About being a Stay-At-Home-Mother who sends her child to toddler care

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

I think this topic has been discussed to death but here I am, writing a post on it on a cheerful Wednesday morning.

Thank goodness my husband doesn't think I am burning his money.

You know what's hard about being a SAHM? It's not about how much work you really do at home, because I really think I don't do a lot even though I get very tired at the end of the day wtf, BUT it is how the society sees you.

And it gets annoying after a while.

Hehe so handsome right?!
Dylan has been attending toddler care since the start of March and unlike infant care, he is now required to wear a uniform to "school".

Ever since he needed to wear a uniform, there have been more people stopping me on my way back home with him with all sorts of questions (which I'm more than happy to answer) because Dylan is friendly like that, he says hi to all the aunties and uncles we meet on the way home... and that's how the dreaded conversations start.

Not so sure if I should teach him to be courteous like that lol.

Anyway, when these people start a conversation, they always start with seemingly innocent questions but are often laced with a lot of assumptions and implications.

"Wow how old is he?"

Trick question. They don't really care how old Dylan is. What they are trying to say is "Why are you sending him to school when he is only so young?" ---> this is normally what comes after my "19 months" reply.

"So you'd have to pick him up after work?"

Another trick question. The actual question they want to ask is, "Do you work?" And actually, it doesn't matter what your answer is, but generally if you answer a "yes", people tend to be a bit more forgiving because, well, majority of women work these days anyway.

"Yes. I pick him up after work."
"Oh, it must be tough for you to travel up and down."

But if your answer is a no...
"Oh no, I am not working."
Yes, this is mostly their expression when they asked me about my job
And here comes the million-dollar question:

"Why would you want to send your son to school when you could have taken care of him yourself?"

It's the FAQ I get every. single. time.

I don't know. How should I answer it? It seems that no matter what my answer is, it will just sound like me making excuses and further reiterate that I am actually pretty useless and lazy.

The truth is that by sending Dylan to school, I get a couple of hours off to catch up on my housework - vacuuming, mopping, doing the laundry and perhaps think about what to make for dinner. I also get to have some quiet time by myself to catch up on blogging, mending Hello Lobang and resting.

And Dylan, on the other hand, gets to learn new things. Sure, I can sing and dance with him (I do that on a daily basis btw) but isn't it different when he does it as a group, with peers his age?

He also learned to be more independent, he learned how to share his toys, how to take care of kids younger than him... many things which I think he wouldn't learn so soon had he stayed at home with me 24/7.

But when I tell people that, they tell me that I shouldn't be expecting any rest because as a mother, resting is like a privilege. Some mothers don't even get a proper 8 hours sleep and have to work. Such audacity I have to even think about sending my son away just so that I can rest! And I don't even need to work! WHY THE HELL AM I EVEN TIRED???????

"How could you? How can you bear to send him to school when he is so young?"

Sigh. Another accusatory statement that comes next, after they know that I am not working.

I'm sorry but for the first month Dylan went to the infant care, I cried every single morning after I dropped him off. Every single morning for the entire month. He had to be away from me for 12 freaking hours and spend the next 12 hours sleeping and that was when I decided to quit my full time job to make time for him.

Now that he is in toddler care at 19 months old, he is going through separation anxiety and it drives him absolutely crazy to be taken away from me. He would wake up in the middle of the night to make sure that I was sleeping beside him. He would hold my hand to sleep just to be sure that I was not running away.

DO YOU THINK I DON'T FEEL MY HEART BREAK WHEN HE CRIES?

Sometimes, I hear him wail for me inside the toddler care while I hide outside observing him. When he cries, I cry with him too. He's my son. Do these people honestly think that I am throwing him there just so that I can go out and play or go back home to sleep?

Do you think it will benefit him that I rush in to him every time he cries for me? I don't want him to think that I am abandoning him but I don't want him to become an overly dependent child who cannot even be anywhere by himself without me, which, the day will eventually come.

What will happen when he goes into nursery? I can keep him by my side 24/7, 365 days a week but what will happen when he eventually needs to go to school? Doesn't that make me a bad mother then too, to leave my son so hard-heartedly in school when he is only 3 years old? Isn't 3 years old young as well?

And to be honest, I really have enough of people judging me to be lazy just because I am not working. There are so many people out there who have no kids and are not working so what's with that label on me?

I spend most of my waking moments with Dylan instead of in the office - just like what I wanted. We wake up, we sing songs together, we play toys together, then we have breakfast together. After that, we will take a 20-minute walk to school where we will look at buses, butterflies, flowers, cats and what-not. It's like a mini excursion every day. I also make sure that he doesn't go to school too early so that we can spend quality time together in the morning.

He goes to school for the next couple of hours so that I can catch up on whatever I needed to do.

In the evening, after I pick him up, we walk around the estate again and then we come home to play toys, draw, play the keyboard or watch some Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. Then I'll shower him, play with water and bubbles in the bathroom and then I'll put him to sleep.

Does it not look like I take care of my son? Does it sound fair that I send him to school for a couple of hours so that I can catch up with work now?

So please, if anyone of you were to ever bump into a SAHM who sends her kids to childcare / school for a couple of hours, keep your judgement to yourself. Afterall, you don't know what we go through. You don't know what we do at home. Ya?

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1 comments

  1. hello there, a fellow mummy here. I chanced upon your blog, and haha, your post struck a chord.
    my son is 13m, I am looking for a school where he can go to when he's 18m (right now my mum's caring for him).. and I have gotten remarks that I have nowhere else to spend my money hence sending him off to school when my mum's taking care of him full-time.

    ah well, I just want him to have more interaction with kids his age.. but even though I'm still an inexperienced mum, I realise you never can win against those words. you're doing an awesome job already, Dylan will thank you for it in future. :)

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