Before children, heck before having a daycare bill, my days off were filled with visits to the coffee shop , and nail salon. I would sprinkle in a few naps,and binge watch my favorite shows. I never had to do much cleaning because our house was, well, spotless to say the least. The two loads of laundry took no effort and washing dishes was a breeze.
My Fictional Days off Post-Parenthood
Fast forward to the present, we are a family of five which includes Foxy, our boxer. Most recently I was off for a week for Thanksgiving (a perk of being an educator). I decided to keep my two year old, and 11 month old, home with me for the whole week. Yep, just me, the boys, and endless fun I thought.
I did this for a few reasons, the first was definitely to save money. My kids’ daycare will honor teachers vacation by allowing the kids to miss any week I have off with out being charged. Furthermore; I had this great idea that it was the best time to wean my youngest off bottles, teach my oldest his various letter sounds, and potty train him at the same time. If that wasn’t enough, I also had plans to take them to the zoo, the aquarium, and have a family lunch date with daddy. Somewhere in all this I would also get laundry done, after all I’m off for a week.
The Reality of My Days Off during Parenthood
The actual kind of week I was going to have was foreshadowed when my 2 year old woke up on Monday morning at 4:35 am screaming at the top of his lungs. To even the playing field, my youngest also woke up and gave off the most piercing cry of annoyance ever.
My day was doomed when the kids did not go to sleep until 9:00 am. Being an optimist, I used my kids’ nap time to get things prepared for our planned afternoon outing. I washed one load of laundry and pack the kids’ lunch bag for the afternoon trip to the park.
We never made it to the park. My 2 year old threw a tantrum all in an effort to not get dressed and watch Mickey Mouse Club House. To top it off, my youngest got a hold of the diaper rash cream. He squeezed it on every inch of his body, the sofa, and the rug. Foxy then made a snack out of the tube and the aftermath.
By week’s end I was a walking zombie who did one loads of laundry that was still hidden away in the dryer. I managed to make it through each day without having a meltdown. Their bedtime was my euphoria. Each night I would attempt to tidy up, but I would start back at square one the next day. I was living out the movie Ground Hog Day. Except I was a 32 year old mother being woken up by the Mickey Mouse Club House song, and not Sonny and Cher “Got You Babe”.
After that disastrous week I learned that I love my kids more than life itself; however, I made up my mind that I would not make any guilt rob me from a well-deserved break. What is this guilt you ask?
The ‘full time working parent(s) guilt’
This is the guilt that a parent or a mother, like myself, who works 40+ hours a week starts to feel. The guilt when we realize that we only spend a fraction of our days (excluding weekends)with our children. It’s that feeling of I’ve already missed so much time with my kids. The working parent solution is to keep our kids home when we are off from work to make up those lost times.
The ‘I think I’m being judged guilt’
This is the feeling of we are the only parents who did not check “yes my child will be out for the break”. That look of judgment on his teachers’ faces because they know I’m off for a week, but is still sending him in. I must let you know that we have had the box checked for us by their teachers because they assumed we would keep them home. It’s also the guilt of thinking other parents are watching us drop off our little ones in our yoga pants and college T-shirt—a clear sign that we’re off for the day, but is still sending our kids in.
The rest and relaxation guilt
This is when parents feel guilty to relax because their kids are at daycare. That feeling of It’s not okay to unwind and our kids are on the playground, or napping at school. That guilt of how dare parents sleep, while their kid are having sing a long time at school-our babies should be singing along with us at home. After all we’re off from work and have time on our hands.
Don’t feel guilty sending your child to daycare on your day off!
I say this to all parents of daycare goers, you deserve a guilt free break! Yes! I’m pro daycare, especially when you’re off from work. Whether you’re
off for a day, or a week. It’s okay to take a few hours or a day to yourself. Parents send your kids to daycare, the baby sitter, or school and don’t feel guilty about it. Moms and Dads you are well deserving of some time off. Take the time to be by yourself and close your eyes. Drink that entire cup of coffee. Finish that Rated-R movie. Most importantly indulge in some “me” time.
I’m pleased to tell you that while on winter break for two weeks I sent my kids to daycare for a few days. I took a 30 minute shower, shaved my legs and where ever else needed it, all while jamming to explicit music! I felt guilty at times, but that’s just part of being a parent. Parents tend to think that no one can do for their kids better than mom and dad. To help with some of my slowly disappearing guilt:
I picked the kids up early and we visited places like the aquarium and the different parks.
I’ve had lunch with my kids at their school.
The kids and I enjoyed toddler time at the local library before heading to daycare.
We took part in some of the night activities that our theme parks, such as the local zoo, had going on for the holidays.
My name is Marsha. I’m a mom of two toddlers. I sometimes send my kids to daycare when I’m off from work. No I don’t feel bad about it, and neither should you.