Taking My Daughter Out Of Daycare Was My Hardest Parenting Decision Yet

Everything changes tomorrow, because tomorrow will be the first time in a long time my daughter ishome with me.

Just me.

Tomorrow will be the first time in a long time I wont be clocking in at 9 a.m. or clocking out at 4 p.m. And tomorrow, while many children are starting their school year, my daughter will be ending hers.

Tomorrow will be my daughter’s last day at daycare.

I’d be lying if I said I’m not conflicted or scared.

My daughter has been at the same facility since she was 16 months old, and since then she has prospered and grown. She has become strong-willed, fiercely independent, confident, silly, and sassy. And she learned things before her third birthday that I didn’t even know when I entered kindergarten.

She has developed friendships that I hope she will be able to keep.

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But daycare is expensive very expensive and the truth is I cannot afford to keep her there.

I simply do not make enough money to justify the cost.

So I made a tough call. My husband and I made a tough decision, and I left my job.

We informedmy daughter’s daycare that she would not attend during the 2016-17 school year.

Selfishly, I’m scared that leaving my job was a bad decision. I worry that, in leaving, I have irrevocably damaged my career. Not only are staff writer positions few and far between, but the online writing industry is oversaturated. Talent abounds at every turn.

I am scared that being on toddler time may make me angry or resentful. I worry that, eventually, I will become overburdened. I may feel trapped, and I worry my relationship with my daughter will suffer.

I worry that my marriage will suffer.

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I am scared I will not be good enough, strong enough, or loving enough to be the full-time parent she deserves because the last time my daughter was home with me 24 hours a day, seven days a week, I was attempting to fight my way out of the darkness I was struggling with postpartum depression.

I’m scared I will not be patient enough to handle her tantrums, disciplined enough to keep her education on track, or engaging enough she is fantastically creative. What if I cannot keep up? What if Mommys mind rooted in practicality and reality isnt enough to challenge her? What if my very presence stifles her imagination?

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I am scared that pulling my daughter from daycare will be detrimental to her social development, her mental development, and her overall well-being.

And Im scared that this year off will cause my daughter to regress, that my social butterfly will become shy, that my smarty paws will fall behind her peers, and that the confidence she has gained will waver and falter.

I worry the winter winds will swallow her voice.

Ironically, I felt exactlythe same when my daughter entered daycare. I mean, I didnt have the same fears, but I was conflicted and scared. I was absolutely certain that my selfish decision to put her in daycare would destroy her. I was worried that, growing up in daycare, my daughter would feel unloved and secondary to my career.

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I was worried that the time away from home would destroy our relationship. But it didnt, and daycare gave her things I couldnt, while I gave and continue to give my daughter things daycare cannot.

The point is that we, as parents, never feel we are doing enough for our children. We always look at the negatives: We consider how our decisions will damage them or destroy them. We always see what we are doing wrong and not what we are doing right.

So heres the other side of this coin: While tomorrow is scary hella scary starting tomorrow I get to spend every day with my daughter. We will have opportunities to play and laugh without obligation. We can go to dance on Saturdays or make spontaneous trips to Manhattan any day. She can enjoy just being a kid for one more year before returning to school in September for pre-K, before she begins the proverbial rest of her life. And I can drink it all in. I can swing beside her and slide behind her. Together, we can dig in the dirt and jump in puddles.

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We can, and will, make memories.

Will it be hard? Yes. I have no doubt my patience will be tried, and I will be tested.

Will she “suffer”? Maybe, but hopefully not because what she gained in daycare isamazing. She learned and grew and truly thrived, but what she can get from Mommy time will be good too. We can learn about animals at the zoo, and not in the classroom. We can learn about music by going to shows and concerts, by playing our toy drum and banging on our tambourine. And we can strengthen our relationship.

Hopefully, this time we will set a strong foundation for our future.

So while tomorrow will be different, it will also be good. Change can be good.

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Read more: http://www.littlethings.com/opting-out-of-daycare/