Many "Mommy guilt" issues resolve themselves with the more children I have. Things I once worried about with one child I no longer have concern over by baby #3. I'm sure by kid 4 I'm gonna be even more chill ;) However, the guilt about childcare? It's still there. In fact in many ways it's gotten worse for me the more children I have. I have found that I have a lot of guilt asking someone to watch all three of my children at the same time. I also feel guilt because I am having to ask for childcare more often. Now that the older kids are in school they have functions where parents are invited and I need someone to keep the youngest so I'm able to spend that quality time with that child at that function.
It's time to quit the guilt. Here are 5 reasons why it's GOOD to have childcare for your children:
1. Quality time with Spouse: You know, that guy that helped you make those precious babies? He's still there...waiting to spend time with YOU. Not the Mommy version of yourself but the true YOU who is still there under the spit up covered shirt and messy mom bun. Taking time to really connect to your spouse is SO valuable. I find that it's hard for me to truly connect with my husband when I'm around my kids or even when they are in bed for the night. There is just something more special about getting out of the house together. Getting dressed cute! Flirting! Talking about "adult" things rather than kid stuff and to do lists. My husband and I have found that we really need even more than just a dinner date to stay connected...we need to TRAVEL. Just the two of us! We try to go on at least two trips a year without the kids and, while I have that guilt over leaving them behind, it's WORTH IT. My marriage needs to be my top priority and I'm thankful I have ammmmazing in-laws who understand that and encourage it and gladly keep our babies for us so we are able to have those away trips together. (Here are my tips for traveling without kids!)
2. Quality time with Other Children: Kids in school have a LOT of little class parties and field trips and other events where parents are invited to come. They also have dr appointments and dentist appointments and hair cut appointments. And my kids aren't even involved with any sports or other extracurricular stuff yet! I am OFTEN the mom chasing a toddler around the school hallway while I "attend" my child's event. But I try really hard to also make sure I attend things without my toddler on my hip. There is a big difference in my ability to be present in the moment when I'm solo vs with my other children. It's important for each of my kids to feel special and valued and have that quality time with me. I want that. They want that! It's worth arranging childcare, at least on occasion, to make sure I'm fully in the moment with the child who is so excited to have me at their classroom function.
I have also found this to be true for my kids' dr appointments. We took both of our older two to an appointment and got some concerning news regarding one of our children. I was so wrapped up in caring for the two kids that I wasn't able to fully process what the dr. was saying. Toddlers can be a distraction and sometimes it's better for everyone if they aren't tagging along all the time! While we're not yet in the world of sports I do think we will be getting childcare from time to time, depending especially on the ages of our younger children when the older ones get involved, so my husband and I will be able to really cheer on our child without any distractions!
3. Quality time for YOURSELF: This is when I feel the most guilt. I get my hair done roughly every 6-8 weeks (I'm hardcore anti-roots ha!) and I feel bad arranging childcare (so much so that it's one of the reasons we are enrolling our toddler in a 2 day preschool program this fall) but I NEED that time to myself. Not only does my hair need it, but I enjoy relaxing! I need to feel rejuvenated. I need that chance to reconnect with Emily! Once in awhile it's totally fine to arrange child care so you can have a girl's night or get your nails done or whatever other hobbies that bring you joy. We so quickly can become lost in the world of being mom that we forget that we are people too and that we are BETTER wives and BETTER mothers when we take care of ourselves! (here are some of the ways I stay connected to ME)
4. Family members enjoy it: If you have family nearby then they truly will ENJOY keeping your child! I know my feelings are hurt that I've yet to get to babysit for my niece or nephews. I always worry that my kids are a burden on my mother-in-law. I'm always apologizing and feel uncomfortable about asking her to watch them but the truth is she LOVES it. She likes to be able to connect with them and have that quality time when they stay with her. It's important for her and for my kids' relationships with their grandparents. By not asking family to help care for your children you are robbing them of opportunities to make precious memories!
5. It's great practice for babysitters: When I was in college I met a family at a local pool and had so much fun with the kids playing that they asked me to come babysit. A bond was made and I babysat for them every day after school as well as any nights or weekends where I was needed. That time with those kids was life changing for me. It really helped me to see what being a mom would be like someday. It gave me a taste of the life as a mom and I loved it and knew it would become my passion. I loved those children in a way that I'd never loved anyone before and we even named our first born son after the boy I babysat during that time. Isn't that such a huge compliment to their parents? If they hadn't given me the opportunity to babysit their children then I wouldn't have had the strong desire to be the type of mom I am today to my own. I would be so honored to have my children leave a similar impact on another young woman! By having babysitters outside of the family circle you allow them to become like family to you and your family. I didn't have family in town and the family I babysat for became mine. It was such a blessing in my life and it's something I hope I'm able to pass along someday when we are at a point where more non-family babysitting is needed!
I hope this list is a reminder to you that it's healthy to get a break once in awhile from being Mom. It's healthy for your relationship with your spouse, your relationship with your other children, your relationship with yourself, your children's relationships with extended family, and even relationships they may form with outside family caregivers! Put aside the guilt and take that break: you deserve it!!!
Today all the ladies from the Babywise Friendly Blog Network are talking about different aspects of trusting your children in the care of others! Be sure to visit their blogs to read more and follow us on Pinterest!