Daycare Tips From A Working Mom


Welcome to the world of daycare as a working parent where you pay someone the equivalent of a mortgage to watch your child while you go to work. This year has been the first year my family has relied on daycare as our primary source of childcare while both my husband and I work. Navigating the world of daycare can be challenging and hard, and I wanted to share some ways our family found a daycare we love and how we deal with some of the curveballs daycare has thrown our way.

Finding a Daycare

Having someone you don’t know with your child for the majority of their day can be a nerve-wracking experience. It was a hard pill for me to swallow, but the relief I felt when we found the daycare that was right for us was incredible. Posting on your town’s Facebook group and mom groups was how we found the daycare we use. The state of Massachusetts has a wonderful resource available to research daycares as well. While the availability of a daycare may not be accurate, this website also shows the daycare’s license status with DEEC (Department of Early Education and Care) and shows any compliance issues. It put our minds at ease seeing that the daycare we chose had an impeccable license.

Daycare Policies

Every daycare is different, so read all of the information you’re given when enrolling your child(ren). Most daycares have the same standards around illness (fever of 100.4 or higher is a call and 24hrs fever-free before returning) and rules about contagious diseases (for example: out until the spots from hand foot and mouth scab over, which can take a week). However, some daycares will have specific rules around children who bite and termination policies. We utilize a home daycare over a center, which also comes with providing our daycare with personal, vacation, and sick time throughout the year.

Have Backup Plans

My biggest piece of advice to anyone entering into the world of daycare is to have a backup plan! Know that your child will get sick. Unfortunately, they will catch everything and anything during those first few months in daycare. Having a plan in place before getting those phone calls during the day or waking up to a sick child helped take the stress of it away.

I’m very fortunate to have family close by (my grandparents live right across from us!) that help us when we’re in a bind. My parents and mother-in-law have some flexibility and days off in their schedule which helps us on the pre-planned days off. My husband works closer to the daycare than I do and can work from home, so he is often the one who picks up the kids if needed due to illness. It’s often easier for me to take a day off than him. So I’m usually the one home the full day with any illness. But our family often offers to help on those days too. Knowing who is available and when and checking in with my husband during the day helps us stay prepared for anything that daycare may text us about.

Enjoy It

It may seem hard to imagine, but seeing my children at daycare brings me so much joy. I know they’re being loved and taken care of by someone my family and I trust and appreciate more than she’ll ever know (shout out to Miss Jen if you’re reading this). There is nothing that brings me more joy than knowing my children are happy. While my son can’t tell me about his day yet, my daughter spends the entire car ride home telling me everything she did at daycare. Who she played with and what made her happy. She even tells me what made her sad or scared. Seeing her grow and develop into such an empathetic and smart little girl reassures me that we made the right choice for our family.

The other piece to enjoy is taking some time for yourself! I work in the school system so daycare is often in session when I have vacation time off from work. Enjoy those days, and don’t let the guilt consume you.

I can remember crying when I was dropping my daughter off when I was home, thinking she would grow to resent me. I realize now that my daughter is having more fun at daycare than she would at home. Does that mean I send her to daycare every single day I’m off? No! We still plan things during the week when there is a school vacation or summer. I let them stay home, but I also send them to daycare and give myself time to do the things I love and enjoy. This is the best form of self-care, and I highly recommend it. Nothing will fill your cup and recharge you during a challenging season like utilizing daycare to help take care of yourself.


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