How much childcare do you deserve?

by on December 14, 2011

in Momoirs of a Rookie Mom

A post by my friend Andrea caught my eye on Facebook. She said something to the effect of “You should have more childcare than you think you deserve.” A funny phrasing, because objectively childcare is not about “deserve”, but rather “need”, but I related to her statement right away and sent it to Heather, who I presumed would need to hear someone say those words, as I’m sure I did when I last added a newborn to my household.

Since becoming a mom, I have worked outside the home for a company; from a home office as a self-employed person; and, done both at the same time. For a brief time following Scarlett’s birth, I had no outside employment, but I did have a final draft of The Rookie Mom’s Handbook due during that time, so that was like a tiny job. But, it was during that time that I got a real taste of how it felt to not feel entitled to any childcare. To feel that I should be doing it all myself (during my husband’s work day). I could just write during naptime, right?

When my mom and husband both encouraged me to get a few hours of relief per week, to take a break from the colicky baby, even if it was just to be able to go to the grocery store without her, I agreed. I hired someone fabulous and pretended to believe I deserved to have someone else watch my baby and wipe down the breakfast table a couple of mornings each week.

Then our house remodel project got underway, and I used the free time to go to tile stores and permit offices. A few months later I began taking more and more consulting work and adding more hours of childcare. I know that some people use their babysitter time to catch up on sleep. I never could get comfortable with that, but I think it’s a brilliant idea.

Everything good here? I'm going back to sleep.

Both my kids started preschool four days per week when they turned two, and now that they’re both in school five days per week, I work during those hours. As Kristen observed, once I pick them up, I stop working for the day. I guess I see it as being not so much about what I deserve, but what they deserve, and I’m reluctant to describe the amount of hours in each of the categories because this post is not meant for us to compare ourselves to one another, but to ask you if you have the amount of childcare you need, and how you determine that need.

For those who work full-time outside the home, do you tack on extra hours of childcare so that you can get things done without your little sidekick? (I have athlete friends who used to get a sitter on Saturday mornings so they could go for a kid-free bike ride.) For those who work-for-pay at home with children at home (I had no idea this was possible until Kristen interviewed me), do you feel like you don’t deserve childcare? How about those of you don’t work for pay at all? Is it related to money, roles and responsibilities, both, everything?

Related: I don’t cut my own toenails

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RookieMoms.com co-founder Whitney lives with her husband, son, and daughter in the San Francisco Bay Area where she writes about parenting, crafts, and activities that moms can do with babies in tow. She and Heather also publish 510Families.com, a site for East Bay parents and are the authors of The Rookie Mom's Handbook and Stuff Every Mom Should Know.

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