The last few months I have increasingly noticed conversations with people about the girls going the same way:
“How old are they?”
“They’ll be three in June”
“Do they go to nursery?”
Without fail as soon as I say they’re two the follow up question is ALWAYS about nursery – and my answer is no. I am incredibly lucky to be a stay at home parent whilst my husband goes to work full time (and then some) so they girls are with me all day every day and have done ever since they were born. This however, wasn’t the plan as I left for my maternity leave back in 2013. As with Charlie, I was to have a year off on leave then go back to my 9-3pm part-time hours five days a week; but with an office move meaning a 40 mile round trip a day opposed to a few minute drive to work and with my Mom sadly unable to look after the girls as planned, a few childcare and petrol sums later I decided returning to work wouldn’t be financially beneficial so I took voluntary redundancy and never returned to work.
As I don’t have a job, there is no need for the girls to go to nursery but after restarting going to a Wednesday afternoon play session (where I stay with them) I have started to realise that they really are ready and I think they would love it.
So, am I being selfish keeping my girls at home?
They will hopefully start at the school nursery in September doing afternoon sessions but that is seven months away. Are they going to suffer by losing these seven months where they could be gaining valuable life skills, making friends and being stimulated? I fear a lot of their squabbles at home are due to frustration and plain boredom. The bad weather has meant we have spend a lot of time indoors lately and it can be very monotonous doing the school run then coming home for the day until we go out again to pick up their brother. Don’t get me wrong, I try to go out as much as possible and do try to create activities at home but could they actually be bored of me?
I find myself boring my own ears by saying the same things over and over so surely the feeling is mutual? It’s so hard to know what is right as a parent. I started Charlie at a nursery shortly before his third birthday and it was the best thing we ever did for him – but the reasons were very different. I was at work four days a week and he had little interaction with other children and he was painfully shy, so he went one morning a week to try to help build his confidence. If you ever saw him now at school with other kids you would never believe he was ever this timid little two year old. Nursery brought Charlie out of his shell and worked wonders but for the girls, they don’t need that. They are feisty enough.
I worry that my own selfishness at wanting to cherish the last few months with them may actually be detrimental to them. On one hand, seven months will fly by but on the other is it harbouring them for seven months and stopping them enjoy independence? I would feel so guilty paying for childcare that isn’t needed. There are so many parents that would give their right arm to stay at home with their kids and here’s me moaning.
You know what? I just wish parenting came with a bloody handbook!