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I'm a SAHM Who Put My Kids in Preschool (And I Love It)

Photograph by Twenty20

I’ve always been a stay-at-home mom. It’s something I chose. Even though I didn’t grow up with a stay-at-home mom, for some reason the idea really appealed to me. I wanted to be there with my kids for every second of their lives. I wanted to witness all their first milestones. I wanted to make all their meals and change all their diapers.

I really thought being a stay-at-home mom would be magical and wonderful, and in many ways it is... but it also drives one to the brink of insanity.

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My son was only 19 months old when when my daughter was born. Anyone who has two kids under two knows how crazy it can get. I was finding it difficult to balance the needs of my two young children. That’s when my mom came to me and suggested putting my son in preschool or daycare, even if was just part-time. I resisted the idea at first. How ridiculous for a stay-at-home mom to put her child in school! It was my job to watch my kids, not someone else’s. What would people say? Would I be a failure as a mother? Could I really trust someone else to care for my son?

Summer time came around and we decided to try putting our son in a summer camp nearby for half the day a few days a week. He seemed to really enjoy it, so when the new school year started we took the plunge and enrolled our son in a local private school.

And it was probably the best parenting decision we ever made.

I’ve discovered that just because I’m a stay-at-home mom doesn’t mean I have to be tied to my kids 24/7.

Our son, who was previously clingy and socially anxious, really blossomed. He learned to engage with other adults and children, as well as grew in his knowledge of letters, numbers and shapes. And I was able to spend one-on-one time with my daughter, even if only for a few hours a day. I could give her my full attention and bond with her. It was awesome to be able to spend time together, just the two of us.

As my daughter grew older, I started picking up a few writing jobs here and there. I’m sure I could have managed to get my work done during nap time or at night after the kids were tucked in bed, but we opted to enroll her in the same school as her older brother. Again, it’s been a sanity-saver.

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It’s incredible to have the luxury of a few quiet hours in the morning to get work done. In that time I can clean the house, wash the dishes, fold the laundry, shop for groceries—all without two young kids to appease. I feel free as a bird going around getting all my chores done. Sometimes I even squeeze in lunch dates with my husband or friends. And when my children come home from school I feel refreshed and ready to be the best mom. We talk about school, do fun after-school activities, grab a snack from the coffee shop, play in the backyard and just enjoy time together with no other worries.

I’ve discovered that just because I’m a stay-at-home mom doesn’t mean I have to be tied to my kids 24/7. Having that regular time away from them has helped me to keep my sanity and be the best version of myself for my kids. It may not be feasible for every family, but I’m glad we've figured out a way to keep this arrangement for our family— and my sanity.

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