Daycare Drama from Dad's Perspective

Written by Jason Darby who will have a regular Dad's column (read more about him below!)

I suppose that daycare drama may be a touch misleading, but let me tell you, the first day of daycare was certainly a touch traumatic…for me! I barely slept the night before Lyla, my one year old baby girl was slated to start daycare. My anxiety was based upon the fact that ideally, I would have much rather had my wife stay home and raise her full time. I had grown so used to that being the case that leaving her in the morning became routine for me. Unfortunately, this was simply not financially feasible. I just do not make enough money to support us all. Sad but true….

We had however found what I considered to be the most ideal situation; Monday with Grandma, and the rest of the week with a close friend and daycare provider of ours who has a daughter that is 6 weeks younger than our daughter. She would be getting as close to 1 on 1 attention as we could hope for, while still socializing her with other children her age. Yet still, I was losing my mind over it. How was she going to react? Did she even realize what was about to happen to her? Did she realize that we would be as potentially upset as she might be? (BTW, she just walked from our washroom to the first linen closet, approximately 15 feet!!!!) Notice I am speaking in semi hypotheticals as this thought process took place BEFORE she even started daycare.
Paranoid? Perhaps a bit, but I chalk it up to how much I love my little girl, and how I want her to be happy no matter what.

I dread the mid day phone calls where I can hear her screaming in the background, crying inconsolably. I fear that she may close up and not embrace the change, stunting her development as she waits by the door all day long until we come to pick her up. I fear that she grows to resent me as I am the one who drops her off in the morning, leaving her in unfamiliar territory. Bear in mind that the woman who is taking care of her is amazing and I trust her implicitly. I felt it was important to point out that I was not just leaving Lyla with some monster who I have no faith in. I have 100% confidence in her abilities to act as a daily caregiver; I just have less than 100% confidence in myself to be able to transition smoothly.

At this point, I have yet to even touch on my biggest fear; what if she never wants to leave daycare? What if she starts to prefers the daycare provider to us? What if she forgets about us? I never thought this would be so hard for me to get used to. I mean, I was never really home with her all day, everyday. I have been leaving her every morning since two weeks after she was born, yet I find myself back on January 20th 2009, teary eyed, walking away from a door, leaving my little one behind while I go off to work. Literally counting the seconds until I can run back to her, scoop her up in my arms and give her a big hug and a kiss. Will 5 o’clock ever come????

Jason Darby is a sports blogger, musician and most significantly the proud father of a beautiful 1-year-old daughter. He currently works in the academic publishing industry and is working on a book about the Maple Leafs and the pilot for a sitcom currently titled “The Shop”.  He spends much of his spare time watching the Detroit Tigers with his little girl. Come back often to read his musings on raising a child from a father’s perspective. You can leave comments for him here and on twitter. His account is

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