You are a brand new parent.
Your whole world has expanded with the joy and brightness that your little miracle has brought into your life.
Your heart soars with every moment you get to spend with this tiny baby, and you can’t get tired of staring at their perfect face, their tiny hands, their every feature.
You feel like your life has just started, and everything you did before was irrelevant compared to the significance of raising this lovable little bundle of snuggles.
And yet, your maternity or paternity leave is only so long, and if you don’t go back to work, you will be seriously putting at risk your ability to continue to feed, clothe, and house this child.
But it feels like betrayal, like ripping your heart out, like abandonment, to drop off the dearest little human in the world at a day care.
And so you second-guess, you question yourself, you look frantically for any other option, but there just isn’t one, so you resign yourself to going ahead with making arrangements, but all the time you’re secretly worried that you’re doing your child a disservice, and if you could do it any other way, you would.
This is such a hard and emotional decision to make for most parents, and we don’t want to diminish that at all. But our infant daycare in Sterling would like to offer a few points and explore some of the ways that you can stop beating yourself up or feeling like you’re a horrible parent if you put your infant in daycare.
It’s just like when you are falling in love with your significant other: You don’t want to be away from them for a moment. Now you are falling in love all over again with this wee little burrito, and your heart breaks to think of being away from them, even for a second. This is normal.
What would not be normal is if you could drop off your baby without a pang, without a sigh, without feeling like you were going to cry for them all day.
However, the feeling of pain that you’re experiencing does not mean that you’re harming your child by letting them go into the faithful and compassionate care of another person for a few hours during the day. You’re doing them the best good that you can for them. You’re arranging for someone to feed them, change them, put them down for naps, and interact with them. You’re ensuring that you’ll have a life for them that is as sustainable and stable as possible. You’re working within the scarcity of your time and resources to choose the best available option for your child.
The children who grow up with a caregiver in their life, and the children who grow up with their parent as their primary or only caregiver, can both turn out as happy, adjusted adults who aren’t psychologically damaged.
While there are conditions in existence, like reactive attachment disorder (RAD), that reflect a person’s damaged ability to form healthy attachments, these conditions arise out of severe, persistent, gross neglect — not the kind of thing that your child will encounter in a caring, nurturing daycare.
Yes, you want to vet every caregiver that you hire, know that they will act in your child’s best interest, and avoid putting your precious infant into the hands of someone who will neglect or harm them. However, if you have done your homework, your child stands to benefit from a place that is healthy, wholesome, and committed to seeing them thrive.
An infant who enjoys a predictable routine will generally feel happy, well-adjusted, and secure. Once you’ve been coming to daycare for about a week, dropping off your baby, and picking them up at the end of the day, you’ll start to notice that the predictability and structure become familiar and comfortable to both of you. An environment that is unstructured, chaotic, and bewildering can do far more damage to a child than being dropped off at a regular, safe place where they learn to know, love, and trust the staff.
Dear parents, don’t beat yourself up unnecessarily over needing to place your infant in day care. Gone are the days when most people have a grandparent or other relative who can take your baby while you’re at work. For many people, day care is the best available option, one that you shouldn’t be ashamed of at all.
If you are a parent in Sterling, VA, and you’re looking for a place to care for your baby as young as 8 weeks, please give us a call. We will be happy to answer all your questions and let you come by for a visit and a tour of our facility. Contact us today to get started.