How many hours a day does your child spend in childcare/daycare?

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  • #81358
    Doc201XDoc201X
    Participant

    I’d like to open a dialogue about this because it seems to me that the more hours a child spends in daycare, the more guilty the MOM feels (notice I emphazise MOMs). I also hope this doesn’t turn into a thread where Moms (like me) that have children that spend a lot of time in childcare are made to feel guilty. Thanks in advanced for keeping it civil.

    On average, my daughter goes to childcare before school from 7:00 – 8:45AM and again from 3:05 until 6:00. Wednesday is our “Family Day” when I pick her up from childcare at 5:00. There are those days however, when shes at childcare at 6:45AM and I don’t pick her up until 6:30PM.

    Luckily for me I have excellent childcare which my daughter loves( and of course it costs me a pretty penny). They also have a homework hour and I can’t tell you how much of a help this has been. Occasionally when I go to pick her up earlier she’ll tell me to come back later which REALLY makes me feel good, sometimes. There are also plenty of other parents whose children spend a lot of time in childcare so she’s often there at 6:00PM with other kids(Children really HATE to be last one there so I avoid this at ALL COSTS).

    So I guess the question becomes do I think spending this kind of time in the care of others a good idea for her and me? So far so good and since she started at this center 3 years ago, I haven’t had a single day of concern about her while she’s there. Now the elementary school she’s at is another story even though we live in a affluent community. Go figure. However, now that I’m in a financial position to afford a private nanny, I plan to stick with the “outside” childcare mainly because I think it’s important for her to socialize with other children her age.

    Anyone else have any thoughts on this?

    #81359
    EM momEM mom
    Participant

    My daughter spends a lot of hours in daycare as well, but I think what is more important that the actual number of hours is the quality of the time you do spend together. I don’t have much of a choice on the number of hours she spends in daycare (I am far away from my family and both my husband and I work full-time) but I do have a choice on what daycare she attends (and I agree, kim, I pay a fortune and it’s worth it) and can make my time with my daughter count. I always try to save my housework, reading, preparation for the next day, etc. for after my daughter goes to sleep. I think the bigger problem that can happen for people whose kids are in daycare for long amounts for time is the unconscious overcompensation (even if you don’t feel “guilty”)…I have had to work not to unconsciously “baby” her when she’s home or let her “rule the roost”…its been a real struggle lately as she’s entering toddlerhood and pushing every boundary and every limit. But I realize that I would not be happy staying at home, meaning she would also not be happy or stimulated enough. I only hope after I’m done training I can plan it where I have more hours with her, but if now, well, she’s getting a good example of women being able to “do it all”!

    #81361
    LaramisaLaramisa
    Participant

    My daughter (7 years old) goes to a school with a before and afterschool daycare included on the school site (7:30-6pm). School is 8:30-3, except Wednesday 8:30-11. Usually I drop her off for the start of school at 8:30 and pick her up at 6pm from daycare. I’m often the ‘last’ mom and I know what you mean about kids not liking this. But like you, sometimes we take a day off to do something together, or occasionally I try to leave work early. I’ve teleworked part-time in the past but it isn’t working with my current boss – he needs alot of ‘face time’. When I travel for work (about once every 2 months), she stays with our long-time babysitter, who is a good friend and has known her since she was a baby. My daycare has always been really good so I have never felt guilty about it – I do pay a fortune for it, but feel it’s really worthwhile. As a single mom I have no choice about working anyway and she understands that. I do think I would like like more time at home with her and hope I can get back to teleworking a few days a week or even switching to 80%. But it’s not a matter of feeling guilty.

    #81362
    sisriversisriver
    Participant

    I have tremendous conflict about this. My older 2 kids used to be in onsite daycare as infants/toddlers, as I’ve mentioned in another thread. I interviewed possible nannies but didn’t opt for that, found daycare more reliable and affordable. At that time I was still trying to excel at my work, giving so much energy to it, trying to meet the expectations and keep up with male colleagues. Things changed when my husband lost his job and has been at home (this role reversal has created its own problems for our marriage/family that we’re still working on.) My outlook also changed when my son entered public school in our (also affluent)neighborhood where most of the moms stay home. Prior to that I mostly knew other working moms through the daycare etc. The at-home moms seemed to judge a child’s experience: institutionalized care-not good, parental care-good. I became jealous of these moms, and also didn’t want my kids to miss out on playdates, after school activities. I also became more aware of the growth a parent can experience due to spending time caring for their own children, and didn’t want to miss out myself. And then I read the section in the Brazelton book, about saving up energy while at work. Well, since I had my 3 child, just turned two years, I’ve tried to find the flexibility in my work to sometimes pick up my kids early, be there for parties, read to the class, meet them at lunchtime, take off when they’re sick or for the baby’s birthday… I think back to when I was the last one to pick up my infant/toddler and he was crying because they’d moved him from his main room to the late pick-up room with unfamiliar kids/workers. And I regret that I didn’t change sooner. I think we need to challenge the working system for the sake of our children. We can get a whole lot done in say 6 hrs, work through lunch, not socialize, not attend 100% of meetings, and then get out to meet our kids when school lets out. I think the system needs to change for working parents.

    #81363
    Doc201XDoc201X
    Participant

    Originally posted by sisriver:
    The at-home moms seemed to judge a child’s experience: institutionalized care-not good, parental care-good.

    I have this happen to me as well except there’s another layer to it in my neighborhood. SAHM’s usually look “down” on those of us whose children are in the care of another adult. But the families that have Nanny’s look “down” on the parents whose kids go to childcare/daycare. Wow, what a wonderful, thoughtful world we live in :rolleyes:

    Originally posted by sisriver:
    I think we need to challenge the working system for the sake of our children.

    While I generally agree that employers need to be more sensitive to the needs of working parents,a 6 hour day, 5 days/week just isn’t a realistic goal for my a person that wants a research career, IMHO. And I certainly think this is an issue a woman needs to really address BEFORE medical school because quite frankly, an unhappy Mother/Physician can really make things “difficult” for those of us who don’t mind the balancing act.

    Finally, I’ve been a single parent now for most of my daughter’s life and truthfully not once have I ever felt that I was “missing” something important in her life. I ususally attend 2 or 3 school field trips/year, I was there when she got her award for making the honor roll, I was there when she lost her first tooth and most importanly, I’m ALWAYS there when she’s ill ( as a matter of fact I’ve been at home with her for the past 2.5 weeks due to illness). I can’t count the number of times I’ve had “lunch on the go” to make sure I’m there when my daughter needs me to be. So I personally think that parenting options for working mothers become more clear when we replace the guilt in our minds with more productive thoughts. We CAN do what has been done successfully for thousands of years.

    #81365
    sisriversisriver
    Participant

    Seems like you had the right outlook up front while it took me longer to seek a better balance. Maybe I should mention my circumstances which are that I’m an older mom who had my first child one year into my first job after training, whereas now I have a little more control over my schedule. I’ve deviated from your primary topic which is about hours in daycare. I remember when I was on maternity leave with my third and we were down at the school playground and my oldest son, then a kindergartner went to sit down with the kids at YMCA Magic place for circletime and asked me and the school principal (to her surprise) if he could be a ‘Magic Place kid’.

    #81366
    Doc201XDoc201X
    Participant

    Originally posted by sisriver:
    Seems like you had the right outlook up front while it took me longer to seek a better balance

    I don’t know if I really had the right attitude about childcare from the beginning especially since by then my first marriage was falling apart and I was in grad school so the stress was high. But I guessed I quickly realized that guilty feelings wouldn’t get me far personally or professionally.

    As a matter of fact, my fist daycare expereince was a complete nightmare! The first few days my child was there, when I came to pick her up, her diaper was full as if she hadn’t been changed all day. By the end of the week, I had received the report I had requested from the state about any complaints on the center. You can’t imagine how shocked I was to learn that this center had a number of mulitple violations including leaving children unattended and child abuse. I cried for 2 hours straight because I felt that even though I had received numerous good recommendations on this place, I’d failed as a mother. Now compare that to the day I recently let my daughter stay over a friend’s house with their Nanny only to come to pick my child up to find my daughter, her friend, and the friends baby brother playing in the street unattended. As a matter of fact, I prevented the baby from being hit by a car. The Nanny was asleep upstairs.

    So I guess the moral of the story is that for working Moms, there is no “best” solution when it comes to child care. There’s only the solution that’s best for each family and whatever chioce we make, must be a well investigated one. I also think it’s important that as working/schooling Moms, we support each other in these decisions.

    #81368
    sisriversisriver
    Participant

    Thanks for your frankness, and for the comment about supporting each others choices. There was a nice article in Brain Child last year by a mom who was really into attachment-parenting who was suddenly thrust into a single-mom situation — about how she dealt with the many decisions that arose including daycare etc. that she’d previously felt were out-of-the-question in her life.

    #81369
    psychpsych
    Participant

    My daughter is 2 and is in daycare 745-415 daily except one day a week until 545. (My son is in school 815 – 345.) This is a big improvement over my son who was in the same daycare when I was a resident, typically 7a – 6p. The daycare is great, just expensive, and I love the people there. The other suggestion I would make is PAY ON TIME always. My son had finished before my daughter started, but we got preference on the wait list so she could start when we wanted her to — and I am SURE this was because we were supportive to the staff and so consistent in payment the first time around.

    #81371
    doskidoski
    Participant

    My kids go to day care from 8-5, 5 days a week. If I have an early meeting or have to work late, sometimes it is more.

    I have found your experiences very interesting. My kids are not in school yet, so all the other mothers I know from day care are working moms too. I haven’t yet experienced any judgement for what I do from mothers that have made different choices.

    My kids love their day care. They know I love them very much, and I don’t think they feel short-changed at all for going to “school” every day. They don’t know anything different. Yes, some days I feel guilty for not being with them. But to tell you the truth, I don’t know if they would really rather be with me. They have a rich experience and loving environment at day care. They love being with their teachers and friends. Who wants to stay at home with boring Mom anyway?

    In many other societies, raising children is a community responsibility. Why do we think the best thing for our children is to have only their mother to care for them? Why, as mothers, do we think we need to do it all alone?

    #81373
    Doc201XDoc201X
    Participant

    Originally posted by doski:
    In many other societies, raising children is a community responsibility.

    Based on my very limited previous studies in anthropology, never in the history of man has there been such a preference as it appears in the US to have young children raised exclusively by their mothers (I could be wrong, so please correct me if I am). How our society became the “it’s better to have a child’s mother raise the child” society I don’t know but you don’t have to be a Hillary Clinton fan (as I am) to know that it does in fact take a “village” to raise children. Now I’ll conceed that maybe 20 or 30 years ago that “villiage” consisted mainly of family members but sometimes having biological family around doesn’t always mean support will be available. Right about now, I’m very happy that my “village” consists of family members both by genetics and friendship.

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