top of page

Starting Daycare and What to Expect

A year ago this week, my “baby” started daycare. It was truly one of the most terrifying times in my life. I literally stocked my car and work desk with boxes and boxes of tissues because I knew I’d need them. Guess what, I needed every bit of them.

Two things you need to keep in mind before I start my list:

· My son didn’t truly start daycare until he was 2, so my perspective on a few things might be slightly different than others since I wasn’t taking him as an infant.

· I’m not a sugar-coater kind of writer. Good or bad, politically correct or not, I’m going to tell you like it is.

1. Anxiety. Let’s just go ahead and discuss this word, right off the bat. You have it. It’s a natural thing to have. In fact, if you were to say you weren’t at all the least bit anxious, I’d say we need to have a little talk. Anxiety just comes with being a mom. I’m pretty sure we’ll have it the rest of our life. The few things I can say about it is, you aren’t the first mom to feel sick to her stomach when dropping your baby off with basically strangers, and you won’t be the last. Chances are, you did extensive research and have pinpointed a daycare that best fits your wants and needs. It’s clean, all the other kids seem happy, the staff is friendly and you probably know other parents that send their kids there. The anxiety is natural and eventually, that heart-racing, close-to-vomiting feeling you’re having, it’ll all heal with time. Trust me. If anyone knows anxiety, it’s me. I’d also like to mention that my son picks up on my emotions and he could tell something was “up”. I tried my very best to bring it down about 12 notches for his sake but again, if you’re taking your baby as an infant, you probably won’t have to worry about that as much.

2. The first day is sometimes the easiest. My son and I visited his new “school” the week before he started. I made sure he knew where he would be, met his teachers, looked around his classroom, taped his name to the cubby and really tried to emphasize how excited we were about this new start. We talked about it the entire weekend before. We picked out new clothes, found a fun sleeping mat and pillow, really went the whole 9 yards. When Monday came, he was pumped. He was so excited about his new class and new friends. The drop off went surprisingly easy. I was shocked. Before I could even put his things away, he had found his seat and was set up to start coloring. I walked out of there like, “Wow! This shit is easy…why was I thinking it would be hard??” News flash: day 2 aint got nothing on day 1. Tuesday morning rolled around and when my dude got wind that we were doing this whole “school” thing again, he lost it. One day was ok with him but he wasn’t about to let me leave him 2 days in a row. I was in shock. Day 1 went so well!! What the hell happened? Reality happened. He now knew the meaning of daycare and he wasn’t okay with it. It took a good month of him crying every single morning at drop off. A month! Do you know how long and exhausting a month is when your child is melting down every single day before 8 a.m.? It’s freakin’ long. This is where you’ll use your tissues in the car. And until noon at your desk. Brutal but normal and expected.

3. Your kid will recover a lot faster than you. Piggybacking on number 2 – by the time I got to work, I was a mascara-running, snotty ass mess. Truly. Hearing your baby scream and cry, begging you not to leave, clinging to your leg, never really gets easy. It gets tolerable but it never gets easy. It would take me until noon-o’clock to recover from the trauma. I’d sit at my desk, feeling ridiculous amounnts of guilt for putting my kid through that. In my head, he was sitting in a corner somewhere alone, still crying as well. And plotting his first Dr. Phil visit. 5’oclock never came fast enough and the very first things out of my mouth were, “how long did he cry?? Did he cry until nap time? Did he eat lunch? Did he even survive?” Every single time the teacher would say, “we promise he stopped crying as soon as you left. He was literally melt-down free by 8:15.” Great, so I sat and wallowed in my tears for 4 hours before I could even function and he was over it in 15 minutes. Awesome.

4. You’ll be THAT mom. As much as you don’t want to be, you will be. Regardless the age when your baby starts daycare, you’ll call and check on them. A lot. Since my son was a wreck when I left, I was calling to check on him by 9a.m., the entire first 2 weeks. The receptionist would peek into the classroom for me and always come back saying, “Kaleb is doing great! He’s eating breakfast and engaging with the others very well, don’t worry mom, we’d tell you if he was upset.” It wasn’t that I didn’t believe them, I just had to call to make myself feel better. {see number 3}

5. You will feel like a mom failure. At some point, in the first month of starting daycare, I can promise, you will feel like a big fat mom failure. You’ll either forget to send an extra set of clothes, or forget to send blankie, or forget the $25 art fee, or forget it’s picture day and your kid is in sweat pants, ect ect. You will forget shit all the time and the daycare will send a note home with your child on stationary that has apples and worms across the top, in hopes to make you feel better about dropping the ball. But the apples and worms don’t help. You’ll feel about ::this:: big and swear to never forget extra undies again. But you will.

6. You’ll learn that disliking children is actually possible. It’s the nature of the beast people. There are going to be kids in your kid’s class that you don’t like. At the beginning of motherhood and well, at the beginning of daycare you might think, “aww 2 year olds are so cute, all children are loveable and kind.” That’s bullshit. A couple months into this gig, you’ll learn that not every kid is as cute and kind as your kid and you’ll figure out there are actual hellions attending your kids school.

7. Germs. The rumors are true. Daycares are often the reason for your kid being a snot nose all the time. And it takes about a year for them to build up their immune system. I think it’s better if they start as babies but I can’t be sure on that. Kaleb has had the same cough for a good 4 months now and turns out most kids this winter have had it too. The upside to this, when they start kindergarten, they’ll be ahead of the germ game and hopefully have an immune system of steel.

8. You’ll experience the proudest of moments and it’ll all be worth it. That first time they bring home crayon scribbles with random macaroni glued to it, claiming it’s a picture of you and him, all the tears and snot noses with suddenly be a thing of the past. Nothing in this world can make a daycare-sending-mama prouder than some questionable artwork.

This list is by no means, meant to give daycare a bad wrap. Daycare has been THE BEST thing I’ve ever ever done for my son. I was not built to be a stay-at-home-mom. It just isn’t in my makeup. I wouldn’t be good at teaching him the ABC’s and I’m far too OCD to let him fingerpaint in my house.

In all honesty, it did take us about a month or so to adjust. It wasn’t easy but after it became our routine, I couldn’t imagine doing it any other way. Kaleb has matured night and day there. He has mad social skills. I’m pretty sure he’s BigMan on Campus because kids are always saying hi to him and asking me if he can come to sleep overs. Truly, I can’t say enough good things about our daycare. And I can’t enforce enough, the anxiety and nervousness are natural and time WILL help. Hang in there, mama.

Featured Posts
Recent Posts
Search By Tags
Follow Us
  • Facebook Basic Square
  • Twitter Basic Square
  • Google+ Basic Square
bottom of page