After much thought and discussion we've decided to send E to a daycare/preschool for two mornings a week. The main reasons behind my decision are 1) my work has really ramped up lately and I sometimes need to go into the office for meetings or spend a few hours at a time on my reports 2) E enjoys socializing with other kids and as an only child doesn't get many chances to do so 3) the daycare I found comes highly recommended by a friend; it's run by Kids on the Move (the county's child occupational therapy program) and has a strong focus on activities (they don't even have a tv).
Even though I feel that this is a good choice for E and our family, I've agonized over the decision. In general I'm not one for hand-wringing, but I do feel a bit guilty. I really enjoy being a mother but I like working too. I'm pretty good at what I do, I feel appreciated by my team at work, and the extra money is nice. And most of the time I'm able to manage watching E and working at the same time quite well (i.e. I usually work when he naps.)
But I have to admit that on the occasions when work gets really crazy E spends entirely too much time watching tv, sometimes several hours a morning. I think that sending him to daycare for a few hours a week is preferable to that. I'd rather get him on a routine where he can go and hang out with other kids and I can take care of my work at the same time. Then on the days he's home I'll have more time to focus on doing fun stuff with him.
While I feel like I'm making a good choice I have to admit that I'm a little apprehensive about being judged by other moms. Not many mothers with young children in my neighborhood work. I can't think of anyone else who only has one kid and who sends them to daycare. I know I shouldn't let it bother me but I feel a vague unease when I wonder how other people will perceive my actions.
Having said all that, the most important thing to me is that E does well. I truthfully think he will like it but if he has issues or doesn't thrive I can take him out and figure something else out.
Labels: E., Mother-of-the-year, navel-gazing