If you had asked me three months ago if Mother’s Day Out (MDO) is worth it, I would have strongly hesitated before answering. We have our battles. For one, my daughter is now a human petri dish, bringing home essentially every illness known to mankind, to her, myself and of course, her newborn brother. Secondly, my daughter struggled with immense on separation anxiety and I could not quite figure out why I was spending money torturing her. Third, the amount of time I spent actually getting my daughter ready for school, dropping her off, picking her up, especially when trying to tote around a newborn, left me questioning if MDO was a time sucker or time saver? Lastly, I questioned the costs. MDO is not exactly cheap, but no childcare is. So ask me again, is MDO really worth it? YES. YES. AND did I mention YES!!!!
Here is why… Whether MDO is part of your full-time childcare regimen, whether it covers your part time work hours, whether it allows for the development of a hobby, or if you just need a break to get stuff done, MDO is not only an amazing experience for my daughter, but for me as well. I am not saying that this is the only way, I am simply saying for us, for our family, MDO has been a great development asset and solution.
The tiny class size allows for an astounding amount of attention to each child. At my daughter’s school she has two teachers for six students. My daughter’s language and social skills have flourished. It seems to fill in the gaps for things I forget to teach her. She has toddler friends there. It is just freaking adorable! And at 21 months her new favorite word is “butterfly” (perfectly pronounced). I definitely did not teach her that word. She sings, plays, interacts, learns, and thrives on her own. And her separation anxiety? She got waaaay over that. Now she runs into her classroom forgetting to even say bye to me.
There is something so beautiful about watching my daughter not only flourishing through me and her father, but through her teachers and peers as well. I love everything about her experience at school, especially the fun notes. Her last one was especially noteworthy:“Working on communicating with others. Telling the boys, ‘No.’” This note left me in hysterical laughter. She is pretty good at telling us no too, but thank you for the positive hilarious spin MDO teachers!
With the addition of a new baby, I was genuinely concerned about sending my daughter to MDO. Her pediatrician warned me of the illness exposure to Henry, and some of our worse fears were confirmed when her brother did get scary newborn illnesses such as RSV. However, there was never a time when both her and her brother needed MDO more. The addition of a new family member completely shook up my daughter’s routine and we heavily relied on these two days a week to keep my daughter in some sort of semblance of normalcy. Furthermore, I had the opportunity to have at least a few hours a week of one on one time bonding with her brother without his needs being interrupted by a tantruming sister.
Beyond the benefits bestowed on my daughter, this time provided by MDO has supplemented my childcare needs for part-time work, allowed me time to squeeze in extra workouts without waking up at the crack of dawn, allowed for a grocery trip or two, and some space to develop personal hobbies and passions. Well that was before I had baby two, now more than anything, it has given me extra priceless newborn bonding time. However, in a year or two he will join his sister, and I will once again relish in these extra hours a week affording me time for my work, hobbies, and errands.
There are many factors to evaluate in deciding if MDO is the right decision for you and your family. Please do not let guilt be a deciding factor though. Whether you work or do not work everyone deserves a break from momming if at all possible, so I encourage you to take that break every once in awhile whatever form it may come. Whether that means a mom’s night out, day care, family help, MDO, or babysitters. I know many moms that feel they do not deserve to have a break if their job is to be a “Mom.” To that I say “No way! Everyone deserves a break! Take care of yourself.” This is one of many potential solutions to help you be you.
And hats off to the amazing MDO teachers that somehow keep tiny squiggly humans all sitting down at a table at the same time. Y’all, I have witnessed this myself. I felt like I had spotted sasquatch. But it is true, these teachers have these obscure magical abilities to tame even the wildest of beasts — toddlers! We are not worthy.