A video of a nine year old boy physically abusing several infants at a Mississippi daycare has gone viral. I came across this video in my Facebook newsfeed. This could not have come at a worse time! Taylor will be starting daycare in two weeks and I will be returning to work in three weeks. I already feel an intense guilt for having to return to long nine hour work days that often leave me with at-home lesson planning and weekends of data analysis and additional lesson planning. Now I’m feeling a mixture of guilt and anxiety about having to place Taylor in daycare while I am working these long days.
In the video, the boy punches, dropkicks, bites, and shakes several babies, while the caregiver is shown talking on the phone and walking in and out of a room full of children of all ages. I can’t begin to imagine where this boy learned these behaviors. I can’t begin to imagine the emotional effects these attacks have left on the families and victims of this young boy. The babies he attacked were so helpless, they were too young to speak and not yet old enough to walk. They just sat there enduring his abuse.
While this daycare in Vicksburg, Mississippi, doesn’t in any way parallel the daycare Taylor will be attending in two weeks, I can’t help but feel emotional about parting from my daughter. I’m even more emotional after watching this video. The daycare where this incident happened appeared to have children of all ages grouped together. Taylor’s daycare houses infants in a separate converted home, so that all children under the age of one and unable to walk, are kept in a more conducive environment. Because of the separation, I am relieved that I do not have to worry about older children bullying my baby girl. However, I am still feeling an immense measure of guilt for being unable to stay home with her or being able to afford at-home care. Taylor’s yearly tuition is nearly $8,000; the cost of a babysitter is double. Daycare is our only viable option.
I do feel confident that we were careful in choosing Taylor’s care. There is an Open Door policy at Taylor’s daycare; parents are welcomed to drop in at any time, unannounced. My husband and I will be utilizing this policy. We actually have made several visits to the daycare with and without Taylor to ease my worries. Each time we visited, we saw happy infants being cared for in a professional, loving environment. We asked people in town which daycares were the best and Taylor’s daycare was always mentioned.
Though we can’t foresee the troubles our children will face, we can do our best to carefully make wise choices to prevent them. Choices rooted in research, referrals, and open conversations that relate our needs. I assume all working moms may have some degree of guilt when making the transition of returning to work. If you have been in this position and have any words of wisdom to offer, please share. I know there are plenty of new moms, like me, who would value what you have to say.