“Is your mummy getting rid of you already,” said a well-meaning friend as she gave Miss M a cuddle. It didn’t make me feel good to hear it, I felt like there was a hidden message but I am firm on my reasons for putting Miss M in childcare two days a week while Master E is at school.
Last Friday was Miss M’s first day of childcare. It was so much easier for me the second time around. It was the same childcare centre where Master E thrived after going through separation anxiety and a bad experience at another centre, I was more relaxed and Miss M is such a happy baby so the drop off was easy.
Last Friday was also the most productive work day I’ve had in a VERY long time. Being self-employed and working from home means time-management is essential and something I’ve been struggling with when having to juggle work and a baby. I had a whole day to work and I set my mind to it.
I might be The Multitasking Woman, but I have failed at juggling
I thought I could do it, the baby, business and work from home gig. I tried it but I’m just not one of those people who can work effectively with a baby on my lap or even while she plays on the mat beside me. I need 100% focus.
I’ve also never been very good at working late at night. After a day doing school drop offs, pick ups, looking after a baby and everything in between, the last thing I can focus on is writing a 1000 word article. Well, I probably could write the article but it wouldn’t be my best work. I’ve tried the early wake up too but my kids are early risers so I only get in one hour of work when I need 3!
Juggling has been wearing me out and it has not helped my mental health because of the constant worry about if, when and how I will get a job finished by deadline. I decided that the stress and anxiety have just not been worth it, nor has my fleeting attention span and inability to be in the moment with my kids.
The difference two days makes
Fast forward and now with two days a week dedicated to working while Miss M is in childcare and Master E is at school, I no longer worry about work or deadlines because I know I have dedicated work days to do it.
I was the happiest I’d been in a long time last weekend. It was because finally, work was not on my mind and if it was it was the reminder that my work could actually be done on my work days. I focused on my family and had fun because a weight had been lifted from my shoulders. It was refreshing to be able to remind myself of my upcoming days off, days where I didn’t have to juggle a baby and laptop, that I would instead be able to enjoy playtime, walks and potentially some ‘me time’ while Miss M sleeps instead of the usual work, work, work in every spot of free time I had.
I don’t see my decision as letting my child down, I see it as a decision that enables me to give 100% of myself to myself and my family.
It’s also about my mental health, particularly given anxiety has made its way back into my life recently, it’s a change I had to make. It’s a decision I made to get my happy back, to do what I love, it’s how I can feel calm and relaxed again instead of a hot mess.
I’d much rather have the capacity to give 100% focus on myself and my family 5 days a week than one week where I’m only focused half the time.
I’d tried for so long to be some fantastical super creature who juggled everything yet expected to be energised and happy. It didn’t work, that creature doesn’t exist. Putting Miss M into childcare was my answer and I think it’s one of the best decisions I’ve made.