I had an eye appointment today, and the subject of Kaylee came up during the eye exam. I mentioned that my mom was watching the baby, and apparently, the doctor misunderstood what I meant. I meant that she was watching the baby today. He thought I was saying that my mom would be watching the baby every day when I go back to work. He then launched into a bit of a rant about how terrible daycare centers are, and how he can’t believe there are parents out there who subject their children to such places. I quietly listened, and neglected to mention that Kaylee will be subjected to just such a place beginning in July.
People have strong opinions when it comes to daycare, I’ve found, and it’s surprising how often they’re willing to provide those opinions, even when they run the risk of offending you.
Before Kaylee was born, several women asked about my childcare plans and then got teary-eyed when I said she’d be in daycare. If there’s one way to make a mom feel awful about a decision she’s made, it’s openly mourning the fate of her unborn baby. Here’s a typical conversation:
WOMAN: So, do you plan to quit your job when the baby’s born?
ME: No, I’m going back to work after a few weeks.
WOMAN: Oh. Do you have family in town who can watch the baby?
ME: I have family in town, but they work, too. We’re putting her in daycare.
WOMAN (tears forming in her eyes): Oh no. Oh no. How sad… Don’t you just feel terrible? Wouldn’t you rather stay home with her?
ME: ... ... ... I have to go now.
It’s not that I don’t want to stay home with my baby – it’s just not an option financially. And although I understand that I run the risk of raising a little miscreant who bites people and says the F-word all the time because she learned bad habits at daycare, I also think that maybe, just maybe, it’s possible to raise a decent human being while both parents work.
I guess we’ll just have to wait and see, though. If, in 20 years, I find myself bailing Kaylee out of jail for the tenth time, I will gladly go back to my eye doctor so he can say, “I told you so.”