Hi, my name is Julie (Hi, Julie). I write ilikebeerandbabies.com about the effects of mixing alcohol and children. I have a 21-month-old daughter, The Quiet Contemplator. I am also pregnant and due at the end of December with a son who I refer to as My Sponsor. I'mmarried to ADD Daddy and work a day job writing for a non-profit (that's where the big bucks roll in). I have no relatives who are crazy enough to deal with my child(ren) for free for nine hours a day, so I send my kid(s) to daycare. Yes, germ-filled, push-your-kid-off-the-swingset, pay-them-half-your-salary, daycare. There are myriad Domestic Enemies of the Daycare Mom. These are just the tip of the iceberg.
The First Day
Whether you are dropping your infant off for their first day ever away from the wicked awesomeness that is Mommy, or dropping your toddler off for their first day at a new daycare, the first day blows. Big time. The first time I dropped The Quite Contemplator off at daycare following maternity leave, I rocked with her in a rocker and bawled like a fat girl whose cake was stolen for about an hour. Thankfully, it was only hard on me. Newborns don't seem to even notice you are gone. Toddlers, on the other hand, add a little more drama to the situation. Cue dropping your child off for the first day at a new daycare only to have them cling to your leg screaming, "Mommy! Don't leave me!" Thanks for that, kid. As if leaving you here so I can work on TPS reports all day wasn't hard enough.
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No, it is not just an urban myth that daycares are cesspools of germs. Hand, foot and mouth, roseola, croup, you name it, daycares are full of sexy-sounding illnesses that will invade your child. Somehow, all of these illnesses seem to be traceable back to one kid: The Germy Kid. What exactly does this kid do on the weekends that he comes back every Monday with a new plague to spread upon his peers? Roll around in the Infectious Diseases lab at the hospital? Eat contaminated meat and dairy? Lick toilet seats? Come on! Spray this kid down with some Lysol and put him in quarantine already. Mommy is out of sick days.
The Thermometer Mambo
Speaking of The Germy Kid, his outbreaks of mucus- and fever-inducing bacteria lead many mamas to do what I call the Thermometer Mambo. You know what I am talking about, daycare moms: the dance we do with our friend Tylenol to keep our kid in school just a little while longer so we can finally get some schmidt done at work. 100.1 is the most dreaded number for daycare moms. That is the number that means your kid is being sent home and has to stay there for at least 24 hours. This is fine, of course, if your kid is actually sick. But most of the time it is just teething/a cold/malaria/your child trying to sap your will to live. This is when we dose our kids up with Tylenol and pray that it will get us below the magic number long enough to get to work, pour ourselves a cup of coffee and check our emails before we get The Call.
The Incident Report
Sometimes these are the results of The Mean Kid attacking your child, sometimes these are reports of your child finally having enough from The Mean Kid and going all Cujo on them. Either way they are embarrassing. You end up feeling like either your kid needs to buck up and hit back, or your kid has been watching too much Ultimate Fighting and needs to back off. Awesomeness all around.
Let me cut this one off right at the knees. No, it is not almost cheaper for me to stay home with my kid(s) than to work and send them to daycare. I am not sure if you are insinuating that I make less than a McDonald's worker, but daycare costs less than I make in a year. Also, staying at home doesn't pay for insurance, or provide for retirement, or the many other frivolous needs mama has. And, since my husband is in the über high-paying profession of being a 4th grade teacher, mama has to work. So not only are you implying that I am not good with math, but also that I don't like my kid(s) enough to want to stay home with them, even though it is obviously the more finically sound decision. Thanks for that.
Like all Domestic Enemies, the Daycare Mom has to deal with The Guilt. Was my kid too sick to go into daycare today? Is The Mean Kid going to make them cry again? Is it really cheaper for me to stay at home with them? Am I a bad mom for working when we could make it on Spam and cheese if I just stayed home? The Guilt sucks. But, like all Domestic Enemies, some days it only sucks a little, and some days it sucks big time.
For more booze-filled rants from a Daycare Mommy, visit ilikebeerandbabies.com.
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