working mom

It’s Normal To Be Sad To Bring Your Kids To Daycare

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daycare mom

When I went back to work, my kids were three and 18 months. We searched high and low for a daycare center for them, touring several. When we finally hit on the center we would eventually choose, I was elated. The teachers were sweet, the center had credentials for early childhood education and everything about it felt right. Not for one moment did I question whether my kids would be safe and happy there yet, the mere mention of them going reduced me to a teary mess for the first few weeks. As happy as I was and as much as I knew they would be absolutely fine, I was still a wreck. It’s so normal to be sad to bring your kids to daycare, even if you know it’s a positive situation.

I think many detractors of working moms are a big fan of the narrative of a mother leaving her baby at daycare and trotting off happily, latte in hand, without a thought in the world. You hear the phrase “letting daycare raise your kids” as if working all day while their kids are in daycare is every mom’s idea of a dream come true. I did it for four years and while yes, it was not a huge deal most days, there were times where crying in the bathroom was the order of the day. And that is so totally normal, at least according to me and every working mother I’ve ever known.

Even though I was always confident that the benefits of daycare far outweighed any negatives, I still had moments where the last thing I wanted to do was separate from my kids for the day and be stuck at work. There were days where I was very sad and missed them terribly, all the while knowing they were happy and perfectly fine without me. This does not mean that sending them to daycare was wrong or against my motherly nature, it just meant that I loved my kids.

The process of sending your kids to daycare, changing daycare situations or even stopping daycare altogether can be fraught with emotion and very difficult. Anything involving your child’s life and happiness is going to be a big deal, whether it’s something positive or negative. Just because you cry and lay awake at night worrying does not mean daycare is wrong for your family. It just means you are a parent who loves their child. And nothing about that is wrong.

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