To daycare or not to daycare?

Women are judged for their choices all the time. We are judged for staying with men who treat us wrong (their behaviour is our fault?), we are judged for when we have babies (how we have them, how we feed them, what we feed them…the list goes on. Becoming a Mother opens you up to a whole new level of judgement), we are judged on our careers, our bodies, the choices we make with our bodies…if I had a dollar for every time I have politely sat through people running their mouth about being anti-abortion, I would be filthy rich. Seriously, I could go on ALL DAY.

Lately, I have heard a lot about women I know being judged for returning to work ‘too soon’. What on earth makes other people think that when a Mother returns to work is their choice? Or that their opinion matters? It doesn’t. Women return to work for an array of reasons and a woman should never have to justify herself to anyone, but herself. If you decide to put your child in daycare, then you get judged even more (insert eye roll).

I am an early childhood educator and have been for 13 years. I can tell you now, that there are just as many pros (if not more) as there are cons when it comes to sending your child to daycare.

I believe that having social skills is by far the most necessary skill when it comes to being happy in life. If you have friends and feel that you ‘belong’, you are more likely to be happy. It doesn’t matter if you are shit at maths or can’t spell – no one is not going to not be your friend because of that. But if you are rude, can’t hold a conversation and have absolutely no idea how to interact with others, then you are going to feel rather alone – this will most likely result in feeling miserable (Edit: your happiness does not depend on others acceptance of you, but it certainly is a massive contributing factor). Now, don’t get me wrong – you don’t have to go to daycare to gain these skills, BUT it is imperative that children interact with an array of children their age. I have noticed that I can tell the difference between children who interact with an array of children their own age (i.e. attend daycare) and children who do not. Plus you know, you have the whole education side of things. Not only will your children utilise and develop an array of skills (fine motor, cognitive…) but they learn to take turns, learn to share, sort out disagreements and have many different experiences.

There are so many options for children to develop social skills – playgroups, playing with cousins and friends who have children. But by children learning to play with other children, without Mum around, teaches children a whole new array of skills.

There are downsides to daycare – illness’, shitty daycare workers and it is expensive. If you send your child to daycare – great. If you don’t – great. It is YOUR choice and no one else’s, but don’t judge anyone for sending their children to daycare.

We are all trying to do a great job. We question our decisions daily and do what we feel is best for our family. We are all different, have different opinions and think differently. Once you have a baby, you enter a Sisterhood. Sometimes this sisterhood will be the biggest support network you have, other times (and it’s NOT just Mother’s that judge you about daycare…and basically everything else) they can be your worst enemies. I don’t understand why this sisterhood can’t be supportive all the time? Let’s just trust that we are all doing what we believe is best for our families and drink wine together often!

 

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To my ladies…

I have been blessed with longstanding friendships, with extremely decent people. When I say blessed, I mean that I am blessed that we were on this earth at the same time and that we crossed paths. The longstanding friendships are through hard work and effort from myself and my friends. I honestly do not know how people get through life without their girlfriends. I legit would be a nutjob (questionable…? HA!) without them.

 

Some of my friends I have known since I was four years old, grade one and grade eight – other I have met along the way, but I am thirty years old now…so these people have been a huge part of my life, for a very long time. They have listened to me crap on about my problems over and over again, they have loved me at worst and at my best, they have been loyal to me and seen the best in me. We have shared a few glasses…ahem, bottles…of wine, passion pop and vodka…we have created memories and traveled the world. These girls know me better than I know myself, at times.

Since having Amaya, I haven’t seen  or spoken to some of my girlfriends as much as I did pre-baby. That pregnancy, having a preemie baby and a few other things that happened last year was a hard pill to swallow. I withdrew from life as I knew it. I put on a brave face when I did see my friends, but deep down I was just bubbling with anxiety and worry. I feel different since having Amaya. I have never received so much bad news in my life, as I did when I was pregnant. Thankfully, our NICU journey was full of good news, but a lot of things shook me along the way. To say that I was scared would be an understatement. This all took its toll on me, plus the fact that my body is different and I am the biggest I have ever been. None of my clothes fit me and if they do – I look like a homeless dag. I didn’t feel like myself inside or outside. I became cranky, insecure and unhappy. I couldn’t get out of my own way. I felt lost. I looked in the mirror and didn’t recognise the woman staring back at me, I hadn’t seen Bree in a long time and I missed her. I had never felt this way and I had no idea what to do.

I realised that over the years, my girlfriends had come to me for advice and I thought about what I would tell them if they were feeling this way. I cried. I allowed myself to cry. I felt it all. I knew that it was all up to me, only I could help myself. That was a scary thought.

So I took control. I started meditating daily. Meditation is one of the hardest things to do, for me – my mind just keeps ticking! I do life with lavender on my temples these days and I concentrate on my breathing – a lot. I blocked out the negative thoughts, as soon as one popped into my head I thought of something positive and I focused on my breathing. It is still a work in progress, I am not sure if I will ever be the same again. Well, I hope I won’t be. I would like to think that motherhood is a life changing experience, a positive one.

The love I have for Amaya is insane. I am utterly obsessed and so in love. I think she is the most amazing little lady & she makes me smile daily…

amayabeach

After that last sentence, I needed a break. I needed a biophilia fix. So I headed to the water – it always calms me – with my Mum & my babe. I cannot describe how much better I felt afterwards.

I miss my old life. I miss my freedom, the fun and how carefree my life was. I really did have an amazing life. I spent my weekends with my friends and my boyfriend and could do things at the drop of a hat. Now, I have to pack bottles, nappies and a million other things PLUS I need to work around Amaya. She is at that age where she wants to get out of the pram while we are at cafe’s, at the shops or going for a walk – she wants to see what is going on. PLEASE understand that I realise how stupid this sounds – I did know this was all going to happen – BUT that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t provoke certain emotions. I realise that my life still is AMAZING and I am beyond blessed, my life is just different. I do not mean to come across ungrateful. I am just struggling a little with adjusting to my life going from super fun to another type of super fun.

Of course, my amazing girlfriends came to my rescue and reminded me that it won’t always be formula, bottles, nappies and nappy bags. Amaya will grow and she will bring things like Christmas and Easter back for us. I guess that I just knew that I always wanted a baby and I would have not felt complete if I didn’t have children of my own – and now I feel guilty for missing my carefree life.

BESTIES
My three best friends. I would be totally lost without these ladies!

Amaya

I look at Amaya and I simply cannot explain how much I love her, I want to give her the best life possible and always be the best Mum I can be. In order to do that, I need to recognise my feelings and emotions and work through them so I can be happy – because if I am not happy, how can I be the amazing Mumma that she deserves. So I need to reach back out and be more available to my friends, because I need them. More than I ever have before. I also need to remember to be patient with myself through this process. Exercise, meditation and positive thinking will aid me in adjusting to my new life. One thing that has really been set in stone for me, even though I already knew this, is to always appreciate your freedom, your girlfriends…and yourself.

Today I had another biophilia fix…we took Amaya to the beach. I could have swam in the ocean ALL fricken day. As soon as we got there, Teina told me to go for a swim, as he knew that I had been hanging out for it. I floated in the water, I dived under waves…I was in my element. I dug my feet deep into the sand and I felt amazing. I was recharged. As I sat there staring out at the sea, I felt like myself again. Teina had Amaya for most of the day as I frolicked around in the ocean like a crazy ass mermaid. I couldn’t get enough of it! I just wanted to swim out further and further, but then my fear of sharks kicked in and I settled for frolicking in the shallow. I left the beach smiling, not only had I had a brilliant day with my family, but I felt like my carefree self again. So even though I had’t seen Bree for a while, it was nice to know that she wasn’t that far away…and that she wasn’t gone forever.

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Big love,

B Xo

P.S. If you aren’t in the photos, please don’t be upset. There are SO many people who I love that are not in these photos ❤