11 Moms Describe What It Feels Like To Send Your Kid To Daycare For The Very First Time

Ad failed to load

The choice to introduce my son to daycare was one that my partner and I took seriously. Ultimately, it's been great for our family and we've been happy with the care our son has received, as well as the learning and development that come with it. Of course, at the beginning, I was hopeful it would turn out this way, but I didn't really know. There was a lot to consider, and I still had countless unanswered questions about how he would adapt, if he'd like it, and simply how it feels to send a child to daycare.

When he started, my son was just shy of 1 1/2 years old. We researched, visited, and took him in for a "dry run" ahead of time. In other words, we were as ready as we could possibly be on his first day. Since I work from home, I stayed behind (after kisses and hugs) while his dad dropped him off. I won't lie, it was really, really strange. The fact that I was home and had signs of my baby everywhere actually helped, I think, because it never felt like he was that far away from me. Still, I felt guilty for appreciating the free time while simultaneously thankful that I was working again, and in a job that I enjoyed.

I'm sure other moms wouldn't be surprised to hear that many of those initial, "first day of preschool" feelings still remain while my son's at school (as we call it), but as it turns out, there's a whole spectrum of emotions that parents experience when a child starts daycare, including the following:

Ad failed to load



"My son had just turned two and I was terrified, but also weirdly excited for him, just because he hadn't really had a ton of socializing with other kids up to that point and I knew he would dig it."


"The worst! I had literally only been away from my son for a total of three hours before I went back to work. He was just shy of 3-months old. Having to use my purse instead of a diaper bag made me cry. Looking in my rearview mirror at the baby mirror and only seeing an empty car seat base in the reflection made me cry. I pretty much cried off and on for the first five hours, until break. When I went home at lunch to take the dog out and the baby wasn't home, I cried. I curled up in a ball on my bed with one of his blankets until it was time to go back. So in short, it was awful! Thank goodness my husband does drop off every day and I get to do pick ups!"



"I remember asking the most ridiculous questions, like, 'Will you rock him to sleep if he needs it?' and, 'If he cries, do you promise not to yell at him?' It was just so hard both times to let go and trust. I'm really thankful for the care they had though; lasting relationships and so much love."

Ad failed to load


"I actually did better with my first than my second. I had lots of time to plan ahead and get ready (for both of us) plus I was working part time. My second son, I got a job all of a sudden and he was in daycare the next week. He had been a NICU baby and was still nursing and I cried and cried our first day. You would have thought I'd be seasoned having sent one already, but turns out it's really true what they say. Everyone is different!"



"I sobbed uncontrollably the entire ride from daycare to work the first day. My son was 18-months old at the time. I felt guilty, sad, and scared all at once. He was fine."


"I remember being like, 'OK, let's start from the top. Here's her schedule here are the things to remember about her here is this, that, and the other blah blah blah.' All I got was, 'No problem bye and no problem,' and was shoo'd away. I was so frustrated that they clearly weren't taking this as seriously as I was. I think there was a bit of intuition at play that fed into my frustration because we pulled her out after a month because the daycare team wouldn't follow anything we asked; they didn't follow nap times, they sat her in front of the TV with the older kids (she was a 6-month-old baby) and they lied about a scary dog downstairs. It really made a shitty situation shittier. Now I call for reports and don't let potential caretakers make me feel like I'm being needlessly over protective."

Ad failed to load



"My first was a preemie and I remember feeling so strange without a baby attached to me. I felt like I was pretending to be a fully functional working adult those first couple weeks back. It was so strange that my life at home had changed beyond words and work was exactly the same, it was like time travel."


"I cried the whole day off and on with both kids. With the first I had all the time to plan, but it was hard doing this new 'going back to work' thing and leaving my child with someone I didn't know. I am a very organized person (I wouldn't say anal) and so needing to know when he slept, ate, pooped, how much he ate, and so on, really helped me. When I didn't get a full report (on both kids) it drove me batty. I've calmed down some, but I still want to know. I hate leaving them at daycare."



"Confusing. You know by working, you are giving them the resources to live and also giving yourself purpose, but by leaving them you are forsaking the thing you are biologically designed to do. It's weird and confusing and sad and stressful. So you know, like every other parenting moment."

Ad failed to load


"Heart wrenching. It feels like you are leaving the most important and vulnerable pieces of yourself... actually, that's exactly what it is. It does get easier, but those first days and weeks were brutal for both kids. And when I say brutal, it's very one sided on my part, because both had fun and were very well cared for at their daycare."



"So, reading everyone else's responses I feel like I horrible person, but here goes. It felt wonderful to send my daughter to daycare for the first time. She was a home for me for quite a while (I work from home so was able to work around her schedule) and when she finally got into daycare I was so overjoyed for both of us. I was happy that she was going to start getting socialized and make friends and have more exploring to do. And I was thrilled for myself that I would be able to get more than three hours of sleep a night because I could work during normal hours. I remember feeling a little guilty that I didn't feel sad or upset, but I just didn't."

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

The Pressure To Worry About The Gap Between Kids Is So Bad For Moms

"Two under two is absolutely crazy," a friend recently told me upon hearing the news that I was expecting a second child. "Why would you do this to yourself? Seriously, why?" However harsh her words, she was only echoing the same feelings I'd been ba…
By Marie Southard Ospina

To Be Honest, I Couldn't Survive Motherhood Without My Job

The decision to work outside the home once you've become a parent can be a complicated one. Some people don't really have a choice, and go back to work because they're either a single parent or can't sustain their family on one income. Some choose to…
By Priscilla Blossom

I Feel Guilty That My Kid’s Dad Is A Better Parent Than Me, & That’s Bullsh*t

I was scared, and he was sure. I was clueless, and he was well-researched. I was making mistakes, and he was picking up the pieces. From the moment I found out I was pregnant until just last night, when I threw my hands up in the air and left the alw…
By Danielle Campoamor

These Millennial Parents Are Taking Gender-Neutral Parenting To An Entirely New Level

A woman on the subway looks at my bulbous shape and asks, “What are you having?” I take a deep breath and throw a glance to my 5-year-old. “I’m having a baby,” I say to the woman. “No, no” the woman says laughing as she pushes further. “Are you havin…
By Madison Young

I’m Registered At Babies “R” Us, & I'm Freaking The Hell Out

Hi. My name is Abi, and I’m registered at Babies “R” Us — and I’m freaking out. This may sound silly, but after being a die-hard Toys “R” Us kid, I was so excited to register at their baby store once my husband and I finally got our big fat positive …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

My Daughter Is Obsessed With Being "Pretty" & I'm Way Past Terrified

Last week, when I picked up my daughter after school, she immediately wanted to know if I liked her hair. "Is it pretty?" she asked. Her hair was pulled up into two ponytails that were intertwined into thick, long braids. A shimmering pink and purple…
By Dina Leygerman

7 Things No One Tells You About Having A Baby In Your 20s, But I Will

I was 24 when I found out I was pregnant with my daughter. The pregnancy was a surprise, since I was on birth control (side note: antibiotics and birth control don't mix), but my partner and I decided to continue with the pregnancy and committed to m…
By Candace Ganger

Women Who Miscarry Early Deserve To Grieve — Here's How Hospitals Should Be Helping

When I lost my baby back in 2013, it was because of a very early miscarriage. Because of the little amount of time I spent being pregnant, it was though my child had never really existed, which made the next few years hard — I felt like they had been…
By Risa Kerslake

7 Things I Wish My Partner Had Said To Me In The First Hour After Giving Birth

I don't know if it was the buzz of the surrounding machines, the non-existent cry of our son as the doctors tried to resuscitate him, or the fact that I'd already been through labor and delivery once before, but I knew something was missing after I h…
By Candace Ganger

Moms’ Groups Weren’t For Me, Sorry

I go to my moms’ club everyday of the week, but not usually on weekends. My moms' group is a place I can always count on finding fellow mothers who understand the daily struggles and triumphs of parenthood and of juggling life’s responsibilities. Dep…
By Samantha Taylor

Millennial Women Are Getting Married Later Than Gen X, & The Reasons Why Are Pretty Badass

The battle of the generations seems to come up when it comes to every lifestyle or career choice people make. Women, especially, are an important demographic when it comes to analysts looking at the lifestyle choices we make or the expected milestone…
By Josie Rhodes Cook

I've Had 3 Miscarriages But *Please* Keep Telling Me About Your Pregnancy

I can feel the tension the moment my friend announces her pregnancy. I can hear the forced nonchalant attitude she's willing herself to exude as she fishes for the ultrasound. I know why I was the last to learn that she was expecting; why she keeps l…
By Danielle Campoamor

7 Early Signs You're Going To Need An Epidural, According To Experts

Even if you've constructed an elaborate birth plan, it's impossible to control every aspect of labor and delivery. Complications can occur, proactive measures might be necessary, and your mind is subject to change when those damn contractions really …
By Candace Ganger

I'm Pregnant & I Refuse To Read Any Parenting Books

I didn't read any parenting books when I was expecting my daughter, and I refuse to read any parenting books as I await my second child now. I'm the first to admit that I don't really know what I'm doing when it comes to raising my daughter. A good d…
By Marie Southard Ospina

7 Reasons Why March Babies Are Total Badasses

From the moment you become pregnant, you begin to wonder what your little one will be like. Will they look like you, your partner, or your Great Aunt Edna? Will they be the quiet, thoughtful type or arrive on this planet raring to go? It's fun to ima…
By Caroline Shannon-Karasik

12 Overnight Face Masks To Use To Wake Up Feeling Pampered AF

Spring is right around the corner, and as far as I'm concerned, the sunshine and warm breezes can't come soon enough. But now that we're about to say goodbye to winter, it's a good time to take stock of your facial skincare routine. You know, in the …
By Katie Malczyk

11 Essential Products To Pack In Your Hospital Bag, According To OB-GYNs

The minute you go into labor (or think you're going into labor), chaos ensues. You and your partner are likely to get a little frantic, just like in the movies, so you most definitely want to have a hospital bag packed before the day comes. This prec…
By Abi Berwager Schreier

7 Photos You *Must* Take In The First 6 Months Of Motherhood

In my experience, becoming a mom is like becoming an amateur photographer. There's just something about the need to capture every single coo and sorta-smile that leaves you obsessed with all things photography. I know I couldn't stop taking selfies w…
By Candace Ganger

Here's How Early An Ultrasound Can Actually Determine Your Baby's Sex

From the moment you see those two lines on a pregnancy test, there are a few markers along the way that stand out as especially exciting. Amongst them are hearing your baby's heartbeat and feeling that first, sweet little kick. And if you are finding…
By Caroline Shannon-Karasik

9 Easy Kid Foods To Turn Green, Just In Time For St. Patrick's Day

The best part about having kids is that you get your own personal crew to celebrate the holidays with, in all your color coordinating and matching glory. And with St. Patrick’s Day right around the corner, you are obviously working on turning everyth…
By Mishal Ali Zafar