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.

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.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.com

  • You have to do what’s best for your family. Everybody’s families are different.

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  • I am a member of a ‘support’ group for parents of reflux babies/children and some of the women on there are brutal! I have seen some downright nasty comments made to mums who were already very vulnerable and reaching out to like minded parents for words of encouragement. I have never understood what drives women to tear others down so they feel better about themselves, is it a cultural thing or simply a woman thing?

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  • I’ll never understand why some women are so self righteous. The triggers for them are always either daycare or feeding ones baby. Honestly, as long as no children are in harm’s way and whatever the plan is works for the individual family – why does it become such a big deal for these women? It’s almost like they can’t exist unless they have someone to dress down.

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  • I’ve learned that each family has own formula for their family. If you run around following others advice you’ll be like a headless chook trying nowhere. You’re damed if you do dammed if you dont.
    Hold your head high in your choices and smile and wave.
    They’ll hate that too!

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  • This quote in this article “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?” says it all really ….

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  • If your child doesn’t settle the sooner you walk out of sight the better. They settle quicker that way. When they are older sometimes they are having so much fun they don’t want to go home at the end of the day. Some Mum have no option. They have to feed their children, keep a roof over their heads and clothe them. I some cases it is the only place that children are able to interact with others in their age group.

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  • I just think motherhood isn’t a one lane kinda thing. It’s a different journey for everyone & if you don’t get someone else’s journey well then, just stay in your bloody lane! Support each other, lift each other up & celebrate the successes of other mothers. Help with the pitfalls or just mind your own business. So simple!

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  • I’m a better mother because i spend time away from my boys. They love daycare and they learn so much. My 3 year old came home talking about skeletons and bones and skin. My 2 year is speaking Spanish at home. They have been in daycare 3 days a week since 8-9 months. And i have a lot more patience because i spend time away from them. I have never felt guilty about it.

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  • I can’t afford child care, if i went back to work i would only be getting enough to cover the fees so I have to stay home, sometimes I can pick up a week or two at my old job but my husband has to take time off to cover the home duties, it sucks but it is the only way it works for us, if I was to work weekends I would have no family time

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  • Women are bitches! I’ve always said it! From when they become teenagers, they are teenage bitchy mc bitch face

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  • Some people are so quick to judge!

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  • Child care is necessary for so many families. I don’t know how anyone can judge this.

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  • I went back to full time daycare work with my baby. We were in different rooms. I’d drive to work in dark to open the centre my baby in the back of my car. It was what needed to be done for the house we wanted to buy. In heinsight it was sad for me, as a mum. A lot of stress. But you know what. It is life and it is what it is. She was not harmed nor was worse off for it. She adapted better than I did. It can be difficult. If Bub doesn’t settle. Or is sick a lot. Judging doesn’t help. It doesn’t benefit. Everyone has different lives, do what is your instinct, not peer pressure. They don’t live under your roof dealing with the dam dailies you do.

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  • Its very easy to judge someone. I think it’s harder to try to put yourself in their shoes.

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  • This attitude really annoys me. Mothers ask other mothers advice, we should helping not judging and putting mothers down.
    I hardly ask other mums about my children because I am worried about the negative backlash I might receive. And that’s an awful shame.

    Reply

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