day careHey working moms, would you like to hear something that'll make you feel a little bit less guilty? I have something for you! A new study shows (don't you love it when that phrase, "a new study shows" leads to good news?) that day care may reduce the risk of emotional problems -- that is, for kids who are at risk for having emotional problems.

Yeah, that's a pretty big caveat. The researchers focused on the children of moms suffering symptoms of depression -- that depression is what puts kids at risk for emotional problems. (I think we all know that's a whole lotta moms.) And surprise, surprise, those kids are better off hanging out with other children in daycare than hanging out with mom. They showed less separation anxiety, social withdrawal, and fewer emotional problems in general.

It looks like having less exposure to someone with symptoms of depression -- and being social with other kids -- may be the reason why these kids are emotionally healthier. I guess that's not too surprising. I also think that time away from the kids is probably also better for a mom who is suffering depression. She probably needs time and space to deal with her symptoms without the responsibility of taking care of a child.

I think we moms put a lot of pressure on ourselves for doing everything on our own. In ye olden days, we all lived surrounded by our extended families and there was always someone around to watch your kids and help you out. That ideal is rare these days. I know I am -- I live thousands of miles away from my mother, sisters, and the rest of my family.

So now we have things like day care. Is it always perfect? Nope. But most of the time it's good enough. And now it looks like if you're in crisis, it can be exactly what both mom and kids need.

Do you ever feel like daycare is good for both your kids and for you?

 

Image via U.S. Army/Flickr