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Marlowe In Daycare: A Crossroads

I've been at a crossroads with daycare, for a little while now. On one hand, I think it's great for Marlowe, really, really great. She's growing, she's socializing, and most importantly: she loves it. On the other hand, daycare is roughly double the price of my mortgage each month (thats crazy to even think about, but that gives you an idea of how cheap my mortgage is. THANK YOU SHORT SALE, I'm still in awe.) But, let me rewind a bit, or this post won't make much sense at all. (Things seldom do with mostly pictures, and only bits and pieces shared). I've been lucky enough to be able to work and support myself and the kiddo from home, for a few months now. I didn't jump into talking about it on the blog, because well, let's be honest, some people (luckily for most of us, not all) get judgey about these sorts of things. So many questions, disbelief, and just overall, pessimistic 'she must be getting help somewhere- bullshit'. But yeah, I've been doing it, and it's been working (...again, thank you short sale ...and wise decision making) by way of this blog (thank you readers, sponsors, supporters), writing here and there, some random (but a lot of fun) side jobs, and don't forget the biggest: mobiles up the wazoo (I'm a tiny, one person factory). I'm at the point where I like what I'm doing, I really do, but sometimes, I do wish to leave the house a bit more. I've had job offers (not a lot, but a few), and I've had to learn to stop taking on everything, and pick and choose what to work on next. I'm still a bit overwhelmed by everything, but it's working. 
So let's move forward... when I stopped working on the truck, Alex and I sat down to figure out what would be the next step. Would Marlowe stay in daycare full time or part time? What could we (I) afford? We decided it would be in everyones best interest to keep her in, not lose her spot, and not have to pay a registration fee later. Money was a bit tight for a while... but he pushed for her to stay in, and helped pick up an extra week of daycare payment, here and there (thank you). I started taking more on at home, and less on outside the home (I miss you outside world), but even with me at home, most (read: all) of the time, she continued to stay in daycare. At first Alex, pushed to keep her in, while I was about 50/50. Now, I'm pretty certain we're at a place where we both aren't sure what to do. 
So yes, on one hand: she loves it, she's growing, learning, making tiny friends, at times she's not even wanting to come home, and on days home (she only goes three days a week), is asking "go see Kira? Play slide?" I don't want to take that away from her, neither of us do. But on the other hand, I'm wondering if I can find a way to juggle it all, while having her here. Can I make a schedule, allowing for park time, playtime, reading time, but still allow the much needed time, that I need to work? Is it possible? I'm not sure, but maybe. I mean, how do mothers of multiple children do it? Or home-schooling moms? I can't imagine. It seems impossible--- yet it's not. Another issue with daycare (one of the reasons I forced myself to find a much-needed way to create income from my home, is: sickness happens. There is no way around it. You have a kid, who is around other kids, in a closed room, sharing toys, books, and crayons? The snot is everywhere. Everywhere. I hate the weeks that she brings home a cold, and we're left paying for a week of daycare, and she isn't even going. The last time she got sick, I kept her home an extra few days, just to be sure every sick germ had left her body, and her immunity would be up before sending her back into stuffy nosed toddler room. Three daycare days later, she wakes up, full of snot, whining, "I'm sick, mama. I'm sick." Well, she's not sick, (she just says she is when she sniffles. For example, after a good tantrum cry), but the snot and the constant congestion and nose blowing, it's back. (Crap) Alex and I decided last week, that this week would be a trial run, and if she got sick again, we would put in our two weeks notice at the daycare. Well, she's not sick, but she's not 100% either. So, I'm still at this crossroads. 
I really, really love her daycare. Two days ago, after daycare, we took our walk through the zoo. While we were there, she wanted to climb into the giant nest, but two girls were playing inside. She walked up to it, stood next to it, held her hand to her chest and said "I wait my turn." I was so proud of her, and even more grateful for her daycare experiences. I'm able to teach her a lot at home, but things like sharing and turn waiting are difficult with just the two of us, and no one else trying to steal her toys. And I'm still dead-set on no more babies in my life. I would still prefer something different for M, because it'd be nice for her to have a buddy, but for me? I know the timing isn't right. There are too many good things, and things are working far too smoothly for me to stop, and raise another baby. I love M with all my heart and soul, but mothering a baby, did not come easy to me, and it won't the second time around either. Daycare can give her the daytime companionships, that children (and most adults) so desperately need. Another perk with her daycare? Remember my resolution list? Well, I've been keeping up with all of them, expect that speaking more spanish one, that one flew out the window within the week. But at daycare? The supervisors all speak spanish, and most of the children do too. To turn around one day, because you hear your kid counting in spanish? Amazing. 
I'm torn. Keep her in daycare, without her needing to be, just because it benefits her (trust me, I realize how lucky we are that we can even have this work as an option. Most parents aren't so lucky) or save a lot of money, that can be put away, saved for emergencies, luxuries, and life in general, while finding a way to thrive at home, with a little one by my side? (We'd save a lot of sick germs too). I've thought it out, where if we took her out of daycare, we'd enroll her in some other activities, like soccer or gymnastics, but would that really be enough? Could it work? All the other decisions I've had to make recently have been mostly easy, though some of tugged my heart a bit (letting go of a really fun and different -for me- job opportunity), but I am very certain in everything I've done. I do know whats best for me, my family, and my life, but this?... I'm letting time go by and by without having the courage to make a choice. I know I don't write a lot about Marlowe these day, it's sometimes intentional, but now here I am rambling on and on... because well, I'm not secure in either decision, when both will affect her little life so much.

39 comments:

  1. It's a tricky one for sure. My little is 22 months and we don't do daycare yet. I also work from home and it is a challenge to get everything done. I work for the 2 hours she naps and then again in the evenings for at least 2 hours. Some parts of my work can be done with her in tow, other parts can't and so I constantly feel like I've got a huge amount to do and don't know when it will get done. This year, I'm looking into morning care for her a few days a week so I can ease the pressure a bit so we'll see how it goes. As far as the whole outside world/isolation thing goes I make everyone come to me! I run errands and post orders and pick up supplies most days so I'm never home all day and I invite people over at least 3 times a week so I get daytime adult conversation. I also make myself take the weekends off and focus on family and friends but I do struggle with it, that workload is always in the back of my mind! Good luck with your decision, I think there are upsides and downsides whatever you choose.

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  2. Maybe research a PT preschool? Is she still too young for PT Montessori or something similar? I can't get anything done with my 10 month one at home. I will be back at work FT though outside the house and am wondering what that will be like come May. Momma juggling act! Good luck deciding. I have heard when they go to school FT they will be just as sick...if any consolation. It is just whether youbwant to deal with it now or then. You know your kiddo, situation and Moms needs best.

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    1. I'm not sure with the preschool... I thought they had to be at least three, but it's not something I ever looked into. I know at 10 months old there would have been NO WAY I could have worked from home, M demanded too much attention then (like she should), but at this age it's getting a lot easier because I can set her up with activities here ant there. Thank you :)

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    2. Some places around here in Philadelphia have 2 year old programs and they don't have to be potty trained. It is usually at a local church or ymca. It is a few days a week for a few hours, but definitely cheaper than day care. Good luck. I am sure you will figure out what works best for your family.

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  3. Hooper is 26 months and we've never done the daycare thing. We've been lucky enough, thus far, that my parents are able to watch both kiddos (Van is 6 months) on the two days I work (12 hour shifts). I'm home with them the other days. But it is incredibly difficult to get anything done around the house and keep up with my own blog. Congrats to you on being able to stay home. I feel your struggle. I'm sure you feel like you should keep her at home because you can, but it sounds like she really enjoys daycare. I would keep her in it for a few days a week. I'm a single mama this week (my husband is out of town on business) and I've been thinking of you a lot... It's good for you to take some time for yourself and some time to get work done at home... and it's good for Marlowe to prepare for preschool and hang with other kiddos. I feel like I'm totally rambling and I probably am... Hooper has been so trying these last few days and I just finished a nice size glass of wine... Anyway, you'll make a decision and it wil all work out :)

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    1. oh time to myself... so rare. I've been making it a point to ask for more babysitting help on weekends, so at least I can get out of the house for a few hours with friends, but during the day, I'm usually to swamped to even think about a moment to myself.... but I do make it a point to have wine time, most nights :)

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  4. My boy is in full-time daycare/pre-school. Its expensive but worth it because he learns social skills like sharing and interaction with his peers. He's a single child like yours, so he doesn't get to hang out with kids around his age, other than those in daycare. He's really happy after he ends school and talks so such abt what he did in his daycare.

    Anw all the best in your decision-making! Remember to do what's best for your only child. :)

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  5. I think it's a shame that daycare costs so much in North America. I live in Germany and daycare is partially funded by the govt - which makes it much more affordable (you pay according to your income).
    My daughter is (so far) my only child and I agree with you that being with other children her age really helps socialize her, in a way we as parents cannot.
    As far as the germs and sicknesses go - it is also an important form of "socializing" her now. They do build up immunities and do not get sick as often later on. I worked at a daycare for over 2 years and it was amazing how different year 1 was from year 2.

    Anyway, you will make the best decision for Marlow - you are an amazing mom! Sending you lots of positive energy!

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    1. thats true.... the germ socializing, I didn't think about it. After reading al these comments, I think I am leaning towards keeping her in there more.

      Thanks :)

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  6. One day she will be in school and all those times she was sick in daycare will have helped build her immunity so she's not missing half of the first year of school sick.

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  7. I get it. Especially the sick. Tabitha is in two days a week so I can work a job I love and, I swear, our family has had three strains of norovirus, flu, hand foot mouth, pink eye, multiple ear infections and general snot JUST THIS WINTER. It wears on you. Especially when you know you have other options. And when you look at that bill and realize you are paying for your kid to get sick (and many other wonderful things, but when I have a cranky kid rubbing snot all over me, it's hard to be rational). We are looking at switching to a daycare that gets kids from a smaller area, rather than all over, with the hope that it results in less illness. Do you have any public or lowers cost preschools in your area? Maybe something that only does mornings - you could find a happy medium. Or do you have to wait until she's 3? Anyhow, just know that there's another mama out there who feels for you.

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    1. I live in a very mixed area of town. On one side, theres a lot of wealthy people, not even a mile from that, it's a lower-middle income hispanic area, and it's a very large gap in between. Leaving a very big gap between the daycare choices... you either get something with a very high pay or something moderately low, I think, for normal daycare prices. She is in one of the least expensive daycares we could find in the area. We send her part time which means we can send her three days, or 5 mornings, but mornings is only til 12:30, and we don't usually get her to daycare until 930/... mornings aren't our strong suite. Maybe I will start looking more into preschools... it just all seems so overwhelming! :)

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  8. It seems like she is part time then only 3 days a week, who has her the other days? It sounds like she's not with you or you'd have an idea of how to work with her home? I say go to maybe just 2 mornings a week....she will be in preschool before you know it and then the days with her home are GONE!! Enjoy the last couple of years where there is no school schedule and you have her with you!!

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    1. We had her in full time for a while, but alex's days off always fall on a weekday, so we were losing one full day there. So now she goes to daycare three days, alex has off one day, and the other day I work from home with her. Lately, I've had a little more family help one day on a weekend... so whatever I don't accomplish on my working day with her, I make up for on that day. At this daycare we have two options: full time or part time. And part time is either everyday until 1230, or 3 days a week. We can keep her in from 7 am to 6 pm, but she usually only does 930 to 4-ish these days.

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  9. Oh, the decisions that come with parenting a toddler. We are at the point where, we have been lucky with grandmothers to care for our daughter, but it is TIME for interaction with others and preschool. It's so hard. Doing what is right for them, what's right for you, and what keeps us all healthy. Although, they do say that exposing to germs early in life helps build a healthier adult immunity. This is coming from a sick every other week mother who doesn't want to put her kid in preschool because she'll be out of work more, sick herself. I was too sheltered, per my doctor. It's not easy. In fact, it's some of the hardest shit ever, making these big decisions for these tiny humans. Good luck and you'll come to the right decision for you all.

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  10. It sucks that daycare is so expensive, but I think you should try to keep her in for as long as you can. Every benefit you described truly is a GREAT and important benefit for her.

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    1. I mean, realistically, it's not that expensive. It is compared to the expenses I have, but in general, it's not. Really, its around 35-50 dollars a day, depending on full time (5) or part time (3 days) payment, and she can be in there for as long as 7 am to 6pm (but she never is), meals and snacks are provided (which we never use, cause they of course aren't vegan), along with all art supplies, great teachers, and everything else. I am leaning more towards keeping her in... I do wish we could pay by hour rather than full days and full meals though.

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  11. i can't believe it's so expensive!! if you do decide to keep her in daycare, hopefully things will turn out for the best with stronger immune systems all around. my mama is the school nurse at an elementary school + never ever gets sick. meanwhile, i've been working at a high school for a year (after three years of working from home) + my immune system is definitely still catching up. i'm sure whatever decision you make will be the right one for you + m :)

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  12. I'm you. I work from home. My kids are home too. I still go back and forth about preschool. On the one hand, they are missing out on socializing, crafts, trips and experiences only school can give. I can't work full time and schedule events for every part of a day like a school can. I feel guilty about what they are missing sometimes. On the other hand, they rarely ever get sick, I save a lot of money and I enjoy them with me most times ;) I guess what I'm saying is even if you take her out, you'll still have doubts. At least I do at times.

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  13. I totally get what your thinking my son is a bit older than M and I am 5 months pregnant with my baby girl Olivia and I am due this summer. I wanted to enroll my son in some kind of daycare but I have the same worries as you. The sickness is what I can't handle espically with an infant on my hands. I know that he would grow and have so much fun with kids his age but I just don't know if the good out weights the bad. I would just just saw trust your mamma gut.

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  14. Our daycare is more than the mortgage, too - our mortgage is dirt cheap and our daycare is run by M's sister so it's less expensive than a typical center, too, which is a big blessing.

    At any rate ... I'm a big fan of daycare for the positive reasons you discussed above. The sickness that comes with it (we're battling this right now too, all the kids were sick last week, now we're sick, E is still sniffling) is annoying but it does build up their little immune systems, I believe, so they're not overwhelmed when they hit school.

    It's a big decision. For me I think daycare's benefits outweigh the drawbacks when you have a good daycare and your child is enjoying it and learning, but that's me - I'm sure you will figure out what works best for your family! :)

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  15. Our Peanut is in daycare and in the winter when we have the stomach flu/bug/pink eye/etc it's hard. But the germs they get now will strengthen their immune systems and make it easier on them when they go to school. So at least there's that?
    (if I read this 2 weeks ago when P had a double ear infection, the cold, the stomach flu and as a result both parents had laryngitis, strep and a sinus infection, I may have responded differently ;) )

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  16. I just went through all that you are feeling and thinking. We decided to keep her in daycare. My advice with the high cost... Ask about single family aid. That dramatically helped. I mean dramatically! Also sickness totally sucked with us. I hate that side of daycare until my sister, an Acupunturist, suggested a chiropractor. Note: has to be a good one! Ask around town because since I've taken her 8 months ago - once a month adjustments - she's been sick once!! I'm sold. I live in Gainesville and the community really has a lot of support for us while we're in this transion (husband finishing masters) check it out! Hope it helps :)

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  17. Its so hard. Mine is and has been in daycare since 2.5 months. And she is sick... alot. But I don't really have a choice, since I have to work full time, and I'm just thankful I have great people who I trust looking after her when I can't. And the social benefits for her (as an only child) have been worth WAY more than a few colds to me :)

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  18. You've done so well as a single mama so far (not so single anymore ;) but as children grow things are going to change dramatically giving us, parents new issues to solve, decisions to make. I was lucky enough to be able to work weekend shifts so the rest of the week was for me and for my girl to explore (her dad works Mon to Fri). She will be attending daycare full-time from September, now we visit every child group in the area every day (here in the UK there are plenty of them charging only a pound or two for the kiddo to stay and play).

    Before Nadia was born I was working full time and really enjoyed my job (poster/flyer designing and printing company) but I knew I wouldn't have wanted to stay away from my girl since her day one so I quit my job, found weekend substitute and had her for three years with me. I had the same doubts as you as sometimes money is an issue and I understand your reasons not to leave Marlowe there. On the other hand - and you've explained it perfectly - daycare is a place where kids can play, socialize, learn... even bring nasty snots home :) I'd definitely lean towards working it out for you guys with M in daycare especially (just like my little girl) she is your only child and having others to learn how to live in a pack is thing hard to achieve at home. Good luck Drea, I know you will find the best solution. xx

    www.todaymyway.com

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  19. This is hard. No judgement here. We are always wrestling out what is the best thing for our daughter with the stay at home/work from home/preschool balance with our daughter (who is an only child). Is there an option for 1/2 days 3 days a week--lower your costs, give you a little of the time you really focus on your work but get M the socialization she needs. Just a thought...

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  20. I have Totally been there too Drea. As a single mom, it can be so hard. My little is not so little anymore, (he's 8 1/2) but I remember the daycare/preschool struggles. My experience, having an only child also, is that the socialization in those early years in that setting was completely beneficial. Also, those sick, germ infested bouts, will pass. I promise. Whether its now in daycare, or at age 5 in kindergarten, it's going to happen. It takes a good six months, and then I swear, her immune system will be built up good & strong and all those colds will stop. xo

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  21. I've been an early childhood educator for 15 years and I'm also a Mum. In my opinion it is not necessary for very young children to attend daycare or preschool for development of social interaction skills. There is plenty of time for that as they get older and they are also developing these anyway through secure attachment relationships with parents/caregivers. It is also said that the child who learns to play alone will never be lonely! In saying that I don't mean to imply that daycare is bad but I don't think she would be missing out on anything by not going. As for illness, after a while they do tend to build up some immunity (usually after about a year of getting sick all the time!)

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  22. It's such a hard decision Drea. It will be difficult for you to work with Marlowe at home, but so wonderful for you both for her to be around. Daycare might be a good stepping stone on the way to school, or alternatively having her at home would be good if you are thinking of home schooling. Whatever your decision, I am sure that Marlowe will be happy and well-adjusted. And I think that you will look back in a few years and think that this wasn't such a big thing after all - whichever way you go, all will be well. Good luck to you both.

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  23. Wish we lived closer to each other, I'd be happy to watch Marlowe. Right now I nanny a 26 mo 2 days a week (and watch a few other kids during the rest of the week). The parents both work from home, but wouldn't have as easy of a time getting work done if they had to watch their toddler. I arrive at 8 and leave at 1. We go to parks and the library, eat lunch, and then I put him down for a nap. This seems to work best for the family because they still get to see their child, he gets to be at home (less germs), still socializes in smaller doses and they save money. Good luck with your decision! I used to work at a daycare too and know how the kids can love it. In my experience, though, some of those kids in day care all the time (not that Marlowe is) seemed to learn much of the ways of the world from their peers. In moderation, this is good, but in large doses (again, not your situation) these kids seemed a little rougher around the edges (know more bad words, use less manners, etc. of course much of this also has to do with parenting). I'm sure it will work out and her immune system will definitely get stronger.

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  24. You have a lot of great advice here. My two cents: Take Marlowe out of the equation and decide what's best for you and your sanity (whether it be more money or more time to pursue your business endeavors). Marlowe will thrive with or without daycare; she is flexible. And she will also reap the reward of your happiness when you have peace of mind on your decision. Best of luck no matter what you choose!

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  25. The constant runny nose and illness is terrible but I've been assured by many parents that it's really only this bad the first year. I just keep telling myself that we're building up her immune system.

    We're also debating taking our child out of daycare to save money but she really loves it. Her speech has really taken off since she's started and like Marlowe, Charlie understands how to share and interact with other children. I just don't know if I'll be able to provide that for her. Another thing I keep telling myself is that in just a few years she'll be in public school and we'll be able to save more money then.

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  27. I think daycare is always a tricky beast. When we were looking at daycare (I had to go back to work) it was hard to find something we could afford. Then by sear luck we found an in home daycare. The woman who runs it is amazing! Not only is she affordable, she has been very open to our style of parenting. (cloth diapers, food options) Right now our son goes full time and I know he loves it, but as my job is changing I may be able to work different hours in the future. I am hoping to be a work from home mom, so putting him in part time instead of full time. For us right now daycare works. Little Cricket loves to see his friends and most days he whines when I go to pick him up. The germs thing are a pain though. We just all got over being sick for about a month and I'm sure all those germs didn't help. Anyways sorry for rambling on and on. Being M's momma you will always know what is best for her. Just follow your gut. ;)

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  28. I agree that your happiness can take top priority here. I know that I would not be a good mother if I was home with my son all the time, working or not. Because we spend some time apart each week (about 30 hours), the time we do have together is much more treasured, easy, and downright fun. I went through the same dilemma you are now when I realized I'd have a baby a month after starting graduate school - daycare or sitter? Or quit school and stay home? I'm so glad I realized that my baby, like most babies (such as your baby), will thrive where they feel loved. If yours feels loved at daycare (which it seems like she does), and you're happier with some dedicated work (and you) time, then it seems like daycare could be the best choice. I get that money is a factor - believe me. But I see the money I spend on daycare as an investment in my career, because I'm getting a valuable degree that will lead to a lucrative career. If your work now has the potential to turn into more lucrative work later, then the money you spend on childcare can be viewed as the same kind of investment. Take it as you will, but it sounds like you and I share the same train of thought, and my boy has been in daycare for nearly a year and a half, and I am SO glad. And he is SO happy. Good good luck. And take gentle care of yourself.

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  29. Daycare prices are ridiculous!! For us, it isn't financially feasible right now. I work from home and it can be a challenge. My daughter is 18 months so she can't quite understand that it's "mama's work time" so I often feel pulled in two directions. It IS possible though, if that is the route you decide to go. In my opinion, the most important thing is making a conscious effort to make sure you both have space to socialize. I take Iris to a play group so she can spend time with other kids and then I go to a yoga class once a week, or sometimes a movie, really just a chance to get out of the house sans babe so I feel energized to do it all again.

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  30. Hmm I see your dilemma. My two year stays home with me, no daycare, and working can be a challenge with caring for my babe and work, but to me, it's worth it. We talk about sharing, asking to do something, like use mamas ipad or write with mamas pen are things that must be asked for, so it's similar to taking a turn. My little is thrilled with the concept of sharing so far, loves offering me foods hehe. Something I keep in mind is that social time will come in abundance as my little grows, so I'm not too concerned about it now. In the Speing, we are planning to sign up for an outside the home kid focused activity of some kind just to get out of the house and give kiddo an op to socialize with little people her age. Either option obviously has its pros and cons. I really love having my kiddo home, distractions and all its such a sacred time and so shirt too.

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  31. It sounds like she likes being in daycare and it is benefiting her, so why not just take advantage of that and use the time she is gone to focus on your work which is also good for her (it keeps her environment stable, healthy, happy, etc...)...Maybe it would help you to nail down a schedule...Just to choose how many days a week you want her to go and then stick to that...then use those times when she is away and get you work done! Then you can have playtime / mom-daughter time without worrying about work. Good balance! Hope all works out :)

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  32. Hm it seems like she is benefiting from and liking daycare, so why not just keep her in and take advantage of that time to just get work done! Win-win situation. Then, when she's home you can give her more focus because you won't be multitasking with work. AND you'll probably have more time to make healthy food, clean, center yourself which will benefit you AND the little one. It seems like you have options in terms of time, so why not just pick the one that seems to work best for her...(she gets tired at noon? or likes to stay till 4:30?) then your schedule around that....Best of luck :)

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