While I was pregnant with my eldest, I was busy making plans just like every other soon to be mom. I owned and operated a flower shop and had decided that I would bring my son to work with me so I could maintain a certain level of care. The choice had much to do with the fact that I was very committed to breast feeding him. It was tough to have my baby at work with me and still be productive but I managed and really enjoyed the opportunity to have him with me. It became clear however, that it couldn’t last forever. Once Cosmo became mobile, I knew I needed help. Fortunately for me, I found an incredible day care right across the street. As a first time mom, I needed a lot of reassurance. I definitely got it with Miss Janelle. Not only was he across the street but her open door policy really set my mind at ease. It didn’t take long for all of my apprehension to melt away and not much longer for me to consider our child care provider to be an integral part of our family unit, the grease that kept our gears turning. By the time I had my youngest, I owned another, larger and busier floral shop and it was much more difficult to have him with me. The demands of my work, shifted my attention. Thankfully, we still had Miss Janelle. Lucius went to “The Growing Years” at 3 months old and I struggled with pumping milk. Janelle encouraged me to keep at it but never judged me for supplementing with formula. I had become a completely different person with a whole new perspective and set of responsibilities by the time I had him and knowing that I had her as an option was HUGE. Little did I know, that my life was about to change dramatically…. But let’s be real, that’s the way I do things… Dramatically.
We closed up shop and moved to LA (Pasadena to be specific). In true Beverly Hill Billy fashion, we loaded our crap into a truck and bailed… I expected to be lonely for a while but had no clue to what extent. The lack of support was intense as was starting from scratch to build my “network”. I was both terrified and clueless about where I was going to put my children. I found all of these AMAZING preschools and child care centers but was astounded at their costs! We had been very fortunate and it was painfully obvious. Since it was summer, I needed care for both boys and I needed extended hours since my commute and job kept me out of the home from 8am-6pm. I decided on an in home care provider. She was great and, is still part of my “grease”. It was a little hard on the first day, she took the boys to the park and didn’t bring the phone…. Since I couldn’t reach her, I did what any self respecting paranoid would do. I totally overreacted and drove home from work early imagining that my children were already on their way to being sold into child modeling in Mexico. I mean, they’re super cute so, that’s just logic! Once winter hit, my husband was home more regularly and decided to keep the boys himself. This became a hardship very quickly. Not only was he too occupied with the boys to get any work done but I was leaving my kids feeling guilty every single morning. Guilty that I knew the husband wasn’t meeting his needs and as a result was not meeting theirs. We were just surviving through it but nobody was making progress and nobody was enriched. Our gears were sticking… We didn’t have enough grease. I decided to start looking for my new Miss Janelle. I had a family in the neighborhood refer me to an in home day care. We tried it out for about three weeks. My baby, now 18 months, was not happy. Every day I would drop him off, it just didn’t feel amazing. I trusted my gut and tried another. This time we were successful and are still very happy with our choice. Now we have Miss Lainey. I immediately saw a difference in my child’s development. He blossomed in the environment that included other children, stimulating activities and structure. The gears began to click and whir once again, we had our grease. We’ve been with Lainey for two years now and are still happy. Lucius will stay there until pre-school.
I was inspired to write about my day care experiences because even though day cares are widely used, there seems to be this stigma associated with them. As if they can’t be trusted or that your children aren’t as stimulated as they would be with say, a nanny. Recently, a friend who was previously dead set against a child care center, shared her nanny experience with me. Turns out, her very expensive nanny was just sitting around kinda letting her babes entertain themselves. Now she’s got them in a center and is happier with both the price and the process.
There are bad day cares out there, frankly there are day cares that are just “eh”, but who wants “eh” when it comes to their children? For me it boils down to asking lots of questions, both of your child and your provider, and trusting your instincts. If your gut says something is off, then it likely is… The body doesn’t lie! My life and the lives of my kiddos have been positively impacted by our child care providers. They really are part of our family and I wouldn’t change a thing.