Okay, I publically admit it! I am not cut out to be a full-time stay at home mum. Actually it was a couple of years ago when my second son, Ryan was 6 months old that I finally admitted to myself that I would be a much better mum if I sent my kids to daycare for a few days a week and had some time to myself to stimulate my brain at work and gain a sense of me-ness again.
With Ryan home for the past two weeks after his operation to get his tonsils out and with the last 5 days of rainy cold weather and lots of ‘inside play’ with two very energetic and loud boys, I have reminded myself that there is a very good reason for my boys going to daycare 3 days a week, and it is not just about them learning new things and getting socialised with other kids, lol.
It also reminded me of how much guilt and torment I gave myself before I finally took the plunge and allowed my kids to go to daycare, especially when Ryan was just 6 months old when he started.
You see, I was never going to be one of ‘those’ mothers who put their kids in daycare before the age of three, because I was going to be a ‘good mother’.
However reality soon kicked in and thankfully I could see the value in me giving myself some space from being a mum by stimulating my own mind and consequently became a much better, more rational mum to my kids. I realised that there was also tremendous learning value in my kids going to daycare too, so it was a win win situation.
Sometimes we create expectations of how we are going to be as a mum before we’ve even had our kids, however when we actually do have children and are living the day to day-ness of being a mum, we soon realise that our expectations were sometimes unrealistic, or made redundant when dealing with the particular nature of our kids.
It’s important to revisit our goals and expectations in alignment with our new reality and the current circumstances we are living in. We’ve been given new information from when we initially set up our expectations in our pre-baby days, so it’s only natural that some of our ‘ideas’ about the type of mother we will be or the picture of motherhood should change.
So whenever you are holding onto a decision that is putting you under stress, ask yoursef – why am I determined that this decision is the best? Is it because of a unrealistic goal that I set in my mind in the past that is now not really relevant? Am I trying to live upto someone else’s expectations, or someone else’s ‘idea’ of what a good mother should be? Is this decision the best thing for everyone involved?
Now I’m not saying that every mum should put their child into daycare like I have. That is a personal decision for each person and not one for me to dictate is right or wrong. What I’m saying is that we need to weigh up the pros and cons of the decisions that we make as parents and ask ourselves what is in the best interests of everyone. Because sometimes when we take the time to deliberately think about why we make the decisions that we do, we will often see that our self-worth has been tied up in there somewhere – trying to live up to the expectations of someone else to seek approval, or operating habitually or unconsciously because that’s what we have been taught is the ‘right’ way to do it.
When we take a look at our beliefs behind the decisions we make and the actions we take, we get a real insight into what the real priority is for doing what we do.
For me, being an angry, worn out, bored and unstimulated mum meant that I was not giving my kids the love, care, affection and positive foundation that I would’ve liked to have. I recognised that I am a person who values her personal space and I always have enjoyed my quiet alone time.
In order to be the mum that I want to be, it is really important for me to value my personal health and well-being, so I must factor in time to myself, for work and for me to pursue my personal pleasures. I believe that this is also crucial for teaching our kids to respect themselves and to build a healthy self-esteem.
Regardless of society’s portrayal that we are selfish if we do anything for ourselves (particularly as parents) I believe the opposite. Happy mum equals happy bub, however how many of us actually practice this?
Often we find that we don’t because we feel guilty for it, thinking that our kids are lacking in our attention if we do make ourselves a priority. However, what are we teaching our kids if we are forever putting everyone else’s needs in front of our own? We teach them that everyone else is more important than me.
I don’t know about you, but that’s not what I want to teach my kids. So in order to send a healthy message to my kids about valuing yourself and your need for personal space, as well as fulfilling my own wants and desires, I put my kids in daycare, pursue my personal goals and make time to do the things that I like to do in life. This makes me a happier mum with more patience and the ability to bring more joy and good morals to my kids’ lives.
So bring on Monday when Ryan’s back at daycare, because although I am much better at calming myself quickly and realigning my thoughts with the reality of the situations, it is becoming a little strained and very exhausting, particularly after a week of bad weather and limited activities to do.
Cause this is one mamma who does not have a problem with time out!
Have a great day
To find out more information on how you can make yourself a priority and create an organised plan for your household that includes time out for you, enough attention for the kids and still be able to do all the tasks you need to do, make sure you purchase your copy of The Happy Mum Handbook.