“I use childcare and I don’t work”


As I dropped my son off to childcare the other day, I got chatting to another mum.

“Oh your baby is growing quickly – how old is she?”

“One, I plan on starting her here one day a week from January”

“Going back to work are you?”

No, I’m not. I haven’t worked outside the home for over eight years since my second child was born. But my daughters went to childcare two days a week from two years of age. My three-year-old currently attends three days a week and, all things going well, in January my fifth and last child who will be 18 months old will start one day a week and increase slowly to three days.

The assumption I must work outside the home is a common one. Reactions are mixed when people find out I don’t.

“Good on you, I’d need a break from all those kids too” … or the other end of the scale.

“You’re taking up a valuable spot for a working mother.”

I consider what I do work, and a very hard job at that. Interestingly enough, I have only ever heard this comment from women. Other mothers who should support mothers. Mothers who should get it’s hard work. I’m not taking anyone’s spot – childcare is for any mother who wants to use it.

“Playgroup is for mothers like you.”

Playgroup is not a break from your children. Playgroup is a hall with 20-40 other kids and a bunch of toys. If you’re lucky you get coffee and morning tea thrown in. You play with your kids and chat to other women. It’s interaction – but it’s not a break.

“Do you do stick your kids in care so you can go and do coffee and lunch?”

I don’t drink coffee. I eat lunch – but not at a restaurant during the week.

Why I need childcare too

The truth is – I use childcare because I need a break from my children. I find motherhood very, very hard. It’s demanding, it’s tiring and it’s draining.

On childcare days I can’t wait to drop my toddler off. The freedom of only having the baby means I can get more done around the home. I can go to appointments I avoid like the plague when he’s with me. I can sit and relax when the baby sleeps and watch some trashy TV and read a few pages of a book I’ve been reading for months. It’s me time.

I love him all the more when I pick him up – he’s had a day filled with running, jumping and interacting with 20 other kids his age. He’s played outside, done craft I am often too tired to do at home, and he’s happy. And because he’s happy, I’m happy.

And come January, when I drop my baby off for her first day, there won’t be tears … there will be relief. Relief that I can have a child-free day for the first time in years. I can do what I want, when I want for a day.

Who knows, I might go and sit in a five-star restaurant and order a skinny black two-sugar latte.


5 thoughts on ““I use childcare and I don’t work”

  1. Mumma McD

    You shouldn’t have to justify your choices, raising 5 kids would be bloody tough! I hope you do take yourself out for a fancy lunch when the littlest one starts next year :).

  2. Kathryn

    I use Childcare and I don’t have a formal job, but I would never say I don’t work. Being an at-home mum is a lot of work. I’m sure juggling a career & kids is really hard too, but those mums get perks like respect and pay. We get paid in more time & memories with our kids. Childcare helps me make sure that extra time together is positive for all of us.

  3. nicole

    Im a first time mum and will be putting my baby into childcare so they can gain interaction skills which I could not teach them on my own, they will be happier because they have something new to do when they go there, i will be more happier as I will be able tonget those jobs done that you just cant do with a child.
    but one day I do plan on going back to work but if my finances allow it I will put it off as long as I can

  4. Izzy

    I’m also a stay at home mum and know what you mean about needing a break. The only difference is, I use babysitters in my home rather child care. I worked in child care and would never use it myself. Young children do not need socialisation. That is a myth. They can not tell you if they are being mistreated, are unhappy, or just simply scared. I felt so sorry for the children I saw mistreated, in the places I worked.


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