Thursday, June 26, 2014

The Real Reason My Kids Don't Go To Daycare

Being a stay-at-home mom is definitely my desire, a dream come true. Not a day goes by
where I don't whisper a prayer of "thanks" for the privilege, for the gift, of being the ONE.
The one that is there, every moment of every day, for the milestones, the hard days, the good days,
the discoveries, the achievements, the tiny hugs, happy kisses, to read the stories, to teach how to pray,
to wipe away tears, to soak up the laughter, and all the seconds in between. I am lapping up the joy,
the awesome wonder, and storing it all in imaginary bottles on the shelves of my heart.
Because I'm their parent, their momma...

and ALL OF IT means the world to me.

No, this is not a staged photo. My children just happened to be staring pensively in the same
direction in the many moments before and after I snapped this shot. While picnicking in the park
this summer, it was not the pond, the ducks, or the super cool splash pad that held their attention,
but the DAYCARE group situated systematically on a checkered blanket under the gazebo.

One little boy in particular did NOT want to stay on the blanket and kept slyly venturing off towards
the grass, towards my son and his electric helicopter. The caregiver had to physically pick him up and
put him back on the blanket a number of times, reminding him that he had to "stay put."

"Where are their mommas?" asked my son.

"I don't know, buddy," I said. "I don't know."

I wanted that little boy to be able to play with my son. I willed it in my heart, because I think
that's what his own mother would have wanted for him too. Just let him off the blanket...
free the child to be a child.

We've seen these small children all over the burbs from the grocery store to the swimming pool -
marching in two straight lines, following the leader, daring not to speak without raising a hand,
wearing numbers around their necks - counting off, not to be lost.

And they yell out to me. Yes, literally.

"Can I give you a hug?"

"Will you push me on the swing?"

"Watch my trick!"

And my heart breaks as I stand-in for the parent not present.
"They're missing it," I sigh. "Do they know what they are missing?"

I'm not naïve to think that every family situation warrants at least one parent to stay home
and raise the babies
, but I am daring enough to challenge parents around the world to really
look at their situation and ask themselves if the "two incomes" are absolutely necessary,
or dare I say, worth it? Because I'll stand at the park and watch your kid do tricks all day,
but I can guarantee you that I am no substitute for "mom" or "dad." No one is.

People ask me all the time if my kids go to preschool or daycare - because obviously they
are "old enough" to be "socialized" and I probably "should help my husband".
And I just smile, shake my head, and tell them that my kids are lucky to be stuck at home with me...

where they can march in whatever kind of line they want to, where they can ALWAYS be the leader
and speak respectively without needing to raise their hands, where they are called by their given
names and not a tagged numbered, where they are free from the mold, the system, to be who they
were created to be for this time, this fleeting time: KIDS.

And my husband?! Well, he is lucky that I am stuck at home with his kids! And he'll tell you
that he is not lucky, but blessed. Because do you know how much it would cost for the care
that I give our children? Plus the laundry, the grocery shopping, cooking, cleaning, chauffeuring
that is done?! He can't afford me. And I can't afford him. So we got jerseys and make a great team.

Even if I didn't have the desire to be a stay-at-home mom and woke up one morning and
decided to take my hard-earned college degree to market and bring home some real bacon,
I know I couldn't do it. God gave my children to me and my husband.
And that's the real reason my kids don't go to daycare.

God gave them to me.

And I know what you are thinking. "Oh it's all rainbows and butterflies for Miss Lily Field" -
sure, ok. But if you were sitting in my living room right now I would not spare you any details
concerning our "income" or "lack thereof" in the past 5 years of marriage.

I'd tell you that we gave up a honeymoon and new cars and live like the budget is going out of style.
I'd tell you that we wear used clothes, don't go on a yearly vacation, and reuse items that most people
don't. We cut corners, pinch pennies, and bend over backwards to keep up our "lavish" lifestyle...
and that's not a joke. Our lifestyle is abundant!!! Downright extravagant! It's richer than you think.

No vacation, no vehicle, no pet, no home, no title, no name-brand can compare with the
two, soon to be three!, little faces that I wake up to care for every morning...

because I'm the one.

Every day is a gift, every situation unique.
We take what we are given and make the best

- for love of our children.


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  1. It's so neat that you post about this. Just today, my husband and I were talking about our "future", and we said that, if possible, and if God ever blesses us with children, it would most likely be beneficial to everyone if I stayed home "full time" or most of the time...however it works for us. Everything you said is true, and my heart breaks for mommas who want to stay home, but their life circumstance doesn't permit that. Your babies are blessed to have a momma like you. ;-)

    1. Thank you, Gabriela!!! I'm glad I could share a piece of my heart here - it's definitely a subject that weighs heavily. And what you said is good for all of us to remember: "However it works for us!" - every family finds its own groove, and the most important thing is to be there for each other no matter what that looks like!!! XO

  2. Just stop taking thoughts out of my head already! This was so perfectly said. I loved and agreed with every single word.

    1. Haha I'll try, Jessi! I know I know - we are "two peas in a pod" in so many ways!!! Love you, friend <3

  3. I appreciate what you're trying to say, but I think it could have been worded differently. To say you understand that not every has the same opportunities and then not be able to come up with a single idea where those kids parents are? A simple, "Well some mommies work for a lot of different reasons. Isn't it good God helped them find a great teacher to help take care of them and make sure they eat good food, are safe and get to play just like we do." would have sufficed.

    All of our children are gifts no matter how our home economies work their way out; God asks different things from different people and gives us each our own struggles and talents. I'd say the reason you don't send your kids to daycare is that it's just not the right choice for your family; the daycare that is not a right choice for you might be a huge blessing and a gift from God to someone else walking a different path. We're all trying our best in the end. God bless.

    1. Hey Molly! Can I just say "thank you" first of all for being "kind" in your reasoning here?! I really appreciate that :-)

      I TOTALLY agree - "God asks things from different people and gives us each out own struggles and talents". Which is why I stated that every situation is unique. We don't know each other's stories, backgrounds, reasoning, or rhymes - but we can hope and choose to believe that everyone "finds a way" and walks "their path" with joy!!!

    2. I'm glad it read that way - it's such a tricky subject and I've talked it out a lot today. In fact, I wanted to pop in and clarify something I came to after all that talk (ps you're welcome to see the whole conversation on my FB page, I can't say it started out perfectly gracious, so I'll apologize for my own hair trigger emotions).

      I think I still stand by my discomfort over the "I don't know where their mommies are" answer - I think it would have been a lovely moment of teaching with your boys, but we're all human - myself included.

      I think the biggest thing I might have advised you to edit is the "daring" notion to ask parents to really consider why they're working. While I agree there are many women, particularly in the secular world, who need to hear this it just rubs wrong for so many women who do think of this everyday while they drive to work.

      Perhaps just a simple change of "asking parents who HAVEN'T considered their motives/situation" would have kept us other working moms from feeling lumped in? Or saying that you felt it was daring to ask this question of yourself and ::this:: was the decision you came to?

      I need another person asking if I've considered my motives about as much as you need another person telling you your hands are full or wondering if your kids socialize enough. ;)

      But I won't deny there are people out there who haven't considered it or who only see kids as an accessory. I think a little clearer distinction between the two "considered/haven't considered" groups would have helped a lot, but hindsight is 20/20

      Goodness knows, my blog is never perfect either - there are things I've said that sound perfect and then get taken in the complete opposite direction and it's even hard for me to explain to my dearest SAHM friends why things like this cause such a reaction in moms like me.

      p.s. You're handled your critical comments very gracefully, thank you.

    3. ^sorry, didn't mean for that to be so long =D I hope it doesn't come off strange for its length; feel free to ask me to clarify if I'm not making sense.

    4. Hey lady! It's ok that your response is long! It's a good thing! I'm reading, listening, trying to cater to all of the hearts responding here on this post. I'm glad you've joined the conversation and are willing to be so open with me and others reading along.

      I told my husband the night before this went LIVE that I knew it was going to make some people really happy and others... not so much. And I'm seeing that played out on all levels now! - as I'm sure you've seen other comments and all concerning this topic!

      Thank you for your suggestions. Goodness knows I spent hours pouring over the right words, timing, etc. This is such a touchy subject. I just didn't have the space or desire to list all the "disclaimers" about all the possible situations/scenarios out there in the parenting world. I also didn't go into detail sharing that my son who asked the question is little, sensitive, emotional, etc. - and that we are constantly weighing out as his parents when/how to tell him about "all the things" of this world that are so different from his own. Again, that's where I was coming at from saying that "every situation is unique" - every parent, child, family, situation... man! It's tough to write something like this without coming across as subjective, ya know? Because all I know... is what I know (as in what I have been exposed to in my brief 27 years on planet earth). We each have our own story, reasons, etc. - and I really had hoped that to most reading this post... they would understand that this is MY story, my reasons, my path that God has called me too.

      I hope with all my heart that others find as much passion, joy, enthusiasm in their vocation as "momma" or "daddy" - in whatever beautiful way it has been handed to them - as I have found in mine!!!

      God bless you, Molly! XO

    5. I think I'm definitely there with you in the joy department - love this messy vocation that is motherhood. We've a wild ride with it; we have done a complete 180 from where our lives were leading before we had our first. Just like you say, we had to really challenge ourselves to see if our "fun and exciting careers" (not so much the money, you don't make any in theatre) was really worth the trade off. We made that choice, packed up a moving van when I was 5 months pregnant, left it all behind and started from scratch, including a long stint living in my parents basement, only 4 months before our first son was born.

      It's crazy to think, but even with our current jobs (he's a 100%, I'm 90% and thanks to some nice schedules our son only goes to daycare about 5 days a month if no family is in town, how lucky is that?) we're actually home more than we would have been with our original "careers". I'm glad God led us to see that path clearly and directed us to the necessary jobs that still allow us to put family first as best we can with those outside commitments.

      We're about 3 years away from having the last our extraneous bills paid off (don't get me started on our very modest students loans and the obstacle they give us), and I remind myself constantly that though the extra money would be nice once it isn't needed for those bills, it's just not important anymore and part-time here I come.

      I'm glad we've had this discussion though, I hope it helps clarify for some of your new readers on a couple of the points that got many of us "riled up". Knowing a little more about your son definitely helps see that conversation in a different light.

      You're doing good, hard work and it sounds like you've really discerned what God wants for your family.

  4. I second Molly here. I think it is important to remember that every family is different and just because a family may send their kids to daycare doesn't mean their children are in bad hands or will end up unhappy. I work outside the home a few days a week and my kids go to a home daycare when their dad is unable to be home with them. My sitter treats them like family and my kids love going there!

    I've seen several other blog posts about this topic and most writers assume that mothers work outside the home for extra money. That may be true for some but what about mothers who enjoy working? I totally agree that my vocation as a mother is the most important thing. God did give me my children, and I am the person who is most present in their lives and I am the one who is doing the job of raising them. But God also gave me talents and desires to work and help others. I don't work mainly for the money. I work because I enjoy it.

    I love my job, I love helping others, and I've made great friendships with coworkers. Is it bad and selfish of me that I don't want to give that up just yet? God made me a mother, but I am not JUST a mother.

    1. Thank you for your reply, Mia!!! With this post I guess I just decided that all the "disclaimers" would be assumed and that I didn't have to mention them all? I think I was wrong :-( Because one of those "disclaimers" would be a shout out to all moms who WANT TO WORK... that's where I was coming from with "every situation is unique" - I mean because it really is! And I definitely DO NOT think there is ONE way to parent kids. At all. I'm so happy that you have found joy in your vocation/job! God made women AWESOME, AMAZING - and I'm sure you are rocking it!!! Keep up the good work, momma!!!!

    2. I appreciate you commenting me back! I am so happy that you have been blessed to stay at home with your kids and I support you! I guess all of us moms, working or not working need all the support we can get in this world because it is tough to do what we do everyday! But it is all so worth it. God bless you Brittany. I'm glad I found your blog and I'm excited to read more of your posts! :)

  5. While I recognize that your commitment to your kids is a beautiful, holy thing, I wish you wouldn't act is if money or worldliness is the only reason women would leave their children in another's care in order to work outside the home. I believe your intentions are noble and your sacrifices are real, but you have to acknowledge that your way is not necessarily the same way every mother can or should lead their life.
    Many women have children in daycare, and they wish they didn't. Single mothers, even wed mothers who simply can't get by even with two incomes may have NO CHOICE but to work, short of begging for food. Imagine how sad they are to miss their kids' special moments? I hope none of them read your post.
    There are certainly many women who work outside the home even if they don't need money, but don't assume the worst of them. Think of Saint Gianna Beretta Molla. What a beautiful example of a woman with incredibly deep love of her family AND a calling to work outside the home. Have you ever read Saint John Paul II's Letter to Every Woman? He praises BOTH stay at home mothers and women who work outside the home for what they do to evangelize the world. Both contribute to the formation of our culture by living on their calling.
    Children are undeniably an incredible blessing. But that doesn't mean we can't entrust them to another caregiver (of whom there are many holy, gifted and trustworthy, that may even enrich the child's life more than a parent alone) occasionally.
    I'm sorry if I came on strong. I could have written this post a year ago, but through some humbling experiences, followed by answered prayers, I've had a change of heart. Best to you and yours.

    1. No no, don't apologize for coming on strong! I want to hear your thoughts and I think it adds to the conversation - because others are watching/commenting too. Like I told Mia above - I DO NOT believe there is ONE way to parent and God gives us each such a unique situation, calling, vocation... I am mainly just sharing my heart and joy in what He has called ME to do for this season of life! Because like I mentioned in the post, I am not naïve to think that every situation warrants at least one parent to stay home. Even my own! God could totally call me away from this at any moment for any reason... and I'd have to learn to love THAT calling too :-) Love what you mentioned about Saint Gianna and JP2 as well!!!! GREAT points. I'm big fans of both of those saints and agree whole-heartedly with their words of wisdom!!!! Best to you as well!!!

  6. Love this Brittany! Challenging and thought provoking, thanks for writing this!

  7. "Where are their mommas?"

    "Their mommas are at work, because some mommas work just like your daddy works."

    There. I fixed it. It's more truthful--because you DID know where their mothers were--and also less judgmental and self-righteous. I know the Bible has plenty to say about dishonesty, passing judgment, and acting holier than thou, whatever it may or may not say about mothers who have to work.

    I'm so tired of encountering grown women who act like teenage girls, cattily putting down other women in order to make themselves look better. Especially when they try to slap God on their own petty behavior.

    1. You know, I guess in the moment, I chose to not ASSUME anything with my answer to my child. Because as I mentioned in the post "EVERY SITUATION IS UNIQUE" - and maybe NOT all their moms (or dads in the case of divorce or death, maybe?) were actually at "work." I guess I also assumed that most people reading this post would imagine all the disclaimers... because obviously not ALL children are in daycare because their "mothers work". Death, illness, divorce... I even know mothers who STAY HOME and put their kids in daycare for socialization/health reasons!

      It's not about being "holier than thou" or that "my kids are better than your kids" or "I'm a better mother than you" - not at all. I'm sorry you see it that way. But that's ok. We are all entitled to our reactions and feelings. I believe that with my whole heart. If this isn't your cup of tea - I can guarantee you there are a million other mommy blogs that are :-)

      We all have our stories, reasoning, and rhymes when it comes to this topic. And these are mine. God is part of MY story, my reasoning, and rhymes... because THIS is where I feel called.

      I wish you the best in your own story, on whatever path you have been called :-)

  8. What about the women who have to work to support their families? Not everyone works for "vacations, vehicles, pets, homes, titles, name-brands", some work for food and shelter and soap, like, the real necessities of life. What stay-at-home-moms do is important (and I'm currently am one) and some moms work for "selfish" reasons. But by and large, the vast majority of working moms I know would love to stay home if they had the chance and this post just really rubs me the wrong way.

    I'm sure you didn't mean it this way, but the way it comes off is that you are patting yourself on the back for giving up so much to stay at home with your children all the while teaching them that kids whose mothers' work do so because they don't care about them (or at least not as much as you care about your kids). Very short sighted on your part.

    Not every child who is at daycare has a mom at work (after all, some mothers are dead) but it would be a good educated guess to say the vast majority are at work. Why didn't you tell your sons that they are probably at work?

    1. Hi Mandi! It's so true - "every situation is unique". I mentioned those specifics like "vacations, vehicles, etc." because those are things that WE have had to give up to make THIS PATH that WE feel called to work. It is so true that there are so many in a million different combinations/situations that have to work for whatever reason... death of a spouse, divorce, to make ends meet, to give their kids the BEST!

      I chose in the moment to not assume anything about the mothers that my son asked about. I answered with what felt HONEST to me... and what I chose to share with him at this moment in time. He's little. As time goes on I know I will share with him more details about all situations in the world. And the truth is, this was not the first time we have had a discussion with him on daycare and where parents are during the day. He's very curious, sensitive, asks questions all the time--- each parent, each child, each situation... SO UNIQUE! I guess I had hoped that a lot of that "uniqueness" - the "disclaimers" would be assumed with this post.

      I appreciate it that you took the time to read and respond! I really do. Thanks for sharing your heart and listening to mine. I wish you all the best in your journey of motherhood!!!

    2. Brittany, thank you for your response. Thinking over what it is about your post that really bothered me, I've realized that it's because you seem to take all the credit for being able to stay home with your children. The truth is, the real reason your kids don't go to daycare is because you've been blessed with the opportunity to stay home with them. Yes, you definitely do your part in giving up some luxuries of life, but if you were in a different life situation, it's possible that no matter what you did or what you were willing to give up, you couldn't make it happen. So offering a simple "challenge" to all parents is just not realistic, or even compassionate. Not everyone is in the situation to be able to take that challenge, and you really didn't address that. I don't expect you to explain every situation, but it would have been easy to make your challenge more conditional so it addressed the people you really wanted to address - those who think they can't stay at home and maybe just need the push to realize that if they gave up some creature comforts, they could make it a reality.

      I understand where you are coming from. I really do. I stay home because we make a ton of sacrifices. We haven't been able to make ends meet recently no matter how creative we've gotten with our budget. I'm grateful to have been offered a position to nanny for the fall where I can bring my daughter with me, but if this opportunity hadn't come up, I would have had to find a job and probably would have put my children in daycare.

      I think that you are also trying to make two different points in this post - 1. that many mothers could stay at home if they gave up some luxuries, and 2. that it makes you sad to see daycare kids who need attention. I really think that by combining those two things, you did something you weren't meaning to - you were accidentally telling moms that if their kids were in daycare they were starved for love and attention and weren't getting the "best" that they deserved AND that those moms were only giving their children less than the best because they weren't willing to give up those luxuries. I think those points would have been better addressed separately to avoid your message getting mixed up. Anyway, I'm a blogger too and I understand that a post can sound differently than you meant it to. My only point in commenting in the first place was to let you know that what you wrote had the potential to hurt a lot of mothers out there and I was hoping that wasn't your intention.

  9. Hi Brittany! I haven't been on the blogging world in a while, but came on today and read this post! I really appreciated what you said and although some may have thought it insensitive or whatever in some ways, I thought it daring and very relevant to today's society. My husband is a financial planner/insurance who is 100% commission based which means we have to budget well, plan well, and also pray-pray-pray that his clients will say "Yes!" We have had our scary, tight months, but we just sacrificed and were completely "homemade" for 30 days! Haha. I have been blessed to stay home with my son this past year. He was born May 2013. I also know that in today's world with the cost of daycare and even if I were to get a full-time job, most people don't know or consider their finances well to realize they are working to pay for daycare with maybe $100 leftover?? They could easily save that $100 elsewhere...smaller car payment or just pay for a used car with cash? Just food for thought if we want to look at it in a different way. I also worked in the daycare for 4 years throughout college and saw the sadness in many kids' eyes, especially the littles (newborn-3) as they said good-bye to mom or dad and were in my care 6am-6pm Monday-Friday! I saw those kids (awake time) more than their parents! I know there is a balance and I am not saying this is the case for all, but we have to question our time and also our wisdom as parents. Are we making this decision for a few extra hundred? Are we really budgeting well to make it work for the family? Sometimes, yes, the situation is tossed around a million times and the only answer is another high salary and daycare. I do not downplay those mothers and I know we are all human doing the best we can with hopefully wisdom from God and the Bible. I also dare to ask though, do the moms really want the daycare worker to say to them, "They walked to me today." And the mom responds with open eyes and says, "Aw, I am so sad I missed it, he hasn't walked at home yet..."

    These are just some alternative thoughts to the daycare scenario and I do not undervalue any moms who work so hard 40+ hours a week at a job and then also come home and work hard at the house! That is a lot! And I know I could not handle both very well without getting overwhelmed. I just dare to ask in American society if we are being wise or if we are seeking a dream as YOUNG parents that took our parents 25 years to accomplish? I know I am blessed and I can only praise God for the provision and opportunities he has given me. I want to live a life of gratitude by also being wise and seeking His counsel and strength every day as a mom...

    1. Joanna! SO many great points. Thank you for shouting out and sharing your heart here on this post as well! As you probably noticed, for every negative comment there is a positive one... many different paths and ONE fierce love we all understand as "momma".

      I've never talked to someone in detail about the "financial situation", but I've thought about what you shared above a lot... that I wouldn't want to work to pay for daycare. But some couples are blessed with family/friends that help out - and that's awesome! Again, I think it's just a "case by case" deal with this topic. But great point! I've jokingly told my husband that EVEN IF I had a job that made it all "worth it" or whatever... it would STILL COST more for us to work because I would need counseling/therapy! My heart is at home. And I think most reading this got that message. For some it resonated. For others, not so much.

      God bless you in your journey and vocation as momma!!! Glad you are living "your dream" and doing the best with what God has given you!!! Warrior on, my friend! Warrior on. XO

  10. Oh man, and then there's the problem of insurance. I know SO many moms who have to work full-time in order to qualify for insurance, it's really a shame. I worked the first year of Ada's life just for insurance while Ben finished up school--luckily, I was a nurse so it was part-time and at night, but it was still a rough time. You do what you gotta do sometimes and hope things get better. :)

    1. SO TRUE, Chaunie! Oh man - like I mentioned in a lot of the comments above... there are MANY situations/issues/disclaimers/etc. - too many to name! And insurance sure is one of them! Totally agree. It's beautiful to see parents doing what they gotta do for love of their children - I know that message is passed on to those kiddos! Priceless lessons that mean so much!!!!

  11. I am with you on this Brittany! It's a very good challenge. Miss you!!

    1. Jessie! Wow it's been so long! You should e-mail me - I don't think I have your current e-mail? Would love to catch up sometime :-)

  12. Had added your blog to my Feedly but clearly shouldn't have. I'm a working mom that loves my two boys more than anything. I purposely sought a job with flexibility so I can be there as much as possible-- but still help financially support my family and find fulfillment for myself as a professional woman. My sons are thriving and happy and I know they are in the hands of special women when they aren't with me. Even with your disclaimers, it reads like judgement for those poor sad kids with moms who aren't willing to make sacrifices to be with them every minute of the day.

    1. That's ok, Julie. Ya know, this is MY heart and these are MY reasons. I know that it's not "every woman's calling" - and I hope that you find so much JOY and FULFILLMENT in what YOU are living out - according to YOUR heart and YOUR reasons!!! I really do. I can tell that you love your kids SO MUCH - and that's what it's all about!


Thanks for leaving some comment love! I enjoy hearing what you have to say... and others do too! XO