Many times in our lives we look to others to assist us in making decisions concerning our children. While seeking their thoughts and opinions is valuable, I have found that our motherly instinct truly provide the right answer for many of our decisions. However, what if your motherly instinct does not come out as soon as you want it to and what if it takes a few situations to have the instinct knock you down on the floor telling you to make a change? This was me two weeks ago when the decision to change day care providers for my daughter became unmistakably clear.

Choosing a day care provider for your child is one of the most important decisions you will make as a mother. The decision to return back to work and place your child with a stranger who you will need to trust right away is extremely scary and stressful.

When I returned back to work we placed our daughter with an in-home day care provider close to where we live. For the first four months we felt as if she was taking care of our child to the level we had hoped she would, yet when the fall came we began to feel differently. It began with us feeling that my daughter was sitting in front of a TV and not being stimulated or played with. To this date I have never known what activities other than a craft that my daughter has participated in. I don’teven  believe she was ever read a book, because I was never told. The larger issues arose when our provider stated in a text message that “I am spending most of my day feeding the baby.” Yes, that is correct, she actually tried to get us to skip a solids meal and for us to do that after we got home from work. That was the first red flag. Who would ask a parent if their child could skip a meal? This, to my husband and me was a basic need that needed to get fulfilled no matter what. 

The second red flag was when we started noticing her diapers were heavily packed with urine when we picked her up. Now, if my child is getting a diaper change at 4:00 p.m., being fed a bottle at 4:15 p.m. and picked up at 4:30 p.m., how is it possible that a diaper can be that full? I know my child and that full of a diaper takes hours to fill. In fact, it has never been that full.

The third red flag was when we arrived to find our daughter in a room by herself, playing just a few feet away from a brick fireplace while the provider was in another room. I was very upset. The fourth and final red flag was when we picked her up around the same time a month later and the diaper was not only full, but she had made a bowel movement as well. When I brought her home to check the diaper I was completely disgusted, frustrated, angry and had an enormous amount of guilt. I was up that night for hours in rage and frustration. I even slept in my daughter’s room that night because I felt as if I had failed as a mother. However, with the guilt came a feeling inside me to do something, to make a change for my daughter to better this situation. I call this my motherly instinct and it just about knocked me down on the floor.

After months of complaining, feeling as if I had no options, I began calling daycare centers in the area and one finally had an opening. I feel that now is the best time to transition her into a center, one that offers more accountability on those caring for my daughter and one that will stimulate her both physically and mentally.

Personally, I would have done this sooner had there been an opening. When your child is in a daycare that you are not satisfied with and there are no other openings in the area, you feel as if your hands are tied, you are strapped and with no place to go. It’s a horrible feeling that no mother should go through.

Had this provider not tried to cut corners, communicated with us about what my daughter did during the day and changed her diapers more, my daughter would probably still be there.

The moral of the story is always trust your motherly instinct, the feeling inside you that something is just not right. If you, by no fault of your own, ignore it or dismiss it, the next time around it will come at you full speed.

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