Our First Experience with Day Care

Lucas went to daycare the other day. He hated it. I hated it.

My family and I are at a point where I’m starting to look for a part time job. This and the issues that arise around it and finding a day care for my son if needed is a entire post in itself, which I’m sure I will eventually share with you. To sum it up briefly; day care is too expensive.

Anyways, I had a job interview the other day. The day care is in the same building as where I was being interviewed, so even though I was pretty nervous, I felt better about it knowing I was just down the hall from him. I knew I would be gone 30 minutes tops, and while I didn’t think he would bounce out of there wanting to go back the next day, I thought he would be fine.

So, we walked in and I introduced myself and Lucas. It was the afternoon and during slow hours, so he was the only kid in there. I figured this might be great, the “provider” could play with him one -on-one. I wanted to stay for a few minutes so he could feel semi comfortable with this new place. I played with him and showed him the new toys, trying to distract him a bit. We found a leap frog toy that looked fun and made noise so we went to play with it, and the thing was disgustingly dirty. As in I COULD SEE DIRT. Sometimes germs are hidden, you know? Things are dirty but you can’t tell they’re actually dirty. This toy? It was disgusting! You would think if you see dirt on a toy you would, gosh I don’t know, clean it?! Apparently they are out or rags or something.

Time passed and I had to go to my interview. He wasn’t too happy with me leaving but I was hopeful that as soon as I left the lady and him would have a jolly ‘ol time playing with dirty leapfrog toys.

I come back- I was only gone about 20 minutes- and the provider is sitting down at the desk looking through a folder. She is hunched over, looking painfully bored, and holding Lucas on the side of her leg/hip with one arm. She wasn’t giving him any attention. He was looking out with big red eyes and his pacifier in his mouth. I immediately pick him up and smothered him with kisses.

And I just look at her. What are you doing? You’re just sitting here, giving him NO attention while he is starring off into space and clearly miserable and scared? This day care is full of (dirty) toys and you’re just sitting here? Do you need me to show you how to WALK AROUND AND BOUNCE UP AND DOWN? Do you need me to show you how to turn on the music on that toy so it can make my kid happy? Are you getting paid? WHY ARE YOU JUST SITTING THERE?

It seriously irritated me. (If you couldn’t tell.)

Maybe my expectations are too high, but I felt like this lady should have been holding my son differently. He should not have been held by one arm, falling off her leg and crying. She should have been playing with him or holding him with two hands. Even if he was sad, she could have been doing something to try and make him happy. For goodness sake, put in Clifford the Big Red Dog to distract him or something. Just keep him happy for twenty minutes, please!

I have worked in many child care centers, and I’m not saying I’m the best babysitter but I have dealt with sad kids before. If this were me, I would have been rocking the baby, trying to distract him with a fun book or toy, walking around with him, trying to make him laugh, showing him the birds out the window, anything. You do not put a sad child on your knee and ignore him.

Lucas won’t be visiting that day care again.

I don’t know what we’re going to do with the job and day care situation yet. A lot of things still need to be decided and worked out. I’m trying to figure out where to work and what schedule to have so that it will work the best with Lucas, so that hopefully my husband can watch him most of the time while I’m gone. We’re now also in the slow process of looking for a babysitter to come to our house and watch Lucas for date nights or potential days if needed for my work and I am so so picky about who I pick!

I’ve also briefly toured a few day care centers just to see what’s out there and I am just amazed at some of them that are in business today. Dirty, too many movies, junk food, too many children with not enough teachers… I have very high expectations for all these things. There is a Montessori preschool near our house that I think he will go to when he is older, and it looks amazing! There has always been a part of me that has wanted to open a day care center. I never have really thought out doing it beyond dreaming because I always feel like there are already so many out there.

Maybe someday I will. If I ever get that calling….

Published by Samantha Mellen

Certified personal trainer & health coach helping women transform their lives through fitness, abundant mindset coaching and internal peace. Mom of two boys, living life in Alaska.

36 thoughts on “Our First Experience with Day Care

  1. Daycares are hard. I work Monday-Thursday and my children have been in daycare since they were 6 months old.

    Finding a good one that is regulated and on a good schedule, etc. is so important. Visit as many as you have to until you have that good gut feeling. YOu can never be too careful!

    My children go to a pre-school environment type of daycare and have always from the start. I could not do the in-home daycare thing for many reasons, but that is my own personal issue. I'm sure there are GREAT ones out there!

    I hate that my kids have to go to daycare, but we don't have a choice. You are SO lucky that you have been able to stay home with Lucas up until this point!

    We also have the help of my mom 3 days a week, so we have a good variety of care for the girls.

    It's a tough decision, but when you find the right one, you will know! Good luck!

  2. I am of the midset that you get what you pay for. Especially with daycares.

    If you find one that is certified and awesome but a little more expensive, wouldn't it put your mind at ease to know he is int he best place available??

    Many times the ones that are a more preschool environment rather than a daycare have actual educated, certified teachers working there so it is not just some random lady who gets bored.

    It is good to expose your child to other adults and environments as you cannot be with the ALL THE TIME. You will find one that works for you and your family and your needs.

  3. Oh, I am so sad reading that. I hate to think of your poor little guy in there, wondering where you are, miserable, uncared for.

    I took Logan to my gym day care a number of times when he was little and I have never taken Jordan there because I don't feel like they really give the kids any attention. It's always some high school chick sitting there doing her homework while other people's kids bonk yours over the head with a toy or whatever, and the TV is ALWAYS playing some dumb video and there are a couple kids sitting there like zombies. And the toys are filthy looking. Ew.

    It's really hard not having a babysitter you trust. I know. The only person I trust to watch my kids for any real length of time is my mom and she lives 6 hours away. I have two aunts I trust to watch them for a couple hours, but that's it.


  4. You should start an in home daycare/babysitting. That way you have a job and you don't have to leave your son. Also, I know you've probably thought about this, but after paying to send him to daycare is the money you're getting from working really worth it or is it just enough to send him to daycare? I know some of them can be pretty costly.

  5. I worked in both a regular day care and a gym day care and both had lots of room for improvement. The gym one was okay if they had a good sitter working that day. I loved that job and tried to put my all into it, but most of the other girls only cared about texting and tv. The regular day care…I just didn't care for the vibe I got there. I wouldn't send my child there.

    My cousin owns a Montessori school and it is amazing. Both my brother and I went there for a few years and I really like the ways of teaching and learning that the Montessori's follow. Hers has a pre-preschool program, but kids have to be potty trained.

    I think an in home provider (either your house or their's, preferably yours) will be your best bet. Whatever you decide will work out mama, don't worry! Just keep being picky and you'll find which is best.

  6. Eliza,

    Yep, I've thought about all those things. That's what we're not sure what we're going to do yet, because after the cost of day care i would be hardly making much. I will probably work evenings or something so we don't have to do that.

    I've also considered doing an in home day care type thing… but the house we just bought is probably way too small for it.

  7. Maybe you should consider this your call? Just a thought. But if you really need a job, I'm sure you'd be good at it. You obviously wouldn't treat other people's children the way that woman treated yours.

  8. I don't know what kind of regulations there are (if any) about home day cares in regard to amount of space required, but I think you have a lot to offer! I would rather send my kids to a day care in someone's small home where I knew they would be loved and well cared for, than to send them to a large, dirty day care with people who don't care. There is no question about that!

    I'm not saying that's what you should do, but it's just a thought!

  9. I worked in a daycare for several years and in a daycare at the gym and we were always very careful to wash the toys off with bleach water. I know there are daycares out there that are not good at all, there are a few good ones. You might want to look for NAEYC accredited ones. They have specific standards that need to be met in order to be accredited. They might be a bit more pricey, but if that's the way you're going to go I would look into it. Good luck and I'll be praying for you and your family.

  10. I work full time and we struggled to find the right day care. We first started out with a center but quickly realized our little guy was just a number to them. He was so sad and lonely when we picked he up. Then, we found a great in home day care near our house. Now, most days, he enjoys it. When I pick him up, he says, “I had a good day today!”

    Hang in there. It's a process. Initially, your little guy will not like going there, no matter what. But eventually, once he gets to know the kids and sees there's lot of new toys to play with, it will work out.

  11. I am blessed to be a SAHM to my 3 year old son. I do though have someone that comes once or twice a week to my home and plays/watches my son. I am not a fan of daycares; however believe it’s GREAT for my son to have this babysitter. He is getting used to time away from me and also learning to listen to people. We are planning on putting him in a preschool/daycare twice a week in the fall, so he can have the interaction with children and adults and prepare him for school.
    My personal feeling is that when they are young like Lucas they just do better in their own environment. If you’re going to pay money anyways for someone to watch him why not spend it on a babysitter that comes to your home. There Lucas can play with his own toys, read his books, eat in his own highchair, and nap in the comfort of his own room. You will be able to go to work and feel better knowing he is happy, safe and in a clean place.
    If you have trouble finding a babysitter best bet is to ask around places like doctors’ offices, church, local colleges, friends, also if the hospital has a babysitter course they can sometimes give you names. When we found our babysitter we had her come to our home and meet us for about an hour before we ever left him. Than the first few times I was actually in our bedroom while she watched him. For me it’s a great way to become comfortable and trust the person watching my child. Now my son is always asking when his “Nina” (her name is Elaina) is coming to play.
    Whatever you decide will be the right choice for you, your husband, and Lucas.

  12. I agree with the suggestion that you consider the idea of providing childcare in your home. You won't make a ton of money, but if you factor in what childcare will cost you if you are working outside the home, you might actually clear more. It sounds like their is a need for quality care in your area.

  13. I remember leaving Jake in a gym day care for only an hour while I did an exercise class. When I returned he was was covered head to toe in marker because he'd be SUCKING on the end of it. His entire mouth was blue/green. It was disgusting.

    We never went back.

  14. Stacie,
    I was mad. I did say something but the gal just shrugged. She obviously didn't see it as a problem.

    Scattered mom,
    oh my gosh! That is awful, I'm so sorry that happened to you!!

    We are looking for someone to come to our house. I think that will be much better for all of us.

    thanks for your thoughts everyone!

  15. 1. Definitely report them!
    2. That totally broke my heart. I could see Lucas' sweet face just crying and being held by that lady.
    3. You would be AWESOME at in-home daycare, and so that is where my vote is going!

    I feel so very blessed that I have been able to stay home with sweet Addy. I don't know how I would handle it emotionally if I had to leave her with a stranger. Our families both live 5 hours away and there is no one I trust enough that lives by us. Not sure what I will do for a date night!

  16. OH!!!

    –forgot to mention this but, a lot of my sahm friends work part time at mother's day out programs. Just a thought. They bring their kiddos for free and can check on them anytime they want. Most do it a church.

  17. Poor Lucas and poor Mama! I know how hard it is to find good daycare, that's why I decided to watch a few kiddos in my home! You should really consider it, and Lucas would have a few friends to play with everyday 🙂 Too bad you don't live here anymore, I could help you out!

  18. I have an awesome neighbor with 2 little girls that I leave my kids with. Her house is as neatly messy as my own (meaning clean but with lots of toys and crayons scattered everywhere) and she is a nurse on the weekends. I love those aspects!

    Maybe look into an at-home daycare. They tend to be smaller and have actual mothers working there- not just some put-out lady.

    😦 I am sad for Lucas that he was so miserable. It shouldn't be that bad!

  19. Oh no. 😦 Poor Lucas. I would not be happy with that situation one bit either!

    I'm also in agreement about providing childcare in your home. That would be a great way to make an extra income and get to stay home with Lucas! Even just watching one or two other children could provide you with as much (or more) as a part time job. I wish you the best during this time. I know it must not be easy. ❤

  20. Hey! Haven't been around for awhile, things have been crazy at home so haven't blogged… but I wanted to comment on your post 🙂 I keep up wtih your blog cause I really enjoy it so much!

    I think I read that you have a nutrition degree, that is awesome! I don't know where you are looking or where is hiring right now, I know it can be tough getting a job right now…

    But, we have a place called Milkworks here in Nebraska that helps moms with breastfeeding. I don't know if there is a place like that in Alaska, but if so…maybe you could ask if they need a nutritionist for nursing mothers or mothers who are nursing babies with allergies (they are on the rise right now) I know that I would have really appreciated a nutritionist during my elimination diet. You could go to local ob/pedi offices and ask if they would display your card/website information.

    Maybe you could start your own business from home, for pregnant and nursing mothers nutrition (and even children's diets too) I really think there would be a lot of interest for this.

    Also, there is a program that the Sear's doctors do called L.E.A.N where you can become certified to be a L.E.A.N specialist, and I think they claim that doctors may give out your card/hire you to consult patients who are interested in the LEAN program.

    Just some ideas 🙂 I think nutrition is one of the most needed and important professions, yet seems to get little attention by doctors when it should. Can't wait to hear how God works in your life! 🙂 I know it must be so hard thinking of leaving Lucas even for a short while. Before Caleb was born I interviewed a daycare, paid the deposit, no problem…but after they are here, it's so much harder to leave them in someone else's hands. I quit my job so that I could nurse him on cue 🙂 I know eventually I'll go back, but not ready for that yet 🙂

    I will pray for you in your decisions and that God opens and closes doors for you and leads you through His will 🙂


  21. Sounds like a horrible experience! I'm so sorry you and Lucas had to go through that!!!Ugh, I DREAD the day that I will have to leave my little guy with someone else!!!

    I vote for you to start your own daycare! You would be wonderful at it! You, Lucas and the kids would all benefit from it!!!

    I wish you luck in your job hunting/daycare and babysitter hunting!!!


  22. Meg,
    Thanks so much for your comment.

    Funny that you mentioned it, but I HAVE thought about starting some sort of business in my home teaching classes about baby/pregnancy things… now you've got me thinking about it again… thanks 🙂

  23. Oh, Samantha. Ugh. I'm so sorry that was your experience. I'm blessed to be able to stay at home with my boys, but I just wanted to chime in that I *love* the Montessori thing! I worked in a Montessori classroom which cared for children ages 6 weeks through 3 years, and it was great.

  24. I would love to open a daycare in my home! However, with student loans and such its not a possibility at the moment. Here:


    This is the website for Alaska in-home childcare. Maybe this will help you decide???

    My mom runs an in-home daycare and loves it!She teached preschool. There is a 2 year old who can say all her colors in spanish, english, and sign language. Im SOOO lucky Brook goes there!!

    Hope this helps!

  25. So, I haven't read all the comments, but it sounds like several other people had the same idea I had when I read your post, “maybe you should open your own childcare service!”

    My mother did it for a while when I was young and I thought it was great – playmates came over every day. Once I was in school, but my brother and sister were still little, she only did after-school care for a while. That way it was part-time work for her, and she still got to be a full-time stay at home mom.

    Since you have worked in daycares before and obviously have a good wealth of knowledge about caring for babies and children, this seems like it could be a great fit for you!

    Good luck in whatever you choose. I am about to start doing some substitute teacher after being home with my daughter for the first 11 months of her life (except for 3 weeks of work when she was 3 months old), and I too have struggled with the idea of daycare – luckily I found a SAHM in my neighborhood who wants to make a little extra. She has a daughter the same age as my own so it seems perfect. It is still hard to leave them no matter what but it feels so much better when you feel they will be well-cared for.

  26. My early mantra when finding childcare: God cares more about my son than me. He will guide me.

    He always did. Opened doors when I put the word out that I was looking for childcare.

    My first child did great in a home daycare. He's very social and enjoys people. My second child hated every minute and she still abhors being left somewhere. But she's OK with someone coming to her house to play.

    So my son goes to preschool and a friend comes to watch my daughter for awhile. I may try a daycare for her as she approaches 2, but if it's not OK with her, I'll have someone come in to my home.

  27. I struggle every week taking my baby to daycare (thankfully, it is across the street from where I work, so I visit her at lunch every day). They are sweet people, but they simply aren't me. Too often I come over and she's sitting in a bouncer or a swing. Sometimes they are holding her, but I've NEVER seem them PLAYING with her. It breaks my heart.

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