. So we decided we need to stay in the city. And our wallets decided: “No live-in nanny for you because you idiots can’t afford the city.” Oh yeah. Right.
So we had to regroup. We had to think about exactly what our living situation and childcare situation will evolve to, and it is evolving. We scrapped the live-in idea, partially because of housing affordability and partially because of who our child is and decided to look into daycare. She needs to learn things – and we can’t keep her busy enough or get her educated enough for her liking. I’m a mom. And Cool Dad is a dad. And we also have jobs. We’re parents and real estate people, not educators. There are people in this world who know how to educate children. While we may be able to do the 101 version of it, we’re nowhere near equipped enough to take on this task. We consulted the professionals. And we found a daycare where the Pirate can go 2 days a week.
I think I was subconsciously opposed to and possibly judgmental of daycare. Prior to having a child I would have told you that in-home care like that of a nanny or babysitter would be my preference. I would hear of stories from co-workers of their kid getting really sick at daycare or getting bitten or being the one stuck doing the work because someone had to go pick their kid up at daycare for one reason or another and I admit it. I judged it. Not on purpose, but I judged it.
Now I can see that the Little Pirate actually needs this. She needs a structured environment in which to learn things, to socialize, to get away from Mom and Dad and to get used to that so Kindergarten isn’t a shock.
Tomorrow our little Pirate ships off for orientation for a few hours at her new school so that she gets used to it in time to start next week. When we went into see the classroom on our first tour she walked right up to a table and sat down at a chair. When we went back to drop off the forms and pay the tuition, she walked into the classroom when it was naptime and screamed “KIDS! WAKE UP!”
I looked at the teacher and said, “If you were to call me mid-day on her first day and say, ‘Come get her,’ I’d understand.” She laughed and said, “Don’t worry, we’ll get her into a routine.”