Daycare Is Bad, Preschool Is Good. Do I Have This Right?

Linda Sharps
Healthy Living
44

Hey, remember when I posted a silly entry about some of the foods my kids eat and a couple people were all, OMFG U R CONTRIBUTING TO THE OBESITY EPIDEMICK!!?

Actually, there's no reason why you SHOULD remember that, but I still think of the Waffle Police every now and then, primarily because my children consume at least two waffles a day. Each. And not the home-cooked kind with flax seed and whole wheat, either. No, these are Krusteaz frozen waffles made by uncaring factory robots and the very first ingredient is ENRICHED BLEACHED FLOUR.

*cue bloodcurdling horse whinny*

Anyway, not all of us see fit to criticize each other's parenting choices, but you can always count on a vocal few to do so, can't you? I think as a parent you almost have to appreciate the dickheaded honesty of someone that comes right out and tells you that UR DOING IT WRONG, because it's somehow even more obnoxious to see someone struggle with wanting to go there ... but not quite daring.

For instance, I have encountered many Disbelieving Raised Eyebrows when people ask me when I'm going to send my 3-year-old to preschool and I say I currently have no plans for doing so. "Really," they say, in the sort of tone you'd use to reply to someone's confession that they're thinking of taking their toddler freestyle rock climbing in Yosemite. "Huh."


I could explain my reasons why—the expense, the belief he can get the same education and benefits at home, the fact that I'm not married to this choice so if it seems like he's pining for socialization, we can always re-evaluate—but it shouldn't matter, should it? And yet it does. People get mighty weird and opinionated about this subject. Sort of like waffles.


That doesn't really bug me, but the thing I find interesting is that
when I was essentially sending my children to an all-day preschool, AKA daycare, that earned plenty of raised eyebrows too.

I mean, really. Let's break down the differences:


DAYCARE (the type of center my kids went to, anyway)


• Group time

• Sensory activities
• Outdoor play
• Crafts
• Art projects
• Letters and phonics
• Story time
• Boo-boo kissing, tender care, gentle discipline, etc


PRESCHOOL


• Same shit, only it's part-time so that makes it SCHOOL as opposed to FAKE-ASS PARENTING


All I'm saying is, where were these disbelieving OMG You Aren't Giving Your Preshus Child a Head Start On His Education? people when I was working outside of the home? Because back then, the doing-it-wrong party line was OMG Why Did You Have a Kid if You're Just Going to Have Someone Else Raise Him?


From my perspective, I think the whole system is skewed. Infants, who are insanely difficult and exhausting to take care of, you're supposed be around every second of every single day; otherwise, you're a crappy mom. Preschoolers, who can admittedly be raging assholes sometimes but are generally really awesome and fun, are supposed to be shipped off to some sort of school system as soon as humanly possible; otherwise, they're destined for a career that involves asking people if they want to Biggie-size their order, which, hello, will totally be your fault for being a crappy mom.


Daycare or not, preschool or not, private or public or homeschool or whatever, boy do we ever need to give each other a break. Of course, as long as there are options to choose from, there will be people who won't be happy unless we're making the exact same choices they are.

What can we do but ignore the noise and try to have faith in ourselves as we muddle along—snacking on waffles as we go, even.

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