My Child Is In Daycare. You Can Bite Me If You Don’t Like That

I was recently having an email exchange with a reader who had left some critical comment here at the old blog. We were having what I consider to be a fairly interesting discussion about the scope of government and the relative merits of recent Presidents. Then she said this:

I feel that all citizens should practice personal responsbility [sic] regarding their finances, reproduction and progeny. Expecting the rich to pay for everything, the abortion doctors to solve our little mistakes and the daycare industry to raise our children is ludicrous and selfish.

Ok. If you want to talk small government, supply-side economics, or the morality of abortion with me, fine. I’m down. I can go all day. But that little crack about daycare? That snide dig at working mothers? That suggestion that mothers who go to a job aren’t good mothers? That stupid ignorant bullshit that mothers who utilize daycare aren’t truly raising their children? It’s on. I will not take that politely.

Here’s what I said to her:

Though I will take everything I just said back if you meant your comment about daycare in your email to me as a dig about me and my family. Say what you want about my politics but do not accuse me of not being a good mother because I work put a roof over our heads. That’s personal and intolerable. You are not in a position to criticize that.

Here what I wanted to say to her and every cow who’s ever used the phrase “I don’t need daycare to raise my children”:

Fuck you and the self-righteous horse you rode in on.

You. Don’t. Know. Not one of you out there is really privy to a family’s finances, emotional state, or personal needs. You don’t know and you should not presume to know. And you should not, should NEVER, judge.

Parents work for many reasons. All of them are valid. You hear that, snitchy cows who look down on the working mom who does it for personal fulfillment? I just said that that mother’s reasons for working as just as good as those of the mother who does it because without her paycheck her kids can’t eat. Yeah. JUST AS VALID. And also just as valid as reasons for not working outside the home. I’ll say it again: JUST AS VALID.

Nothing makes me angrier than the implication that I’m not a good mother because my child goes to daycare. Like maybe I stop loving him, thinking about him, worrying about him, planning for him, and having big dreams for him just because he and I aren’t in the same room? Like maybe I spend my hours with him filing my nails and chatting on the phone instead of talking to him, teaching him, reading to him, sharing experiences with him, and showing him in every way I can that his parents love him with every breath? Like I let his teachers do all the heavy lifting so I can ignore him to pursue financial gain? Is that what you judgey bitches who talk that kind of shit think? Is it? Has that thought crossed your mind? Has it? Nice. Well, keep it to yourself, you arrogant bully. In fact, keep yourself to yourself. I don’t want to know if you if that’s how you regard working parents.

I’ve stated before that, apart from abuse or putting you kids on reality tv, I don’t care how anyone else parents. I trust that everyone is doing their best with that they have and what they need. I would never cluck about a stay at home mom and say “It’s too bad she’s not good enough to hold a real job.” Saying that sort of thing, even thinking that sort of thing, would make me a cock-smoking asshat, wouldn’t you agree? And saying that a working mom is outsourcing raising her kids is just as bad.

We are all moms. We should have a duty to stand up for each other. We should never tear each other down. Never. Never ever. So examine your words and your thoughts and decide if they’re worthy of that spirit. If they’re not, if all they do is serve to make you feel superior at the cost of making another mother sad, angry, or needlessly ashamed, then you need to acknowledge that you might just be a bully and start working on yourself. Because it’s always the bully who sucks, not the mom who’s trying her best to get through the day.

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29 comments for “My Child Is In Daycare. You Can Bite Me If You Don’t Like That

  1. April 20, 2011 at 10:19 am

    I’m in love with you.

    I see the stink eyes working moms get. It’s like people mentally take in everything about her–house, car, shoes, bag–and do some math in their head. “Wait…if she didn’t drive that new SUV she could stay home! Look at those shoes! Well! I never! She doesn’t WANT to stay home with her children!”

    You can only work if your family *needs* the income. And while you work, you must put your womanly little head down and smile a sad, tragic smile about how much you long for your babies.

    Damn, girl. You’re e-mails are 10 times more interesting than mine! 🙂

  2. April 20, 2011 at 10:22 am

    Ah good for you in taking the high road in the email…and even better sharing this with us. 😉 I HATE the judgy statements back and forth between SAHM and WAHM’s…its just not FAIR to either side. Not fair and should not be an issue…we are all women and we need support. This is why the men are so overwhelmingly in charge…we can’t find a way to be nice to each other.

  3. April 20, 2011 at 10:28 am

    Yes! This.

    To which I’ll add: my child loves her daycare. The teachers are great and she gets to spend the day with her friends, learnIng and playing. They go swimming and on field trips. When I come to pick her up, she often doesn’t want to leave.

    And kids in daycare have *plenty* of opportunities to be parented when they’re at home. Just ask them 😉

  4. happyshiny
    April 20, 2011 at 10:51 am

    Feminism is about *choice*. About women being able to choose their own paths, not having to conform to some societal norm. And that swings both ways, folks! Moms have choices, why on EARTH would we tear each other down for utilizing them?!?!

  5. happyshiny
    April 20, 2011 at 10:53 am

    PS – out of *choice* I was a non-wage earning Mom for 15 years and recently joined the school district part-time and am also studying for my teaching degree. Because that’s what *I* want to do and because it fits my family’s lifestyle well.

    Celebrate individuality and the freedom to do as we please and be accepted in our communities!

  6. April 20, 2011 at 10:57 am

    Proud to be a working mom today. As the mom to a special needs child, I feel the judgmental stares even more harshly than I did when I was merely the working mother to a “normal” child. There are many times I just want to shake the people who suggest I should be staying at home, sheltering my daughter from the world (protecting her). I do protect her everyday. I think of her entire life in my decision process, not just her limitations. Day care makes her happy and it allows me to keep her insured, while paying the $300+ a month for special formula for her to drink, and it keeps me sane.

  7. April 20, 2011 at 11:22 am

    I prefer to stay home with my son, but I didn’t think I would. I always assumed I’d be a mom who worked. I was in day care as a kid. Either day care or shipped off (out of state) to my grandparents for the summer. But I also didn’t have a mom, so there’s that. That being said, there are things about my childhood that messed me up far more than day care ever did. I can’t trace any of my neuroses or abandonment issues to day care. I was happier there than at home!

  8. April 20, 2011 at 11:23 am

    Amen. And I am not afraid to say it, daycare does a better job than I would do all day at home. He can do so much and I wouldn’t have a clue how to teach him that. People can suck it 🙂 Go daycare. As an only child, daycare was my ‘siblings’ and I loved it too. I even stayed until I was in the 7th grade so I would have other kids to interact with after school. i learned many life lessons there!

  9. April 20, 2011 at 11:39 am

    I wish more mom’s had that attitude! I was recently a part of a mommy message board where the women were soooo judgemental. As in daycare is bad, formula is bad, epidurals are bad, etc. One woman even went so far as to tell me that giving my baby formula was the same as giving her poison!
    I have not choice but to put my kids in day care and they love it there! They have so much fun and look forward to going.
    Life would be a little easier if all moms could just support eachother rather than tearing eachother down.

  10. April 20, 2011 at 12:02 pm

    Ugh the judging! My mom went back to work when I was 8 years old and my mother-in-law went back to work when my husband was 2 months old. Both of us are 41 and neither of us is scarred, mentally damaged, or ruined because of it. In fact we are happily married, successful professionals with two kids – one of whom was in daycare until he started school and is now in after care and the other of whom is still in daycare. Doesn’t appear either of them are on their way to being monumentally fucked up either. Sigh.

  11. Amy
    April 20, 2011 at 12:06 pm

    You rock! That is all.

  12. Shelley
    April 20, 2011 at 12:10 pm

    I’m with Brandy. Daycare does a better job at some things than I would do at home. For example, this morning when I dropped by daughter off at 6:45, her teachers were standing around this little netted cage checking it out. Some of their butterflies has emerged from their cocoons. I would have never had thought of doing stuff like that if I was a stay at home mom. Not to mention the various field trips they go on, the variety of kids (gender, age, ethnicity, etc.) there are to play with and learn from, the songs, rhymes, books, crafts, and whatever else they do. I would have never done most of that.

    I interviewed a lot of day cares – in home and day care centers – before I made a decision. If my daughter’s day care was a shitty place, I wouldn’t have her there.

    Plus, I work because I have a mortgage and car payment plus those other little things we need like water, food, health insurance, and electricity.

    Double birds to the rude lady from the email.

  13. April 20, 2011 at 12:24 pm

    When we decided to have kids I knew I was going to be a stay at home mom and I may have said “I am not having kids to let other people raise them” But I do not look down on anyone who works for any reason and sends their kids to daycare. And I dont believe that trite crap that may have come out of my mouth.

    WHy is it any one elses business how someone else lives their life? Why do people think they have a say in any ones life but their own. And whey do they think they are so special that every one needs to hear what they think.

  14. amy
    April 20, 2011 at 1:11 pm

    today is my first day back to work from maternity leave.

    thank you.

  15. Elizabeth
    April 20, 2011 at 1:15 pm

    I had dinner with my daycare provider last Saturday. Her daughter has been my best friend for 37 years. Without them, I wouldn’t be as sane, well-read, or curious as I am. Everything about the years I spent with them taking care of me before and after school was an absolute gift. As an adult, I’m so thankful for my daycare experience. And as a parent, I am so grateful for the wonderful woman–my neighbor, my friend–who takes care of my son.

    Here’s to daycare, and the wonderful presence it brings to our lives!

  16. April 20, 2011 at 1:16 pm

    Whoa! Go you! Awesome post.

    I feel the need to point out something, in light of some of the comments on this post. It’s not a competition–who does X better: daycare or mom? We moms need to stop comparing ourselves to everyone & everything around us. That goes hand in hand with judging. Comparing will get us nowhere.

  17. April 20, 2011 at 1:28 pm

    I can’t believe someone said that to you.

    This is a very hot topic for me right now because I just don’t know what is best for us. I honestly don’t know if working is an option for me financially. Which sounds strange but two kids in daycare? that is EXPENSIVE.

    I’m also struggling with the fact that I’m not sure I’m as good of a mother when I stay at home. I kind of always feel like I’m missing something and wouldn’t I be a better mother if I felt more fulfilled overall?

    In any case, it’s a very personal decision and I’m so sick of people being hateful on either side of it.

  18. OakParkGirl
    April 20, 2011 at 6:40 pm

    I was in the same boat as Amber until I started thinking about actually having kids. It’s funny how easy it is to snap to judgements when you are so completely removed from the situation… My mom stayed at home until I was about 6 and then only worked part time until I hit high school – then went full time. I always felt I should do that too, because it’s how I was raised. I was determined to quit working and stay home the moment I popped one out, and wondered why more women I knew didn’t do that too. But then I started to ask around and realized it wasn’t so cut and dry.

    I never looked down on people who used daycare, just said “nope, not for me. I want to spend every day with my kids and really prioritize them”. Which in a way is kinda bitchy and judgy, as if having a job meant my kids were NOT a priority. I really hope I never made any of my working-mom friends feel that way, ugh. I now run a local “women in tech” group and this topic comes up a lot. Someone said something along these lines, and it really changed my perspective: there’s nothing wrong with teaching your children (by example) that having a career is very fulfilling, and that YOUR hopes and aspirations as a mom/dad do not always revolve 100% around your kids.

    My parents always promoted the idea that I should be self sufficient, do what I love, and never lose sight of what’s important to me. They led by example, and while I was VERY loved they also made sure to take care of their dreams too. They left us with freinds at least once a year to go on mini vacations alone (we loved it!!), and both had full-time careers for most of my childhood. They HAD to in order to put us through private school and be able to take us on family vacations several times a year. They never regretted anything they gave up for us, but my mom once told me she would have been happier to have worked more, they just couldn’t afford day care. And my mom is a VERY high strung and extroverted woman. I am amazed she didn’t snap staying home with us for so many years. Just saying…

    Kids CAN be your life and dominate 100% of your time and attention, but that’s not always the right choice for everyone. I would be a babbling idiot in under 12 months if I did that (I am also high-strung and very extroverted). It’s just how I am… I really don’t think I have the talent and patience that day-care workers/nannies/etc. have to teach my kids, keep them engaged and active all day every day without having my career to stimulate completely different parts of my brain. So I’d potentially do them a DIS-service by keeping them home and quitting my career. I probably won’t ever be a full-time stay-at-home, Martha-Stewart-Domestic-goddess, take-my-kids-to-82-after-school-activities-a-week mom. But I wasn’t raised by a woman like that and I turned out pretty awesome 😉

  19. April 20, 2011 at 8:12 pm

    I am a single mom raising two daughters who are now almost teenagers. But, both of them went to daycare. They went to both a pre-school sort of daycare, and a home daycare run by a family friend so while it was still ‘daycare’ it was in a home environment.
    I divorced their father when they were both young, the youngest, not even in school. I had no choice but to work and put them in daycare. Somebody had to support them. Their father wasn’t.
    Because they were in daycare they got to go to the park and play, when they were in the ‘pre-school’ setting they got to take trips to the zoo, and the county fair, and they had parties and movies and many things I could not have afforded to take them on by myself.

    This is an argument that will never be settled as long as there are stay at home moms and working away from home moms. Who’s the better parent isn’t the issue here. Who’s the better person, the more understanding, accepting of someone who makes different choices than you do, that’s the issue here.

  20. Brittany
    April 20, 2011 at 8:16 pm

    Well said! I am a working mom with a 3 yr old in daycare and a 7 yr old who used to be in daycare and I would not have it any other way. Daycare allows my children to be well taken care of while I am working and my children thrive(d) in that environment. I am confident in my choices and pleased with the care my kids receive(d).

  21. Donkeys to College
    April 20, 2011 at 9:22 pm

    There is nothing to add to that!

    You rock!

  22. Laura
    April 20, 2011 at 11:19 pm

    I put my son in day are at around 2 years and he’s now 5 and will be going to Kindergarten next year. You know what? It was the best thing I could have done for him. It allowed me to work, even though part time, but I am able to catch up on things around the house. Meanwhile he’s interacting with other kids, learning, and it’s almost like a school environment. He’s learning Spanish, sign language, they do reading and math. I feel he’ll be better prepared for school because of it. He’s loved going from day one and it’s SO worth it. If other moms chose not to put their kids in day care, it’s their choice, but to talk shit about those of us who do…please. I love my son just like any other mom. Honestly, the day care is more for him than it is for me.

  23. April 21, 2011 at 9:21 am

    as a mom on the other side of this argument, i feel the compulsion to add another point of view. before i had my daughter, i knew 3 wonderful mothers and one not-so-wonderful one. 2 of the 3 were working moms. their children attended daycares. i respected these women as mothers. their children were advanced, physically and mentally, they were adjusted, and they loved their mommies and daddies. the other of the 3 was a stay at home mom. her daughter was just as advanced. just as socialized. just as in love with her mommy and daddy. the one not-so-good mom? worked part time. her son was not so well adjusted. not so socialized. but he loved his mommy and abusive daddy just as much as his little heart could. when she was home, she chose tabloids and trashy tv over her kids, and they all suffered from neglect. they all had learning disabilities and no one to help them (one was dyslexic, one was on the autism spectrum, and one was acting out and being violent….ok that’s not a learning disability. but he obviously needed help).

    i don’t look down on working moms. i respect them. whether their need is a roof and food or just the desire for her own life and nice things (booth of which can be equally important when it comes to happiness). when it comes to the working-parenting relationship, what is important is your ability to give your child the best of you when you are with your child. if the best of you is a working mom that can come home and enjoy her children as opposed to a stay at home mom at her whits end, then you are doing your best. and that is what matters.

    i hate being labelled as one side or the other during the debate. sure, there are parts of me that believe that staying at home with your child is best. but i can’t really tell you why. it is what’s best for MY family. and i know that if things were different, it would be really hard to leave her, but i would do it if it meant security and hapiness. i would do anything i had to, as a mother, to ensure the safety and well being of my family. that’s the destination. every journey to get there looks different, but the end goal should always be the same.

    and also, as a SAHM, we do playgroups, playgrounds, field trips, fun stuff during the day, she learns spanish, sign language, music…..all stuff she would do at daycare. it’s not that day care is better or worse. i agree they get amazing experiences and socialization. but so does my child. i kind of take a little offense to either side claiming that their child is benefiting more. if you are happy, your child is happy, and no one is being neglected, then you are doing the right thing. other than that, why are your methods better than mine, no matter what they are?

  24. April 21, 2011 at 11:16 am

    You tell ’em girl!! I’ve been “all of the above”..working mama, SAHM, in-home daycare mama, going to college FT AND working mama. I’ve worn many hats….and it STILL amazes me how judgmental women (namely moms) are toward other moms!!! OMGOSH don’t we have enough battles, struggles, stress to worry about than what the bitch down the street thinks??? Whew…I’m hot under the collar…I could go on and on (and probably would) but this is your blog and I don’t want to spew my opinion all over it. BUT thanx for voiceing this problem…and it IS a problem.

  25. April 21, 2011 at 5:45 pm

    I, too, am in love with you.

  26. April 24, 2011 at 8:37 pm

    Daycares do not raise children. The whole notion that daycares raise the children entrusted to their care is plain silly.

    Also? I’ve been a stay-at home mom, a work-out-of home mom, and a work-at home mom. There are pros and cons to every situation.

  27. June 4, 2011 at 9:31 pm

    You said it, sister! I get so tired of people looking down on me because I work… I NEED to, to keep a roof over our heads, and yes, the guilt is constant, but my daughter? She loves her daycare. Loves it. I think, even if I was in a position to stay home, I’d send her part-time, just because she loves it soooo much.

  28. Kate
    February 24, 2012 at 5:01 am

    I don’t even work at the moment, and I will be sending my 18-month-old to daycare before I give birth to #2 in three months. Could I keep them both at home with me? Absolutely. But it would likely be at the expense of my sanity. 🙂

  29. barney
    July 2, 2012 at 4:10 pm

    people nowadays are so selfish. who cares about the child?

    very sad.

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