OPINION POST + PARENTING + WORKING MUM
I’m one of those Mum’s that (for various reasons) have had my Little Peeps in long daycare or Out of School Hours Care a lot! It wasn’t meant to be that way, and I felt terrible Mum Guilt, but that’s how it turned out.
I see a lot of Mum’s struggling with the daycare dilemma – Should I put my Little Peeps into daycare?
It’s a double-edged sword…
When I was working for someone else, I had to work full time to pay for the daycare fees and of course (pre-COVID) full-time at the office was the expected way of working.
If I decided not to work full time, the opportunities to generate an income were severely restricted, which pretty much meant it’s not worth working because I would have been spending all my hard-earned cash on daycare.
I didn’t have my kids for them to be raised by someone else, yet I needed to work to provide a good life for my family. Therein lies the dilemma.
So here’s a quick judgement free look at the pro’s and con’s:
|Pro’s of Daycare||Con’s of Daycare|
|You can work which will hopefully more than pay the fees||Hands down, the biggest con in my opinion is the cost!|
|You continue your career you’ve worked hard to build||Less quality time with your Little Peep/s|
|Your Little Peep will learn routines||Daycares do things their way, which may not be the way you do them|
|Your Little Peep gets to socialise and play with others their age||They may learn some interesting little behaviours from others|
|You get to connect with people your age and have grown up conversations – even if it’s only about work!|
|There is an age-appropriate ratio of carers to children so your little one should be getting plenty of attention|
|The big one for me… The carers are trained to care for your Little Peep and develop key skills in all sorts of areas|
Thankfully today employers are aware of the pressures on working parents. Many larger companies are providing flexible work hours, the option to work from home and parental leave opportunities. There is still a long way to go, but the good news is, it’s getting better.
Services are there to CARE
Although the table above is focused on daycare; it’s worth noting for both daycare and out of school hours care there’s a big hint in their name:
DayCARE. Out of School Hours CARE.
If for whatever reason you send your children to one of these services, ask yourself this question: Do the carers care? I’m pretty sure in 98% of cases the answer would be a resounding “Yes”. The carers and educators chose the profession because they enjoy caring for kids. I know I could learn a thing or two from them to improve my parenting prowess!
Sure there are always those who potentially should consider a different career choice, but in my extensive experience with child care services, those are the outliers, not the norm.
Your children are in good hands with people who are focused on (and yes obligated to) looking after your little peeps and caring for them. You are paying good money for your children to be looked after by these carers and they are being paid to perform well. These services have quality frameworks they need to adhere to that when I looked into them and understood more about how their processes work, I found them very reassuring. Now that’s worth paying for.
Sure, it’s possible your little peeps may have moments when they don’t like attending or something isn’t going right. That’s a great indicator that you need to take the time to communicate and work with the educators to address if or what needs to change.
Do your homework
The best way to alleviate your concerns about daycare is to do your homework first.
- Book in a tour and a meeting with the Director. Notice if the littles and bigs are happy – it’s really important that the carers are friendly and engaging with the Little Peeps and you as a parent.
- Have a list of questions handy to make sure you cover off important things like sleeping routines and communication (this is a biggie!), a list of closure dates, rates and inclusions (some include food which is a big bonus!), sick day and holiday fees, start and finish times and very important… cancellation policies.
- Ask other Mum’s who have Little Peeps attending the centre how they feel about staff, turnover, communication.
- Go with your gut! If you feel comfortable and your think your Little Peep will be safe and happy give it a try.
At the end of the day…
It’s a personal choice and it’s not an easy decision. I wish someone had laid out the pro’s and con’s to me beforehand, it could have alleviated a lot of Mum Guilt.
So let me leave you with this… You can’t make a wrong decision as long as you make it for the right reasons. Weigh up your needs, their needs and the families needs taking into consideration your support situation. Everyone’s situation is different, every family has different needs. So go ahead and make the decision that fits your family best.
Some resources you may find helpful
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