Brave new 4-day week

3 Jul

For the last 3 months I have, rightly or wrongly, been feeling guilty. (Don’t worry Mr C&P, I’m not about to reveal a terrible truth.) I’ve been feeling guilty because since the birth of my second child 13 weeks ago my daughter has remained at nursery full-time. There, I’ve told you. I’m a lazy, selfish mother. Well that’s how some people’s reactions have made me feel. The majority of friends/family/strangers in the street (don’t tell me no one else occasionally hangs around in the baby section of Boots looking for adult conversation??) don’t bat an eyelid. Yet I still find myself justifying the decision to other people (in fact, see below…).

Despite the guilt, the decision to leave the little lady in nursery has worked out well and I’ve been able to devote special time to the boy child. Looking back at the ‘dark days’ of the first 6 weeks (well, what I can remember of them and that’s very little) there’s no way I’d have made it through all the constant feeding, colic/reflux panics and general mental chaos a newborn brings with a toddler at my heels 24/7. (If anyone says that the newborn period is easier the second time round then they’ve reached the rose-tinted glasses stage. For those of us who’ve declared ‘never again’, it’s the same stage where the thought of having another baby starts to creep in and seem a lovely idea. But I don’t want Mr C&P getting wind of this vulnerable period.)

I’m not cut out to be a full-blown stay-at-home mum juggling the needs of a demanding brood. And I can say that without guilt. Thankfully, these days this admission doesn’t make me a freak or someone who doesn’t deserve to propagate. I take my hat off to those who are full-time mums – I just don’t think I have the necessary (and immense) energy, imagination and, above all, patience. Furthermore, I don’t think I can provide the educational experience that nursery does (or at least not as well). As for the emotional experience, well, my daughter feels none the less loved for not being with me all the time. I know some will beg to differ but each to his own I say.

All that said, tomorrow my daughter drops a nursery day and starts to spend Mondays with me. It’s a brave new world. (Deep breaths … I’ve done it before … [pant pant] … I can do it … feel the fear and do it anyway, etc etc). I confess that I’m daunted by the prospect of planning activities to keep her busy (especially whilst her little brother is still so ‘me, me, me’) that don’t involve CBeebies. (Although it’s a comfort to know that if all else fails we can watch the ‘Big Bear in a Spin’ episode of Everything’s Rosie for the umpteenth time.) I feel slightly sad that William and I are going to lose our Chilled Mondays (god, I’m selfish), and replace them with Manic Mondays. Then again, if I wasn’t able to endure stress and chaos then I wouldn’t be much cop as a mum. Wish me luck.

POSTSCRIPT: Mr C&P wants our daughter to be a nuclear-quantum-particle-physicist-wotsit so I was delighted to hear of the Science Sparks blog. I’ll be using some of the ideas on here for Monday activities and will no doubt have a mini female Professor Brian Cox on my hands in no time (hopefully minus the Legoman hair do).

3 Responses to “Brave new 4-day week”

  1. sciencesparks July 4, 2011 at 2:04 pm #

    Thanks for the link! Kerry and I are thrilled by the support we have had on this. 🙂

  2. Muddling Along July 7, 2011 at 12:57 pm #

    I had a full time nanny for Bigger after Littler was born which made a huge difference, not only did it mean Bigger had some continuity during a period when she was very, very upset by the arrival of her sister BUT since I was going back to work part time from three and a bit months it meant we had childcare that knew both girls and that they were comfortable with – from reactions you’d have thought I was some kind of evil parent…

    I hope your Mondays are lots of fun and you continue to emerge from the newborn haze

  3. lesley July 8, 2011 at 1:00 pm #

    I had marianne in nursery 3 days a week for a couple of months after lewis was born. You need this for sanity. Number 2 has their challenges too and they need your time. i am back at work now and feeling the pressure (5 days a week) and not seeing that much of the kids. Sounds like you are doing a great job…don’t knock yourself. BTW you write beautifully. Since having kids I am lucky to be able to string a sentence together coherently!

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