Today I dropped my 15 month old for his second day at daycare. He is enrolled one day a week. He attends the same daycare as his 3 year old brother. The daycare staff are fantastic. I trust them implicitly. But it is so hard to drop him off and hear him crying after me. He does eventually settle down but it is so heartbreaking knowing that for a few moments he feels abandoned and scared.
So why do I do it? I do it so I can have a day to come home and do some solid writing – without constant interruption from the children or time pressure to fit things into small windows of opportunity.
I do it because after 6 years as a stay-at-home mum I find that I need to get back into some sort of work. I also said to myself that my children would not attend care of any sort until they were preschool age. I managed to keep that promise for my first two children but it became increasingly obvious to me that I couldn’t do it for my third. And along with that comes guilt.
I have thoroughly enjoyed being a stay-at-home mum. I pride myself on the fact that for the first few years of my children’s life no-one knows them better than I. My eldest is in year one and already I can see her changing – there are already things about her that I don’t know. I can’t be sad about that. I always knew that would happen. She’s just growing up.
This is why I vowed to not work and be with my children in those first few years. Mr M and I have done it tough. Still are. But I also knew that would be the case.
What I find disappointing is that I feel I can’t make it to the final hurdle with the intentions I started with. The truth is that being a stay-at-home mum can be very mind numbing. It doesn’t mean that I love my children any less. It doesn’t mean I resent my children or my husband. I just never realized how claustrophobic and stifling eating, sleeping, working and playing all out of the one place could be.
Andrea (Diet and Health) touched on the subject of ‘me’ time is her recent post. And she is right.
Couple all of this with the fact that the longer I’m out of the workforce, the older I get and the new nasty industrial relations laws, the harder it will be for me to re-enter the workforce anywhere close to where I left off.
And let’s not forget all those studies saying that children under three shouldn’t be in formal daycare – let’s just increase that guilt shall we. I know mine is only there one day a week and these studies concentrate on children who are in full time care but I’m a mother and sometimes rationality just doesn’t come into it.
So for these reasons and many more I have put my 15 month old into daycare. And for the same reasons and more I feel guilty doing it. Even though I can rationally see that I’m probably not doing my 15 month old any real harm, I do feel like I failed him. I feel like I failed myself.
Being the third I’m surprised his first word wasn’t “wait”. He’s heard it enough times.
This post was first published on my other Mum’s Word blog “Why Does This Have To Be So Hard?”