I wrote this whole blog post about daycare about a week ago, then I deleted it. Sometimes I think I go overboard in writing out all my feelings about everything, and go into too much detail about how personally I can take things. Like, how people are always commenting on my parenting. It’s just the kind of world we live in I guess–people are always judging no matter what “side” you’re on.
As you know, we have been fighting a long daycare battle. Do we keep him in his current place? Do we move him? What are the implications of these actions? Many things have occurred over the past few weeks, and without going into too much detail about the events that have lead up to our decision, well, we’ve decided to pull him.
I searched every daycare in our vicinity, and was beginning to get discouraged. I specifically chose my last location to purposely be the last one I viewed, because I was certain I wasn’t going to like it. Funny. It was almost instantly my favorite. (Do you KNOW the amount of hours and locations I spent ignoring this ONE? Ugh!)
Being in education myself, I am overly critical of other educational facilities. Being a strong willed mom of a strong willed child has also made me critical. Life has made me critical. I feel strongly about academics, and high behavioral expectations, where the teachers are nurturing, yet give tough love. Our “current” daycare was lacking in a few of these attributes. This is nearly impossible to find, I’m convinced. And may be I didn’t even truly find it. May be I think I did and I’m just pretending it’s there.
I’ve been a teacher now for 6 years (I think? This is like one of those questions where someone asks me how old I am and I am not sure if the answer is 30, 31, or 32…) and I’ve had my fair share of crazy moms swing by my classroom doors. I’ve even managed to make a mental list of attributes that describe a “crazy mom”, sure that I will never, ever, EVER, become one of those people. Despite my years of mental notes, the older Blake gets, the more I seem to find myself becoming one of those moms.
Said-Attribute of a Crazy Mom:
- excessive emails about grades
- excessive emails about behavior
- meeting requests about grades
- meeting requests about behaviors
- he-said-she-said conversations where parents immediately take the side of THEIR child
- requests for enrichment work to challenge their child
- questions about tutoring to catch up their child when the child is CLEARLY on or above grade-level
I figure I’m not completely a Crazy Mom because I haven’t yet requested or questioned grades from daycare. We aren’t there quite yet. He’s just 2, after all.
This whole daycare choosing debacle has been exhausting. I mean, it was exhausting when I was searching for a daycare for the first time, too. Back then, I was clueless when it came to what I was looking for. I didn’t know the difference between a montessori type of schooling, and a “regular” daycare.
Montessori schools are schools that rely on more freedom in the classroom where students have more freedom of movement and choice in what they do.
I’m hesitant to go into too much detail here about our reasons for moving (which are specifically 3 reasons). But, all reasons have to do with me wanting to place my child in an environment that is conducive for him, for us, and promotes his general well being, safety, and happiness. When your child is in a facility that is away from you for the majority of the day, you want to know that you don’t have to worry about him mentally, physically, and emotionally.
There were too many concerns. So, he’s moved. He begins his new daycare next Monday. I’m excited for him, yet incredibly anxious. He’s too young to fully understand this move, so I only hope he takes it easily. I’ve already started having conversations with him about the switch, though of course he doesn’t fully understand, I still feel like it’s my mom duty to mentally prepare him. Or try to. Or maybe I am just trying to prepare myself? I told Blake in the car on the way home on Friday that he was soon going to have a new school, new teachers, and new friends to play with from school. Apparently all he heard was “new friends” because when we pulled in the driveway he said “Where my new friends!?” I’d completely ignored the fact that he wasn’t going to connect the time aspect of anything. Here he was thinking there was a crowd of friends who were going to greet him out of the van. I had to talk him down from that one. Mommy fail.
Anyway. I am looking forward to a fresh start. A new beginning to this huge decision we’ve just made as a family. It may not seem like a big deal to some, but in my eyes this could potentially be the rest of his life! Shaping him into the person he may become. Call me crazy.
Do you ever consider yourself to be a crazy mom? I guess we all are in some fashion. I think I am in several fashions, though.
I kinda wish I knew what I know now about what I wanted in a daycare 2.5 years ago the first time I was looking. That’s life though, right? Hindsight. No manual. No crystal ball. Just experience, lessons, and weeding out the good from the bad. I kind of take this change as clearing out the closet and organizing. I don’t feel guilty about any of it, this whole trial and error of parenting. My kid is a 2 year old human-like-guinea pig of mine. If my ideas, and parenting successes work out, great. If not, we just keep trying until something seems right. I know nothing is ever going to be perfect, and rarely will our parenting decisions work out flawlessly the first time. I just can’t get hung up on times that I go through trials and errors with him. It’s just a part of it. I can’t want for what I wish I knew, because initially I felt guilty about uprooting him and changing him for his familiar daycare routine and environment. But, in my heart of hearts, I knew this was right. Michael and I both did.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned as a mom…between GERD, colic, eczema, asthma, daycare decisions and blah blah blah…it’s that you have to advocate for your child. No one else is going do it for you. If you feel strongly about something then you need to go for it. Because there’s obviously something in your mommy gut that is telling you there needs to be a change. I used to get so tired of everyone telling me to follow my “mommy gut”, because it just seemed like such a cop-out answer when I was asking for advice. (Or in desperation just wanting someone to TELL me what to do.) But, it’s for real, and it exists! You have to trust it! As a Christian, you have to pray about it, too, but God gave us that mommy instinct for a reason. So, use it! I have yet to be wrong when it has come to mine.
If you will soon find yourself in the daycare searching business and you think you might be a little on the “my kind of crazy” end of things, then here is a list of questions I compiled to interview daycares with when curriculum and learning are a top priority. (And you have a curious, overactive, easily distracted, smart, little person on your hands…)
- What curriculum do you use?
- (You should then go home and research said-curriculum)
- What is your class size ratio?
- What is the teacher turn over rate for your school?
- Can I see what your schedule looks like?
- How much free play do your students get?
- What is expected that students know by the time they leave this classroom?
- What is your policy for students who are aggressive? (i.e.: biting, pushing, hitting, etc)
- How do you redirect students who do not follow classroom rules/expectations?
- Do you have security cameras? (If no, why not?)
- How do you think you compare with other schools in the area?
Ask those questions and see the kind of looks you get. I swear people gave me this secret “I’m going to answer this, lady, but please don’t choose us” look. With a smile of course.
T-minus 7 days until his big first day. I really hope all goes well! I feel like I’m the one starting MY first day of school. Watch. He probably won’t even bat an eye. He’ll be too excited to meet all those friends I told him about.