This past summer, my husband and I were blessed with the birth of our daughter. We are first-time parents and her arrival brought with it immense joy, as well as the overwhelming knowledge that we are now responsible for her care, development and overall well-being. One of our tasks as we planned for my return to full-time work was finding a daycare for her. We are lucky that family will watch her two out of five days, but we had to find a daycare we were comfortable with for the other three days of the work week.
It dawned on me that the anxiety and apprehension I was feeling about placing her in the care of (professional) strangers is probably how my clients who had to pick either a nursing home for an older relative, or a group home for a disabled, younger family member must feel. Before, I could sympathize with my clients as they worked on finding the right place for their vulnerable loved one who might not be able to advocate for themselves. Now, I can empathize with them having gone through a similar process.
I wanted to be absolutely sure that the people with whom I left her were trustworthy and sensitive to her needs because she can’t speak for herself and tell me if she is okay when I am not with her. I needed to find some place where I could be reassured she would be okay. I read every website and magazine article I could find about daycares. I talked to friends, family and our pediatrician about the daycares they used or knew of. I researched each “finalist” online and visited six daycares. I would stop myself regularly and think, “This must be what my clients go through trying to find care providers…I am a nervous wreck!”
It would have been so reassuring to have someone like Terry Fries-Malloy, our Care Coordinator, I could turn to and talk about the daycares I was considering. A professional familiar with the field who could tell me what to look for and what to ask – a real, live person who could listen to my anxieties and counter them with professional advice. Instead, I read and re-read the materials I had, and talked over pro and cons with my husband to make sure we were making the right decision.
We did pick a daycare center and, after two weeks back to work, I am pretty sure we made the right decision, but only time will tell. I suppose it is like this for my clients, too. I wish all of you with loved ones being cared for by other people peace of mind and comfort.
– Posted by Lisa Montoni Garvin