I’m excited to start uni again in September. RB will be in childcare three days a week – two at nursery and one with one of his grandmas – and I can’t wait. Though I’m trying not to wish away the last month of being with him 95% of my every moment. I know I won’t get this back. Still I’m enjoying it knowing an end is in sight.
I love RB, I love spending time with him, but I also love having time to be me. I love having grown up interests – to read, to discuss and debate. I love being alone, and thinking. I find never ending childcare boring. I don’t enjoy playing endless baby games. I’m excited to have baby games in moderation. Moderation – we’re always told that it’s the answer. The superior approach to life.
However, I’m in no way handing over my motherly responsibilities. And that’s what made me realise the important distinction between providing childcare and being a mother. Sometimes the same person does both jobs, often, they don’t. Not all nannies are or want to be mothers, and vice versa.
Nannies are excellent at entertaining babies and children. They have endless patience for baby games and children’s conversations. They make maracas out of loo rolls, help the children paint them and thrive doing so. They know how to encourage a baby to sleep through. They’re experts at weening and knowing how to deal with tantrums. Like any profession, these learned skills suit some people and not others.
Mothers keep their children clothed and homed. They make decisions about who will provide childcare. They sacrifice their own pleasures so they can pay for swimming lessons and Brownie uniforms and school trips. They constantly worry about whether they’re helping their children thrive and become the best person they can be. They surround their children with love, support and acceptance no matter what is going on for them personally.
I salute the mothers who take on both roles but four months in, I don’t think that’ll be me. Yet still, I don’t doubt for a second that someone else providing RB’s childcare could affect my role as mother. Along with RB’s dad, I’ll be the one deciding who provides that care. And I’m pretty sure that my decision will put RB in a better place. Making maracas out of loo roll fills me with dread. But there are professionals out there who couldn’t think of anything better. And so I couldn’t think of anything better than putting RB in their care and in an environment in which he’ll thrive. After all, making decisions about how RB will best thrive is exactly my role as his mother. One which I’ll be fulfilling tremendously.