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.