stay home mom

Stay-At-Home Moms Should Never Feel Bad About Putting Their Kids In Daycare

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harried momI have been a stay-at-home/work-at-home mom for four years now. Before my kids were in school all day, or when they were only in preschool two or three mornings a week, I would sometimes take them to a nearby drop-off preschool. Sometimes it was because I had an appointment, and sometimes I just needed a break. And I never, ever felt bad about it. Not once.

Today on Reddit Parenting, a stay-at-home mom of a 13-month-old posted the following question:

I’m at the point where I am considering bringing my son to daycare a couple days a week so that I can get shit done (in a quarter of the time it would take with him), get my life together, get in shape and let him socialize with other kids his age. I quit working so my husband could focus on his job and avoid putting our baby in daycare so I’m feeling EXTREMELY conflicted with this decision. Am I being selfish and entitled for doing this or am I helping my family in a variety of ways?

No. Do it. Do it. Do it.

Do it.

There is nothing selfish or entitled about dropping off your kid in a daycare for a few hours so that you can either a) go to the gynecologist, b) run errands without any hassles, or c) sit on the couch and stare at the wall.

The drop-off preschool where I took my kids was a land of miracles. I swear the place glowed. You could leave your kid there for up to four hours, and so I did every single time. The woman at the desk would ask, “So how long are they going to be here?” And I would always be surprised by the question. If I am taking my kids to a drop off preschool, I am not going to be picking them up in an hour. We’re doing all four hours, baby. Mama needs to take a nap.

Being a stay-at-home mom is, bar none, the hardest job I have ever had. And I used to work with survivors of domestic violence. When my kids were babies I worked part-time in program management, and walking into my office every day was so relaxing I might as well have ordered a Mai Tai. When I quit to stay at home, my life got immeasurably more exhausting and difficult. Spoiler alert: taking care of kids is effing hard. It never stops. Every single second of the day, you are on. So doesn’t it make sense that sometimes it would be good to take a break?

There are some stay-at-home moms who say they don’t need time away; that they were born to be a full-time mom and love every minute of it. I am not one of those people. And when my kids were two or three-years-old, there were times when I knew that if I didn’t get a few hours to myself I was going to lose all of my marbles. If you are able to afford to put your kids in care for a while, or if you can find a friend or family member who is willing to baby-sit, it is way better that you do that then keep them with you 24/7 and hate your life.

Stay-at-home moms should never feel guilty about having someone else take care of their kids for a while. My husband has a difficult job, but he still gets an hour for lunch. Sometimes, he even goes on vacation. Hell, if the President can take vacations, certainly stay-at-home moms can take their kids to daycare for the afternoon without feeling bad about it. It doesn’t mean you don’t love your kids, it doesn’t mean you’re selfish, and it doesn’t mean you’re entitled. It means you’re a human being who needs a break sometimes.

If anyone in your life tries to make you feel ashamed of it by saying something like, “Good mothers don’t dump their kids on strangers so that they can get a pedicure,” then please know that they are not thinking about what’s best for you or your child, they are thinking about themselves. That is about all about them. So, screw’em. Go get some red polish on those toes and then show them to the child you love so they can peel it all off. Taking care of yourself is part of surviving.

There’s is still that myth out there that in order to be a good mother you need to martyr yourself and forget about your needs entirely. That’s bullshit. Think about it – do you really want to be someone who spends her days with her kids being miserable and barely hanging on? Or do you want to be someone who takes mental health breaks so she can come back to her child refreshed and ready for more hide-and-seek?

Now, go on. Git. Give the kids to someone else for a while and know that you should be proud of yourself, because by taking those breaks you are showing that you care enough about yourself and your kids to take some time away from them.

(Photo: Angela Waye / Shutterstock)