reader submissions. It is an attempt to allow people to tell their
personal stories, in the hopes of bringing greater compassion to the
unique issues each of us face. If you would like to submit a story to
this series, click here. Today’s guest posts is by an anonymous reader.
I cried when my mom quit working full-time and took me out of day care.
love my parents. My mother bore me, raised me, cooked and presided over
family dinners every night and influenced my development into a
well-adjusted (in my opinion) woman. My father always believed in
anything I wanted to do and despite my teenage protests, loved me and
never lost his temper. But as a 9-year-old, when my mom quit her
full-time job to opt for part-time employment to be home with my brother
and I after school, I cried. I love my mother, but I also loved day
My affair with day care and other out-of-the-home
arrangements started at a young age. Nursery school at 2. Preschool at
4. I was out of the house for part of the day regularly, and it was fun.
When I entered first grade and my brother started pre-school, my mom
went back to work full time (from being part-time). So we started going
to the day care on our elementary school campus.
Day care was
like heaven. It had everything my house didn’t—a jungle gym, play
kitchen, record player, pets (bunnies and mice), glitter, glue and lots
of other kids. It was there I fostered my imagination, playing Teenage
Mutant Ninja Turtles with the boys (I was April, of course) and climbing
up tree root “stairs” to my “house.” It was there I learned about
friendship and sharing and flirting.
When my parents took me out
of day care, I was mad. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to spend time with
my mom, it was just that I enjoyed day care so much more than any other
social activity I’d been involved in until that point. After the
transition, my mom immersed me in a host of other activities—ballet,
swim, Girl Scouts—to show me there were lots of other things I could do,
but my precious friendships quickly faded away even though we all still
had recess together. It was the end of a great era.
A lot of
parents are against putting their children in someone else’s care,
fearing that someone else will “raise their child.” I understand—the
childhood years pass by quickly and many parents want to be there for
those moments. But for those parents who don’t have the option of
staying at home or those who really love their work, I can attest to the
fact that day care isn’t all that bad. In fact, it can be really good.
care didn’t break my bond with my parents, and it certainly didn’t
dilute the values my parents instilled in me. Although I was in day care
for years, I can’t remember a single childhood caretaker’s face or
name. My mother’s voice and lessons, however, ring in my ear every day.