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05/12/2011 / melgardener

Saying Goodbye

In less than three weeks, my youngest child will finish day care for ever. By the time she reaches her last day we will have racked up a consecutive 8-and-a-half-year relationship with her day care centre that began when her older sister was only 4-and-a-half months old.

I’m fully expecting tears on her last day…and that’s just from me.

When we were researching day care centres in our area just after my daughter was born we didn’t have much of an idea what we wanted or even what we should be looking for. My initial training at Uni had been in Early Childhood Teaching but I hadn’t worked in the field for a long time and I felt much of my knowledge was out of date.

Luckily, a few months before my daughter was born, an associate of my husband’s mentioned a day care centre his children had attended and he spoke very highly of it as a quality centre. Also luckily, it happened to be right around the corner from our home. Knowing that waiting lists were long and that returning to work was a reality, I knew I needed to get moving.

Through my Uni studies, I had been on Prac at many day care centres and schools. Many times I could tell whether it would be a positive or negative experience simply from the first impressions upon walking in the door. From the moment I walked inside, I felt immediately that this was a centre with staff to whom I could entrust the care of my daughter.

Both my children have thrived at this centre. They have made close friends who, particularly in my eldest daughter’s case, are still in her life despite them all going to different schools 4 years ago when they started Kindergarten. As have I.

I have never felt even a moment’s concern about handing either of my children over to the fabulous, caring, loving, warm, passionate staff. And my children have never expressed any fear or refusal to attend.

Working was always an inevitable part of motherhood for me – financially as well as emotionally. I knew when we were planning a family that staying home as a full-time mum was not on the cards. One of the hardest balancing acts as a mum who works outside the home is managing the guilt – am I away too much, am I too stressed, what am I teaching them about work/life balance, do they hate me for leaving them, is it okay to also want something challenging and rewarding for myself that is outside the home?

All these questions…and so many more.

And, most with no answers.

But one element that does assuage the guilt somewhat is to know that, no matter what, your children are safe, loved, happy, cared for, stimulated and cherished for the individuals that they are.

So, for all these things and so many more which I will attempt (blubbering, I’m sure) to vocalise on my daughter’s last day I will say a sincere and grateful “thank you” to the staff at Midson Road Child Care Centre in Epping. I will miss you all so much, as I know my children will.

So, that’s my childcare experience…what’s yours?

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2 Comments

Leave a Comment
  1. Sara / Dec 6 2011 9:16 pm

    Well, you know mine. 🙂

    So hard to believe your baby is off to big school next year. I bet she’s ready for it.

    • melgardener / Dec 7 2011 7:27 am

      She is soooo ready Sara. Dressed up in her school uniform yesterday and immediately looked and sounded so grown up! Talk soon.

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