Do I put my child into nursery and go back to work full time? At what age is it appropriate for a child to be in nursery? Will this damage them? Is there any other option?
All these questions go through every parent's mind at some point. It can be so hard for parents who rely on two incomes to keep the house running, to decide what is best to do for their family. Some mothers can't wait to get back to work, they love their jobs and don't want to be stuck at home taking care of a baby. But then the guilt sets in, when they wonder if they are doing the right thing, by sending them to nursery, rather than being at home with them. Then there are the single parent families, like myself who have no choice but to work, or live off benefits.
There has been a surge in the number of under-fives enrolled in nurseries and with childminders in the past 20 years. Figures from the Department for Education show that 441,000 children under five are in day nurseries while another 272,000 are being looked after by childminders. This is 3 times more than in the 1980s.
My Nursery Experience
I myself struggled with this dilemma when I divorced from my husband when my son was only four years old. I had been a stay-at-home Mum, this is what I had believed was right for my son. I was certain that him growing up with his mother around was healthier for him in his early years, and still do. I never wanted to give someone else the privilege of raising my child. But when I left my husband, I had no choice but to find a job. I spent hours and hours researching "stay at home jobs" on the internet and tried out a few of them in a desperate attempt to be able stay at home with my son. Unfortunately non of the ones I tried gave me a substantial enough income to be able to stay at home. So I very reluctantly took a job working eight 'til five Monday to Friday and had to put my son into nursery everyday.
I couldn't fault the nursery, the staff were kind and well trained. There was plenty to keep the children occupied. The meals they provided were healthy and there was plenty of it. My son enjoyed going, he has always been a very sociable and independent little boy and so he thrived in this situation. But he was tired. The constant stimulation from 7:30 in the morning until just after 5 in the evening was taking it's toll. He was completely exhausted by Friday and the weekends were spent being quiet at home to give him some time to re-charge ready for another full on week.
Behavioural Problems in Nursery Children
An Oxford study published in the journal Child: Care, Health and Development, said that “children who spent more time in group care, mainly nursery care, were more likely to have behavioural problems, particularly hyperactivity”.
I noticed this hyperactivity in my son too. It would take him quite a while to calm down every evening after nursery. He was wired, and needed time to settle down before he went to bed. He seemed tense as if stressed and very alert. This I also found out could be due to his time in the nursery. A dutch study was carried out on the levels of cortisol in children in nursery condtions and found that they were higher than that of children in a home setting. They wrote "We speculate that children in centre daycare show elevated cortisol levels because of their stressful interactions in a group setting."
How I felt
I also had to adjust myself to not being his sole carer any longer, in fact I barely did anything for him any more. The nursery would feed him all his meals, including breakfast. They spent all their time with him, teaching him, playing with him, watching him change and learn new things, whilst all I did was get him dressed in the morning and bathe and put him to bed in the evening. When he started school, I still dropped my son off at nursery every morning at 7:30, they would take him to school and collect him for me, so I never saw his teacher, I had no idea how he was getting on in his first few terms at school. It felt a little like my motherhood has been taken away, I was missing out on everything. I had been demoted to landlady almost!
My son started to notice and ask "Mummy, why do you not pick me up from school like all the other mum's?" or "Mummy, can you come and read to us like the other mummies do?" It would break my heart trying to explain to him why I wasn't there. My absence was hurting him and I needed to do something about it. So I went back to my internet searches again. "Surely", I thought, "there must be more people out there in my situation, and what are they doing about it?".
That's when I hit the jackpot. I had found what I was looking for. I happened upon a landing page, similar to the one you will see if you click on the link below, which explained how I could make a substantial income working from home, in my spare time, using just my computer and an internet connection. Well, I have to admit, I jumped on it faster than you can say "internet marketing" and have not looked back since. Everything these people promised they delivered and more. I didn't just learn how to do internet marketing, I learnt about myself too, and how to live a happy and fulfilled life. I became part of a large family of people willing me on every step of the way. My dream of working from home, around my son has not become a reality yet, but it's in reach and I have an amazing group of people behind me who will not let me fail before I reach the finish line.
How about you?
So if you're still reading this and it is resonating with you, and you are wondering if it's possible to have a fulfilling career which revolves around your children. One which gives you the freedom to set your own hours so that you can be home with them after school and during the holidays. Where you get the amazing privilege to watch your children grow and change and develop every single day, without financial worries. I am here to tell you, you can make this a reality for yourself. Perhaps you have a passion but didn't even realise you could monetise it; or maybe you already have your own business but it's not making you enough to have the freedom you want - then this for you. If you just don't know where to start and know you cannot do this alone, the this is the community and mentorship you need. Click on the link below and start your amazing journey today and eradicate your 'to nursery or not to nursery' dilemma.
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