If you've been reading TAA for a while, you know that Shaun and I decided to send Penelope to daycare starting when she was 6 months old. Though we love it and know it was the right choice for our family (for a number of reasons), it still ranks as one of the hardest things I've ever done. Overall we are very happy with daycare. She is such a happy kid, she is loved, she is excited to go to 'school' (most mornings), she is learning so much and she is able to play with other children her age. I'd say I'm mostly very happy with the current situation.
But here's what bugs me. When daycare centers - because technically Penelope is in daycare, not in school - have events and other parent-mandated occasions during daycare hours. And not at the very beginning or the very end of those hours...like right smack in the middle of the day events for which parents are expected to be present.
This morning, I found out that today is "school uniform measurement day." When the new daycare session starts in August, Penelope will be moved up to the next room and that age group wears uniforms each day. I have lots of thoughts on uniform-wearing, which is a post for another time, but I was informed that measurements are from 3-5pm today and a parent needs to be present.
Um, what? Daycare hours are until 5:30 and we pay extra for late pick up at 6. So now Shaun or I need to leave work early to be there for measurements. And this is on top of Penelope getting sick last week, resulting in Shaun and I each taking a day off of work to be home with her. Add to that that I've been sick for the last 2 weeks and have already been in and out of the office on sick days and for a multitude of doctor appointments...and well, I just can't swing it.
So what are we parents to do? And this isn't the only time this has been an issue.
In October, daycare started their Halloween party - for parents to join - at 1:30pm. I'm sorry but even if I'm leaving early for trick or treating, a 1:30 family party at daycare is just not going to happen. That's a half day at work at best, and for me, if have to leave the office by 12:30 to make it in time and at that point, it's really not even worth going in at all. It was a similar deal for the Christmas and Easter parties. All the kids in these classes have working parents...so why are parent events scheduled during work hours? And midday work hours no less?
It's hard enough to be a working parent with a child in daycare without these other events that are seemingly designed to either make us crazy or make us feel extreme guilt about not being there. I missed the Halloween party last year (because it was on another tail end of P being sick and skipping so much office time), but knew she was so young she probably wouldn't know the difference. I did make a note though that this year, I need to be there and so I have a half day penciled in on the calendar.
So I'm not sure what I plan to accomplish with this post, other than to say that sometimes being a working parent with a child in daycare really sucks. It's hard and guilt-ridden and there is seemingly always something to deal with or work into the schedule. And thus I ask, daycares...please, can we schedule parent events for before or after hours?
And so parents I ask you...have you ever dealt with this? Do your daycare centers or schools schedule events in the middle of the work day?