The Great Daycare Debate
I read a newspaper article early on in this whole furlough situation where a parent referenced having already taken his daughter out of daycare to save money during this uncertain time. As a single mother with a daughter in daycare, his statement honestly confused me. It seemed like such a simple decision to him. The daycare question during this time wasn’t so easy for me.
My daughter spends four days a week in an in-home daycare. (On the fifth day, she’s with her paternal grandmother.) At daycare, she’s with 5 other children. The woman, who I adore, takes spectacular care of my daughter. I don’t worry about my daughter or her care when I’m at work.
For a long time, when my daughter first started attending daycare at a little over two years old, it was a tough adjustment for her. A lot of tears… on her part, not mine. But recently, we’ve turned a corner. Now, if I talk with the daycare provider for too long when I drop her off, my daughter will stand there, hands on her hips, saying, “Goodbye, Mommy.” And, “Have a good day, Mommy.” She’ll repeat these refrains, very insistent, what I consider her version of “Don’t let the door hit you in the a** on your way out.” It’s a good thing, this change. Her rushing me out the door.
The fact she now embraces going to daycare – and my wanting her to stay used to the routine – is just one reason I haven’t seriously considered taking her out of daycare during the furlough. (And I still tell my daughter, each day, that I’m going to work.)
It’s not the only reason, though. I think about the hardship it would place on the daycare provider who relies on this income. And while I don’t think my daughter would lose her place in the daycare if I temporarily pulled her out, the reality is that she could, if another family came along. I wouldn’t blame the daycare provider at all if that happened. And losing our spot? That’s something I can’t risk.
I also would have to negotiate taking her out of daycare with my ex, not something I want to do.
I do wonder, though. Are other furloughed feds saving money by keeping their kids home? Or are they facing the world as I am, trying to keep things normal for their kids, trying to stick to routines?