Vacation Care and Mothers Guilt

I always thought I’d be in the position to be a stay at home mum. I always thought I’d want to be one. Turns out neither of those ideas were correct.

I was able to stay home when I was pregnant and for the first 18 months of Nick’s life, and while at the time I was overwhelmed and completely clouded in a fog of post natal depression, looking back I am grateful to have had that time. They say it’s the most important time for a mother to be with her child. While I don’t necessarily agree that it was important for him, for me I think it was.

When he started daycare, I went back to work. It was just a couple of days a week and it was good for both of us. I honestly believe that. I could work while he was in kindy, it was great. Then he started prep, or big school. Suddenly it wasn’t as easy any more. I loved the staff at kindy, I knew them all, and I knew all the kids. Now he’d have school holidays, and what would I do then?

Between family, friends, a part time nanny, we got through the first year. In grade one he started going to before school care 2 days a week when friends of ours who took him to school moved away. Eventually, we added a couple of days of vacation care. To my surprise, he seemed to really have a good time and not feel too upset about it. Well, not upset at all, actually! But my mummy guilt was running rampant. I used to drive past the school and see the kids in vacation care and swear black and blue that wouldn’t be my kid.

As an only child, I used to worry about him not fitting in, not having someone to play with like those kids with siblings have automatically. But in almost the opposite fashion, being an only child has almost made him better at making friends because he’s not picky, he will play with anyone. I think he’s happy for any company that isn’t an adult! The guilt is lessened because during a period of 6 weeks of holidays, we only have to put him in vacation care 6 days total. That’s really not so bad. However, now I am considering/looking for full time work, I worry – and again feel guilty – about school holidays. I don’t want him to be at vacation care all school holidays. I know we’d both be able to take annual leave, we’d have some friends and family who could occasionally help out, but every holiday period becomes a juggle of what days he’s going where and doing what – you should see the calendar!

But if we are going to get ahead catch up and at least break even, and if I am going to have anything resembling a “career” when Nick is older, then I really need to be considering full time employment at the moment. I have 12 months before I am finished with my degree, so the sooner I get something relative the better. Otherwise I will just be another overqualified person in an un-fulfilling, part-time dead-end job.

I know that being a mum means always carrying around guilty about one thing or another. And typically I don’t feel guilty about too much. But I am feeling really torn on this one. I guess I will just have to take it one step at a time and know that whatever is meant to be will be. There’s really no use worrying about anything until there’s something to actually worry about, right? Full time jobs aren’t that easy to come by. As a side note, why don’t men worry about these kinds of things?

Do you work outside the home? What do you do for school holiday care? 

Linking up with Essentially Jess for IBOT


14 thoughts on “Vacation Care and Mothers Guilt

  1. You know what, you’re side note is the big question. Why is the guilt (and judgement) thrown at the women? Interestingly, I have had a number of people recently say ‘it’s more important to be at home & available when they’re teens than when they’re little’. So that won’t help you down the track, but pack away that guilt now. As Grace said “I did my best, it wasn’t enough but it could have been worse”

  2. I think you are doing very well only having Nick in vacation care 6 days – out of the whole holidays I’m sure he needs that time with friends at care and the variety. I know I’m very lucky with hubby’s firefighter shifts to not have as much of a juggle – but then our anxious daughter is on her way up to her Nanny and Poppys (with her cousin) for the rest of the week, and I feel worried too (but strangely not guilty as she needs to do this).

  3. So much mother guilt. I first felt guilty about daycare when I worked full time. Now I feel guilty for not bringing in anywhere near the income I used to bring in. In fact, none at all given it all goes straight back into my business which is yet to pay me a wage. To be honest … I felt less guilt when I was working and had the kids in care than I feel now that I am with them all the time without money! I wonder why that is?
    Leanne @ Deep Fried Fruit

  4. What are you studying Aroha? I always hated school holidays, even when I was only working part-time. Once my son got to Year 6 or 7, he refused point blank to go to vacation care, he hated it that much. And once he was in high school (year 8) there’s no such thing as vacation care anyways! Somehow we juggled it over the years – luckily hubster and I worked close to home. But even when they were teenagers I still hated school holidays because I knew that was when they would get up to mischief.

  5. Ahhh guilt is like the free steak knives they hand us when we give birth. I too battled the guilt as a fulltime working mum, I still do but to a lesser degree as I have been able to change to a career that allows me the freedom to work from home. So now I work flat out whilst they are at school and again when they are in bed.. and it relieves the guilt. Now I just feel guilty about other stuff. You just cant get rid of those steak knives. x

  6. I think a little guilt is a good thing, as long as it’s not completely crippling you. I think that the little bit of guilt is what pushes us to make sure we are doing the best we can for our family. Men might not have the same guilt but I know that my partner definitely feels the pressure to be able to provide for us, so I think they have guilt, just different.

  7. That is a really good question about why men don’t worry about those things! Sometimes I get jealous of my husband because he seems to have things so easy :/ It really is a juggle. I don’t know how I will manage when my eldest starts prep next year. I feel for those people who don’t have family to support them. How do they get by? I know how you feel wanting to further your career yet wanting to be there for your child as well. Once you work out the answer can you tell me?? x

  8. I am extremely lucky that I am a stay at home mum and I really think the vast majority are in your shoes. Sounds like you have one very happy little boy and you should give yourself some credit for that. If it’s any consolation I don’t have to send mine to vacation care but I do some days because they just love it so much.

  9. Oh this is a tough one. I have been fortunate enough to be able to stay at home so far with my two Vicklets – but I both love and loathe it. Some days I rock at it and other days I wonder around in an unproductive fog longing for more. For the most part it works but we could do with some more cash flow and that would involve me taking the leap and booking the Vicklets into daycare for a day or two a week. I suspect I would feel better for it like you did… but it’s a big step. I can see how difficult it is to make the step to full time employment and being home a whole lot less for Nick.
    Could you take your holidays during the school holiday period sometimes? My sister in law is able to do that and it really works for her, but I understand most jobs aren’t that flexible. Ah… IT’S SO HARD this working and mummy business. I hope you find a comforting answer here x

  10. It’s hard. I’m going to have to go back in the near future, and I’m really struggling with how to organise it all. Ideally I could work from home, but I think I need some skills, which is why I want to study this year.
    Here’s a thought; could you look for work attached to a school? That way you get some holidays.

  11. It’s tough balancing the act of being a mum, let alone adding working in the mix. Don’t have a kid at school yet, but I think you do what you need to to make it work. Sorry not any help for you at all.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s