My heart broke a little bit yesterday when I dropped Nick off at Day Care for the first time. He’s staying at a wonderful home with a woman who has several other kids in her care, but that didn’t keep me from shedding a few tears as I drove away from the house with him crying.

My wife and I are not in a situation where having one of us stay home was possible. We are both young, and the realities of a mortgage, student loans, and rising costs necessitate both of us working. We certainly looked at all of the options before making the Day Care decision, but in the end we felt it was the best choice for a number of reasons.

First, being out of the workforce for a number of years is a great way to kill your future. If one of us were to take enough time out of the workforce to raise two or three kids, it would be very difficult to transition back in any meaningful way. Any employee with a pension would be severely impacting their retirement savings, and a Professional could impact their reputation and client base in the future.

I don’t want to sound like money is more important than my children, but let’s face it – unless you live in the woods and grow all of your own food, you NEED money to survive. Then there are the trade-offs to consider. We could live in a smaller house or apartment, but then our kids would have a smaller yard, or have to share bedrooms. A less expensive house can mean a poorer neighborhood, which often means a higher crime rate. Less money coming in means less spending money, which means that you might never get to take your kids to Disneyland or Mount Rushmore. And what about your children’s future? More money means that you can save for their future education, or for their wedding day, or to help them out with a down payment on their first home.

There are benefits to Day Care as well. Day Care helps kids learn to interact with their peers and develop social skills. I think that Nick’s time at the Day Care will help him develop his own personality, and I encourage that.

I have great respect for those parents who can make the sacrifices necessary to stay at home with their children. I will try to provide many resources for Dads who choose to stay home, just as I hope to be able to help out fathers who work. Daycare is a hugely controversial topic, and I’m not trying to convert anyone from their beliefs, nor do I expect to be able to. I just want people to know that there are many options out there when it comes to child care, and this was my decision. I hope it spurs some conversation and debate, and can help someone out there with their own decision.

Nick was raised at home until the age of 11 months. He is a healthy, happy boy with a wonderful personality, and doesn’t seem to be too phased by new people. I think Daycare will be good for him, but that doesn’t mean I can’t be sad when I drop him off in the morning. On the other hand, when I picked him up yesterday, he was smiling and laughing at the caregiver so I think he’s going to enjoy it there. Still, no matter how much fun he has, he still stopped what he was doing to smile and reach up to me when I came by at the end of his day, and that suits me just fine.