The Nursery Dilemma
So when you are going back to work, you have no choice, you have to look for childcare. Your child can't fend for themselves at home while you work, for however short a period, so you'll need someone to take over the reins while you are at work.
There are lots of nurseries and childminders around, so hopefully you'll be spoilt for choice and be able to find a solution that really fits you, your child and your work hours.
But what if you aren't going back to work? What if you are going to be a Stay At Home Mum? Surely you're not going to look at nursery, when you have mummy at home?
Well, yes and no. I'm not going to ship my kids off to nursery just because I want to swan around having manicures and going for coffee. But, and it's a big but, I believe there are positive reasons for my kids to go to nursery, even though I'm not working.
First of all, they are going to have to go to school eventually. For me, it's important that they have a taste of a classroom environment before they start full time school at age 4 (or 3 if you are in Dubai). My daughter is going to literally be the youngest in the year, and I feel that an introduction to a classroom environment is going to be an important part of the transition for her. Although saying that, I also think there is real benefit in it for both of my children regardless of their birthdays. We are not going to be home schooling our children, so they are going to be in a classroom environment with lots of kids.
Then there's the behavioural aspect of it. Before my two year old started nursery (when she was 12 months) she had never been anywhere without me, save for a couple of hours with her grandparents, which is infrequent given we live on another continent. I'm always the one to check her, to keep an eye on her, to teach her the right way to behave. I believe it's important for us that our kids get used to being in an environment where they aren't watched all the time, and still learn how to behave. To learn how to be guided and instructed by someone else, several some one elses, and to adapt to the group environment.
Messy play. Need I say more. I'm not the best person to do messy play with, I'm constantly cleaning up and cringing at the mess. I don't really like the mess that messy play makes. When they do messy play at nursery, I don't feel so bad that I'm not doing loads of that at home!
Time to reconnect. I use the time away from the kids to reboot, to run errands, and to just take some time for me. Because there is never anytime for just me. At the weekends we try to make the most of family time, so I don't really want to keep pushing for time to myself, because time as a family is important too. That time away from the kids means that I come back refreshed and with renewed patience and energy. I'm a much better mother having had time to shake off the negative energy, and miss my little shadows a little.
So those are the reasons why my daughter is in nursery and why my son will also go to nursery when he's over a year old. These are the reasons why nursery works for us, and why we have chosen to send them to nursery, even when I'm not working.
It's not for everyone, but it's the choice that works for us. How does it work in your household?