Friday, February 4, 2011

The inside story on childcare

Sally's been going to childcare 1-2 days a week for a few weeks now. And I thought I'd post the "why" and "whatfor" of what it means for me. Not in a defensive way either - this is, surprisingly enough, not a rant at anyone for a change. Maybe motherhood has tempered me.

Bwahahahaha. Hardly.

So yesterday she was at childcare as well but I spent the day running around doing errands. Hardly a pleasant day to be honest, or maybe it was a pleasant day but not enough to outweigh not having my babe around. We got up early, which meant Sally didn't get her extra hour's "night" sleep after motoring around for an hour. We showered together, then I dropped her at childcare, collected a lens that's on loan to me for a birth, had a remedial massage, had lunch at the markets to celerbate Chinese New Year with some girlfriends and their childers, went to Lincraft and picked Sally up. It was hot and humid! and then I had to go to work. Somewhere in there I also went to Target to collect a layby and buy new shorts as well. Way easier without a small to get in and out of the car, and carry around, and feed, change and entertain, no doubt about it. But it is also not my life at the moment.

Today however, we woke up, had a play, motored around, then Sally went down for a nap while I sorted out 5 baskets of washing. It is my pet HATE of housework - folding washing. Sally was up after an hour, we showered and packed up and I took her to childcare a little later than usual. A phonecall interrupted the drive but I spoke to my husband, who I didn't even see awake yesterday. Childcare dropoff was fine and I had a lovely chat with one of her carers. I walked out into the humid! weather and went home.

I'm now watching Secret Diary of a Call Girl, drinking hot tea and eating a biscuit. I am also blogging which I don't get to do much with a small at my feet. I have plans to have a coffee date with my husband this afternoon before we collect Sally from childcare. I know she's safe and happy there for a few hours today and this morning was a good connection so she is extra happy. I am doing what I want without interruption.

That's what mother's work is. Interruption. I can't do anything without interruption. Most of the time that is fine but uninterrupted sleep, hobby'ing, cleaning that cupboard that was grotty but I haven't had a chance to wipe over, painting my toenails - that's what I miss about the BC era (before childerbeast). Most of the time I can be piqued about it momentarily and then get on with the job, as anyone would. But when I'm stressed about Life, it helps to know that I can recharge the batteries just a little.

And if that's what childcare is to me - a chance to recharge - then I'm paying for the privilege anyways. I don't have parentals closeby to help out. I don't have friends who I can leave Sally with "just" so I can recharge. And until you've been a parent you don't, won't understand what it is to be empty and need a recharge. Needs some self-nurturing. Needs to just do. my. own. THING! for a few minutes, and stop when I want to, not to tend to a boo or feed a mouth or water a babe or do anything. Or do something because I want to. To recharge and nurture myself.

Who nurtures the nurturer if not... well, whom? Who helps me when I'm dealing with my own demons and angsts, and stresses and abrasions on my soul and I have to give so much to someone else. The days or weeks when I have stuff to deal with (alas, another post) I feel myself short with Sally. Cranky when she won't co-operate with my ridiculous and unfair expectations, like going to sleep. Upset that I can't be, do more for her. Upset at what I am and do for her already maybe not being enough.

And with that, I'm going to reclaim my kitchen, and clean that cupboard that's been annoying me.


Shannon said...

hmmm. I am so glad you are at ease and have found a balance. I am not so brave. Brave is probably not the right word...I am not so ready to let go.

Anonymous said...

Well done on having the bravery to send her to childcare. Not being a mother I can't imagine what that's like, but I don't kid myself that it'd be easy.

One of the reasons I don't have children is that I *need* solitude on a regular basis, it's somehow essential to my mental balance. And if I only just get enough in my life as it is (sometimes I have to ask for it and arrange it), I doubt I could cope with a child always wanting 120% of my attention.

Do her childcare days coincide with free days in Osk's work roster? If so, you might create a regular 'couple' date, even if it's for coffee up the street.

Ness said...

Oh yeah, the need for a bit of recharging time has never been so strong in me as it is now, after 6-7 weeks of looking after both of my chidlets all day, every day, usually on my own! I am looking forward to the start of school on monday like it will be the best day of my life :-p The lack of support sucks arse, I totally agree.

Emma Someone said...

Shannon the easing into it was hard. That's why it's taken me nearly 8 weeks to post something about it. The transition was hard for me but quite easy for her. I have no choice but to put her somewhere while I finish my degree and starting now is easier for me, as I can just focus on that transition and have her settled before March. The place she is attending is AWESOME though - perhaps I'll post about that next.

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Emma Someone
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Anonymous said...

Arrr I wish my other half understood this. He works hard, I know he does, but I do too - 24 hours a day with nary a sanity break. He comes home, holds her for 5 mins, then watches telly or tools around on the computer. WTF? I love my baby so much, but I need a break, and I don't get ANY.