Last year I wrote a blog posted titled “I use childcare and I don’t work” I knew it was a controversial topic choice, but one I wanted to write. Shortly after I let a major website republish it.
That was my first mistake. I had been given one very important piece of advice when I started Mum To Five and that was “for &*&(* sake if you’re going to be controversial don’t read the comment’s.”
I did. My second mistake was letting one get to me.
“I don’t know why you would have 5 kids if you just want to whack them in childcare the first opportunity you get.”
I was still letting this roll over in my mind as it had frequently the past few months this morning as I woke up. Today was D Day. AKA Drop the last child off at kindy and send her off on her first adventure minus mummy. I was up half the night with her and a little too eager for the day to get rolling. We went through the usual. Change her, feed her, play with her, whack the 89th Peppa Pig episode on for her. Then I sat her down.
“You’re going to start kindy today my darling, and mummy is going to leave you there. You’re going to have lunch and sleep, and you’re going to make new friends. Your teachers will hold you if you’re upset, and they’ll hug you if you cry. And if you’re REALLY sad they’ll get Floydy to come see you. And if you go mental mummy will come and pick you up early. I want you to know that I am doing this because I think you’ll have fun, in fact I know you will. Your four siblings did. I love you do you understand?”
And she looked at me with her blonde non existent hair and gummy mouth and said “Yas mummy” Which I took to mean she did, even though me saying “have you turned into a snowflake?” gets the same response.
Then I put her and her brother in the car and left. We had an orientation of about half an hour, and it was time to leave. She cried. A lot. And I kissed her baby cheeks and left and hid outside with a staff member and watched her. She stopped crying and started playing. She was happy.
I went and sat in the car. And then I grabbed the nearest toy from the pile on the floor and started bashing myself over the head with it. Because all of a sudden I had the answer to that question that had haunted me for months. How would I know until I had 5 kids I needed a break? How was I to know that my last child would be another rubbish sleeper, and cling to me like a monkey 24/7. How was I to know that a 5th child was going to be so much harder than 4 when everyone had been saying she would “fit right in and I wouldn’t even notice her in the zoo?” How was I to know all that? That’s right – I didn’t. It’s been hard, very hard. Why the hell should I feel guilty about wanting a break from my kids – even if I wasn’t going out to earn a wage?
Then I left. I turned the Beastie Boys up so loud in the car on the way home I almost blew the windows out. I love loud music, but I can’t do that when the kids are there. I got home and I went and sat on the toilet for 20 minutes. I didn’t need to go, I just wanted to sit there without someone staring at me while trying to shove a barbie down the back of the toilet or whack the toilet brush between my legs. I sat on the lounge and watched Law & Order reruns for about an hour, stuffed around and cleaned a few things. Took my daughters out shopping on their own for the first time in years.
When I picked my daughter up the educators said “Oh she had a fantastic first day!”
That makes two of us.