As every parent who has a child in daycare knows, educators can form a special bond with their tiny charges
That bond is important not just for easing drop offs for reluctant kids, but for helping them to thrive. And while it's comforting to know someone is looking out for your little one, few parents probably think about that relationship outside of daycare hours.
However, one mum has shared an unusual dilemma after hearing that an educator at her son's centre had left. Taking to Slate's parenting advice column Care and Feeding, she asked if it would 'be weird' to continue that relationship.
"We've been very lucky to have a wonderful relationship with our daycare provider ever since I went back to work when my son was 12 weeks old," the anonymous woman, posting under the pseudonym 'Not Jealous', said.
"The whole organisation takes wonderful care of him and he has thrived, but he's had a particularly special relationship with one of his teachers. He loves her like she's family, and she loves him, too."
Going on to explain that the teacher left her son's centre due to 'interpersonal conflicts' with the centre's director, she said she had been texting the woman and was finding it hard to accept her son, now 18 months, would no longer have her in his life, describing her as a 'saint'.
"I'm absolutely crushed. She reached out to me on Facebook because she wasn't going to be able to say goodbye and talked about how much she misses our son and how she hopes to be able to hear how he is doing," she shares.
"It's been an extremely emotional time, and I find that I want to try to find a way to keep her in our lives. Is that weird?"
"She is very attached to my kid, and I feel like I'm supposed to be concerned about that? But instead I just feel grateful to have someone in my life who also loves my child and has been so important to him."
The mum finishes by saying if she were in a financial position to take the woman on as his nanny she would and asks how if it would be possible to continue some kind of relationship between her son and the teacher.
In reply, Slate's advice columnist, Michelle Herman, reassures the woman that it's not weird ...if she doesn't let it be.
"If she wants to continue to be a part of your son's (and your) life, and if you like her and trust her, who says she can't be?," Herman writes. "Why "move on" from a relationship that's meaningful to all three of you?
You're allowed to be friends. And a child can only benefit from having additional loving adults in their life."
However, Herman acknowledged some may find it an 'unusual' relationship. She also suggested establishing boundaries, especially around talk of the centre as her son still attends.
Ultimately, she said, if it worked then why not?
"As to the latter—societal pressure—I would remind you that it's never a good idea to ignore your own instincts in favour of what "everybody says" or does."
Sounds like great advice to us.