This is a touchy subject with me. Lets start by saying it’s my opinion and like yours it doesn’t make it right or wrong, it’s just an opinion!
When I got pregnant with Eliza I was working in a hospital part time in the sterilising department, it was heavy work and I had other back issues and was trying to start my photography business. At 11 weeks my husband said, that’s enough quit you’re going to be a mum now.
Luckily we were then and still are in a position where I can be a stay at home mum, I have the options and choices to work if I want, and I do every now and again with the photography I take on as much or as little work as I want.
I took my new found life very seriously and said I hoped I could always stay at home and look after my children. Husband agreed.
I also always said I’d never send my children to Nursery, because I want to raise my children. I want to teach them, I chose to have kids not a job and I intend to be there until they start school.
This was probably fine until I had Jeremiah. All my friends started to send their children to nursery. But still it just didn’t personally sit with me. I understood why they were doing it, but I couldn’t. She was 2 years old still a baby in my eyes, those 2 years had gone by so fast, surely the next two would as well. And they have.
And I am so proud of myself. LOL
Because at times I have truly felt like I can’t go on. And that she needed to go to Nursery pronto!
But I have never given in to that selfish feeling that is only fleeting for me. Eliza is a bright kid, and started to take an interest in numbers and letters at around 2.5 she wanted to start learning. I bought some little 3-5 year preschool books and for the past 2 years we have been using them and various other ones to help challenge her and to give her what she asks for. I don’t push her, if she didn’t want to learn to write or add 2+2 I’d never say “right we’re doing this today” I believe all children learn as much or as little as they want when they are home with their parents. Or as much as their parents can give them! I’m happy to encourage her and to be honest she could sit and do her writing books for an hour, where I tend to think at 3 years this was a little excessive and tell her to take a break for a little bit. Now at 4 she will sit easily for an hour doing her reading and writing books, sometimes I sit with her for the entire hour or she happily works away on her own asking for help if and when she needs it.
Jerry isn’t like Eliza at the same age and I don’t expect him to be, he’s a different person, he’s extremely physical and loves being active, he has very little interest in arts and crafts, and only recently in the last 6 months decided he quite liked being read to and now picks books for you to read to him, he’s not as independent as she was and I have to encourage him to play on his own. Just as I sit with Eliza I take Jerry into the garden and play football with him, and play hand eye co-ordination games with him.
When we moved to central London, I did a lot of classes with Eliza we did a dance class which was basically running around and having fun, then we did a arts and craft class, we had a music class like monkey music, we went to the Library, we went to French Class, and Ballet and Playgroups. It sounds like a lot and it was and I was pregnant with Jerry so it got even more tiring, I had a lot of support however there. This was perfect for Eliza this was at a level of stimulation enough for her.
Once Jerry was born we went to French and she went to Ballet and we went to Playgroup that was it. Of course Jerry was little and she was older and she got bored so he didn’t get to go to playgroup, I ended up with one bored toddler and a sleeping baby, so I stopped a lot of the other classes.
Then we moved to Suburbia, and I had one 1 year old and a 3 year old and I couldn’t go to any classes with them both, they were now both missing out. I had no friends in the area, come to think of it I still don’t lol and no one except Monkey Music would take me on with both kids, so Monkey Music it was. And that’s all we have done for the past year. The rest of the time it’s been me as the entertainment.
Thankfully and if you look back through my blog, you’ll see we’ve done a lot since we moved out here, lots of trips to Europe, lots of family days out. There is a lot of other things to do out here, things that we all enjoy.
Now Eliza is starting school in September and she couldn’t be more excited she quizzed the headmaster on the computer room, asked if they had singing lessons and if she could learn violin. She asked the teachers if they taught maths and reading and writing, her first visit she came out thrilled with the fact one of the teachers had sat with her to read a book and she had read some words.
Jerry is still obviously with me, and bored. OH SO BORED. And I am 33 weeks pregnant and tired.
So with this all in mind. I started to look for a nursery, the first one I visited I was APPALLED this nursery has a “good” report from Ofsted I was thinking they must of come on a very good day.
You know when you go into a baby change room in public and you open the nappy bins to throw one away. Every room smelled like that. There were old cobwebs in the corners of the rooms, the floors were FILTHY, the toys weren’t much better and there were a lot, A LOT of kids there. I felt like J would be alone a lot of the time if he went there and there was no way in hell I’d ever send him there it was so dirty. I feel really sorry for the mums and dads out there who have no choice but to send their kids there. It was heartbreaking. So glad I do have that choice, I’d rather he hung off my trousers all day and cried and had tantrums.
So I decided the best thing for me to look into was Montessori I know I like that style of nursery and learning and I found one which had “outstanding” on it’s Ofsted report and next to it it said “above outstanding” having just been to the “good” nursery I held little hope for this place.
But I went along. It was as expected calm, the kids playing nicely, 1-1 a lot of the children, or sitting in pairs or tables of 4. The juice and snack bar is always open apparently and they can help themselves. Jerry stuck to the home corner he loves having tea parties and cleaning. He washed dinosaurs and dried them took them for a walk, put them to bed, then he headed for the maths corner and really got into shapes and what not and had a good look around at everything else.
I was happy.
Afterwards I asked him what he thought. “I liked it mummy, I liked that nursery, I like tea parties and dinosaurs” I said would he like to go again and it was a very keen “yes, now?”
So I’m putting his name down for 1-2 mornings a week see how he goes and fits in. I am easy and flexible on how long he goes for. I am easy if he doesn’t like it, but I really feel like he’s missed out on things that Eliza got to do. He isn’t as well socialised and is timid around other children. Hopefully this will help him and it will give me a little selfish break with the new baby.
I still feel like it’s selfish of me, I still feel that being a full time stay at home mum, I should be exactly that. And I feel like I have let Jerry down by putting him into Nursery. I wonder when he is grown up he’ll look back say “you did so much for Eliza why not me?”
I do however fully intend to get him into Tumble Tots and Little Kickers, although he ,despite liking football, has said he doesn’t want to go to football class! So we might just try it and see if he really doesn’t want to go!
So am I alone in this guilt of sending to nursery?