Sometimes I need to stop and take a deep breath, exhale, and then mutter to myself “I love my kids.” This usually happens when I shut myself away in the bathroom for a moment of “peace” while my girls are fighting right outside the door.
Let’s face it; Kids can be tough. I have three girls, with an age gap that at times can make life a little simpler, and other times, it is an all out nightmare. My daughters are eleven (hello pre-teen), three (it’s terrible threes BTW), and one (17 months to be exact). Each one is beautiful in her own way, and has a personality all her own.
Between grocery trips, managing appointments for three kids (and a dog), and having a husband in the military with an ever-changing schedule, I lose my mind from time to time. I tried the ‘getting the kids out of the house’ approach, but that doesn’t always go as planned. Getting all three kids in the car to go anywhere is a chore, and then keeping them all happy once we get there is a whole different story.
So what do I do? I pay for a piece of sanity. Once a week (sometimes twice), I bring the younger girls to a local Moms Morning Out program. They each go to their own little classroom, and I get the morning to do as I please. I can go to my own appointments without fussy toddlers, and wander the grocery store (and Target) without little hands touching everything. It is also the time where I can get my blogging in, and finish up some online schoolwork. It is a breath of fresh air that I so desperately need sometimes.
I have always worked. I worked up until I became pregnant with my third daughter, and after that it just became too much. The cost of childcare for two kids, plus after-school care for my oldest just didn’t make sense with what I was making at my job. Leaving work was a personal choice, and a financial one. I was working to put my kids in daycare, and that just didn’t make sense. I took the time off as a time to focus on home life with my kids. It worked out beautifully since we ended up relocating to South Carolina, and I needed all my time and energy to focus on the move.
We have been in the South now for over a year. My oldest is in school, and my toddler will hopefully be starting Pre-K in the Fall; if I can ever get her potty trained. For now, I am home with the little ones, blogging away, and trying not to lose my mind. Does it make sense to pay for weekly part-time childcare? I think so, yes. I think it’s a break all moms need. My toddler, Fae, has always been a bit of an introvert. She is cautious, and stays close to me when we go out. Her sisters are both easy going and willing to venture out on their own to make friends. Fae needs the hand to hold, and the introductions to be made for her. The Moms Morning Out program gives her an introduction to what Pre-K will be like, and allows her to come out of her shell without me there.
The world is changing for moms. There are more and more options being offered for types of childcare. There’s Mom’s Morning Out programs (offered here by local churches), childcare offered at Gyms while you work out, and now even work spaces offering childcare! This is my personal favorite; A new business just recently opened up in my town that offers a place for work at home parents to come and work, while there is a nanny on site to help with your kids! You pay a monthly membership fee based on the amount of hours you need weekly.
I’ll be honest, sending my girls to MMO (Moms Morning Out) is a luxury not all families have. There are weeks where it just isn’t in the budget for us. I try to always budget it in, because not only is it a saving grace for me, it gives my girls something more. It gives them the opportunity to make friends, to venture out of their comfort zone (me), and spend some time apart from each other. They love hard and fight harder.
Home-schooling will never be for us. We have a strong family connection at home, and make sure to do plenty of things together to continue the bond. School is a time for learning, and social interaction with other kids. There are some lessons I simply cannot teach my children; those lessons come from life and interaction with their peers. If I have to pay weekly for them to receive that interaction (while I receive a moment of calm), so be it.
I would urge any mom out there who feels she is at a breaking point to take time for herself. The resources are out there for us, and I am a firm believer that you should not lose sight of the importance of yourself, just because you have kids. You cannot be the best for your children, if you are not at your own personal best. Take the time, and pay the part-time childcare. Wander the aisles of Target, or grab that coffee with a friend. Stay home and actually be able to fold and put away the laundry! Having a morning to yourself can do wonders for your sanity.