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  Parenting Advice Column
  Subject: Single Mother Reluctantly Considers Day Care

Letter:

I am a single mother of a wonderful 11-month-old girl, Hope. She has been a blessing in my life, though an unexpected one. Upon becoming pregnant I have devoted myself to her, beginning by moving across the country to live with my mother again after seven years on my own. Since Hope was 3 months old, we have been working part-time; I searched out a teaching job to which I could bring her everyday, and it has been wonderful. In September, however, I am planning to return to graduate school. I am looking into daycare. Hope will be fifteen months old.

The idea of being away from her all day is wrenching, but on the other hand, I feel like I need to become self supportive and leave my mother's house fairly soon. I read in one of your articles today that children are not ready to be in the care of another before 3 years old. How can I prepare her for daycare? Or should I find a way to stay with her? Thank you.

Name withheld


Jan's reply:

Hi,

Thank you for visiting our site and for sending this important and all-too-common question. My heart goes out to you as you face this frustrating dilemma. It must be so hard to feel there is no other avenue but to put your daughter in day care, when you recognize that this would be a "wrenching" experience for you both.

My suggestion is that you explore other alternatives. Could you put these plans on hold for a while longer, or take just a few courses at a time? The older your daughter is, the better she will be able to manage repeated separations from you. Childhood passes unbelievably quickly, and there will be time for you to pursue other things. You will find it much easier to reach your goals when you are not distracted and worried about your daughter's welfare.

I recently responded to a similar question regarding a mother's proposed vacation away from two young children. While the situations are somewhat different, the emotional considerations are the same.

I also recommend the following articles:

All the best to you and your daughter.

Jan

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