Friday, August 6, 2010

I totally lost it tonight.

Tonight was a meeting at the day care. We were presented with a new schedule structure. Apparently, the current schedule is not working for the day care in their staffing needs.

For those of you unfamiliar, almost every state has mandated ratios for child-to- care provider. At Boy's age (pre-2) There must be one provider for every 4 children. The states are very strict about these ratios. The fees we pay aren't enough to keep an extra provider on in the case that our child isn't there: so its not good enough to pay for a SLOT for your child, and then bring them in whenever you want and take them out whenever you want. If not enough kids show to justify a provider, the minimum-wage-earning provider should be sent home to save the day care the labor costs.

Or so I've been explained. Over and over again.

Now we have the following options.

1. We can pay for an 11 hour day. If we choose this option, the child MUST be at the day care at 7:30am. Period.

2. We can choose an 8.5 hour day. We can choose from 7-3:30, 8-4:30, or 9-5:30.

It's my impression that I must choose a schedule for the entire school year, same schedule everyday. I could be wrong about that.

1. Getting Boy into daycare everyday at 7:30a completely sleep-deprived due to a breastfeeding newborn in the house is simply not feasible. Can't do it.

2. In the spring, when I go back to full time teaching, I have 9:00 classes MW, hence must have Boy to day care in time to turn the computer on and load the materials (8:40 latest). So those days I need the 8:00-4:30 or 7-3:30 slot. BUT I also teach a lab on Thursday that ends at 5:15p. On that day, I'd need the 9-5:30 slot. My teaching schedule does not fit into any of the 8.5 hour slots through the week. And that's just the time I actually have to stand in front of a class. Never mind prep, office hours, and meetings.

[I really don't think the director thought this through- its a small town, but even if you work a strict 8 hour day (you know, like they do at slaughterhouses), you would have to be able to get between the day care and work in just 15 minutes.]

Add to that the requirement that our TWO YEAR OLD must wear a uniform starting in two weeks.

Add to that realizing that breastfeeding is going to be extremely challenging in the spring due to 9-3 straight lab day on Tuesdays, and 10-5:15 straight lab day on Thursday.

Once at home, I started to sniffle, then cry, then wail: "I thought I could do it, I THOUGHT I could be a Mom. I thought I could manage a career and a family, even with lower expectation of both". *Wail, wail, moan, cry, sniffle, WAIL, WAIL*.

Great. SO hub's reaction- twofold- He intones that its all his fault for not being home, that I wouldn't have to do this if it weren't for him being gone. That and he blames the wailing on pregnancy hormones. I assure you that even though yes, my hormones are totally whacked, I sincerely feel trapped by this damned day care restriction.

We could hire out the "pickup" on Thursday afternoons to a babysitter. But we'd better find one that is EXTREMELY reliable.

And yes, we can go about changing day cares, and that's exactly what we'll do if a reasonable discussion with the director yields no leeway. This is the closest day care, and Boy has been there for half of his life. He is attached to the providers and his little classmates. Changing will uproot Boy's stability, and getting to another day care to breastfeed in the middle of a workday will become even more challenging.

So, I talked to another Mommy prof via chat, and brainstormed with my husband. Now to drown my sorrows in ice cream...


  1. Oh my gosh. That sucks on so many levels. The fact you can't pay for the 11 hour day and just not use the spot until later in the morning is crazy. The uniform thing too.. Wow!

    I'm sorry. I hope you can find some sort of solution. I completely understand how hard it is, and how helpless and frustrated you feel.

    Enjoy the ice cream!

  2. I hear you. It's so important to have daycare you and your kids like. It makes going to work possible/good. Ice cream and crying are OK responses to this distress. You seem resourceful and tenacious-- keep exploring all options. Ask all moms you know for advice. We ended up finding infant care from a home provider 4 days before I had to start teaching (friend of a friend of a friend). But older one stayed in 9 to 5 daycare... even though we weren't thrilled with the teachers there. I pumped when I could, and let the rest go. I'm not sure, but I bet you all be OK.

  3. Holy cow.

    The *most* bizarre part of this is the 'must be there at 7.30' if you pay for the extended day. That is just ludicrous. Send 'em a doll and ask them to treat it like your child during any hours of absence... Sorry.

  4. I thought it was illegal or something to keep the child in any type of daycare for more than 9 hours 45 minutes (my state mandates that throughout)?

    I tried breastfeeding midday, never worked. I swear by Medela pump.

    I just want to tell you that baby and Boy will do great, although you feel like crap now. These changes will likely be very easy on Boy, way easier than on you, and the baby will take it all in stride. I am sure you are doing a great job as mom, and never forget kids are way more easy going and adaptable than we ever give them credit for.

    Good luck!

  5. Why does your son need to be at daycare at 7:30 if you choose that slot? You'd think they'd be happy (less work for them) if you are paying for something you aren't using. We've always paid for the longest time possible (when we've been at centers that have that policy) to give us flexibility in our arrival time.

    My biggest gripe when I hear about day care centers that expect parents to bend to their schedule is that they have it backwards--they are providing a service that the parents are paying for--not the other way around.

    You've already posted about their strangeness regarding your being a 'teacher' and giving you one day to bring your son during the summer. Between that situation and this one, it would definitely make me be looking for a center that has a more parent-oriented philosophy.

  6. GMP--

    My state has many centers that are open 6:30 or 7 until 6 PM. In those centers, you can send your child for the entire time they are open, if you want. For any parent who has an hour commute each way, a 9 3/4 hour restriction could be problematic, no?

  7. Anon at 1:04 PM, I totally agree it's problematic. I think it's some kind of daycare licensing rule in my state (maybe the city licensing requirements, which are supposed to be more stringent), I'm not saying it's OK or that I really know what it's about. My center is open too from 7 till 5:45, but you can only keep the kid for 9.75 hours in there. For instance, I am always among the last ones to pick up my kid at 5:45, and the few times I had to drop him off before 8 I always had to pay extra and fill out some extra paperwork. There are people who drop off their kids at 7 but must be there by 4:45... This held uniformly for different daycare centers as well as for daycamps for my school-aged kid. (I suppose I should really know more details as to what really the rule stands for...) The state where I lived before didn't have this type of cutoff.

  8. You can do it and you can do both. Just not with daycares that have dumb rules. This doesn't even make sense. Why can't you pay for a time slot and just come a bit late? Or maybe this goes with the uniform rule - that you can't be tardy to your 7:30 time slot?

  9. Is this daycare or bootcamp. I'm assuming these folks are going to be loosing some business. The daycare a lot of folks at my remote uni use is a flexible 7:30-8:30am drop off and pick up by 6:00-6:30pm.

  10. Reading this makes me understand why my mom put us in a co-op with some other families who lived nearby. They juggled everyone's schedules around to deal with variability and somehow made it work. And it was essentially free. Secretly, I think my mom always wanted to be a hippie. This and one photo (of my mom in a bikini) are pretty much the the only evidence I have of our proximity to being actual hippies.

  11. Are you off having a baby? It's been awhile since you've posted.

    Just wonderin'.