Wednesday, May 21, 2014

5 Ways Daycare is Supposedly Ruining My Kids

Both of our kids go to daycare. They have for most of their short lives. Every once in awhile I stumble across an article or a conversation where folks are talking about how horrible it is that some kids have to go to daycare. There is a lot of guilt out there to roll around in. I know. I know. If Stevie and I really prioritized our kids we should be able to figure something out where one of us could stay home. It’s really the best gift we can could give to our kids and if we love them we should really consider it. They are only going to be kids once, and if we didn't plan on raising our kids, why did we have them in the first place?

Seriously, these are things I have heard… or read. The Internet is full of people who think they know things.

The irony in that last sentence aside, here’s the thing: My wife and I bought a house while we were both employed, and then we had two kids. Our incomes are spoken for. Unless we want to sell the house, or one of our salaries magically doubles in the next year, the kids are going to daycare and preschool. Sorry Internet. Sorry kids. I guess we fail.

Here are 5 ways that us sending our kids to daycare is supposedly ruining them...

1. They are getting sick!

The kids have basically been petri dishes for the last three years. There is rarely a time that my kids’ noses aren't running, and at least once a year it sounds like they are developing black lung – which isn't fair at all because they aren't bringing home any coal. Stevie and I have been sick non-stop too. We’re basically paying a second mortgage payment every month for the most expensive, neverending cold ever.

But there is hope. According to this thing I just Googled to reaffirm my position, in the short term kids who go to daycare may be sicker than their stay at home counterparts but by the time they get to grade school they basically have the immune systems of indestructible super humans and the only problem they will face is whether to use their newfound super-mutant immune system powers for good or evil (slightly paraphrased).

2. I’m apparently turning my kids into tiny adorable Nazis.

“Sometimes I feel kind of bad sending the kids to daycare, but at least I know they will be around other kids and learn to socialize in a group setting,” said Stevie.

“You know who else socialized their kids? The Nazis,” the Internet replied. Yep. That’s what this fantastic, guilt flinging article by the Institute of Marriage and Family Canada seems to say.

“It should be clear that being socialized is not necessarily the same as being civilized. Nazi youth were also products of a socialization process.”

I’m sure there are other words in that article, but when I get the impression that you are comparing my wife and I sending our kids to Loving Kids Learning Center to embedding them in a Hitler Youth Camp, well I just kind of shut down. Kids, I am sorry that you are going to be Nazis. I really am. I just wanted to find a nice, safe place for you to spend the day learning the alphabet and the reasons why hitting is unacceptable. If I would have known that the sweet, caring Miss Carol was Joseph Goebbels in disguise, we may have reconsidered selling the house. Oh well, at least while you’re learning what blitzkrieg means, you’ll also learn the dangers of waging a ground war against Russia in winter. Maybe that will help you in kindergarten.

3. Toddler Fight Club

Sometimes my kids come home looking like they just got out of a cage match. I can’t really blame this on the daycare. There is a possibility that my kids have learned how to check themselves out of daycare and find their way into a dark uncarpeted basement for some sort of toddler fight club. Obviously, the kids wouldn't tell me because, you know… first rule of toddler fight club…

Still, my daughter looks like her and her friends' favorite game is called “Let’s hit each other with this stick over and over again.” It doesn't seem to bother her in the slightest. When she has an owie, she calls it a ‘bleed.’

“Dad! Look at my bleed! It’s cool huh!”

“Oh yeah. Cool. How did you get it?”


“What did Damien do?”

“We were playing.”

Mmm hmmm. You say ‘playing’ I hear ‘the first rule of toddler fight club is…’

Fine. Toddlers are rough and tumble. Sometimes when I pick my daughter up I tell the front desk not to call for her. I secretly sneak back to the playground to spy on her and her little friends and hopefully catch them chanting “HIS NAME IS ROBERT PAULSON. HIS NAME IS ROBERT PAULSON.”

Alas, it is never to be. I can watch for a half an hour and all I see are kids being kids. Lots of kids being kids. They run and scream and jump around the playground. Every once in a while one of them collides with another one and crying ensues. Perhaps there is a ‘bleed’ but the teacher is quick to give love and hugs and a Band-Aid where needed. Turns out all those bumps bruises and scrapes are just badges earned from all the fun they're having.

4. No one will love them!

“Although the caregivers may be warm and friendly, they have 19 or so other children to look after. Every time your child feels like he or she needs a hug or word of encouragement they may be let down.” (Source: This ridiculous article that came up when I Googled, “What is going to piss me off today?”) (Note: Looks like the article has since been removed.)

Daughter, remember that time in arts and crafts the other day when you finished gluing the jumping cow onto the moon you had just colored? Remember how you were so proud of yourself? Remember how you immediately wanted confirmation of your awesome cow gluing skills, looked around, and Miss Lindsay was too busy helping Michael glue his cow on his moon to run up and tell you how loved and special you are. That is my fault for sending you to daycare. Had I been there to hover over you and shower you with encouragement and love, perhaps you wouldn't be damned to a life of illicit drug use and bank robbing. You probably would have been a doctor or an astronaut. That is all ruined now because no one at daycare was there to hug you when you finished your art project. On the bright side, you will probably be the toughest member of your all girl, man hating biker gang “The Heels Angels.”

5. Other People Are Raising My Kids!!

“But aren't you afraid that the values of the people who are spending time with your kids might be different than your values?”

Good point unsourced quote I just made up. (I'm sure I could find a version of this sentiment to source from somewhere out there on the web, but I am lazy.)

Regardless… Hypothetical, fictional quote has a point. What if the teachers at my kids’ daycare have different values than me? What if they believe murder is OK, or that hurting people is fun? What if they teach my kids that knives go into the silverware tray in the dishwasher blade up or that the toilet paper should be installed so the paper comes from the back instead of over the top! WHAT IF THEY TEACH THEM SPANISH??


I’m not scared in the slightest of my kids’ teachers having different views, morals, backgrounds, outlooks on life. I am counting on it. I am hoping for it. I want my kids to spend time with different nationalities, religions, and backgrounds. I think it is healthy. Plus, I am kind of boring.

I want my kids to come to knowledge of the world through knowledge of the world. Sure, I will be a part of that, but so will Miss Garcia, and so will Miss Anna and so will Miss Aaila. And so will my kids’ public school teachers when I inevitably abandon them there for 8 hours a day.

So yeah, we’re HORRIBLE. We send our kids to daycare and preschool so we can continue to work at our jobs and pay the mortgage on our home, and our poor kids pay the price. It’s not my fault. My parents sent me to daycare. I was doomed from the start.

Note: The name of our kids’ daycare and the names of their teachers have been changed. 

Note the second: This has nothing to do with Stay At Home Parents. I think you are all fantastic. I think my wife and I are fantastic too. Everyone is fantastic! I am going to say fantastic again. Fantastic. 

And one LAST note: Follow me on Facebook. I am 10% less snarky there, and 30% funnier. 


  1. The best part of the Net is "discovering" that everything you do is hurting your children. If you don't breastfeed you are killing them and if you do you are coddling them.

    If you spank your child you are abusing them and if you don't you are still abusing them by not teaching them discipline. It is a wonderful world. :)

  2. This is fantastic. I never second-guess our decision to send our son to preschool (I'm not an early childhood educator by training or any stretch of the imagination, so if he were home with me during the day, he'd be bored to death). It never ceases to amaze me the people who like to tell strangers what they're doing wrong.

  3. Perhaps the biggest downside to you having your kids in day care is that they are not around your wife for 8 hours or more per day. But i guess that would mean you abandon your wife and your kids by going to work. Your wife and kids therapy cost alone will eat up your salary and all because you chose to go to work instead of stay home.

  4. I normally lurk b/c I read your blog on my phone where commenting involves two back-flips, a back handspring, and signing your life away while deciphering captcha, but luckily I read this one while I was on my laptop.


    Of course, you forgot the people such as myself, who fall into a group known as "The Evil SAHP Who STILL Sends Their Child to Preschool". I mean it's two days a week, for a total of eight hours, but now I have likely traumatized my children forever because I do not dote on them every second of the day.

    Nevermind it allows them to make friends in their actual peer groups, learn things they refuse to learn from me (because it's much easier to say "No" to a parent than a teacher), and get have experiences I would never give them because I lack the "crafting gene" (aka This is What Pinterest #Fails Look Like).

    I love your googling of the articles.

    Keep raising those fight club Nazi's just how you see fit.

    1. I think it's awesome that, even though you're a SAHP, you send your children to preschool. As a Early Childhood professional, I feel ALL preschool age children should go, even if only half a day or a few times a week. For the exact same reasons you state.

  5. I dont have children (but tons of babysitting experience) and I so much wanted to share your post on facebook... and I didnt. I know that people will eat me 1) for supporting this idea and 2) for having an opinion without having children.
    Can you add a like button for people like me (shy and scared)? Of course, when I grow up and have 3 kids and they go to kindergarten, I will print out a t-shirt with your face on it :-)

  6. The ancient Spartans also took kids into child care to raise them separately to their parents, and according to that movie I saw years ago (300, very historically accurate) they defended our freedom against the Persians. I'll say it again:
    Take that Nazis.
    This post made me laugh. Thanks John.

  7. I'm so tired of hearing about people complain or judge one parent or another for doing something differently, or something they don't agree with. The simple fact is, we don't have the right to judge or criticize anyone for their style of parenting. They're not all the same, they're not all what we would necessarily do with our children - but every family is different. Every family situation is different.

    I didn't send my kids to daycare, and they didn't start school until Kindergarten. It's what worked best for my family.

    My sister-in-law sent my eldest niece to preschool, and is contemplating a daycare preschool for her little sister. It's what works for their family.

    I've got a cousin who has chosen to home school her children, because it's what works best for her family.

    None of these methods are better or worse, they are all geared toward what works best for the individual family situations, period.

    I'm constantly getting looks and comments because I let my boys play video games. There was a time I really felt I had to justify myself. "But they read so many books and they only play so many hours a day and they're always outside, blah blah blah." But now I'm simply at the point where all that really matters is that it's what works best for MY family situation, and I don't have to explain myself or my parenting choices to anybody. Period.

    Kudos to you for addressing this problem in a humorous and enjoyable way! :-D

  8. I think it is easier for people to just work. It isn't really about paying the is about living the easy materialistic American lifestyle. If you really wanted to, you could give up most of the extra food, eating out, movies, coffee, extra vehicles, etc. and live a wonderfully simple life. In fact, all the stuff we accumulate usually doesn't make us any happier overall, so we really should be taking care of our own children.

    Staying home with children is a tough job...much less rewarding than a job paying money at times...but well worth it in the long run.

    It can be done...but the lazy way is to have both parents work and send the kids off to daycare.

    1. Thanks for the brave anonymous comment. I hope you'll continue to read my blog about my lazy parenting.

    2. I have a Disqus account, but it was not an option. My real name is Jeff and I do not think you are a lazy parent. You may be a great dad and seem to be very involved with your children.

      You use preschool, which is great, but your post is titled "5 Ways Daycare is Supposedly Ruining My Kids". You can disagree if you want, but I think our country could use some more parenting and education, and less pawning the kids off onto underpaid babysitters (daycare) or leaving them at home.

      Most of the daycare centers we reviewed as parents were not sufficient. Many of the employees were very young, underpaid, overworked, non-parents, who had little experience.

      Having children is a choice and a responsibility. More parents should consider giving up some of their freedom to stay home with their children until their children are older. Even when they are older, how many teenagers are left home alone? This is NOT a good thing!

      What I would like to see is free public preschool for ALL children. Obama presented 'Preschool for All' (aka Preschool for poor)...but many families probably won't qualify because they 'earn too much'. Our country is also already behind when it comes to public schools in general.

      So again...I do think it is lazy to work to send our children to daycare because it is easier. If you can afford a good preschool program, then awesome! However, most quality preschool programs are not full day daycare centers. If you can't afford your mortgage without two incomes...consider what you can honestly cut out of your budget to make it happen. I would argue that most families can make it happen...even if it means selling the house and living in an apartment for a few years.

      What I would like to see happen in our country is more opportunities for parents who do stay at home to work from home. Wouldn't it be awesome if more parents could stay home, put their children into preschool part time and work part time during that time? I'm sure many parents already do this...but most decent jobs I see want you to work full time.

      Keep doing what you are doing...but do consider my opinions as more than just an attack on your parenting skills. I'm not out to single you out as a lazy parent for having used daycare some. We used daycare with our oldest and may do it again. Hopefully we can afford some preschool for our youngest.

    3. Thanks for your comment. We use daycare for our 1 year old and preschool for our 3.5 year old. Lazy is a pretty loaded word, and it is going to turn a lot of people off to anything else you have to say. You're welcome to your opinion. I think that daycare is a necessity to a lot of people, and does not reflect on their commitment to raising their kids.

    4. Yes, lazy may not be the right word to use. It is easier to work and send children to daycare, but when is daycare a necessity?

    5. My wife and I pay WAY too much in student loans - yes, it was a mistake for both of us to take on that burden, but in the society we live in today without education you're not taken seriously for a majority of positions. So in order to pay our student loans and to avoid living in the ghetto - because rent in any apartment complex in this area is at least $1200 a month - both of us have to work. Our kids are in daycare for 4 days a week and I know that it is what is best for them at this time. My wife stayed home for 2 years and it was a blessing, but to make the assumption that daycare is never a necessity is a bit naive.

  9. I really like this, and agree with EVERYTHING you posted. I was so scared to send my first kid to daycare. I was led to believe that I would be ruining him and was clearly a bad mother for not being able to stay at home.

    Now, I'm about to go on maternity leave, and I'm sad that I'll have to take my two kids out of daycare for the year that I'm off (I'm Canadian) because they do and learn so much while there. Mom and New Baby will be cool for like 2 days and then they'll realize how boring we are.

  10. What I always find entertaining is the people who say we are lazy if we send our children to daycare or we could have one parent stay home and make it work if we really tried by giving up things. Giving up what?....The down payment I put into my beautiful home so that I could live in a decent area with decent schools and not the ghetto. Live in a 2 to 3 bedroom apartment for more than what my mortgage is? We already drive a 11 year old car and an 8 year old car. So sick of people judging. Maybe that one commentor should pick on the people having their 6th child by their 4th boyfriend and on food stamps and government assistance.

  11. “…Pick on the people having their 6th child by their 4th boyfriend and on food stamps and government assistance.”

    If people are supposed to be allowed to have children and raise them as they please, as well as having sexual freedom, why is it okay to criticize them for doing so?

    Unless you are willing to create a legal standard for how and when people can have children, how they are to be raised, and what kind of sex life a person can have, I think it’s hypocritical to say that unmarried people with a ton of children are acceptable targets for others’ judgment.

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