I also think about how different my kids' lives would be going to daycare every day. We all know some daycare centers are awesome. The staff truly adores the kids, nurtures their creativity and curiosity and provides a wonderful learning environment. These are usually the centers that would cost me over $500 a week for two kids and make me live on Ramen noodles until 2037.
Then there are some, shall we say, "not-up-to-par" daycare centers that may be affordable, but may not give my children what I hope to give them. I'd be wracked with guilt and spend all my free money on wildly unnecessary things for the kids trying to make up for their non-utopian daycare experiences. I'd be so broke I'd have to eat Ramen noodles for breakfast, lunch and dinner until 2047.
I know, though, that most daycare centers do a good job and are relatively affordable. My kids would get some great experiences, I wouldn't be completely broke, and my whole family would still be happy and healthy.
However, the fact is that Derek and I are able to take care of the kids ourselves with help just one day a week. But that one day that we both have to work is a joy in so many ways.
I'm happy to get some adult time, adult conversations, and continue working a job that I really do love.
I also love that our kids get some time with someone other than their daddies. I do think it is good to expose them to new people. We have some sitters who have come just once and some who come from time to time. All four grandparents, Bethany, Heather, Nannette, Michelle, Susan, Liz, Kirsten, Monica, Lisa, and Kara (I hope I didn't miss anyone?) have been great with the kids.
Of course I also have to mention our regular sitter, Buddy, who is such a blessing. She started sitting for us when the kids were about three months old and has helped our boys learn, grow, and develop. She holds them when they're sick, helps them learn right from wrong if they misbehave, feeds them, plays with them, takes them out for walks in the stroller, and does everything I could ever want for them. She is willing to help us out if we need her at different times. She cares for the boys the way you want someone to care for your children. You can see there really is a genuine love between them. Derek and I are lucky to have her.
Buddy is an up-and-coming artist who is starting to get more and more work painting. I took a drawing class in college and was horrible so I'm glad someone can give these kids some visual arts skills. A month ago Buddy got the same results from Aaron I did when she tried to get him to draw (he tried to eat the crayons) she got Jeff to actually hold a crayon and color.
Just like our surrogate who has become a part of our family and holds a special place in our hearts, we are grateful for Buddy who is a special part of our family as well.