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D.A.D.: Dealing With Dramatic Daycare Drop-Off

This Diapers and Deadlines column wants to know how to make your child hate your face less when separating for the day.

We argue about it in my house. More so than money or whose turn it is to do certain chores. The ultimate task to avoid is far and away who is going to drop off my two-year-old daughter at daycare. For my wife and I, daycare is not really much of a choice, it is a necessity. We both work fulltime jobs in careers we love (I’m a journalist and she is a social worker), and they are rewarding careers in every way—except monetarily.

For years I have read about the struggle working mothers have to balance their work and home lives. Mothers have spent decades feeling guilty about working outside of the home, and I can tell you first hand that today’s fathers are dealing with the same issues.

For me, all of that guilt comes to a head when it is time to drop my daughter off at daycare. My job often requires me to work crazy hours (here comes the guilt). Nights, weekends and holidays are all pretty much part of the package. I miss most family dinners, but I am around for the mornings. In my house I am fortunate that my mother volunteers her time to watch my daughter at home on Mondays and my mother-in-law does the same on Tuesdays. 

Those hand-offs are seamless. 

Dropping her off the rest of the week? Not so much. 

There is nothing quite like the trembling lip and tearing blue eyes of the two-year-old you love more than anything in the world as she asks you for a hug and begs you not to leave. 

"I don't want you to leave me, Daddy. I miss you so much when you are gone. Why do you have to work? I just want to give you a big hug. Please don't leave me. I want to come to work with you."

Each. Word. A. Knife. In. The. Heart. 

My wife has tried to build in extra time to help with the transition, I find that generally backfires on me. 

So I am asking you parents out there, what can I do to ease the anxiety? Share your thoughts in the comments below.  

Cathy Wilson December 19, 2013 at 11:33 AM
Very memorable piece! My children are now grown but I remember this feeling like it was yesterday. The knife. sentence. says. it. all. Well done - thanks! Cathy Wilson
Russ Crespolini (Editor) December 19, 2013 at 09:12 PM
Thanks Cathy. Each day is a new adventure with my little cupcake...hahahahaha.

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