To the mama about to send her child to daycare for the first time

From a mom who’s been there, I want to tell you that it is going to be okay.

To the mama about to send her child to daycare for the first time

Dear mama,

I am not going to lie. It's going to be hard leaving your precious baby in the care of her daycare teachers for the first time. You had this (mostly) magical time bonding and getting to know the tiny human you created. Your baby needed you the most—you were her around the clock primary caregiver.

As the first day of daycare is approaching, your last day of being with your baby 24/7 is also just around the corner.

Mama, this milestone will impact you in a major way—mentally, physically and emotionally. But from a mom who's been there, I want to tell you that it is going to be okay.

Here's what all moms should know about the first day of daycare, from a mama who's been there.

The first few weeks are always the hardest. But you know that already. You also know that you'll draw on your inner mama super-strength and that you will get through it.

You're a mom and there is nothing you can't handle!

You did your homework. You know your baby will be well-taken care of. And you can practically recite the research—there are many benefits to attending daycare.

From the Shop

Keep them close to your heart even when they're away, mama

Tiny Tags birthstone necklace

Tiny Tags birthstone necklace

Tiny Tags script 'mama' necklace

Tiny Tags script 'mama' necklace


Still, it's not easy to leave your perfect, tiny little human with other people—no matter how loving or qualified.

I've been in your shoes. My daughter's first daycare was about as perfect as it gets. It was the equivalent of Harvard for babies. I was (and still am) incredibly grateful for being able to send my daughter to a place that gave me the peace of mind I needed while I was at work.

Yet, as I handed over my barely 3-month old to the lovely daycare teacher, I was choking back sobs. My rational brain reminded me that my child would be sleeping for most of the day and I should be thankful for the quality child care she was receiving. But my heart wasn't on board.

The internal struggle was beyond anything I've ever experienced before.

As much as I loved my job and craved adult interaction, I doubted my decision to return to work full time. I spent a few hours of my first week back at work watching daycare video camera footage (mostly my kid sleeping), and calling the daycare to check in on my daughter. (Sidenote: to all the wonderful, daycare workers who provided such excellent care for my daughter, thank you. I'm sorry I was a 'wee bit' of an emotional trainwreck.)

Mama, I'm here to tell you these feelings are completely normal. It is OK to feel conflicted about work (even if you love your job) and to question your decision about daycare.

Daycare drop-off can be traumatic for new mamas. I *wish* there was an easy way to deal with the inevitable fireworks of emotions that every mama goes through the first time they drop off their babies at daycare.

But there are ways you can plan ahead for that painful first drop-off at daycare. The 'easing in' approach helped me A LOT.

The week before I was due to return to work full time, my daughter and I made guest appearances at the daycare. On the first day, I observed the class routine and held my baby the entire hour I was there.

I returned the next day for two hours and handed over the baby to one of the smiling teachers. The kind, wise daycare director saw right through my delay game. She politely urged me to make plans for the third day and to leave my daughter with the amazing women in the infant room (she had a point… I was paying for them to take care of my child).

Mama, I ugly cried for what seemed like an eternity in the parking lot before I could pull myself together to meet my friends for lunch.

Years later, I'm here to tell you it's going to be okay. You will reflect on the daycare days with a grateful smile. Your baby will be cared for by qualified, loving daycare teachers. She will thrive in the company of other little humans.

The best part? I met some of my best friends through daycare You will have a whole new village to join. It may not be like socializing in your pre-child days, but your new tribe of fellow parents will give you exactly what you need—support and validation. After all, you will all be going through the exact.same.things—together.

So mama, as you approach your much anticipated/dreaded daycare drop-off moment, go easy on yourself. Plan for a day filled with emotional drama (with tears shed mostly by you) and if you are able, do something fun for yourself.


The mama who has been there


In This Article

14 toys that will keep your kids entertained inside *and* outside

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

With fall in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in outside-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Wooden doll stroller

Janod wooden doll stroller

Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.


Detective set

Plan Toys detective set

This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.


Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.


Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.


Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.


Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.


Wooden rocking pegasus

plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.


Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.


Wooden digital camera

fathers factory wooden digital camera

Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.


Wooden bulldozer toy

plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.


Pull-along hippo

janod toys pull along hippo toy

There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.


Baby forest fox ride-on

janod toys baby fox ride on

Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.


Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!


Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.


We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.


Sorry, you can’t meet our baby yet

Thank you for understanding. ❤️

In just over three weeks, we will become parents. From then on, our hearts will live outside of our bodies. We will finally understand what everyone tells you about bringing a child into the world.

Lately, the range of emotions and hormones has left me feeling nothing short of my new favorite mom word, "hormotional." I'm sure that's normal though, and something most people start to feel as everything suddenly becomes real.

Our bags are mostly packed, diaper bag ready, and birth plan in place. Now it's essentially a waiting game. We're finishing up our online childbirth classes which I must say are quite informational and sometimes entertaining. But in between the waiting and the classes, we've had to think about how we're going to handle life after baby's birth.

I don't mean thinking and planning about the lack of sleep, feeding schedule, or just the overall changes a new baby is going to bring. I'm talking about how we're going to handle excited family members and friends who've waited just as long as we have to meet our child. That sentence sounds so bizarre, right? How we're going to handle family and friends? That sentence shouldn't even have to exist.

Keep reading Show less

Cameron Diaz on having a baby at 47: 'You really have to work hard for it'

"The only pressure for me now is I have to live to be, like, 107, you know? No pressure!"

This is the decade that saw the face of first-time motherhood change. The number of first-time mamas under 30 is shrinking, while more and more women are becoming moms after 40.

Cameron Diaz is one of them. The actress and businesswoman, now 48, became a mom in January at the age of 47. In a new episode of Naomi Campbell's YouTube series, No Filter, Diaz opens up about what it's like to become a mom in your fourth decade.

"A lot of people do it the other way around ... they get married [and] have a family in their youth," says Diaz."I'm kind of doing it in the second half of my life."

Keep reading Show less