Farewell to daycare…

I love daycare. Being self employed I didn’t have the luxury of even entertaining the thought of staying home with my children. My husband and I are both integral parts of our business and we both need to be available to work full time.

After the birth of my son, I returned to work three days a week after about three months. I did however work from home as much as I could during those three months, usually with my baby boy stuck to one boob or the other.

I was lucky enough to have a lovely and willing mother available to look after my bundle of joy. Three days a week I would drop him off on my way into the office and my mom would look after him for me. Months before his second birthday I secured a spot for him at the daycare across the street from our office. Although my mom was a fantastic babysitter it was time for him to interact with other kids and I was pregnant. I needed my mom available to help me with my new baby.

After my daughter was born, my son stayed home with us for two days a week and spent the other three at daycare. It was a lovely daycare. It was in the “Art Building”… that’s what it was called. They had a beautiful courtyard all to themselves and all the children, no matter what age, had mealtimes together. Family style. On rainy days they went for indoor discovery walks and visited all the art galleries they shared the building with. They had frequent performance artists visit and work with their creativity. I loved that daycare.

My mom did the same for me with my daughter as she did with my son. She took care of her while I went to work a few days a week after a few months. When she was 10 months old I scored a spot for her in that beloved daycare. My kids loved it and when we had to leave the center — it only went up to age four — I cried. I would never find another center that was so loving and that really catered to kids’ creativity.

After a few hiccups, I finally was able to get my kids enrolled at the same daycare… it was a long and bumpy road. Daycare in Toronto doesn’t come easy. Finally we were a block and a half away from home and we were happy to walk, scoot or run (my daughter runs everywhere) to and from daycare everyday. It took two years to get them both in, but the location was ideal.

My son is now finished grade one and my daughter is ready to start full time kindergarten in September. My husband and I have decided that between the two of us and my mom we will take them out of daycare and pick them up at the end of every school day.

This is bittersweet. I have loved my daycare experience. My kids are great at making friends, they love their daycare teachers and they are genuinely happy there but I have to take my daughter out because the center will not accommodate full time kindergarten kids. It’s a long and quite ridiculous story, but in the end I think this will be good for us.

Currently we pick up our kids at 6pm. We have dinner between 6:30 and 7:30, sometimes we have a scheduled activity (skating, ballet, swimming), we get ready for bed and then we sleep… well some of us do. This makes our weekdays quite hectic. It doesn’t give us much time to do homework, or to spend a lot of ‘fun’ time with the kids.

I’m looking forward to being home with the kids by 3:30. This gives me time to take them to the park, go for bike rides, spend time on homework, actually make dinner without feeling rushed and maybe it will result in an easier bedtime. I haven’t even touched on the fact that daycare in Toronto has been like a second mortgage, so it’ll be sort of like winning the lottery, but not.

I hope it goes well and that I’m not scrambling for after school care come November. Do your kids go to daycare? What is your experience like?

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