According to the childstats.gov website, over half of America’s children are being raised in daycares. The first time I ever thought about a “daycare child” was before I had children of my own. I was with my friend at a park and a huge bus pulled up, her 9 year-old child exclaimed, “Oh no! The day care kids are here.” At the time, I thought, “what a funny thing to say.” Then the kids came onto the playground. Some were well behaved and some were a nightmare. What I didn’t like was that the kids that were not behaved were not reprimanded. The kids that cried because of the bullies were not comforted. Do I think this happens at all Day Care sites? No. But one thing I have learned over the years, “Nobody loves my children like I do.”
We live states away from family, and so when we had our first child, I tried to work weekends so my husband could tend our child instead of someone I didn’t know. We quickly came to the realization that rarely seeing each other was detrimental to our relationship, and I chose to quit.
The consequence of that decision? We have never had cable television. For the first eight years of our marriage we had one bathroom. Most nights we have dinner “in house” as a family. My job of being a stay-at-home mom can be demanding, difficult, devalued by society, and very thank-less at times. However, I have seen the difference in my children’s behavior compared to others.
Now, just because I am home doesn’t mean I have the time to sit and watch TV. In fact, before the birth of my new baby…number four, I was getting up at 5:30 to find time to exercise and going to bed about 10:30 p.m. …and I still had things that needed doing. Time for television? Maybe a movie on the weekend with my husband…other than that, RARELY. Teaching my children manners, work, religious principles, and educating them in the art of cooking and reading took all day. Being an involved and good parent takes A LOT of energy and time.
I have a good friend who drops her son off at daycare 5 days a week for 9-10 hours a day. He spends more awake time at daycare than he does in his own home. They have one child and their house is bigger than our home. Am I jealous? No. We are building character, not a material dynasty. I love my friend. I love her family. But sometimes I think about the memories that she will miss because of allowing someone else to raise her son.
In this day and age, it feels strange to be so blunt, but I would urge any who can to spend as much time with their children as possible. Once a child starts school, they are gone from the home for a majority of the rest of their lives. I gently but firmly discipline my children. They are devoted to me. I believe it is because they spend many good times with me so when I do need to correct them, they are secure in my love for them. My husband comes home and plays with them. He can do this because I am managing the home and most days have things under control and a healthy dinner on the table. While Day Care is an easy option, I do not believe it to be the best option.
Nobody loves your children as much as you do. Our children need OUR love, OUR time, OUR attention. Let’s be honest. Those who watch children in a daycare setting want the paycheck. They do not care if the children in their care are taught values, learn manners, develop self confidence, treat others with kindness, are hugged and comforted if hurt…need I go on? I have heard “a Mother’s love is nearer to God’s love than any other.” That’s why God sent these precious children to mothers….and not to day care.