What am I still doing in Cancun?

The adventures of an American single mommy working and playing in paradise.

The Daycare Dilemma

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     My baby is back in daycare today. He hasn’t been there since the morning of August 5, the day we travelled to the U.S. to visit my mom. Last week the daycare was closed (yeah, thanks for letting me know so that I could plan my trip accordingly) so Papi and I took turns staying home with him. Papi had never taken care of him alllll day, and last week he did it on Mon, Wed, and Fri! He also had him Tue and Thurs mornings. Great job Daddy!

   One good thing about Mexico, daycare is cheap! I pay the equivalent of 150 Dollars a month for M-F, 5 hours a day. I believe M-F all day and Saturday mornings would probably cost you about 300 Dollars. Doesn’t daycare in the U.S. cost at least that per WEEK? The lady that cleans at our house (another one of the good things about living in Mexico, very affordable domestic help) recently informed me that if I have seguro social (literally translates to social security but here means public healthcare) I can send him to a state daycare facility for free! I think I’ll pass on that for now but nice to know.

     I was really worried about finding a guardaria (I love the name…kinda translates to “place to put or keep something”) or a daycare center. How would I ever know if it were a good, safe one? If the people were caring and would give him enough attention and keep him safe? I am a terrible judge of character, then add in the cultural differences and I am just hopeless. Luckily, a friend of a friend (she’s now my friend as well) moved down here to work for a few months and her daughter attended Colegio del Mar and loved it. In addition, I got lucky and another friend of mine researched all of the options in our area and found Colegio del Mar to be the best option for babies. Her baby was born a couple of months before mine so her daughter had been going there for a while when my baby boy was going to start, and since she had also had a positive experience with the place, I felt relatively good about taking him there.

     It was really hard to hand him off the first day! If my friend’s baby girl hadn’t been going there I don’t think I could have done it. I must admit, once I went back to work I did feel more like myself again, but I also felt guilty about that, and about the times I enjoyed (or at least felt relieved) being away from him.

     He has never cried when I have left him there. He really seems to like it there and sometimes he doesn’t want to leave the director’s arms when I pick him up. In a mother’s heart of hearts, that really hurts, but in my head I know that this means that he is loved and well taken care of there, and that is what’s important.

     Although my bebe has a sister, she is much older and lives in Cuba. Here in Mexico he is an only child, so I do think it’s very important that he socializes and plays with other babies and children. I am also fiercely independent (um, moved to Mexico alone…ok, well, with my cat) and I wish that for him as well and I think that going to daycare could possibly encourage that in him.

     However, I ask myself, is he too little? Was 3 months too young to be away from Mommy for 8 hours a day? (Papi takes care of him in the morning, I go home for lunch and then on my way back to work I drop him at daycare) Is he being affected in some dark, profound way?

     The truth is, I have to work (and I am talking about for dinero and not personal satisfaction) and if I had waited to have a baby until I could stay home with one, I never would have had one at all, and that was never an option for me. I have wanted to be a mother for as long as I can remember.

     Being a parent can be so difficult. If you thought about all of the things that could happen to your precious child, you might drive yourself crazy.

     I hope I am doing a good job. I hope they are doing a good job.

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