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.