J.M. asks from Royal Oak, MI on April 05, 2010
Continuing Daycare with First Child, While Staying Home (For Awhile) with 2Nd
I am expecting my 2nd child (a girl) in mid July. Currently my son (2 years and 4 months) attends daycare because I am a full-time working mom. He has attened daycare since he was 5 months old. I know he loves it and is learning SO much. The things he knows and says just amaze me.
My question is, come the 2nd baby, I was planning to continue to send my son to daycare 2-3 times a week. I will be returning to work in late November, so I really want to him to continue on his schedule, routine and learning. (I would love to do 3 days - Tues, Wed, and Thurs.) I know if he is staying at home with me all day, I will not be able to give him the attention that he is used to. I don't want him watching TV all day and feel that's what may happen. Also, I have a feeling if he is to stay home (full time), when I go back to work, he will have a very hard adjusting back to daycare/school. But lately I have started to feel guilty about taking him and wondering how I can get him, new baby and me out the door.
First my heart breaks right now of thinking about dropping him off, knowing that mommy and new baby are going back home. Not like we will be going home to have a party or anything. I want to be able to spend a little one-on-one time with new baby. I fear if I keep my son home, on days when the baby may need a lot of attention, my son will sit and watch TV all day. Then on days were my son needs attention, my heart breaks thinking of having to put the new baby in a swing, bouncy and just lay there. Although, I have been told time and time that it's good for babies to have downtime and just to sit and look around. But I don't want to do this everyday.
Then I start to stress that if I do take my son to daycare, how will I get him, new baby and me out of the house in a timely manner, so I am not turning around in an hour to pick him up. He goes to daycare pretty early now, but was thinking about taking him later, around 8-830am. What if it's the new baby's feeding time or nap time, do I just pick her up and put her in the car. And there's the picking up in the afternoon. I would have to do the same thing. Also, I forgot, in order to drop him off, I need to get the new baby out of the car too, well, at least the car carrier. Drag her in. Oh my just getting stressed thinking about it. Just seems like so much work, that I am almost tempted to keep him home. But is this taking the easy way out? (Also, with my husband's working hours right now (he works 10 hrs a day), it's impossible for him to drop off or pick-up.)
Any advise anyone can provide I would greatly appreciate it. I know eventually when I go back to work, I will need to do this. So maybe this is my transition/training to getting them both to school. I am just a very stressful person and worry about everything. Thanks!!!
So What Happened?™
I wanted to thank EVERYONE for their advice. Got some very good advice, thoughts and encouragement. I really do appreciate it. I have decided to keep my son in daycare when the new baby comes home. Most everyone agreed (and me too), this was the best for all. I am going to start out 2 days a week for August and then increase to 3 days for Sept - Nov., then they both kids will be going fulltime in Dec. I am planning to have some help in Aug. (family), so I am hoping I can get him off to school for a couple days, even if it's for a shorten period. So we'll see how it goes. Thanks again.
G.K. answers from Detroit on April 07, 2010
Keep sending him! I'm a SAHM and I send my son twice a week to daycare and he loves it. We have a 6 week old baby and he loves going to have his "own time." I actually went to the pediatrician today and he said to keep sending him their b/c it gives him some kind of stability while he is getting adjusted to the new addition.
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M.C. answers from Nashville on April 05, 2010
No worries! It will all become your new normal in no time! But, I know it seems really stressful when you're thinking about all of it in your head and trying to figure it all out. =0) I would definitely still send him to daycare. It will be very important for big brother to keep his same big boy routine. Second babies are SO much easier. It really won't be as big of a deal as you think. Once you get through your first day of dropping off and picking up, you'll be like, "oh my gosh! I can't believe I stressed over this so much!" =0) It's always something when you have two kids...... with me, I worried about how I was going to get my daugher to kindergarten, my son to daycare and me to work all before 7am! LOL I worried and worried about having the kids in two different places once my daughter graduated from the daycare, but now............it's SO not a big deal!! It became our new normal and everything works out great. =0) So, my point is that things never stay the same. They are always changing as life goes on. They seem really stressful and scary, but in reality......they are just never as difficult as we make them out to be in our heads!!! =0) Good luck with your new addition and congratulations!!! It will all be JUST FINE!
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S.H. answers from St. Louis on April 05, 2010
Good grief....it's time to take a deep breath & relax! Yes, keep your son in daycare. Do NOT feel guilt over this! He needs the routine, structure, & release of energy that comes with daycare. If he stays home, he will be a handful!.....& will have trouble transitioning back into a routine when he returns to school.
Be thankful that you have the financial ability to do this. & once you do it a few times, then it'll come much easier to get those children out the door. It's all about adaptablity....if it's feeding time, then the daycare delivery waits!
Another option would be....what about having a neighbor come over & sit with the baby while you run to the daycare. OR what about carpooling with another family for delivering your son to daycare. These are viable options!
Good Luck on a speedy & safe delivery!
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V.B. answers from Houston on April 05, 2010
Ok...first of all, take a DEEP BREATH! I think your idea is a very good one. If you are planning to go back to work, then keeping your son in his class and on somewhat of the same schedule is perfect. It will also make the transition to 2 children a little easier for you. My son was born in the summer (first week that school got out), so my daughter, who was in preschool, was home with me full time instead of me having a couple of days per week for just me and the baby. I can tell you that I wished I had that time, so don't feel like you're cheating anyone. Your son loves his school and it will be great for you too!
As for how to do this, just go with the flow. It doesn't have to be a rush to get him out of the house (at least while you're still staying home with the baby). If it's time for a feeding, then feed the baby and then go. Does the daycare require that he show up at a certain time?? If not, then just be a little bit relaxed about the schedule (this is a learned behavior. I am a VERY organized person...almost to a fault, and I've learned by having 2 kids that you just can't control everything) and take him when you're ready...no rush. Same goes for picking him up. As long as you get there before they close, no worries! You will have to get the baby out of the car, so I recommend getting a "snap and go" stroller frame to put the baby's infant seat into. It's like a stroller, but is just the frame with wheels. You snap the infant carrier into it and you're on your way! Very easy and lightweight to get in and out of the car. This should make it pretty hassle-free to get your son dropped off.
My biggest advice would be to try not to worry so much. You could worry yourself to death with 2 kiddos to be thinking about non-stop! I am speaking from experience when I say that sometimes you just have to remember that God is in control and let go of the little things (the big things too, actually, but that is so much harder!). I'll just tell you that I have breast cancer and I have a 4 year old and a 22 month old and I couldn't possibly muster up the energy to worry about the little things anymore. I had to learn through experience. I am a SAHM, but have not been able to care for my youngest for the past several months, so he has been going to daycare. This has been SO hard for me and I felt horribly guilty since he has never been in daycare before, but he LOVES it there and there is no way that I could entertain him at home like they do there since I'm having chemotherapy and I'm tired a lot. It's the best thing for him right now, but it took awhile for me to understand that. So, just try to relax and do what you feel is best for your family. This time goes by so fast that I would hate to see you spend it worrying so much! Enjoy your pregnancy, enjoy your new little bundle when he/she gets here and let your son enjoy his friends at school. Good luck and congratulations!! :-)
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C.S. answers from Miami on April 05, 2010
My son is older than yours but I am also expecting #2 (in August) and plan to keep him in school. I took 6 months off with my son and will take about 5 with #2. I wish I could do 3 days a week but in order to reduce the cost of my daycare while I am at home, my only choice at his current school - which I love - is to do 5 mornings a week. He will begin on a set date in August (the school he attends has an official "first day of school" just like elementary school) with the 5 days / week. When we have the baby, my parents will be here and will take him and pick him up. Afterwards, I will have to get my son and #2 out the door to get there on time and pick up on time. You will be able to do it because you will have no choice.
You will find a routine with feeding and if baby has a messy diaper right as you need to leave, baby might sit in it. Part of having more than one means that each child will sometimes have to wait while the other one is attended to...so be it.
I really agree that keeping your son in school is a great idea - it will give him chances to socialize, have his own routine, etc. You may find that his misses school when he is home.
Good luck and don't worry about what hasn't happened yet - take everything day by day. C.
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J.H. answers from Detroit on April 05, 2010
I just went through this same EXACT thing last year! My daughter turned 3 only weeks after my son was born last July. I work full-time and knew that I had to return to full time work when my son turned 12 weeks old.
I decided to continue taking my daughter to school. This was after A LOT of agonizing (just like you). I spoke with her "teacher" at school and the teacher said that, in her experience, older siblings who continue on their normal schedules (i.e. going to school) seem to adjust better. She sees a lot of kids getting new siblings as she "teaches" all 2-3 year olds so I took her advice sincerely. She said that the older sibling's life is already thrown for a loop simply by the introduction of a younger brother or sister that it's best to keep all other aspects of their daily routine as normal as possible. She said that the kids she's seen that take 12 weeks off of daycare to stay home with their mother and new sibling absolutely lose it when they have to return to daycare when mom does return to work.
Believe me, I know the stress. My MIL hated the idea that I was going to take my older daughter to daycare while I was home with my new son which made my decision all the more difficult. But in the end, I honestly believe it was the best choice for me.
When it was time to start taking my daughter to school after my son was born, she didn't seem to mind. I'm thinking she liked it most days because she was able to get more attention at school then she could at home. I was highly aware of paying much attention to her after her brother was born but when you are breastfeeding a newborn, there are certain times that the 3 year old just can't be the center of attention. On the few days when she asked why she was giong to school but the baby was staying home, I just explained that the baby was too young to go to school but in a few weeks, he would start going to school just like her. And then I would ask her if she would show him to his room when he started school and she felt very important. She seemed totally fine with this explanation (and it was the truth). And I just explained to her that all the baby was doing was eating and sleeping (trying to show her that it wouldn't be much fun to be at home with us - which is true).
As for getting both of them out the door in the morning to get her to school, I totally stressed about that too. But I just let things flow and it worked out. I would let my daughter wake up at her normal time. Then I'd help her get ready and wash my own face and put on some clothes. I just did the baby's morning feeding whenever it needed to happen (making sure I fed him at least a little before heading out so that the newborn didn't have a meltdown while at my daughter's school). If the baby decided he needed ot eat right before we walked out the door, I simply made my daughter breakfast so that she could eat while the baby did (she normally eats breakfast at school). I looked at it as "practice" for when I had to go back to work - and it really did help me adjust back into work.
Just try to take some deep breaths and let things happen naturally. The nice thing is that you're able to ease into this without the stress of having to get to work yourself :) My husband also worked a schedule where he was virtually never able to drop off and seldom able to pick up. So I was doing both like you will be.
Once the baby gets a bit older and you both adjust, you can try to keep your son home from school maybe to do a fun trip to the zoo one day. The nice thing about having a newborn in the summer is that they sleep well in a stroller and then you can just stop walking around the zoo to feed the newborn when need be. Then your son will feel like he's having a very special day (missing school AND going to the zoo!)
I truly feel that our kids watch how we react to situations and base their own reactions on how we are reacting. So I think it's best just to try to let things flow and limit your stress. This should help your son limit his own stress. I know that's a lot easier said than done but you will get through this! I know from experience :)
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A.F. answers from Chicago on April 06, 2010
You can do it. It isn't as bad as you think -- I did it after a c-section. I would generally unhook my older kiddo because the 5 point restraints take 2 hands, close the door, go get the baby carrier out, then come back and grab my daughter's hand and walk in with both -- my daughter was younger than your son (my kids are 15.5 mos apart). It sounds worse than it is. You will get used to it and develop a feeding schedule that works. If it happens to be pick up time during the baby girl's nap, then you hope she goes back to sleep in the car on the way home. Be a bit flexible about it when you can. I am a big proponent of Weissbluth so I am not a totally loose-goose mommy either. Eventually I took both my kiddos out of daycare and got an au pair to increase flexibility of childcare options and less illnesses for the kids. Our au pair is awesome and runs the kids to toddler classes all the time and my almost 3 yr old is starting preschool 3 full days in the fall in addition to the at home time. It was so great, I decided to become a local coordinator for fun :) (still work full time as an attorney).
Best wishes to you and your family on your impending bundle of joy!
Local Childcare Coordinator
Cultural Care Au Pair
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B.H. answers from Detroit on April 05, 2010
I'm also a working mom. I was on maternity leave for about six months when 2nd son was born. My son went to daycare for the first time 3 months after. At the time he about 2 years old. I did not plan on sending him to daycare until around early December when I returned to work.
It was a good thing that I sent him before I started work because he hard time adjusting. It took a few months for him to get into the routine of daycare. I felt better being at home and available if I had to go and pick him up or things just were not working out. I was lucky enought to find a daycare center very close to home. I believe that it's best to have one near my house v.s. near my work because it's much more convenient. By the time I retuned to work he was fine with daycare.
If your son is going to be in daycare anyway it's probably best that he continue going. That way his routine is not interrupted.
Sorry I don't have much advice on getting both kids out of the house. My kids are 5 and 3 and I think that as they get older it becomes more difficult. My 5 year old started public school and the schedules for school does not mix well with our work schedules so we have finding before school and after school latch key programs. My son ended up returning to the daycare where he started for latch key. The school bus picks him up there and drops him off at home.
Good luck and congrats on the new baby!
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M.W. answers from St. Cloud on April 05, 2010
I did daycare for 5 years. My friend, who brought her kids to me, still brought the older one (about 2 or 2 1/2) part time when she had the second. Sometimes it would be 2 days a week, sometimes 3. Whatever worked best for her. And we were lax on drop off times. She came between 8 and 9, whenever they were ready. She only lived about 2 miles away from me so it didn't take long. She would give me an idea of pick-up time when she dropped him off. That also varied depending on the day and if her husband would pick him up.
And MOST of the time, at drop off, she'd just leave the baby in the car right by the front door. Drop off takes less than a minute and she didn't even have to come inside the house if she didn't want to. For pick-up, she'd bring the baby in so she could stay for a few minutes and find out about the older ones' day. If it was going to be a quick pick-up, she'd leave the baby in the car then too. HOWEVER, we had no neighbors and a decent sized drive way so it was very safe to do this!
I agree with putting the baby in a front carrier or sling if you think you'll be a little while when dropping off or picking up. That way you'll have free hands to grab your older childs items and his hand.
At least for the first couple weeks, you may want to keep his schdule the same with daycare. BUT then I would lean more towards keeping him home with you more. It will be nice out and you can do all sorts of things outside with him (and baby)! You can wear the baby while you play with your toddler. Or at least give your older one an option some days. Perhaps he'll WANT to go to daycare........ If you find yourself using the tv too much, definitely send him to daycare. Him sitting in front of the tv is not quality time with you and his new sister...........
It's really not that hard. You'll get the hang of it quickly.
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