Dear Dr. Laura,
I started listening to you just after I had had my first baby 13 years ago. I was married and finishing up my degree, and I needed to complete a year internship after I graduated in order to be registered in my field of study. I chose not to apply for an internship because it would have required me to put my son in daycare. I also knew that once I finished the internship, I would feel an obligation to continue working, and thus continue with daycare.
I did not, at that time, have a fully formed opinion of daycare. However, I had worked at a daycare as a cook for a summer, and I knew enough to know I wanted better for my son.
One day while working in the kitchen of the daycare, I saw one mother bring in and drop off her 2 and 4-year-old boys. As she left, she stopped at the main office (right next to the kitchen), to talk briefly with the Director. This mother was excited because she had a day off work as a psychologist, and she was going to go home and watch some movies. I was shocked that she would not want to spend her day off with her children!
As I thought further on my experiences as a babysitter, nanny, and in the daycare field, I also came to another conclusion. The people who care for your children may be kind and loving, but they have no long-term investment in the success and development of your child. Their investment is short-term, and ends with the termination of their employment, or the end of their shift. They may think of your child, and love your child after that, but they can never take the place of an actual parent. And yet, parents send their children off to spend the majority of their day with people who have no long-term investment, at a place that is not home.
This is what I know Dr. Laura and thank you for helping me decide who I wanted to be as a parent, and why. Thirteen years later, with five kids, a happy home and the same man at my side, I am grateful for the choices I have made. One day, when the kids are grown, I would like to go back to school and pick up where I left off. But in the meantime, I know that I was never missed in that career field. Others stepped in and got the job done. But no one can step in for a mother.