I had the privilege of being a nanny for several years, and I absolutely loved it! I mean who wouldn't love playing all day? :) Honestly, I had little responsibility outside of feeding and playing with my league. We had tons of fun creating, discovering, and living life to the fullest... and then I worked in day care. This is a totally different ball game! I was responsible for six active, non- independent one year olds. It was a lot of work, but extremely fulfilling. I learned a lot while working there, and but below I will explain how it definitely ruined my mothering skills.
1. I was no longer ignorant. Being with children, day in and day out, you learn a lot. By the age of one, your child's language skills are perfect. They know exactly what you are saying most of the time, they just choose not to listen. I know this and have seen this scenario so many times. A parent comes into my classroom and drops off their child, they tell them to sit at the table for breakfast while they sign them in. No response from the child, and the parent sighs, I can't wait until they really understand. As a teacher, I just smile and help everyone get settled. After the parent leaves, I casually tell the child, that he cannot eat breakfast until he is sitting at the table. The child goes to the table and has breakfast. The difference? The child knows that I know he understands. He also knows that he truly won't get breakfast unless he obeys. Although, I have never had a child miss a meal for any reason. So my poor children will never have the lee way most do with first time parents because I know their secret.
2. Sleep is important. By law in a child care facility, each child is mandated to have so much sleep. Why? Because sleep, deep REM sleep is vital to the health and growth of a child. So sleeping in arms, rocking to sleep, and co sleeping are just not options I had. I had to make sure my children got x amount of sleep, so I learned the art of sleep training. I know most of you have probably heard the horror stories of the crying it out method, which are ridiculous. If you properly sleep train, you will not be listening to hours of crying on end, ever! We do it all the time in daycare, and we never have this. Tomorrow, I will be writing a post on how we sleep train effectively with no more than ten minutes of crying. So my poor son, by the age of 8 weeks was sleeping six straight hours, and by 11 weeks was sleeping eight hours. By the time, he was four months old, he was sleeping a solid ten hours, and two weeks later he went to twelve hours. At Fourteen months, he sleeps twelve hours at night and three hours in naps during the day. This meets the requirement for fourteen hours of sleep for his age. Although most of the time he gets in between fifteen and sixteen, I think this is due to him being in non stop motion during his awake time. See this chart for how much sleep your child should be getting. Do I regret this? Absolutely not! Both mommy and baby are rested, and we are happy. :)
3. Swings and exersaucers are non existent. When I told moms at my shower that I wasn't going to use a baby swing or any type of extra saucer, they stared at me like I was half crazy, which I am, so it was okay. I had so many tell me that maybe I should just get one just in case or that they couldn't live without theirs. I understand this, but honestly being in a daycare ruined that for me. I had way too many classes on child development, growth, and harmful practices to allow myself to use them. They are not allowed in day cares period because they hinder and can damage a child's development. Plain and simple, do the research. So my poor children will never have the opportunity to pass this baby milestone.
4. Pacifiers not allowed. I know this is over the top, but pacifiers are just for moms. We use pacifiers because we don't want to hear our children whine and cry. Pacifiers were allowed in our day care but only in the crib, which means that our babies had to learn how to pacify themselves while in the play area. It normally took about two weeks for a new baby accustomed to constantly sucking on a pacifier to adapt. In the mean time, we had to grin and bear it, definitely not our favorite activity and many times, we wish we had the leisure to just put it back in their mouth and be done with it. So I totally understand that this is a difficult transition to make and not for everybody.
5. No one can replace parents. I was told so many times by parents that they wouldn't know what to do without us. I think that is a super kind comment, but so not true. Yes, we provide information, structure, and guidance, because we are trained too, but no one can replace you. Many parents ask us to train or teach their child to do one thing or another, and sometimes we can. We teach how to sleep, potty train, eat with utensils, share, and other physical things, but we can't train the heart. This is one reason my children will never darken the door of a daycare. Speaking from the point of teacher, I loved my class dearly. I poured all of me into them when I was with them, but I have six toddlers all dependent upon me. I cannot train their heart. I can make them obey, but not give them a heart for obedience. I have seen so many rebellious, self willed toddlers that it saddens me because I can't change that. Only the parent has the power to discipline and train the heart. I can make my toddlers obey the rules, but I can promise you that as soon as I walk away, they won't obey them.
Parents so often think they are replaceable, but they are vital to a child growing up well. I can love your child deeply, but they won't be fulfilled until you show them you love them that way. I can spend lots of time with your child, but they still need you. I cried so many times because I would have a child all day from 7am to 6pm knowing that when the child got home, they were fed and put to bed. There was no training, no heart to heart connecting, which resulted in an emotionally deficient child. I see this so much and it so normal today. I just wish parents would see how important they are in the lives of their children and make whatever sacrifices to stay with them. It is a sacrifice, I know because I live it, but it is totally worth it.
These are the reasons that day care has ruined my modern mothering skills, and why although I loved being a day care teacher, my child will never darken the doors of one.