Lauren Derrett has written another great blog for Essex Baby. Her topic this month is about the guilt many of us face for sending our children to nursery which is not helped by headlines in the press such as ‘One in five children put into nursery early will develop mental health problems’. Take a read and let us know what you think.

Trawling through my business Facebook profile I came across an article that had been shared. It struck a chord with me as the headline of said article was:

‘My warning to parents is simple: one in five children put into nursery early will develop mental health problems’

My son is 20 months old and attends nursery three full mornings a week. I don’t drop him into childcare on my way to some high flying full time career, and in fact I don’t ‘work’ at all. I made a conscious choice to put him into a nursery regardless of my lack of employment. I’m sure knowing this you may initially pre judge and come to your own conclusion that I must be a lady who lunches. I’m not (although I do like lunch…….and dinner…..and supper, I digress). I don’t spend hours in the salon having my tresses tended to by a slightly over tanned, over enthusiastic teenager called Cindy and I don’t wander around the shops buying more stuff I don’t need.

I send my little man to a perfectly lovely, homely environment where he can socialise with other little people, play with toys he doesn’t have at home and splash about in muddy puddles without me crouching beside him gritting my teeth whilst trying to lead him away from the fun he’s having thinking ‘that’s another load of washing right there’. And I send him there because I have zero family around to lend a hand and I have three other children and two step-children (all ranging from ages 9-17) that also need a lot of me. I have an amazing partner who works hard and supports my every move and he needs a lot of me. I have to be Mary Poppins, Molly Maid, Nigella and Dita Von Tease in every 24 hours. It’s a big ask, I am but one mere person. I have to do all this whilst being mindful that we unfortunately live in a society that would condemn you as a bad mother just for sitting your toddler in front of Cbeebies for half an hour so you can scrub the loos; for not having introduced your little one to the Gruffalo or The Hungry Caterpillar by the time they can sit up; or for having them in Converse rather than Clarks just because they are way cooler (guilty). On top of the already mammoth task that is bestowed on stay at home mums/dads I am also a birth doula and that means I spend a lot of my time visiting clients or networking with other birth workers. I couldn’t do this with a toddler in tow regardless of how adorable this particular toddler is. And aside from all these roles I play day to day, I have to factor in a little bit of me. A mother could easily loose herself in mothering and some mothers don’t feel the need to have ‘me’ time, but unfortunately for this mum, it’s an essential basic need I have. For me to fulfil this need, I do this: write my blog, watch an episode of Made in Chelsea (I’m a reality show whore) or even just sit in silence. Nothing dramatic, nothing diva-ish, nothing ‘woe is me’ – just escapism from everything.

So, I have a million and one reasons to justify using day care but there will always be a part of me hidden deep in my primal, back-to-basics-brain that feels there is no reason to abandon my child at his tender age; that I will never get this time with him back; and that I’m failing him as a mother. However I can’t allow that part of my brain too much air time because back in the caves, women didn’t have to worry about housework, homework, make up. They didn’t have to worry about the hidden dangers in their diets or whether or not to vaccinate. We have so many things to consider in the modern world and a zillion judgement calls to make but ultimately we have to do what’s best for our families as a unit and just accept that guilt tripping is just another face to mothering.

We are keen to hear from you on this topic. Do you feel guilty? Are you concerned about this warning?

Share your thoughts by commenting below.