“Problems cannot be solved at the same level of awareness that created them.” – Albert Einstein

There are so few no-brainer decisions in this life.

Throw maternal angst in the mix and it is quite shocking that we don’t turn into gibbering idiots every time we have to choose between diaper brands.  Then make it about a residual-guilt-issue like daycare, and boy, howdy.

There is very little chance that I can be a stay-at-home Mom.  I make far, far too much money.  Twice my husband’s salary, in fact.  If a stay-at-home decision has to be made, it’s Kris’s career that takes the bullet.  We did that until Harry was over 18 months old, and we were both very happy with that decision.  But some economic realities started to creep in.  When you have kids at my age you get both retirement and college savings warring for the same dwindling pool of expendable cash.  Folks, if I have serious security issues, they are financial.  There are some pretty good reasons for this.  I grew up poor, and through a series of bad financial decisions, my parents are likely to be dependent on one of their offspring (likely THIS particular offspring), in their old age.  I alternately help support my parents and one of my siblings.  What can you do?  It’s family.

The unfortunate tradeoff for the financial security is that my son is in daycare five days a week since Kris started full-time employment.  Interviewing daycare centers is an agonizing process.  You feel like you are choosing surrogate mommies, and then there’s curriculum.  CURRICULUM.  At TWO YEARS OLD.  My curriculum at two rarely proceeded beyond blocks and playdough and I turned out okay.  But preschool training is becoming an almost integral part of the American educational reality. 

When we first interviewed daycare centers, our first choice was the Church-based child development center at what is now our current Church.  It was no surprise that there was a waiting list that stretched into years.  We signed Harry onto the waiting list and immediately put it aside and proceeded on with reality.  After touring one completely unacceptable facility (I swear they had children hanging out of closets and off of ceiling fans, and every single child was POURING snot), we settled on our current daycare.  It was a respected national chain, the standards were good, but the facilities were a bit worn, and the staff was in transition (which accounted for the lack of a waiting list).  Harry was one of the first kids to start under the new management.  But it had the advantage of being two blocks from my work – maximum oversight on my part, and, well, it was available.

It has turned out to be a pretty good choice.  The teachers have been quite nice, and they have allowed flexibility to my occasionally erratic schedule.  There have been increasing improvements to the facility and stability in the staff.  Harry’s adjustment was not seamless, but he is generally cheerful at dropoff and at pickup.  We have settled into a workable rhythm of life.

And then God said “Hah!”

The Church called.  They have an opening, have we made other arrangements or are we still interested?

Uh. Um. Oh, boy. 

I have to let them know by tomorrow.  They have a waiting list.  I understand. 

So, now I am in the conundrum I avoided in the beginning.  Harry’s current daycare is:

  1. Familiar
  2. Convenient
  3. Flexible

But expensive, and still a bit worn and crowded.

The Church center is:

  1. Cheaper
  2. Newer
  3. Has a better curriculum and a little bit of morality wouldn’t hurt him.

But it is also a few miles across town from our house – 20 miles from where I work.  Which means more actual time in daycare for Harry, putting him further away from me if there is an emergency.  It will require a shift in our schedules and I will have to actually become a (gasp!) morning person.  No more early morning Harry-sessions, but more time in the evening together.

They never said parenthood would be easy.  But I don’t think there was full disclosure on the hard parts.

This is a surprisingly hard part.

May 30th, 2007 at 10:57 am
3 Responses to “Decisions, decisions…”
  1. 1
    jodi Says:

    Oh these decisions are so hard. We are currently struggling when to move our two year old from a home based daycare we love to a preschool b/c he “must” go to real school before kindergarten.

    My answer, go with your gut. I don’t think it ever steers you wrong. Not listening to my gut is when I always make mistakes.

  2. 2
    OS Says:

    I second the trust your gut answer. And I know exactly how hard it is. I just changed Puppy to a center that is 6 miles out of town on the opposite side of town. I no longer have that 5 minute commute, but he is so happy now. But there’s no doubt in my mind that you’ll make the right choice. You’re the mother I look up to most out of all of us.

  3. 3
    maggie Says:

    Go with your gut. And where does your husband work in relation to all this?