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November 02, 2019 2 min read

Does she love her teachers more? It’s absolutely killing me.


My 1-year-old daughter is in full-time day care during the week. I do both drop-off and pickup. In the mornings, she is totally fine when I drop her off. She has wonderful teachers she loves, and she gets along well with the other babies. It’s during pickup that I have the problem. Most days, as soon as she sees me, her face crumples and she starts wailing. What’s worse is when I reach for her, she’ll cling to her teacher. When we leave the day care she’ll struggle in my arms during the walk to the car, sob while I put her in her car seat, and sometimes even continue crying during the short drive home. Her teachers kindly tell me that she just struggles with transitions, which I would buy—except morning drop-offs go off without a hitch.

I promise you that she has a loving, calm home and family. When she melts down at the sight of me, I try to stay neutral and focus on comforting her. So what’s going on here? I’m trying not to take it personally, but it really does seem like she prefers her caregivers to me.

—This Is Killing Me


Dear TIKM,

I promise you, I swear to you, a 1-year-old just has EMOTIONS. They don’t know what they are. You put their birthday cake in front of them and they burst into tears.

Your daughter sees you after hours apart, she swells with feeling, and she has no idea what to do with it. I recommend not doing a ton of comforting at the time because the comforting reinforces the behavior. Just kiss her, and put her in the car seat, and love on her once you’re home.

She adores you. It’s overwhelming! She’s not freaking out in the morning because she doesn’t care as much about day care—it’s fine—but it’s not Mommy came back for me.

I really, really hope you believe me because I am completely confident in my answer and your daughter’s great, unwieldy love for you.



 Author: Nicole Cliffe

Nicole Cliffe lives with her husband and three children in Sandy, Utah. She is the co-founder of the Toast and has written for the Guardian, Christianity Today, New York, and the Morning News.