my-speck

i'm pregnant and it's going to be a rollercoaster

To childcare or not to childcare. December 10, 2009

Hello Little Screaming Monster,

so. I started this post more than two weeks ago. But haven’t got back to it. For a number of reasons.

  1. I’m busy. It’s nearly Christmas, and things to do with Christmas and all that jazz just seem to get in the way of things.
  2. I thought I’d unpack a few of the mountain of boxes in our store room from one of our previous moves (they were all numbered and logged but after 3 moves the pile has just got bigger, numbers overlap, and frankly I don’t care about what is in them so much as I haven’t used it in years or months). It’s like a game of ‘garage sale shopping’ but in your own storeroom.  Did I already mention I was busy? Well.  I guess I got more busy.  (As an aside, 5 boxes down and I’m over it again for a while).  I think I’ll aim for 5 a month for the next year.  That should get through the pile in say 3 years.
  3. It’s hot and I’m busy.
  4. You seem to be awake more and sleep less and more games and fun stuff is required of me.   Well, “fun” in the mum does “fun” stuff with baby kinda way.  Which is a little different to my pre-child definition of “fun” stuff.  But fun it is.
  5. I am fully mobile again, oh yeah!  No boot, just trainers and the car keys and you!  So we have been trekking back and forth across the burbs of Brisbane to mum’s groups and the grocery store and the pool and .. and .. and.
  6. Did I mention I was busy?

But the main reason I haven’t got back to this post after starting it so many days ago is that it’s a hard one.

The issue:

I got a call from the childcare center near here, where your cousins and our close friend’s kids go, telling me that “there is a spot” for you from January next year.  Two days a week only.   But “A Spot”.  Now I guess you need a little context here.   Brisvegas and Australia in general are having a baby boom.  I live in the inner city, and childcare spots are a bit like hen’s teeth – rare.  The center that offered you a spot is notoriously hard to get a spot in, and is apparently the bees nees.   It’s friendly, great staff, local, vegan-friendly, breastfeeding friendly, and small (only six spots in the under 12 months room).   And two days a week is precisely what I think you’ll be after at some point….

But when is that point?

I was at first excited when they rang.  Then immediately I hung up the phone, I looked at you and almost cried.  You’re my little baby.  You’re still so small.  You’ll only just be six months old.  That is so little.  You’ve never really been sick.  You’ll be sick for weeks on end when you start childcare – good as it is, kids just love touching other kids faces etc and germs spread.  And you’re so small, my little baby.  Did I mention that already?

Aaagh.  Then there is the issue of what I’d do if you did have a childcare spot.  And that is the one that has really been occupying my mind for the past few weeks.  I’ve been contemplating what it is like to be a SAHM (stay at home mum) and whether I want to continue (and whether we can afford) being one.  It’s such a hard call.   If we can afford it or not is a simple question.  And the simple answer for that is that only two weeks before they phoned, I pretty much decided that we could afford it for a bit longer, so as there was no childcare spot, I should just relax, enjoy the experience and then start to think about work and the whole “what do I want to do with my life” question in another few months.  In the interim, I decided to take another course from my MBA next semester and see how that went as a starting point to ease back into things non-baby related…

And my sanity.  Can I be a full-time SAHM and keep my sanity?  Your grandmother described it very well when she said it was “mind-numbingly boring” at the same time as being “intensely satisfying and rewarding” especially as the bond you have with your child is so close, so special and so important.  A dichotomy.  I caught up yesterday with an old friend from uni who has two kids, both under 5, who first thing, asked me, “How are you coping with the SAHM thing?  are you BORED?”.  And then went on to clarify that she has been fighting with herself mentally for the past five years trying to come to peace with whether or not she is satisfied, happy, ok with it, balancing work (does she do enough at one day a week, look at the other positions she could be applying for if she worked more)  and family and what to do.  And she’s at peace, pregnant again with number three, so does find it a worthwhile and happy experience, but also very mentally challenging.  We were chatting about mother’s groups and she said, “But yes, once you’ve talked about poos and wees and developmental stages, it would be nice if once in a while someone maybe mentioned politics or what is going on in the world”.   (Aside: we then had an interesting conversation about how the conservatives in Australia have just ousted their leader and gone for a right-wing approach to tackling our government head-on with experienced members (ahem, cronies) from a yesteryear re-promoted to front-bench positions.  And whether or not such a strategy would prove fruitful).  … Mmm..

That was just one conversation.  There have been many more.  And lots of thoughts about it all.

So.

Decision

For now, you’re not taking “the spot”. You’re gonna stay home with me.   And your dad will try to finish a bit early one day a week so you can have some time with him and I have some time to myself and to study.  And your Grandma K will look after you a few hours one afternoon a week too.

And in the meantime, we’ll continue to be busy busy busy and I’ll contemplate my purpose in life in between changing pooey nappies, swimming at the pool and doing loads of laundry.

love and kisses

mum

P.S.  constructive feedback and notes on your own experiences from readers out there most welcome by comment…  We’d love to hear.

baby at the pool

poogie - you and me in the pool today

P.P.S.  We went to the pool again this morning.  You love it.  You were tired when we got there but managed to swim quite happily for 45 minutes, got splashed by the hoardes of big kids and didn’t seem to mind at all, and attracted the attention of a very friendly boy about 12 years old who was just overjoyed that you enjoyed the water so much and spent about 15 minutes playing with you and a ball and then encouraged his friends to do the same with the other babies.  Funny!

 

2 Responses to “To childcare or not to childcare.”

  1. aysh Says:

    Starting childcare is scary and heartwrenching. But you get over it, it’s another “first” – when the time is right.
    M started with one day at just over 12mths, now two.
    Oscar’s still only little, I can totally understand your gut reaction. Who can love him and know him like you do?! What if…what if… what if…
    It’s right for some families, but we’re a bit spoiled having the option (not without sacrifices – $$) to be with them a bit longer.

  2. […] pick – it’s not the one your cousins and other close friends go to because although we got a spot there last year, another one hasn’t ever come up (despite the fact I put your name on the enrolment list the […]


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *