I’m a stay at home mom, and both my kids attend preschool 2 days a week. I started both of them when they were 18 months old. I should probably feel guilty about it. I don’t have “preschool guilt,” and here’s why.
It’s taken me a while to learn this lesson: Moms don’t fit into boxes. We are all different, we’re all unique, we all have a variety of things that make us tick and that’s the kind of stuff that keeps this world interesting. As a stay at home mom, I don’t contribute financially to our family.
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My role, my J-O-B, is to care for our home (I give myself a C-), cook the meals (woohoo! A+), be the primary care-giver for our children (grade to be determined) and take care of the day-to-day needs of our home and family. If this is my job, logically it makes no sense to send both my girls to preschool. I should have plenty of time and energy to keep them at home, right?
I’ve asked myself the same question many times. I’ve felt guilty shipping my kiddos off a few days a week when I don’t have anything on my schedule that demands that they be cared for by someone else. Then I realized I was the type of mom who benefited GREATLY from the girls being in school a few days a week and decided I wasn’t going to feel guilty about it any longer. The deal was sweetened because the girls love it at school and they have experiences at school I cannot create for them at home.
I’ve stopped comparing myself to the mom that seems to have it all together. The one who functions perfectly all the time, even though she’s surrounded by her children 24-7. I’ve stopped comparing myself (and feeling badly) when the other mom states she “just can’t imagine” sending her little ones off to preschool any earlier than she has to. After a lot of conversations and a little soul-searching, my husband and I determined what was best for our family. Turns out, I’m a better wife and a better mom when I get some space from my little people.
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As moms, it can be so easy to lose your sense of self. We give ourselves, wholly and completely to our families, and we usually do it without thinking. It takes work; it’s a daily battle to carve out time for yourself. That’s one of the reasons we decided on preschool. It allows my girls the freedom to learn and grow in a safe and loving environment, and it gives me the opportunity to be ME, not just mom, for a few hours a week.
So I no longer feel guilty about starting preschool at a young age and I no longer compare myself to other moms. The most important thing is that I’ve learned what I need to be the best wife and mom I can be, and we’re doing what’s best for our family. So should you! If you need that time away, take it. Find a preschool, a Mother’s Day Out, hire a regular sitter or a mother’s helper for a few hours. Do what’s best for you and your family and do it guilt free!
How do you carve out time for yourself?
I still struggle with the guilt. Wyatt goes to preschool two days a week and museum school for 2 hours another morning a week. Sometimes I think I have him scheduled away from me too much but he LOVES museum school and preschool. And it is good to have one on one time with my little one.
My husband is home with our little ones, and we started sending our older daughter when she turned one because he needed a break. No guilt because I know he would do the same for me if the situation were reversed!
We were surprised (and delighted) at how much she loves it and how much she’s learning that we would not have even thought to teach her. We’re hoping to send our younger one as well when she gets a bit older.