Why Does Using Daycare Give Me Guilt?

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I am a mother. But I am also a woman, and a human. I have needs. And one of those needs is some quiet, alone time. So why does asking for it make me feel so guilty? I have no problem sending my children to day care while I am at work. I see this as a necessity.

I happen to work a 4/10 shift, meaning I work ten hours a day, four days a week. I have Fridays off. We pay for daycare for the full week, but I rarely, if ever, send my children to daycare on Fridays. I feel it is my duty as a parent to never part from them. This Friday it is supposed to rain, and I have a boatload of errands to run. Combine all of this with getting two very small children in and out of the car a bagillian times, and schlepping them through numerous stores, and you are asking for chaos. Nevertheless it never even occurred to me to send them to daycare.

mom shopping with toddler

I was outlining my plans to my husband who looked at me and said, “You should send the kids to day care.” I just stared at him as if he had announced the most astonishing news on the face of the planet. Why hadn’t the idea come to me before? I mean, we are paying for it anyway.

As soon as the plan to send them off starting sinking in, I began trying to rationalize how it is better for them under the circumstances to be at day care. They won’t get rained on and potentially catch a cold. They won’t have to be dragged from store to store. They will surely have a much better time playing, and being taken care of. And the list goes on. Why can’t I just admit that it will be easier for me to do everything without them, and that I actually welcome some me time. Why do I have to feel like I am abandoning my children? Is there something wrong with wanting to relax for a few hours?

As much as I am looking forward to my Friday this week, I cannot help but feel selfish. Every time I try to think about the things I will be getting accomplished and how nice it will be to read my book and maybe take a nap, I feel a pang of guilt. It is completely irrational. Mommy guilt sucks.

Mother with toddler in supermarket photo via Shutterstock.

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