Today, we are saying goodbye to Em’s very first teacher, Ms. Ani. My heart is so heavy with sadness but excited for Ms. Ani’s next adventure in life! You see, Ms. Ani was Em’s first teacher figure. Em was at home with her nanny for the first 18 months of her life. We decided to make the transition to a Montessori School when she turned 18 months old for social development. She was also super eager to learn, we thought she was ready to fly. Me of course, was a complete mess. But I knew as soon as I met Ms. Ani during the initial school visit, she was the one. She had the warmest, loving face. And let’s be honest, at 18 months old, I was more concerned about having someone who would love and nurture Em. Although my anxiety was through the roof with sending her to full time school, 5 days a week, Ms. Ani made me feel more at ease. You could see in her eyes, the way she looks at children and Em, how much she genuinely cares for them. It truly is a gift to care for multiple toddlers with unconditional love. So, I am an emotional mess today, I’m sure I will ugly cry at pick-up. But I am grateful that Ms. Ani was a huge part of Em’s early education and we will forever remember and miss her!
As full-time working parents, one of our highest priorities was finding a suitable care provider for Em. Knowing that three months after giving birth, we had to hand her over to someone else’s care gave me so much anxiety. Don’t get me wrong, I am proud to be a working mom. I love being able to contribute to our family and studies have shown that being raised by a working mom has a lot of benefits, especially for daughters. However, this mom guilt of not physically caring for my child 24/7 took a permanent space in my heart. And whenever this mom guilt creeps over me, I try to focus on the positives of Em going to full time school at an early age.
- Increase in social development
- Fosters independence <- this was the biggest one we noticed
- Leading by good examples
- Provides daily structures
- Increase in communication/listening skills
Above were some of the positives among many others we saw immediately when Em started her Montessori School. So if you are like me, struggling with mom guilt of sending your child to an off-site care provider, remember the positives and the wonders it can do for your child! Also, Below are five personal tips that may help you when searching for the right child care provider.
- Research, research, research! Look at the reviews, sanitation scores, provider’s history – I even looked up teachers on social media! This was the most time consuming part alongside doing visits and interviews. But it is so critical to do your due diligence!
- When you know, you just know. After visiting few different schools and meeting the directors and teachers, when I found Em’s school, I just knew. Explained further in the next point.
- Go with your gut feeling – mother’s instincts are always right! This is a no-brainer, but as I mentioned above, when you find something right, you just know! And it goes both ways, I visited a school that was fine on paper and the visit was above average too, but I had this inkling feeling, I just didn’t love it. So I kept looking – don’t settle, go with your mama gut!
- Meet everyone, don’t skimp out on multiple interviews/appointments/school visits.
- Listen to your child. Sure, there will be a transitional period. It took Em two and a half weeks to stop crying at drop-off. But her cries didn’t last more than a few minutes. It’s so critical to be in tune with your child’s feelings and behaviors. Do they always seem disgruntled at school? Did their personality negatively changed since starting school? Like I mentioned above in point #3, mother’s instincts are always right, and you will know if something doesn’t feel right. Listen to your child first before anyone else.
And remember, it’s always harder on us, as moms, than your child!