Unexplainable Intuition

I had a pretty rough day today. I woke up with a headache and that ended up being the high point. What got everything off to a bad start was something that happened at Bean and Gracie’s daycare. I’ve thought about this blog post all night and about whether I would share what happened or not. I think I’ve decided not to. It wasn’t anything horrific, but the point of this blog post isn’t about what a daycare does or does not do. The point of this blog post is about intuition.

When I first dropped the kids at their new daycare, I felt pretty good. They both had some adjustment issues, but nothing major or unexpected. During that adjustment period, I was very forgiving of anything I saw at the daycare that I wasn’t 100% thrilled with. For the first week, Gracie kept being sent home in someone else’s bibs and I’d often walk into the nursery to find another baby wearing one of hers. It didn’t bother me, really, but I did think it was odd. Couldn’t they keep track of her things? They all had her name on them. But I chalked it up to getting used to a new place and a new way of doing things. Gradually, I became more comfortable with her classroom and teachers.


Bean’s room was a little different. I’d love to be able to give you a list of things that I saw that I wasn’t happy with, but the list I do have is kind of nonsensical and abstract. Yes, there have been incidents and things that I am not happy about, but my comfort level with this daycare doesn’t come from incidents. It comes from a feeling inside me.

Something just isn’t right.

I see things occasionally that I’d come home and tell Chris about (for example, Bean’s daily report was a photo copy that every child had sent home – they all said the same thing every day, “He loved story time!” But every sheet said that, for every child. There was nothing personal about Bean’s sheet, so I never knew what HIS day was like…), but for the most part, the little things I was noticing were just sort of filed away in the back of my mind. His teachers seemed nice. Bean seemed to be adjusting, but settling in.

But something just wasn’t right.

Finally, this morning, there was an incident involving Bean and I thought to myself, “Why am I sitting here waiting for something bad to happen? What else has to happen before I do something?”

I called Chris and my mom on my way to work. I talked to Sarah when I got to work. I emailed with Chris all day. And I called my sister after school. All day long, I wanted someone to validate what I was thinking. I’d explain things to them and then get mad when someone thought I was overreacting or if they didn’t understand what I was upset about. But I came home tonight and thought long and hard about it.

The fact is, I can’t really explain what’s wrong with the daycare. If I told you the things I’m unhappy with, you’d probably not think it was anything worth uprooting my kids and moving them to another daycare. But I know better. I know that this unsettled feeling I have about my kids daycare isn’t an overreaction. It is intuition.

Having kids is teaching me that sometimes you have to go with your gut, even when you can’t explain it to someone else. So, this week, Chris and I are going to look at other daycare centers and, hopefully, we’ll be moving the kids in the next couple weeks. I’m not happy about doing it. I hate the thought of Bean going through another transitional period after he finally got settled, but I know that we’re doing the right thing because at the end of the day, those two babies are my whole entire world and I better by 200% satisfied with the people who are taking care of them.

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58 Thoughts to “Unexplainable Intuition”

  1. Jessica

    Katie– I’ve never commented on a blog but as a Preschool Director, I HAVE to. ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS go with your gut. I make decisions every day with my gut. I research, obsess, research, observe… but in the end, I make decisions about employees, placements, referrals, etc. with that motherly instinct. My parents know that decisions are made because we love their children and they know, in THEIR guts, that we give 110% every day. NEVER stop trusting the motherly instinct… GUT… that God gave you. It’s there for a reason!
    Good luck with the tough stuff… it’s so hard to be a Mom sometimes!

  2. I agree with you 200%. YOU must be completely comfortable with your child’s daycare situation as a working mother. I know EXACTLY what you are saying and you ARE doing the right thing. LOVE and luck sent your way!

  3. Good for you momma! You have to trust our instincts even if it seems crazy. If it makes you feel any better, we decided on a different day care because I didn’t like my girls eating at the same tables that they colored on. Silly, but mommy didn’t like it 🙂
    As my pediatrician always reassures me: Kids are resilient and will adjust as long as you love them and guide them through it.

  4. #1 Holla for the mama who listens to her intuition. You’re a smart cookie and your kids are better for it. #2 That picture of Bean could sell anything. He is one handsome little dude. 🙂

  5. YES!! The way I look at it is you should be IN LOVE with your daycare. Don’t settle, you will find one you love. Your kids deserve it and YOU deserve the peace of mind that will come with it. Good for you!

  6. Nicole

    I can 100% understand where you are coming from. I am a pre-k teacher and work for a child care center. I have been doing this for 7 years and both of my children have always attended where I work. It makes it so hard to be an employee when your kids go there because I see EVERYTHING. I guess I could be considered “a pain in the butt…” but like you said, you KNOW in your heart when it’s not right. You are paying these people a lot of money to make sure your children receive the best care possible. It is their responsibility to put the right bib on your child! This is what we are paid to do!!! Honestly, I have seen so many co-workers who are just lazy and don’t care…but don’t be discouraged, there ARE many of us who take our job seriously and will give your child the attention and love that you are trusting us to provide 🙂 Good luck!

  7. Ditto to what Kate says – it is hard enough to be a working mother AND be worried about your kids. If you are already expecting something bad, those “not so little” things will escalate into bigger things and it’s going to be a problem no matter what. I’m praying for you here in MN and hoping you find a better place for you – and your two amazing little “chicklets” (as my mom would call them!).

  8. jen

    Listen to your intuition. I had the same problem with a daycare my son was in….I could never figure out why I never felt totally comfortable cause nothing was a really major deal. Only once my husband and I decided to pull him from the daycare did I find out all of the shady stuff that was going on. Im a big believer in listening to your gut when it comes to your kids.
    You are totally doing the best thing for both bean and gracie

  9. Jenny

    Katie, I’ve read your blog for a while and enjoy it and your family very much. There is NOTHING more important than the safety and well being of your children. The appear to be happy and healthy (and beautiful) kids, and they will adjust to a new place. You may find that when you are happier and more comfortable with their daycare, so will they be. The daycare you and Chris choose helps to shape and mold your children and there is no reason for you not to be satisfied. Outside of that, you’re paying them a lot of money…they can treat every child like an individual!

  10. Definitely trust your gut. When we were shopping for daycares in Tallahassee, we walked into one and though it looked pleasant and bright and clean I couldn’t shake the feeling that something was “off.” Do what you gotta do, lady–piece of mind is priceless.

  11. Katie's Mom

    You nailed it. Mom’s instinct trumps everything!

  12. I feel you 100%! I sometimes feel aggravated when I see something I don’t care for at the sitter…or when I pick him up w/o his nuk or the wrong blanket etc… My gut tells me though he is in good hands – and like you say, go with your gut! Nothing is more important than you kids.

  13. Tressa

    Mother knows best!! Go with your gut. Good luck to all of you!! Will be praying for you

  14. Jen S

    I agree with you! Like Jessica, I am a director at a preschool, and one of the first things I say during tours is that you have to do what’s right for you and your child. Like parents, no daycare is perfect, but you have every right to find one that fits your family perfectly. I laughed out loud about the bibs in Gracie’s room–that happened to me once when I had an older lady with the infants– she had really good intentions and loved the little ones, but couldn’t keep up with the details. I wish you lived closer to Jacksonville, I’d love to have Bean & Gracie at my center!!

  15. Sarah H.

    As a working Mom who feels so good about the in home daycare my daughter attends I say you deserve to feel wonderful about working and where your children go during the day!!! Good for you. I hope you fund something because I know how hard that is! Have you thought about an in home day care? There might be more personalized attention?

  16. Trust that gut instinct. If it doesn’t smell right, there’s likely something wrong. I think you’re doing the right thing for sure.

  17. I understand completely. Because I’m an overreacter by nature, I’ve often had to step back and take it all in. Still, I switched daycares at the end of last school year for a couple reasons, but in large part because of a string of incidents that weren’t really “that big of a deal”. Most people would say I was being overprotective, but if I’ve learned anything in four years of parenting, it’s that it is my job to be overprotective. I’d rather err on the side of caution anyday than live with regrets.

  18. Good for you to listen to your gut. It is possible to feel 100% comfortable with a daycare, so if you’re not, which you’re clearly not, don’t second guess moving them. You can’t be preoccupied worrying about them all day. I hope you find one that you love very quickly! Good luck!

  19. There are definitely things I would let slip (and have in the past when my son had a regular babysitter) and there are things I wouldn’t. That feeling in your gut is something I would NOT let go of. And you’re right, even if you can’t point to something specific, your intuition is there to protect you from something in the future. It’s one thing to have that feeling about your job, and a totally different one to feel that way about the people who are taking care of those precious little people. Seriously, you are so right on. The thought of anyone messing with that little face is enough to make me sad, I can’t imagine how you must feel.

  20. If your internal warning bell is ringing, something’s not right. I never, ever take chances with my kid and his well being. You did the right thing, Katie. Hope you find a place you love.

  21. As a home daycare provider I’m glad you’re listening to your gut! Mother’s intuition is a powerful tool! I’m sure you’ll find a great daycare, and you’ll probably have an even better idea of what details you’ll be looking for after this past experience! I encourage you to also visit a few home daycares as well, there are a lot of advantages to home daycare providers – consistent caregiving being one of the biggest! :o)

  22. listen to your gut, katie!!! you’re a smartie! who is going to watch them while you’re working though?

  23. Katie

    I couldn’t agree with you more. A year ago, I felt something was wrong and pulled my son out of his daycare with no backup set up first. It was the hardest and easiest thing I ever did. The struggles I went through for 3 months to find new daycare paid off and I love where he is now! Always trust your gut!

  24. That is something that I had to learn right away when I had Ellen. My mom kept pushing me to listen to my gut, and I’m so glad she did. There were so many things I was told that was supposedly the “right way,” but I didn’t do because I knew it wasn’t right for my baby. I would try and it would always end in disaster. I’m so happy for you and your gut!

  25. Go with your gut, girl! I worked at the most amazing preschool when I was in college, and when it came time to find a preschool for my son, where I live now, I was so disappointed. It seemed that couldn’t find a place that I felt truly comfortable with, except for the school with the ultra-long wait list. By God’s grace, we somehow got into that school and I am so happy with it, but my heart hurt feeling like I couldn’t find a place for my boy where I, in my gut, wanted to send him!

  26. Hilary

    You are absolutely doing the right thing. When we were looking for daycare, I interviewed with a woman who had years of experience (this was an at-home daycare) and well-loved by all my colleagues. They raved about her so I went to visit with my eight-week old daughter. I immediately got a weird feeling when she put the baby carrier on top of her kitchen table and let the other kids swarm my daughter like bees, trying to touch her, give her a binkie, etc. The woman was nice enough, but throughout the interview, I could tell we weren’t clicking. She had an older dog that one of the kids told me “gets mad and growls” and I asked if she ever had an emergency, who would help her with the kids. She looked offended and said she’d probably just call her neighbor. I left feeling torn about how much my co-workers loved her and the negative vibe I got. The other woman I interviewed was the mother of one of my seventh graders. This boy approached me only a few weeks after school started (and I had announced my pregnancy to the kids) and told me that his mom watched kids and if I needed someone for my baby, she could do it. I kind of blew him off, and asked for a business card which he promptly gave me the next day. I called her for the hell of it and arranged an interview. Well, the Lord knew where my kids needed to be because this woman was fabulous. I loved her house, her philosophy of discipline, her organization and the fact that her husband ran the daycare with her so there were always two adults with the kids. She also cooked all the meals for the children, had a gorgeous fenced-in backyard and was down the street from my school. Both my daughter and my son have been there since infancy and I cannot say what a blessing it has been. Even though she had been recommended by her son and cost more than the woman recommended by my co-workers, I knew in my gut, she and her husband were the best choice for my kids. Ask God for guidance and He will provide for you and your family. He did for us.

  27. Erin

    Good for you, Katie! It really doesn’t matter why. You’re their mom, and that intuition is better than a dozen well-documented ‘incidents’.

  28. Holli

    Oh girl. There are a few things in life that should never be something that you just “settle” with and a gut feeling should be the judge.
    Hairdressers, doctors, child care, and the perfect chocolate, etc are things you follow you gut with. Never settle…always question.

  29. I am so glad that you’re unapologetic about your mother’s intuition. You are right on target with moving your kids because your gut says that you need to…Good luck on your search!

  30. AMEN!! We have had a few babysitters – all good friends of ours who we love and have personal relationships with but will no longer be asked back to keep my little one. Not cause they arent great people, but more because my momma’s intuition says it doesnt feel right. Your number one priority are those babies and I respect you for doing what you are doing!

  31. HeatherM

    As a peds ICU nurse, I’ve seen mothers’ intuitions save the lives of many many babies. I had one case where a mom brought the baby in b/c he just didn’t feed right for one feed and she knew something was up, and baby turned out to have meningitis. In another case, mom picked baby up from daycare, and when she brought him home he was more fussy than normal, and his cry was different- it turned out baby had shaken baby syndrome and the subsequent bleed on his brain was growing rapidly. Both kids survived perfectly unscathed, and are happy, healthy, and normal to this day. And both kids would have been dead if their moms had waited even 12 hours to act on their intuitions.
    I understand that bibs and other little things seem like “small potatoes” in the big scheme of things. But on the flip side of this, if they can’t even keep track of small potatoes things like bibs, can they keep track of bigger things like your kids formula, your kids, and your kids’ emotions. The lack of communication is another big red flag.

  32. I figure that you have to trust your gut all the time or not at all! I always follow my heart and even if I don’t have research to back up my decision, if it feels right, it’s right!! Get your kids somewhere you feel good about!!

  33. Ella

    Mothers have intuition for a reason and thats to nurture and protect our children in every area of their life. Good on you for looking for a new daycare centre. I looked at 3 daycare centres when my son started at 5 months – the first 2 while ok , there was just something that didnt sit well with me. One of the centres put my son on the floor (cold floor with no rug under him at 5 months!) in a room full of toddlers who could have quite easily stood on him. Its such a commonsense thing that they shouldnt have gotton wrong in my opinion. The second one, some of the staff were very cold/clinical and that put me off straight away. The third centre was perfect for him. I had a good feeling from the moment we stepped in the front door. It was warm and just had a great feeling about it and the staff were so caring with my son i know i chose the right centre. Tomorrow is his last day (he starts pre-school next week) and im a little sad that this little chapter of his life is coming to an end but its been such a great experience for both of us. Its so worth it to have peace of mind and you dont need to be worrying about them while you are at work.

  34. If you have a feeling, then you are def right! I make sure my son has individual attention at daycare — the photo copied paper is crazy! I want to see everyday that he didn’t eat his peas or sit still during storytime. The daycare spends most of my sons weekly awake time with him…they better know everything about him! You are right to go with your gut!

  35. Always stick with your gut! I am not a parent, but as a previous childcare worker/teacher, I can tell you that if something feels off, it almost always is. I also think you hit the nail on the head with the “sitting around waiting for something bad to happen.” I think that happens all too often. A parent feels somewhat uneasy, but lets it go and then it escalates into something bad for everyone. Plus these are your children, and you alone decide how they are cared for and taken care of when you aren’t home! Never be afraid to do what feels right!! Lastly, don’t forget that God will see you through even this!

  36. Good for you. That intuition is right. A few things happened last year at Hudson’s MDO at our church, with the people who love US, but I still can’t shake them. He’s at a regular preschool now and still goes to our church’s MDO once a week. They send home those photo-copied daily reports, too, and it drives me crazy.
    You’re doing what’s right for them and you are going to be much happier and more settled throughout your day if you feel comfortable with where Bean and Gracie are. You’re a great mommy.

  37. Bec

    My son is 1 and has been in daycare since he was 3 months old. I notice alot of little things too (like Gracie and the bibs) but I know he is loved there and I have no qualms dropping him off there everyday. When you feel that way, it makes those little things really easy to overlook. And the way I look at it, I would rather have things (bibs, jackets, socks) get mixed up sometimes if it means they are concentrating on giving the kids the attention they need. Good luck in looking for new centers! Have you ever thought of going a different route? Maybe somebody who takes care of kids in their home??

  38. Good luck finding a new daycare and getting your babies comfortable with the new place! We are in the same situation right now and my husband thinks i’m nuts, but I just couldn’t put up with all of the crazy little things that in the end meant my child was not getting the attention or love that she needed.

  39. Suzanne

    You’re doing the right thing. You have that feeling for a reason. Also, my mom ran a home daycare for years and I can tell you that you need to be completely comfortable with who you choose to watch your children. Otherwise, you’ll be miserable all day at work thinking about it.

  40. At the end of the day, the ONLY 2 people in the world who can/will truly protect your kids are you and Chris. They can’t speak for themselves. I’ve endured some uncomfortable conversations and hurt some feelings which was yucky, but my kids safety came first. Do what you have to do and do it with confidence.

  41. 3fites

    YAY! I’m not the only one! We moved about 6 months ago and I searched and searched for a new daycare. We finally found one close to our house and reluctantly decided on one. I took my then 12 month old son for a week and cried every day after I dropped him off. No real “solid” reason why (everything was just so different than what I was used to). I ended up un-enrolling him on Friday afternoon and took him back to his old daycare on Monday. It’s worth it to me to drive farther for the peace of mind that he and I both are happy in his environment.

  42. Kimberly

    Trust your mommy gut!!!! I had a similar experience with our previous daycare. Mostly things that I couldn’t put my finger on and folks said to ignore it that I was being overly sensitive-expecting too much! Then one day one BIG thing happened and I felt such quilt because I thought if we had moved then this would not have happened. Childcare relationships must work for all parties involved, the babies, the parents and the care givers. Your children deserve more than a photocopied page. P.S. We are now at a Montessori school and I see my very happy child getting the love , care and attention he needs and deserves . Equally as important I see him giving the same to others as he sees by the examples set by his caregivers. And my gut is happy!

  43. Kimberly

    I meant GUILT not quilt 🙂 I feel so passionate about this topic that I typed the wrong word but the thought is the same! Good luck to you!!

  44. Casey L.

    You are doing the right thing!! I have worked at a few day care centers and this last time, my girls came with me. I wasn’t in the same rooms as them but with the little things I saw around that place we last all of 3 days. It started with little things like my youngest daughter’s onsie was put on backwards. They changed my oldest daughter’s diaper on the floor versus a changing table. And then, the one time I was in the same room as my oldest daughter, I was observing naptime while another teacher took a break. When that teacher walked back into the room my daughter jumped up from her mat, ran to me and buried her head in my neck. That was it. I quit my job, packed my kids stuff and walked out. I also reported them for things I saw. I’ve never been so sick to my stomach as when I thought about what I had put my girls through. My youngest to this day is afraid of people and I fully put blame on the traumatic day care experience! Follow that intuition, you have it for a reason!!!

  45. Sara M

    I just want to second what some others have mentioned about in home daycares. My two boys have been with the same lady since they were each 8 weeks old. It is such a better setting than a traditional daycare, she is much more involved with them. And cheaper, by a lot (at least where we live)!

  46. Carrie

    I know everyone has already said this, but AMEN SISTAH! We had a very bad nanny experience when we did a nanny-share with another family (btw – I live in an area where daycare costs are exhorbitant and there are waitlists,etc. so splitting the cost of a nanny with another family is the same cost as daycare . It’s not like I’m some rich person with nannies and servants and things. Although that would be nice ;-)). The first family had already hired the nanny and although there wasn’t anything I actively disliked about her, I just had that nagging feeling that she wasn’t the right “fit”. Like you, I couldn’t put my finger on it or it was small things that seemed like I was making a big deal. I even asked the other family if they would consider continuing the search for someone else and they said no. Everything else about the situation was perfect so I went along with the nanny since there was nothing concrete to prevent us from hiring her. WORST SITUATION EVER. So many small things happened that ultimately ended in a huge blow-up (thank god the blow-up had nothing to do with the childrens safety) and I kick myself to this day for not speaking up and taking action on it sooner. It was a huge lesson to me as a mother to trust my instinct and to never be afraid to step in as my child’s advocate. It’s not always easy, but in your heart you know you are doing the right thing. Good for you!

  47. Kara

    I have never commented on you blog before, despite being an avid reader, but I had to today because you HAVE TO follow your intuition. I used to ignore mine about a variety of things and it was always a huge mistake. Good for you for paying attention to your own feelings. Trust them.

  48. Grandma

    I trust every instinct you and Chris have.
    Listen to the whisper and know where it is
    coming from!

  49. Ann G-B

    I could go on all day about choosing day care for your kiddos. In fact I joined the board of a day care before I even got pregnant to make sure that our community had good quality day care. But then couldn’t send my kiddo there because they can’t take infants. We are now in the middle of a capital campaign to build a new building to have an infant program. It is the ONLY licensed day care in town!
    Be grateful that you have options. So many communities do not!

  50. Love this post, Katie. So good. YOU and only you (and Chris), know best. And that picture of Bean??? BE STILL MY HEART. One of my favorites.

  51. Listen: sure, there will always be those nagging feelings that something isn’t quite right and you might want push them away because you feel irrational but whatever you do: don’t. Those gut feelings is your subconscious sending up red flags that something isn’t quite right. Without knowing what made you uncomfortable with Bean and Gracie’s daycare, I will agree with your decision to find a better fit for them. Ultimately YOU are their mom and have to look out for THEIR safety and well-being. Rest assured that following your gut is only a bad thing when it leads you to the kitchen for a midnight snack…but that’s another story 🙂

  52. Maren

    Kudos for listening! That happened to me once (or twice…it’s been a few years since mine has been in day care). I listened and later discovered that I was absolutely right in following my instinct/intuition. Turns out the reason my son was sick 3 out of 5 days in the week (for a month) was because the peson washing dishes wasn’t rinsing the soap completely off or using hot water…
    If you feel like something is wrong, there IS something wrong.

  53. Kim T

    I think the absolute number 1 most important thing you can have when being a working mom is a childcare situation you feel good about. If it’s not working for you, even if it is passable, then you have to change it. Otherwise I don’t think you end up being a very good worker, because you’re always wondering if things are okay. I moved my kids several times throughout their daycare years. I was always glad I did.

  54. I agree with you and maybe the fact that those little things that you are not happy about are just the tip of the iceberg and that’s why it might seem you are overreacting, ’cause people are only seeing a small portion of it but deep inside you know there’s something else. I would absolutely do the exact same thing..

  55. Rhea

    Like everyone else has said, listen to your gut!
    Your subconscious records everything that happens in your life- things you may never even notice. And it can see and feel things that pass right by you in every day life, and turn into the nagging feeling you seem to have. ALWAYS ignore the people who say you’re overreacting… your gut instinct is your #1 protector in life.

    I hope you find the perfect place for Bean Man and Gracie Girl.

  56. JoyDawn

    I completely agree with you. I have 2 sons, my oldest will be 3 next month and my youngest is 4 1/2 months. I had a similar experience with a well known reputable childcare in my area. my son would have other children’s bibs on, and I just had a weird feeling. Not horrible, just weird. When he was 6 months old, he came home with a red swollen thumb. I asked what happened and was told, “I dont know, we didnt see him get hurt or anything.” I asked if any medical attention had been given and they said the accident must have occured at home. At the time, he was my only child and I knew for a fact it hadn’t happened at home. Long story short, my poor 6 month old baby’s fingernail got infected and fell off. It was awful. He was a trooper and it did grow back in, but after it fell off, I told them they needed to be very careful with it as it was extremely sensitive. Then another teacher told me he had gotten his thumbnail stuck in an aquarium toy a week ago. they waited a full week to tell me and offered no medical attention. We took him out soon after that, put him in homedaycare with a person we trust who love him and his brother like they are her own. I haven’t looked back since. Trust your gut and act quickly before something like that happens to your precious kids. Good job mama keeping a finger on the pulse of whats happening and good luck!

  57. I agree with you whole heartedly (which, apparently is not a word or else I’m butchering it…). I’m about to scan the comments above to see if someone wrote anything mean (because people seem to feel the need to do that….hence my post this morning), but honestly, you’re doing the right thing! I had the same weird feelings during the adjustment period with Peanut and like you I was willing to give the daycare a couple of weeks to adjust as well. And after those two weeks, they did! Everything has been going relatively smoothly since and if it wasn’t, I always voiced my opinion to the daycare and they always took care of it!

  58. As a former daycare worker, I want to say KUDOS to you. The fact is….a lot of daycares (like the one I worked in) will really hire just anybody. My training was a full day of reading a book. THATS IT. Luckily for them, I have a background in early childhood dev…but many of my co-wokrers did not, and I saw some horrific things happen at that day care. Now that I am a mother, I will be very careful where I send my child. Your intuition is something many other parents ignored where I worked. Even after telling some of the parents what happened, they would brush it aside and bring their children in the next day. You followed your gut, and found a new environment. Let me know if you want any info on the particular place I worked….I could give you names and behind the scenes info that you may want to look for!

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