Last week Ethan started his first days at daycare.
Recently I had to make my first sad and tough decision as a daddy… and that decision led to a heartbreaking day… but it was all done for my son and his well being.
Recently my wife and I decided to send Ethan to daycare. I was raised at home by my mom and never would have thought I would send my kid to daycare. In fact, I was against it for many years and thought that daycare parents were getting the easy way out. All I can say is that it is easy to judge, but things all change when you become a parent.
As a parent, I started to research about daycare and learned how daycare can speed up a child's learning. It helps with developing social skills and most importantly… and this was the MAIN reason I did it.. daycare forces my son outside his comfort zone and into the real world.
Ethan's first 15 months
Kelly's mom has been helping take care of Ethan since he was born, and we all love him and adore him at home. In many ways, since he is the only child now, I felt that he was spoiled in many ways. He always got all the attention, and I admit that I have been definitely over protective, making sure Ethan never gets banged up, experiences any discomfort or “tough times.” He is always comfortable, and has us around him.
But is that good for him?
Hurting Ethan by Being Too Protective
I always talk about how the only way we grow is to be “outside our comfort zone.” We must get used to dealing and surviving in new and difficult situations. Forcing myself outside my comfort zone is the prerequisite for success, and is my goal each day.
Just like you, forcing myself outside the comfort zone is not easy, but I have recently learned as a parent that putting my beloved child outside his comfort zone is even harder! I want to protect my son at all times. Even at home I am always worried about Ethan and how he might hurt himself.
So I feel that Ethan has been super well treated and pampered at home… he is the luckiest boy… and I love him very much. But what I was doing to him by being over protective and constantly worrying about him was actually hurting him in the long run. He needed to be with other kids and in new situations so that he could develop. Also, if he got used to all the pampering at home, he would grow up to be a wimpy kid. He needed to meet new friends… get roughed up a little… deal with a few bullies… and most importantly, learn that he cannot always get what he wants. It's for his own good.
So reluctantly I dropped him off at daycare the other day. Right now Ethan is going only 2 days a week so it's not that sudden a change for him.
Ethan's First Days at Daycare
The first day of daycare was ok. He went to the room, and I stayed with him for 15 minutes. He wandered around and was fine until I left. Once he saw me leaving, he started to wail… somehow I was expecting the reaction and it didn't bother me that much. But the second day… wow… that was bad. The second day was the day after we had a great time in Disneyland, and Ethan was especially attached to me. When he woke up that day, he was yelling for me instead of “mama.”
The whole morning he was calling for me and if you have ever experienced that, nothing can make a parent happier… and then I had to drop him off at daycare! Ethan recognized the place and the second we stepped into the room he wailed and clung onto my leg. I felt terrible, and was really sad that I was doing this to my son. I kept on saying that it was for his own good, but deep down, I was sad to see him cry and felt that I was betraying his trust in me. Especially since he was so attached to me that morning! He basically cried the entire 30 minutes that I stayed with him… It was definitely an emotional moment for me… I knew I was doing the right thing for Ethan, but it hurt…
When I picked him up, it didn't get much better. I kind of sneaked up to the classroom to see what he was doing, and he was crying by himself! Poor kid! When he saw me, he didn't even smile much. It took over 30 minutes, and it wasn’t until I started to show him how to dribble a ball that he started to smile again.
My Experience as a New Daddy
For experienced parents, I'm sure you have gone through what I went through. But for a new daddy like me, this was the first emotionally tough decision I had to make. It was something that I did not want to do, but getting Ethan used to being outside his comfort zone is the best thing I can do for his future. That is the only way we can grow and get better.
Feel free to comment below and especially for all those experienced parents out there, I’m all ears to hear advice! 🙂
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