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Recently I was scrolling through the responses on a Facebook page to a mother who asked for tips and a bit of reassurance around her decision to put her toddler into childcare.

Her daughter was not happy, cried each morning at drop-off and generally had problems with adjusting.

She felt torn by mother guilt, as though she was making the wrong decision, but also wondered whether this was all a normal part of adjusting to childcare and she should stay firm.

Are You A Judgey McJudgey?

Most of the responses were positive, in fact overwhelmingly so. But there was that critical minority that took it upon themselves to get all Judgey McJudgerson on this mother. “Stay at home if you can”, advised one woman before adding, “I would always put the emotional well-being of my child first” (inference: you clearly don’t). Another woman suggested that the original poster reconsider their life choices and what it really important in life because “they are only little once” (inference: don’t be short-sighted, stay at home!).

In my own experiences I’ve come across some judging too of my own use of childcare – all from other women.

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I’ve had someone gasp “so soon!?” when I said my son was going into childcare at twelve months so I could return to work.

Another asked how many hours he was going to childcare and then exclaimed that “that’s an awful lot of time away from mum for such a little tot”. And my personal favourite – an inspirational quote someone shared with me: “we live two lives; one for us and one for our children”.

I’ve learnt to dodge commentary by front-loading my explanation that my son goes to childcare with financial justifications. Unfortunately, I don’t have a money tree in the backyard so off he goes to care! It’s not possible to take more than two years maternity leave without losing my job so off he goes to care! That pesky rent won’t pay itself so off he goes to care!



Why Do I Do It?

While these are all true points, my son really goes to care for two central underlying reasons.

Firstly, I need something that reminds me I am a person outside of the sometimes all-consuming role of mother and that engages the skills I took seven years at university to learn.

Secondly, I also want to show my son that we are blessed to live in a society where people can do whatever they want if they set their minds to it. For me, that means worker and mother. For others, that means stay at home mum. And that’s perfectly hunky dory ok. I never say any of these things though. I feel shamed into thinking my personal needs are somehow selfish or beside the point.

But why should I or any other working woman feel ashamed for their choices?

It’s 2018 for goodness sake! Wasn’t that the whole point of the feminist movement, that women had the right to choose? I don’t mind if someone stays at home so why should someone mind that I don’t?

These are choices and we should all – men and women alike – be celebrating each and every one because women have exercised their right to make them.

I find it odd that the harshest critics of women are often other women. Why is that so hard for some of us to pat each other on the back?

The life I have chosen comes with benefits and sacrifices but so does every choice in parenting. It is a give and take relationship, like all relationships. And it is in that exchange that the relationship can become richer and more vibrant, complex and fulfilling for all parties involved. I want my son to understand that. I want him to have that in his life.

I’m sorry if there are people out there who think this is not the very best I can do for my child because, on the whole, I think it works pretty awesomely for us.

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  • I’ve worked in childcare for decades and have only come across a handful of children who couldn’t settle. 99.9% of the children love their learning environment, and it is just as much a little social outing for them as it is for us to visit our friends. Even the children who cry when mum walks out the door settle very quickly once their attention is directed to fun activities. Mums and dads enrol their children in childcare for a number of reasons and sometimes the decision is made freely and sometimes because they have no other option because they have to work. I always said to my young colleagues “never judge a parent until you have children of your own and understand the decisions parents have to make for the well being of their children”.

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  • Ahhh the old SAHM vs working Mum debate – it always brings up a debate bursting with critique and unnecessary (as it’s all personal and circumstantial) justifications from both sides.

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  • There will always be differences of opinion and judgements. We just have to try and avoid the negativity.

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  • No-one should judge because you don’t know the circumstances and everyone is different. I personally WANTED to go back to work because I didn’t know anything else and went back part-time when my girls were 6 months old (I was a young mum and had both of mine by age 26) I didn’t NEED to go back I chose to for my own personal reasons and was lucky enough to have my MIL be able to look after them while I was at work. In saying that if I didn’t have help I can’t comment on what I would have done but if I was to have a child now at 35 I would want to be a stay at home mum because I am more settled now and would enjoy it more.

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  • Everyone’s living their life differently. You shouldn’t judge people without knowing the full story.


    • Exactly. I cant stand judgy people who think they are better than everyone else

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  • You shouldn’t judge someone else at all unless they are doing something harmful/dangerous to their child.
    You cannot judge someone based on one question either! Who knows the situation? That’s why this mum asked in the first place.

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  • In terms of doing the right things etc I think it comes down to how is the child once you have left? If they’re screaming all day etc then maybe alternatives need to be looked at.
    My son goes to day care one day a week so I can have a break. I’m a single Mum and he does not see his dad so that my time to reset refresh and get some stuff done without a toddler whinging at me and making everything take 5x longer than it needs to lol
    And he loves going and is learning so much.
    You have to do what works for you and your family and fuck the haters.

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  • It is amazing how the ones who are often doing the judging are the ones who pull others up for doing judging.

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  • I find it really sad and so isolating that women are bitchy like this…… You don’t know the workings of someone else’s family so “You just do you boo!!!!”

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  • I remember the first day she started Pre school as I was walking out the door all I could hear was her crying when I went back in the afternoon to pick her up she was so happy and asked can I go back tomorrow hahaha

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  • I know this mother’s pain – my daughter hated to go to childcare… she cried from the time she got up til the time I dropped her off and I used to have to pry her off me and walk out. The mummy guilt was bad but I had no choice but to work so that we could make ends meet. I was told by the childcare workers that the second I was out of sight she was fine and when I used to pick her up she never used to want to leave ? Go figure. You have to make a decision asked on your households needs and sometimes it is hard.

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  • At the end of the day it’s your child and you do what works for you. I was lucky that my husband worked night shift so I would work while he was home with the kids and didn’t need to use child care. But if that wasn’t an option then my kids would have been in childcare too.

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  • do what works for your family i say :)

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  • I’m very lucky to have great supportive mothers groups

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  • Love is to be shared by a family to young ones especially as the warmest feeling is talking to a young child answering a child as to reassure them they are safe and the difference between right and wrong and maintain trust as to why we sometimes do what we do. Xxx

    Reply

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