By: Bari D. Wald, Military spouse and Air Force Reservist
Yes, you read the title right. Daycare raises my kids and I’m not ashamed. Here’s the thing…I always thought I would enjoy staying at home, until I went on maternity leave with my daughter and realized very quickly that just wasn’t my jam. I missed my work interactions, the structure, and let’s be real…attending to someone else’s needs 24/7 gets old really quick. #sorrynotsorrykids
I applaud those who are stay-at-home-moms because that stuff is hard work. Some moms are built for it, and some aren’t. I’m team “not built for it.”
For me, going to work and then soaking up every bit of quality time with them is what makes us thrive as a family. I’m a better person FOR my kids when I work and they go to daycare. And do you want to know the best part? Daycare raises them and my husband and I reap the benefits.
Let me explain.
The Child Development Center (CDC) my kids go to on base in Okinawa, Japan is NAEYC accredited. NAEYC stands for the National Association for the Education of Young Children. In order to receive this prestigious accreditation, the care facility must meet 10 standards and go through a lengthy four-step process to be considered for accreditation. I could go on-and-on about how valuable this accreditation is, but you’ll need to research that for yourself…trust me, it’s the bomb.com.
So back to the main point, I don’t raise my kids – I supplement. You’re probably like, “Say what? Supplement? What does she mean?”
What I mean is that since my kids’ teachers spend more awake time with them than I do, they tend to know more about certain development milestones first and I’m totally OK with that. They help my kids come into their own with certain things, and I supplement the training foundation that they provide.
For example, here’s an evolution of things I learned about my daughter who started daycare at 3 months old and is now 2.
CDC Teacher: “Hey, did you know Layla uses the spoon really well?”
Me: “Cool! I’ll have her feed herself from now on.”
CDC Teacher: “Layla took a few steps today!”
Me: “Holy crap that’s awesome… I’ll practice with her tonight.” (…and for the record, no, I wasn’t sad I missed her first steps. There will be other “firsts,” to come).
CDC Teacher: “Layla took a poo in the potty today!”
Me: “… Yeah, um….TMI.” (But seriously, props to her pre-toddler teachers on the potty training. The all deserve a massive raise, a vacation to Bali on a private jet, and teacher of the year awards for the rest of their life!).
Not only have her teachers taught her to eat, walk, and poo in the potty, but she also speaks fluent Japanese and reads at a 5th grade level. All right, I’m kidding, but thanks to her teachers she does speak about 10 words of Japanese (that I know of, there’s probably more), and is obsessed with books.
Additionally, when Layla left the infant room to transition to her pre-toddler room, one of her teachers made a goodbye video with the photos she had taken throughout the year, set to a sappy song, and gave me a CD of them. This gesture showed me how invested these teachers are. And the gift of 600+ photos wasn’t a bad perk either.
Now that my son is in the same infant room my daughter was in, I have no doubt in my mind he will get the same love and attention and will blossom just as much as she did.
The CDC teachers truly love the kids and put forth so much time and energy into making sure they thrive. Between the art, dance, reading, free play, songs, lessons, mealtime, nap time, changing diapers, attending to booboo’s, welcoming parents, cleaning, accounting for kids, adjusting to changes, planning and executing special events for kids; it’s a wonder they have any time to breath. But they do… and they do all of the above for my kids, and all the kids, dang well.
So, here’s to the teachers of the CDC! I salute you. I will continue to supplement the foundation that you have laid down. Thanks for raising my kids to be pretty awesome little humans.