It’s very easy for mums to fall into the trap of trying to do it all, especially when they don’t use childcare because they don’t think they need to or it makes them feel guilty. However, a super stretched and stressed mother (or father), means families end up suffering way more. The solution? Daycare, and here’s how it can actually make you a better parent.
1. It helps you get organised
Looking after a small child is a full-time job, and when you add into the mix additional children, running a household or other commitments – well it’s no wonder nothing seems to get done. But pop your little one into preschool for even just one day a week and suddenly you’ll have a block of time in which to attack your to-do list. Cleaning the house, making a lasagne for dinner, paying bills, gardening, scheduling vaccinations – whatever it is you need to do you now have a regular time slot in which to do it (if you choose).
2. You can work again
Not all stay-at-home mums or dads are career orientated but many do miss having a job outside of the house. Childcare gives you an opportunity to get your foot back in the door, particularly as more workplaces now are flexible with hours and working remotely.
A lot of parents also need to go back to work for financial reasons. Although daycare can be expensive, depending on your line of work and what centre you use, it is possible for many to still make an income after childcare fees are accounted for – and don’t forget, you are also accumulating superannuation.
3. Your kids get more stimulation & social interaction
Many parents are fantastic at entertaining their children and helping them learn and explore but for others it’s more difficult. I personally struggle a bit with my youngest – he’s a third child, is super busy and switched on and his two older brothers are at school during the day. I love playing with him but there’s always just so much to do and I constantly feel bad about falling back on the same activities or not giving him enough attention. When he’s at daycare though, I know he’s knee deep in playing games, singing songs, painting and exploring exciting toys and areas; and he’s also interacting with lots of other children his own age which is really important for his development.
4. It gives you time for yourself
When was the last time you got your hair or nails done? Had a massage? Shaved your legs? When you’re a mum and time is limited, personal grooming is often the first thing to go out the window. The next is exercise. And forget about things like long hot baths, solo shopping outings, or sitting down to read a book. Even if you don’t have a job, when your child is in daycare it’s a chance to do something for yourself rather than feeling angry or upset about things you’re missing out on in your life. And if you take care of yourself physically and mentally, you’ll be a much happier, calmer and confident mother (and partner!) – which is what every child needs.
5. It gives you breathing space
I love my children dearly but there’s nothing like being away from them – even for an hour – to make me love them even more. Absence certainly makes the heart grow fonder when you have kids, sometimes you just need a little break. Mentally it does wonders for you to have some peace and quiet, and to be alone with your thoughts so you can actually think clearly for the first time in ages. Having that brief distance will also make you appreciate them so much more when they’re back with you, which some days can be easy to take for granted when you’re in a groundhog day loop of stay-at-home mummy duties.
6. You can reclaim your identity
Being a mum is the best job I’ve ever had but sometimes it’s nice to just be yourself again, even for a short while. You can be the sister at the cafe eating breakfast, the daughter going for a run or the career woman working on an exciting project – in those moments you don’t have to answer to Mum, you are YOU again and it can feel great.
7. Ditch the guilt and get help
Dropping children at daycare can feel horribly sad at times, particularly when they’re new to it, but you should never feel about guilty because it really can be a great thing for your child. Remember that by using childcare (or family help if it’s available) to spend some time on yourself, the home, your job or whatever else you’re doing, the result is a happier, less stressed and more organised you.
When mum’s on top of the world, the whole family comes with her.
Do you ever feel guilty about using childcare?