This season Manulife is creating a movement of gratitude and paying it forward kindness during the Christmas season. We hope that by sharing our stories of #LifeAdvice and #gratitude we can amplify the conversation and encourage more people to think of sharing these types of kind gestures over the holidays. 

When I wrote this post on Scary Mommy about all the things I learned thanks to my amazing working mother, I didn’t expect the response. It was mostly overwhelmingly supportive. “I needed this,” said one mom. “Thank you, I will now get rid of the guilt, “ added another.

The less agreeable commentators searched long and hard for something to criticize and found that one sentence where I admitted that I am a SAHM and still decided to send my children to daycare. Some people said it was a shame and why would I even bother to stay at home if I send them to daycare!

Some commentators started to defend me: “But she never said it was full time!”

From afar, I was watching the discussion unfold but didn’t interfere. There was a lot I didn’t say in my post. I didn’t list all the reasons why I send my children to daycare even if I don’t work.

Like the fact that I live abroad and have no family to help me out.

Or the fact that I want the kids to learn the community language so that they will be able to feel at home here.

Or the fact that I need to learn the language as well.

Or the fact that I am craft-ily challenged and at daycare my kids can enjoy a wide variety of arts and crafts projects.

Or the fact that being my introverted self means that finding friends for both myself and my kids can be rather challenging.

Daycare seemed the ideal solution to all of these problems.

Mentioning these reasons would probably absolve me of being a bad mother (oh yes, she lives abroad, has no one to help, the poor woman), but it would certainly dilute the message of the post which was telling working mothers that their kids will probably admire them just as much as I admire my mother.

But I had the nerve of explaining my decision with needing me-time. And the hungry trolls went after that because in their minds, needing me-time means being a bad mother.

The fact is I love my kids’ daycare. My gratitude for what they do is endless. They perform some real magic on the children. They give me advice, are not afraid to tell me if they think something is wrong. They work together with me to make sure that we are on the same page.

Did you know what they did when my little girl started therapy because she was a very late walker? They asked me what exercises they could do with her and they did these exercises. When they feared my big girl didn’t talk enough, they gave her more individual attention to help her speak more.

Yes, I let strangers help me raise my kids. Or do I? Because after all these years, the daycare nannies are no longer strangers. They are familiar faces my children recognize and smile at. Maybe they are not family, but they are certainly part of my network, or if you prefer, my village.

They are my saviors… my knights in shining armor. Their no-nonsense attitude perfectly balances out my inner chaos. They listen to my suggestions and give me theirs. It’s teamwork at its best.

I will admit it: I cannot do it alone, not even with my very understanding and supportive husband. Even with the daycare’s help, I’m still doing the larger share of household and parenting chores. The daycare is for half days, so I still get to be with the children a lot. I am still the mother and will always be.

Sending my children to daycare was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. It helps me wind down, get my stuff done, and not feel so rushed. As for my kids, they enjoy it as well: they learn, play, make friends, have fun. They learn to manage conflicts and work in a team.

I am grateful for my daycare because my children benefit from it, and so do I. I am grateful because they help me become a better mother. I am grateful because they save my sanity.

So my best life advice is to stop worrying about what other people think about how you parent! It takes a village to raise a child, and there’s no shame in having a helping hand along the way.

Visit the Manulife blog for more details on what they are doing to share gratitude this month, or pop onto the #LifeAdvice hashtag on Twitter and start sharing the best life advice YOU have received! 

This post is sponsored by SPLASH Media Engagement on behalf of Manulife. 

@Manulife is asking you to spread some positive by thanking those in your life who have given you great #LifeAdvice. Take a moment to #PayItForward by thanking someone important to you.

Olga Mecking
Author

Olga is a Polish woman, living in the Netherlands with her German husband and three children. On her blog, she writes about the challenges and wonders of the expat life, but on BLUNTmoms, you will read her musings on parenting, people and life in general.

8 Comments

  1. Shannon Day

    I think you are in tune with your needs and those of your kids, not that my opinion matters. You’re right, we all need to find our own way as moms and try not to let the judgement of others change the choices that are best for our family. Nice post!

  2. Thank you and your opinion does matter. Everyone’s opinions matter as long as they phrase it politely.. nad besides, I actually may have listened if the advice was sensible but it wasn’t, obviously. I tend to listen to what people say because you never know when they may be right, but sometimes they are just plain wrong and this was definitely such a case.

  3. Awe Olga I loved this post. I too live far from family, I too have no support besides my husband, but I too work out of the home; so yes, my child was in daycare since he was 6 weeks old. At the time, it tore my heart apart, I felt guilt, sadness, and anger. I wanted to be a SAHM, but now in hindsight I realize that me working and my child being in daycare was the best decision ever. I am also thankful to the strangers who helped me raise him. 🙂 On a side note, I would have probably sent him to daycare as well, even if I were a SAHM.

  4. Well said! Even the trolls will say it takes a village to raise a child, but I guess they want to be the ones who pick which people in the village help out and what activities you’re allowed to do while said people are helping. Bah! They’ll always find something, you know? Anyway, I totally agree with you and I send my kids to daycare because it’s what’s best for them. Yes, I work full-time so I guess that plays a part but I chose daycare over a nanny or over quitting my job because I truly believe it’s what’s best for my kids, given our situation. And–watch out trolls!!–it’s what’s best for me. I know my kids are being well cared for during the day, and on nights and weekends I can be “on” with them because I’ve had a little time away from them. That’s what works best for our family, so that’s what we do!

  5. I love this. And I lived it in my own way. SAHM with chronic health issues and I needed breaks and rest in order to be healthy, give the best to my kids, self, and family. And, the socialization my kids got at part time day care was invaluable. I love this post. Beautiful.

  6. Thank you so much for your blog. I also made the decision to put my son into daycare and he thrived. He has a few special needs, being mildly autistic, and they were able to teach him things that he simply would not learn from me, like how to play and interact with other kids, how to help clean up without a tantrum. And because he was there for 2 years, he made friends that he has now known for 4 years as he also went to kindergarten with them and is in grade one with them. The daycare was also a preschool and they focused his second year on preparing him for the routines and behaviours needed to succeed at kindergarten. It was the best decision I could have made. Yes, I got me-time to have a nap, read a book, catch up on chores, do some shopping, but my son got so much more from it than than I could have imagined when I signed him up.

  7. “I am grateful because they help me become a better mother.” i tell these words to my daycare provider regualarly. This lady is part of my family.

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