The Art of Choosing

Any working mom has her reasons for choosing her child’s childcare situation. Be it daycare, family, babysitter, nanny, I’m 98.5% sure the mom has a reason (or reasons) she’s chosen the way she has. Maybe she chose a babysitter/home care because of the cost or lower ratios; or she’s chosen a nanny so her child can stay at home. Whatever the reasons may be, Mom’s got ’em. They are her reasons to have, and not for anyone else to judge or knock. Because when you have to make the choice to put your child in someone else’s care, you are taking a huge leap of faith. And you don’t need anyone else casting doubt about the choice you’ve made.

Yet, people do.


I’m not sure.

Whenever someone asks me if my son’s in daycare, I almost immediately, involuntarily tense up. My blood pressure spikes.


Because nine times out of ten, said person will go on to make some sort of remark or ask a question about daycare. Sometimes the person is just curious and doesn’t mean any harm. I’ll answer the question and we’ll go about our business.

Sometimes they make a remark that makes my blood boil, which is not all that hard to do. I’ve had to defend my choice to put my son in daycare, justify it, quantify it so many times–to myself and others–that even a seemingly innocent remark can put me on edge. I get well, defensive.

I know the reasons people don’t like daycare facilities. Believe me, I’ve either heard them or read them.

But I have my reasons for choosing a daycare over other childcare situations. They are numerous and varied. And they are mine.

So, when I tell you my son is in daycare, don’t tell me about the study that tied daycare to behavior problems. Or when someone tells you their son is with a nanny while she works, don’t tell her about the latest case “nanny cam” case. We moms know. We were probably one of the first ones who read or watched the stories.

We, as working moms, have, or choose, to work. Our kids need to be taken care of, and we do what we think is best for them. That’s all we can do. It’s a sensitive situation all around–please don’t act like we haven’t put the utmost thought behind our decisions.


19 thoughts on “The Art of Choosing

  1. Well said Tela.

    I keep quoting Obama, but dang, it fits everywhere:

    But it would not be possible to solve the challenges without understanding “that we may have different stories but we hold common hopes.”
    – B. Obama

    We’re all Moms and we’re in this together!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Wow! So well said. Thank you for putting every mom’s thoughts into words!

  3. I haven’t gotten much flack for my particular situation (kid going to a sitter’s home). I wonder if that’s because it’s somehow the “happy medium” (in judgy people’s minds) between daycare center and in-home nanny. Interesting.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Thiry years ago, mothers had very little choice about daycare, usually it was a sitter for their children while they worked. Daycare was pretty much unheard of. And what was out there was not what exists today. Regulations were pretty slack. I never really had to make that choice but I know other mothers that did and they worried that their children would be plopped in front of a TV for most of the day. Most daycares offer lots of stimulation for children and I think that is nothing but a good thing. If you happen to get a sitter that you can trust and meets all your requirements, you are pretty lucky. They are hard to come by.

  5. Definitely well said. I also feel the need to justify that answer or describing it as pre-school. But she has been in “daycare” since she was 7 months old, and I think she is a better kid for it. I know I’m a better mother for being a working mom. She gets the best of me and I get to be the best me. Win Win in my book. Maybe soon it will stop being such a “war” between moms. We all get it, so why can’t we just GET over it?

  6. Mommy Bits says:

    Very well said Tela. We all have different situations and there are different choices that are best for each of us. We should be supporting each other more, and judging each other less.

  7. just4ofus says:

    You have to do what you feel is right by your child. Trust your instincts and if that is where you feel O is in best hands, then it is.

  8. I might be one of those people that you think are “judgy”. Really, I’m just curious–how do people manage — kids and a job? I consider all moms amazing and all moms to be “working”–I can barely manage myself, let alone a kid.

    From what I’ve heard, kids in daycare tend to make more progress, because they have other kids to play with and compete with.

    But I know lots of people who’ve had nannies or family members, and truthfully, that’s usually a decision where money is the deciding factor (daycare for 3 kids costs more than a nanny or grandmother).

    There isn’t any one way to do anything, and every kid, every mom, every era, every situation is different. My great-grandmother took care of my grandmother while she was running a cattle ranch in Montana; my grandmother got very little individualized attention. My grandmother worked out of the house because her husband was ill; frankly, she was a lovely lady but not much of a mother. The standard picture of mom-full-time-at-home is by no means universal; in most countries, extended family and/or hired help do much of the childcare.

    So remember–maybe I ask because I’m interested in you and your kid–not because I have an agenda!

  9. Thanks for all your kind words, everyone. It means a lot that you think I worded this appropriately. I had this post written for awhile, but was afraid to post it for fear of offending people!

    just4–I’m trusting my instincts more and more. And I’m learning how important my mom instincts are. I’m completely confident in my decision to put O in daycare, I just wish people would stop making insensitive remarks!

    lkredhat–If you’re just curious, you’re just curious, not judgy. And I can tell the difference. Mostly. 🙂 It’s when I tell someone he’s in daycare and they go “Reeaaallly? Is he aggressive? Oh, *that’s* why he talks so well. Have you seen that study about behavoir issues and daycare? I could *NEVER* leave my child in daycare.” That’s when I get defensive!

    And like I said, I have my issues with other forms of childcare, but I’m not going to list them out, because I don’t to make anyone else defensive about their choices!

  10. Personally, I don’t think I’d like the “sitter” set up. It would be the lesser of all the choices for me.

    Daycare centers (the good ones) have lesson plans, activities, routines and structured socialization which I think kids can really thrive on. Plus there is accountability with video monitors and multiple staff members.

    A nanny in house I guess would be the closest thing to having you there – your child would have his/her undivided attention after all. But I might have some issues there too I think.

    Daycare is my top choice – even if money was not an issue. Of course if money was not an issue, I think one of us (DH or myself) would opt not to work full time.

  11. Amen sista! I think this is one of the main reason that I just can’t get along with the numerous members of the local Mommy Group. Whenever the topic comes up in conversation, I always feel like they are looking down their noses at me for leaving my children with someone all day.

    For our family (and many others)there isn’t another option. And honestly, I don’t think I would be happy staying home with them all day every day. I need the stimulation just as much as they do!

    Recently, I had to make the decision to move my two pre-schoolers from a home childcare facility to a licensed daycare. Other than the inital onset of sickness from increased germs during flu season, I don’t regret it one bit. They are both thriving and learning everyday.

    In my opinion, it is those children that do not receive any socialization prior to starting school that are causing the problems in the public school system.

    *Getting off my soapbox now*

  12. I’m so glad I found your blog! Well said! It feels so good not to be the only one thinkng this way!

  13. I’m sorry I told you about that behavior study, I just thought it was interesting.

  14. DMNO! Don’t worry. You weren’t the only one. And I know you meant it in a “good way.” I *know* you.

  15. Thank you for your thoughts. I am a dentist and I work mainly with children and see “sahm”s all day long. I talk about my daughter Lucy all the time and they all cock their heads to the side and ask, “who takes care of her while you’re at work?”

    I’m sure it’s innocent most of the time, but I can’t help thinking that I’m being judged for doing what I trained for 10 years to do instead of taking care of Lucy…

    Who knows, I’m so glad I found this blog. You have no idea what it means to have people share my situation.

  16. OK – I could totally hug you right now for that post. AMEN AND AMEN!

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