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The other day I was asking M’s paediatrician if I was doing the right thing sending her to the crèche. If that was making her prone to frequent bouts of fever and cough. Was I exposing her to the outside world too soon? That’s when he said something which healed the wounded and guilty mother in me. Well, at least, for a while.
Sending her to the crèche was good he said. She would learn something new every day and as far as the fever and cough are concerned, there was nothing to worry about. She would have gotten those even if you had kept her at home. Such a relief I must say. I could have just hugged him but that wouldn’t have been appropriate, right?
It’s very easy to fall into the parenting guilt trap. One of M’s earlier paediatrician went so far as to say that I should have kept her at home, at least, till she was 1. It’s something I have heard often but hearing it from your child’s doctor shakes something within you. But that day, I felt the sweet release of guilt. And it was wonderful.
Parenting isn’t easy. It’s perhaps the toughest job out there. To top it all, my way of parenting might not be yours. But as parents, we need to form a tribe to support each other instead of finding fault with each other’s methods. Well, as far as possible.
Working or a stay-at-home mother?
Working or not, every mother does her best. Keeping a child at the crèche or at home doesn’t reflect how much or how less a mother loves her child.
My mother was a stay-at-home mother. In fact, you could say she still is because in spite of being miles apart and being all grown up, we still need and bother her throughout the day. We saw first hand how hard she worked. So, I know it’s a fallacy that one mother works or cares more than the other.
I chose to be a working mother without meaning any disrespect to one who chooses to stay at home.
Being a mother is a 24X7 job. That’s why we need and must take all the support we can. We need a village, our own village. Instead of bickering as to who is superior, we need to help each other as much as we can, as mothers, as women. If possible, we need to be each other’s village. As a working mum, I found mine at the creche.
A couple of weeks back when my daughter turned 1 we had a small cake cutting ceremony at her crèche. It was when all the kids had gathered along with the wonderful caretakers that I realised how grateful I am to these women. They are the ones who give me the chance to be a working mum. It takes a village to raise a child and they are a part of mine.
They don’t know how much they help mothers like me. I have seen them take care of my daughter. The amount of love they shower on her and the patience is truly overwhelming. Honestly, I ended up learning so much from them.
Today when it is hard to trust anyone let alone someone with your baby, these women have not only kept up my trust but have doted on my daughter as well. While you hear scary tales of day care staff committing atrocities on small children every other day, I have been lucky enough to have found women who actually care.
And what I love most, you know? Women helping other women out, a symbiotic relationship. A support system made up of women. It’s wonderful.
It is not easy keeping your child away from you during the day, five days a week. I have been called names or people, women actually, have insinuated that I should have found happiness or completeness in seeing my daughter grow instead of leaving her in the care of others. How could I leave my baby in the care of someone else?
But you know what? I do see my daughter grow. Every single day. The only difference is that I entrust her with professionals who are trained to take care of children. I do this to find some time to work on achieving my own goals. It’s just my choice. I take the help of my village. How can that be wrong?
Initially, I too was sceptical about leaving her in the crèche. But so far they haven’t given me a reason to worry. It is extremely hard to even today leave M each morning, after six months of doing it every day. A part of me often raises that finger of blame and shame at my reflection for doing so. That’s when the care M receives at the crèche works as a calming agent.
I’m sure M will understand why I did what I did. And that’s what matters the most. I’m sure she’ll be loved as much as a child who stays at home.
I chose to be a working mum and decided to expand my village outside of my family. It’s all about choices after all, isn’t it? It’s a relief that for now that village has helped me immensely and kept up my trust. But I have not outsourced being a mother to my child. Never will.
Tell me, do you have a village to help raise your kids?
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