Mothers Day Out Guilt

Updated on August 15, 2010
J.B. asks from Houston, TX
56 answers

Does anyone else struggle with the guilt of being a SAHM but taking your kids to Mothers Day Out? My husband has basically just said "I am not doing my job" because I want to put them (2 girls ages 2 & 3 1/2) in a 3-day/wk program. I can beat myself up quite a bit but that blow from him has pretty much done me in today. Any advice or words of encouragement are greatly appreciated. I am even open to opposing opinions, just need to hear from other moms who may also feel overwhelmed most of the time and also don't enjoy dragging the toddlers along on grocery shopping trips.....thanks!

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So What Happened?

I just wanted to thank everyone for the input and support. I believe that I will start the girls on a 2-day/wk program then bump up to 3 days if they enjoy it and want to. I feel that I should mention that my DH works from home - so there is no office to go to / come home from. He is very helpful during the day he just lacks a sensitivity / support that I need from him when it comes to supporting the decisions I make in my job. The times that he has kept the girls while I am on an overnight trip, etc he has claimed that it is no big deal...but men do not see things the way we do. He does not see keeping up the house as part of that job when he is doing it...so he really has no clue. And having him keep them to open his eyes is not going to work because of that reason. I have never and will never be able to sit on the couch and watch TV and completely tune out everything going on around me! He can.
I certainly don't intend to come across as ungrateful or unappreciative as I do know how lucky I am to be a SAHM and do thank him for that as often as I can. My kids are the most important thing to me and although some feel that any # of days in a mothers day out program is not ok, I say it sure beats 5 - 10-12 hr days in daycare if I had to go to work. And when I am able to start and finish tasks/projects without constant interruptions I am a much happier mom and wife. Thanks again ladies!

Featured Answers

J.B.

answers from Houston on

Well I feel no guilt about wanting to put mine in and MDO, but my husband also sees no value in it. I don't know what men are thinking sometimes, as long as it is not work they are doing, it must not be hard. Anyway, feel no guilt! We SAHMs have way more to do than can get done regardless of what anyone thinks! If he agrees just put those kids in as fast as you can before he changes his mind!!!!

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A.A.

answers from Waco on

Honestly, I cannot believe the narrow-mindedness on this site sometimes! Some of the responses you have received are so judgemental! Why is it that women constantly have to put other women down? I think it is absolutely fine for you to take your kids to MDO if that is what you need. Your husband is a jerk for saying that to you. Ask him to stay at home with the kids for 5 days straight and see if he changes his tune. Most men wouldn't even make it a day, let alone 5. Not every mom is cut out to be a SAHM. And that is OK!!!! I think at the end of the day, you have to think about what is best for your children, rather than what is best for you. Is it better for your kids to be with you, even if you are stressed out to the max? I don't know... Only you can answer that. If you are a person who is cut out to be a SAHM and you can do it 5 days a week, without getting stressed, then GREAT! There are some mom's that can and I think that is awesome. Personally, I am not one of those moms. Studies show and most experts believe that the QUALITY of the childcare situation is what matters most. That might be a parent or it could be a great babysitter, family member, nanny, daycare center, or MDO program. Every family situation is different and every child is different. A great teacher might be able to provide what you cannot... and that's OK.

I want every mom reading this to say this out loud: what is so bad about mom's needing a little break? Managing a household, changing diapers, loads of laundry… these can get a little boring after awhile and don’t really provide a sense of accomplishment for a lot of women. Is it so wrong to want a little time for yourself? I can't tell you how many SAHM's I know that, when hubby walks in the door every night, mom is like, "Take the kids! I gotta have some time to myself!" Any why? Because they do the day-in, day-out thing and they're stressed! Would you rather have a depressed, over-wrought parent taking care of little Johnny? For some SAHM’s, that is exactly what happens. Personally, I think it sounds like you have a win-win situation. You get some time to yourself so that the time you do spend with your kids is QUALITY time and you're not wigging out on them because you're stessed out. And your kids might actually get a few things out of going to MDO – things like social skills, developmentally appropriate learning opportunities, and educational activities.

Your job as their mother is to help them be the best "little Johnny's" they can be! It's not to be "supermom" 24/7. In order to help them be the best they can be, if you need some time to yourself for intellectual stimulation or to re-energize yourself, then that is exactly what you need to do. Stop beating yourself up about this! Sending <<<HUGS>>>> your way!

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L.L.

answers from Beaumont on

Wow! I'm on board with most of these answers and appalled by others! I was a SAHM from the time my twins were10 mos to when they were 2 years old. (When I became a single mom.) There is not a more difficult job and like so many others have said, you don't get any time off. I put mine in MDO 2 days a week - that gave me an opportunity to go grocery shopping, clean the house, run errands or...this is big, you may want to sit down...DO NOTHING! Yes, when you decide to be a SAHM, it is your job to take care of your kids. Part of taking care of your kids is taking care of yourself and you can't take care of yourself if you're always taking care of others. Following me? Your husband gets to leave work and come home, which may mean that you go from caring for your children, to caring for your children PLUS your husband. There's nothing wrong with that as long as he is caring for you and sharing in the home responsibilities as well. Please do not feel guilty, and ignore those who would say that you should. Giving yourself that time will be beneficial for your entire family.

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E.B.

answers from Houston on

Does your husband ever take the kids to the doctor with him when HE has an appointment? Does your husband take the kids with him when HE needs to buy clothes for HIMSELF? I mean by himself, without you along. My guess is no!
I am sure your babies are precious and wonderful-they all are at that age-but they are also busy and need someone's full attention. Does your husband watch the kids on the weekend while you go to to the store alone? It sounds like probably no on that one, too.
My husband occasionally gives me the "not my job" comment and it truly makes my blood boil. It is one of the few things he can say that makes me want to walk out the door and not come back.
Raising kids is a 24/7 job. Being a stay-at-home mom means you are ALWAYS on. Your husband works hard 40-60 hours a week. He most likely gets a lunch hour Monday through Friday. He probably has peace and quiet in the car on his way to work and home by himself. On weekends he is home and hopefully enjoying his kids and you, but unless he is either also helping with diapers, baths, naps, meals, laundry, etc. OR doing office related assignments then he is NOT working on the weekends. He is enjoying those days off. As a mom you are on duty from dawn to dusk and beyond. It is a challenge to get anything done with two toddlers-once you clean then they mess up; once you get the laundry done, someone spills; once you get breakfast done and cleaned up, it's time for a snack or lunch. This happens EVERY day of the week.
Sooooo-I have no idea why you would be beating yourself up about this. Consider MDO your lunch hour. I have three kids they all went to MDO and they LOVED it! The first started when he was two, the other started at 18 months. Do not believe anything you read about kids not making friends at that young of an age. My youngest daughter is STILL best friends with a preschool girl that she met when she was two. She is now twelve and even though they have not gone to the same school since they were 5 years old, they talk all the time and even if they don't see each other for a few months, they can fall back into best friend mode within minutes of getting together. MDO is NOT baby sitting. It is social skills, education, and FUN for the kids. It is also a great way to meet other mothers, broaden your social network and find someone with a "similar mind" that you can trade off kid watching occasionally.
Bottom line, MDO can be wonderful for everyone. Even for your husband. You will be more rested, less frazzled and probably dressed better on those days your kids go to MDO. That can translate to a quieter evening at home and the opportunity to reconnect with your husband instead of wanting to "dump the kids"on him. It also can give you the time to pursue an interest not kid-related or talk with other adults which in turn will make you a more interesting person to be around. Sounds like a Win-Win situation to me.
If money is the issue, why not try swinging just one or two days a week? If your husband still doesn't get it and money isn't the issue-do what couple of other posters suggested-leave town. I fortunately had in place an annual girl's weekend that continued even after I had my kids. My husband was quite confident that he could handle a 9 month old when I first left him for a weekend. Even though he had many instructions, he still ran out of bottles while he was out, took clothes off without undoing snaps which prompted screams from a baby who preferred his ears still attached to his head, and otherwise had his moments. When I returned, rested and invigorated, he told me had NO IDEA what a constant job I had. No idea how hard it is to parent every hour of the day. No idea how hard it is to remember everything before you leave the house. How hard it is to actually clean that house without putting the kid in a box on the back porch to keep him from undoing everything. And he had no idea how happy he would be to see me come through that front door!
And bless those mamas that say "Keep those babies with you every minute of the day!". Some of us are wired that way, some of us aren't. I'm not and I don't know many mamas that are. I am totally impressed with the few moms that I do know that keep their kids close always, home school, etc but I am NOT that personality and my kids are better off for my letting them have their own lives independent of mine.
Good luck, sweetie.

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S.D.

answers from Indianapolis on

right...cuz your husband NEVER gets any time off...he has to eat his lunch with screaming kids, he has to do all his work with kids asking questions and begging to play with whatever they see, he can't talk to a co-worker for 20 minutes without breaking up a fight or worrying about water being dumped on the computer. What a jackass. He probably gets 2 days off a week...and he thinks your job is so much less important or so much easier that you shouldn't have some time off?
Even SAHM moms who are "blessed" to be able to stay home deserve a break. It's much harder than any job I've had. Besides, the older one is old enough for preschool, it doesn't have to be an MTO program.2-3 days a week for a couple hours or a 1/2 day is not asking too much.

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M.G.

answers from Austin on

I don't think there is any "fault" here, just a difference of opinion, and perhaps a lack of understanding. Could you and your husband perhaps compromise? Instead of 3 days, maybe 1 or 2 days? Or perhaps he could agree to take full responsibility for the children on one of his days off so that you can get done what you need to get done? There are pros and cons to both MDO programs and keeping kids full-time without one, but really, this sounds to me like the two of you just need to communicate to each other what your needs and expectations are. I bet you could find some middle ground you could BOTH feel good about. Guilt is for the birds!

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B.C.

answers from Los Angeles on

I know I'm the wierd duck here. I'm a man and I worked 60 hours a week my entire career. I took the kids with me to go shopping to give my wife a break. I did 90% of the shopping for groceries my entire married life and do virtually 100% now that I'm retired.

My mom taught me (my brother and I) how to grocery shop by taking me with her and telling me not only what she was doing, but also why. I taught my kids how to shop by taking them with me. (My wife's parents didn't teach her to shop, just to go to the store, put stuff in the basket and go back home.) My mom could pinch a penny until Lincoln begged for mercy! ;-) She taught that to me.

I only took 6 kids (or less if the youngest was still nursing) with me. The oldest two stayed home (after they became 14 or 15) if they promised not to bother their mom. I showed my kids how to search the food ads for the best deals. I showed them how to find the better deals in the store by looking in the discount bins for bargains we could add to our dinner menus for the week. My wife and I taught our kids to cook, although one of my proudest moments as a dad was when my daughters came to me with their Home Ec cooking homework. My wife is a more patient, wonderful teacher and taught them their ABC's, basic reading, basic letters and household chores. My kids honed their math skills with me by figuring out the price per ounce for cereal. I wouldn't buy cereal if it was more than 10 cents per ounce. My kids would save the cents off coupons for the cereal they really liked in hopes it would be less than 10 cents per ounce.

I know there is such a thing as too much of a good thing, but you can give your kids an extremely valuable education by teaching them to shop wisely for groceries, and not just impulse shop the first thing that comes to hand off the shelf. Part of what my mom taught me was not to buy the impulse/bribe toys in the grocery stores.

My wife did mother's day out once per week. My daughters (& DILs) do mothers day out one or two days per week including play dates with other moms/kids. My mother never did mother's day out.

Good luck to you and yours.

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M.K.

answers from Kansas City on

My last trip to Walmart with my three (6, 2, 4 mths) was a nightmare!!! I have resorted to going after my baby goes to bed! When I had my almost 4 and a newborn, I told my husband I was putting the 3 y/o in a 3 day a week preschool too. I was going crazy! Did I feel guilty? Yes! But I just didn't have the energy for the house, a newborn and a very active, used to being around kids, hyper three year old. My husband was understanding-we could afford it and he didn't want to give up 'our' time when he got home just so I could be by myself- and it made me sooooo much less stressed when he came home from his 14 hour a day job. At that point, where I was at emotially, he would NEVER have dared tell me that meant I wasn't doing my job.

There is nothing wrong with what you want to do if you can afford to do so. It saved my sanity and my marraige.

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J.T.

answers from College Station on

As a former MDO teacher MDO is more for the kids than it is for the parents. They need that interaction with other kids as they will be at a severe disadvantage if they enter kindergarten without being in some type of group situation before hand. They get all the social ills out of the way so that by the time they get to kinder, they are ready.

Half my job as an MDO teacher was making the parents feel comfortable leaving their kids.

Your hubs needs to take a step back and realize that this is a good thing for your girls and it also gives you a much needed break to be able to deal with them for the rest of the week.

Good Luck!

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L.L.

answers from College Station on

Your husband has obviously not spent much time home taking care of the children. Well I am here to tell you that a 2-3 week program every week would do those children the world of good. Social skills, learning things from other children that they would not learn at home, getting them ready for school (most kids that have not been introduced to this have a harder time adjusting). The list goes on and on. You also could benefit from the break and your husband would reap the benefits of a much more relaxed wife. Follow your heart and do what you feel is best. He has insaulted you when he says that you are not doing your job. Good luck.

L.

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J.J.

answers from Austin on

Yes, I understand it feeling decadent, but setting your needs aside for a second, your children need this. Your kids are at an age where they need to learn social skills, they do this by associating with other kids on a regular basis. The benefits of "pre-schools" is not the educational, but the social boost kids get that prepare them for Kindergarten. Also, it is tough to get stuff accomplished with your kids around and which is better for them 1) to be ignored while you clean house, do dishes, etc... or 2) play with friends and have a teacher's focus while you get the necessary stuff done so they can have your full attention when home?

Now, back to your needs, as mommy's we all sometimes need a break, even if just a little one. It mentally keeps us more together, more relaxed, and therefore better mommy's. So don't feel guilty. If it is an expense thing that is making your husband tense, you can compromise by looking into co-op preschools or friend exchanges (example: have a group of 6 mommies, you keep all the kids one day a week every three weeks and so do the other 5 mommies = kids are in a group setting twice a week). But if the expense isn't an issue, don't worry, relax, you are doing what is best for both you and the kids.

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L.V.

answers from Jacksonville on

of coarse you cant take your kids every where.....NOT at that age, its OK to take a break. have a day to yourself once a week or just make your husband handle them for a week straight and see how he likes it. :)) a program is good for them because they can make friend there age and it gives YOU time for YOURSELF!

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H.P.

answers from Houston on

You know, he doesn't get to tell you how to do YOUR job any more than you can go where he works and direct his movements.

If you are with them every day, then you absolutely need breaks. And they need to socialize outside of the confines of you and your house. It's healthy for everybody. You are more than a mother; you are a wife and a woman who needs to have her various needs met. I'd bet money that he doesn't mind you treating him like a husband. Men don't get that we don't switch everything on and off like they do. We have to rev up and wind down. Scheduled time off helps to keep it regular.

Also, they are too young for you to drag around with you everywhere. It's even unsafe these days, trying to juggle loading the groceries or strapping them in...just in time for a carjacker to pick you up. A mother with two small children can be seen as vulnerable to someone who wants to victimize her.

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T.K.

answers from Dallas on

There are some judgemental, holier than thow answers on here that really piss me off. How dare you put someone down when asking for advice and encouragement. You can offer a differant point of view without the aire of superiority and judgement. Didn't your mother ever teach you that if you can't say anything nice.... This girl said she is overwhelmed. I wish more mothers that were overwhelmed would ask for help rather than letting it spiral out of control. It's the nasty judgement of other moms and unsupportive husbands that keep women from getting the help they need. Just because this is a public forum does not give you the right to disparage other people. What pleasure do you get from putting someon down? Does it make you feel more superior as a mom? That's just sad. Lift this girl up in prayer. Offer her encouragement. Give her tips for how to manage time and toddlers. But please, keep your ego stroking insults to your self.

He gets 2 days off a week. You deserve a day off too. I'm sure you're not even looking for days off, just less hassle while running errands. Getting kids in and out of car seats, fussing with them in the heat, yuck. I hate it. The kids hate it too! They'd much rather be at MDO hanging out with kids thier own age and playing. It's important for thier social growth and your state of mind - cuz if momma aint happy....nobodys happy!

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R.S.

answers from San Antonio on

When my husband asked if the Mother's Day Out was essential because boy could we save a lot cutting that out of our budget. My response was that it was cheap compared to my therapy bills.

I was serious...my job is 24/7...and it never stops, there are no sick days or vacation days. We have no family close to help me out. I NEED those precious 10 hours a week (my program only meets M and F, from 9 to 2).

I do not feel guilty at all about sending them...does your husband feel guilty not going to work on Saturday and Sunday? Of course not. We all need a little break from our jobs. Our husbands don't have to be there for their job 24/7...do they have to take their boss to the potty at 2am? (Unless they are a doctor they aren't all call 24 hours a day...even then not everyday).

Until I found MDO I had eye exams with a child in my lap and one sitting strapped in the stroller. I went to the doctor and OB/GYN and had to take 2 kids with me...try that with severe tonsillitis and walking pneumonia.

I love those ladies that watch my kids and they love my children. I am sending you a hug!!...A BIG HUG!! No guilt girl...thank God for such wonderful programs!!!

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D.G.

answers from Houston on

Is he not doing his job if he goes out to lunch at work or gets weekends off? I mean come on, you are allowed to have some kid free time and still be a good mom.

Is he possibly concerned about the extra expense?

I find I appreciate my kids a bit more when i get some time to myself, and it is so much easier to get things done. Heck even taking one kid shopping seems like a vacation compared to taking two!

I think you should leave the kids home with him Saturday while you go out all day. If he complains tell him you work hard all week, and deserve at least one day off.... He might appreciate all that you do more if has to do it for himself for a change.

Not much difference between MDO (12 hours a week) or Saturdays off (12 hours in a day). Good luck!

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M.B.

answers from Austin on

Hi J.,

I would say that you are doing a great job being a mom, you are thinking about what is best for your kids. Everyone should know that adults can not give their children everything, at some point children need to be around children to learn social skills and also academics. It is also better to have the children in school each day and while they are gone mom can do stuff for herself so she can be ready and have more energy when the kids come home. Therefore, talk to your husband and teach him what is the best for your kids. I don't know what his problem is!

Good job,
M.

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B.T.

answers from Detroit on

Honestly, MDO is an amazing program! At my church, it's offered 1 day/week for 3 hours. It's just like leaving your kids at an activity for a couple hours. I know many SAHM who do this program, and use the time to go grocery shopping, Dr appts, or go have lunch without kids underfoot. It gives your kids the chance to interact with others, and build social skills.

Tonya, You must have somthing good going on in your life to make the statements you just did towards J.. I know if my husband were to tell me that My job was to stay home and never leave the house, and that I couldn't have time for myself to have a breather, I would tell him he was nutz!!!

EVERYONE needs a break, even moms. When I was growing up and homeschooled for 2 years, I did alot of daytime babysitting for mom's who needed to go grocery shopping, go to an appt, etc. In the working world, we call them Lunch Breaks or 15-minute breaks.

Being a SAHM is a really rewarding job, one that most mom's want.

Good luck!

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R.W.

answers from San Antonio on

Your husband is able to leave his work at the office. Your job is 24/7. Some parents are fine with spending all that time with their kids, but other parents need a break to recharge. Whether you're using MDO to run errands, or to hang with the girls or to catch up on sleep-- all of that helps you do your parenting job more effectively. Does your husband take over all the parenting duties when he comes home from work? If not, then tell him you won't tell him how to do his job if he doesn't tell you how to do yours.

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D.B.

answers from Charlotte on

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J.H.

answers from San Antonio on

I think it's fine. Your job as a SAHM also includes caring for the house, doing the shopping, beautifying the home, etc. If MDO provides you with the tools that you need to do your job then your DH should understand. The children will be well cared for and grow socially during this time.

When someone asks you to dig a ditch they usually don't hand you a spoon and say, "Get to work". I bet your husband isn't asked to do his job without the proper tools. Maybe he'll see your point. If MDO will allow you to do your job better then go for it. I think it will be a positive experience for you and the children.

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A.C.

answers from Los Angeles on

Jen,
I see nothing wrong with having your girls attend a 3-day program. It gives your girls time to socialize and you some time to breath, and get things done. If your husband feels that this means you are not doing your job, maybe he would like to swicth places with you, and see if he could do better. However, I don't think that will happen as he would not like to give up his lunches or breaks. The program is 3 times a week, he gets 2 days off a week from work, and with all his breaks and lunches, I say your guys would be about even. You are the boss at your job, don't let someone come in and belittle you at your workplace. Sorry if this is harsh.

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J.A.

answers from Spartanburg on

I am the SAHM of an almost 4 yr old and a just turned 2 yr old and my oldest went to preschool 2x week last year, I have her enrolled again for this year too and if I could financially swing it I would put them both in at the same time! Your children are very young and close in age (mine are 22 months apart) and it practically impossible to clean the bathroom and do some serious grocery shopping at those ages (at least my stress level goes thru the roof when I try). I usually do things like that after hubby gets home or the kids go to bed at night. I feel no guilt about preschool, my daughter LOVESLOVESLOVES her school and she has real friends now, not just the random kid she finds on the playground and gets to play with for 5 minutes and then never sees again. I don't know what to say about your husband's comment, except let him know how much it hurt and makes you feel unsupported. THese are tough ages and they grow up quickly but you need to do whatever you need to do make it thru sane and happy so that your girls are sane and happy too!

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J.T.

answers from Victoria on

HUGS HUGS HUGS. How is it that our husbands can cut straight through the heart? I send my kids to daycare. five days a week. I was one of those mommas that was all about taking care of my own kids untill i had some! I work from my home. I cannot and still have not figured out how people work from home and take care of there kids. You should not feel guilty. I was shocked that my two yr old can count to ten, kinda knows his abc's and is learning his colors. They are currently learning about brushing teeth. My son is very social and gets along with other kids. He does get shy at times but I am really greatful for his interacton with other kids and all he is learning. I think I started preschool when I was three. The mothers day out programs here are for a few hrs a day like 10-3 i believe. its not an all day program. Its through the church and thats exactly what it is designed for. To help moms be able to go run errans, clean the house, take a freaking nap for your sanity. I am sorry your husband said that. I would guess that you take care of them and him. I would let him have them for a day and you go run errans so he can see how hard it all is....or have him run errans with the girls. Good luck.

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S.W.

answers from Amarillo on

Don't beat yourself up. You need a break from them as much as they need a break from you. Before you were married you were a woman, then a wife and now a mother in that order. If you don't take breaks you loose the woman and that is no fun for anyone. I have been a SAHM and a working mom full time and there are trade offs but the rearing gets done.

If your husband feels that you are not doing your job, have him spend a few days home with them and do all the things you do with them so that he can appreciate what you really do do.

Learn to plan your day and leave some wiggle room in it. Put your schedule on the frig and refer to it daily. Taking two kids that age to do anything big is hard and I wouldn't do it alone.

Above all else don't beat yourself up over this. Some of us are not just stay at home all the time stay at homes we do have hobbies and things to distract us.

Good luck to you. The other S.

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V.B.

answers from Houston on

I have no guilt whatsoever! My husband, however, is completely on board with it. I use that time to run errands, clean the house, grocery shop, go to doctor appointments, etc so that the time I am with my kids is more dedicated to them. My son is 2 and my daughter is 4 1/2. My son is in Mom's Day Out 2 days per week and my daughter is in preschool at the same place 2 1/2 days per week (during the school year). It does wonders for my sanity. I'm sorry that your husband is not supportive of this. Maybe let him know that you will be more focused on the children when they are with you if you have the time to do all of the other household chores when they are at school. Hope it all works out for you!

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M.G.

answers from San Antonio on

I feel like if your husband is working and you are a SAHM, then yes your children are your job. However, in saying that, if you are using the MDO to run errands then that is fine. If you are using it to go hang out with the girls, then I would have to say your husband is right. I'm sure he doesn't get breaks at work to go have a beer with the guys. Although I do think 3 times a week is a bit much. One maybe two days a week should be sufficient to get errands run. I think MDO's are good for people who need them, but if you and your husband have decided that you being a SAHM is your job, then you need to make sure you are doing your job. Personally, I love taking my kids with me. It gives me a chance to teach them about certain things, but then again, I have great children so its easy. Good Luck to you.

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G.B.

answers from Tulsa on

NO, I need to go to the store with out kids, I need to go to the OB/GYN without prying eyes, I need to be able to clean the house without someone walking behind me making messes...everyone needs some down time. I took mine 3 days a week, every week, and they were open year round.

He gets a break by going to work. Let him try doing your job, he'd go nuts in less than a week.

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A.C.

answers from Austin on

Getting mommy time out makes you a better mommy. Please feel free to read this to your husband. Seriously... you need time to yourself. I can't tell you how many women I know, all SAHM's who have heath issues because of playing the roll of perfect all the time mommy and wife and they totally forgot about themselves. Most SAHM's have husbands who work ALL OF THE TIME. And when those husbands get home, they need time to chill out on the computer, w/ guy friends, in front of the TV, etc. We mothers need the same time but never get it as our "free time" is spent with "The Wonder Pets" and reading Dr. Seuse. Not to mention, folding mountains of laundry and washing a mess hall full of dishes. Yes, its true, one family of four can generate enough work for a full time maid and that is just for cleaning, it doesn't even consider the picking up. Ahhh, but you do all of that plus care for the children. I didn't even throw in the possible yard work, b-day party coordinator, dry cleaner fetcher, grocery shopper, doctor appointment setter, bill payer, etc. YOU HAVE TO HAVE A MOMENT FOR YOUR SELF! You can't take 2 kids to the grocery store, you will end up buying twice as much, plus where are you going to put your groceries? In the cart? No, not if you have a 2 and 3 year old that need to be in the cart. You also need to get your hair cut on a regular basis, go to regular check ups at the doctors office, get your teeth cleaned and EXERCISE. Many reports say exercise 3 times a week is a must to keep down your risk of heart disease, cancer, and many other illnesses. When he tells you that you are not doing your job, you should respond with.. "You are right honey, I am not doing MY job, I am doing the job of at least 5 different people." "If you want me to stay healthy so that I can do MY job and if you want me to be effective at my job, then let me take them to the mother's day out."

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K.C.

answers from Wichita on

You need time to your self especially with kids this young! I'm sorry that your DH is not supportive. Remind him that if you are happy & sane that everyone around you will be happier because mom will not be grumpy. I would probly make a list of all the things I do around the house & for everyone on a daily basis to show my husband what I do & to show that me having a little 'mom time' alone is not a bad thing. I would also let him know that things are still getting done around the house. I enjoy shopping without my boys (8.5 & 4.5) & it goes a lot faster.
My favorite time of the school year is the 2.5 hrs. I have to myself twice a week when both of my boys are in school. It is refreshing & I feel more like woking on the house & playing with my boys after my 'mom time'.

God bless!

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M.C.

answers from Detroit on

Oh, I hear ya. You sound like you need a break--and you deserve one, honey:) My 5 year old son just got done today with preschool camp which was 3 hours per day and 4 days per week for one month...I'm dreading the next few weeks. I put him in so that I could get a break and he wouldn't get completely bored being at home. He doesn't really enjoy hanging out with other kids, but loves to do things like camps and other activities. There is only so many "fun" things a mother can do in a day, every day, you know. Plus, I also have a one year old who is fussy and taking them both out is a drag. I know you mentioned guilt, but listen, YOU need a break too! Being a SAHM is a 24/7 job and some of us do not get much help, so if we get an opportunity to get a break, we better take it for our own sanity. If you are overwhelmed and stressed, how happy of a mom will you be? Nobody is happy if mom's not happy. Your husband needs to understand that being with toddlers IS A FULL TIME JOB. You need some time to breathe...and you have to make some time for you...period.

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T.C.

answers from Colorado Springs on

Hi J.,
I have to admit that I see your husband's point. He is seeing that you are blessed to be able to be a SAHM, but yet, you are sending your girls to someone else to take care of them for most of the week. Why do you need this? The time with you is so much more valuable to them. Don't get me wrong, when I had just a couple of littles, I thought this was a good idea also. But, now I don't think it is. It's more of an attitude of pawning them off on someone else. They are your responsibility. Your husband is blessing you by supporting you and the children so you don't have to work outside the home. Honor him in this. Yes, it is hard to take them to the store, but think about all the discipline opportunities you will have with them. Think of all the memories you get to make with them. Oh, please reconsider keeping them with you. YOU are their mother. They need that time with you, especially in this very delicate time in their lives. You have the privilege to spend these years with them, shaping them into beautiful girls and women. Don't throw that opportunity away and give them over to someone else who will never have the same vision for them that you do. Embrace your roll as mother. It is such a great gift!! Blessings to you. Believe me. I know the struggle that this can be. For me, after many struggles within myself (for me it was a selfish thing), I came to the conclusion that I had children so that I could raise them and teach them, not so that I could have "me time."

UPDATE: In response to Beth since she addressed me directly:
Yes, I do have something great going on in my life. I have a wonderful husband and 6 precious children. And, Christ. Nothing would be as it is without Him. But, I wanted to address your comment about never leaving the house or having a breather. Nobody said that. I never said I never leave the house. I never said that J. should never leave the house. That would be miserable and crazy. We get out a lot. But, during the day, take the kids. Use that time to teach them how to be wonderful blessings with self-control. It is a great time for training them. It is only hard at first. Once they have learned, they are brilliant at it! Children don't have to be burdens. They are some of the greatest gifts that we have! Shopping with kids shouldn't be a misery. It is such a blessed thing to have them joyfully contributing to the family. And, my dear husband gives me a lot of time to go do things I want to do. He is so generous with me. But, honestly, I'd rather be with the family than alone with myself (except occasionally!). No, we are not perfect, even if just in my mind. I know we have weaknesses and sins. But, we work on it together and enjoy each other so much. I would never give another person or institution the gift of the time with my children that I should have. I hope that helps clarify. Blessings to you!

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J.D.

answers from Austin on

You should not feel guilty at all. There is absolutely nothing wring with having the morning to yourself. Plus it's great for the kids to learn to follow directions from others and be in a larger socia environment.

Updated

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S.O.

answers from San Antonio on

My opinion: 2 or 3 half days of MDO worked well for us when they were small. I did full days a little closer to Kinder age, but that is me.
Benefits: time to get more things done in less time, kids learn how to deal with other children, learn to respect and ask questions of authority figures besides Mom & Dad, learn more about the art of making friendships---on their own (it's "easy" to make friends if Mom is always setting things up), and more independence on your kids' part.

For example, the teachers can't do things for every kid before snack, before going outside, before going home---the kids learn how to do it. Sometimes Mom does it all at home and the kids get used to that. When teachers ask all the kids to "go wash hands before snack" there are so many things that a child at MDO learns in that environment! How to share the sink, how to help others, to speak up and ask politely for help if they need to.... And that's just one example. Kids learn to be better thinkers and problem solvers at an earlier age if challenged by different situations. In my case, by the time I had a 2, 3 and 5 year old all at home, i was pretty wiped out and not up for "challenging or different" anymore. I just wanted it done! I was tired!!

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C.S.

answers from Houston on

I'd feel bad too, 3 days sounds like a lot. It only takes 1 or 2 hours to grocery shop...Your husband only gets weekends off and I'm guessing he probably helps some during that time around the house or w/the kids. If he gets 2 days off, why do you get 3 plus the weekend w/him? Preschool should start at age 4, the year before K. The other learning can be done w/you at this point. What do you do while they're gone? How about 1 day a week instead? Isn't the point in being a SAHM to raise them and take them places so they have a lot of exposure to new things... You want to teach them yourself at this age, you want to be the one influencing them. I'd do one day a week, but that even makes me feel guilty, so right now I just do mommy & me classes and playgroups, museums, parks, pools, library programs...

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L.G.

answers from Austin on

I would compromise and just put them in 1 1/2 days a week. Your kids really do need YOU at this age. A break once in a while is fine to go do grocery shopping. Then make sure that you are relaxed and happy when your husband comes home those days. You need to make sure your husband benefits - I'm sure you know what I mean. Also, lower your expectations at home. Your home doesn't need to be perfectly spotless. Spending time with your kids is more important.

From his perspective, he can't leave his job 3 days a week to do things he needs to get done, so he doesn't understand. If he still sees you too tired to make time for him, he doesn't see the benefit.

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J.P.

answers from Provo on

J., from one SAHM to another--you are doing a great job and a wonderful thing by giving so much time to your kids. It is overwhelming, exhausting, and sometimes even miserable to devote every moment of your life to them. I don't think it's selfish of you to want a break--we all do. But here is some food for thought: they are only young and in your hair 24/7 for such a short time. You will blink and they'll start school, then blink again and you'll be begging THEM to spend time with you. It seems interminal now, but we only get them to ourselves for five years. You should do what you need in order to be a good mom, but don't do it if you MAY regret it.
It sounds like you could be frustrated with the hub, but I think it's good that he's stepping in a voicing concern--If he'd said you should just leave them there all day, each day and you should get a job instead, then I would worry. It sounds like you BOTH want what's best for them. Keep communicating with him.
One thing that works for me is after-hours escape. Once the girls are in bed, LEAVE. Have a Girl's Night Out or shop or see a movie. Enjoy a little"you" time.
And please don't forget that mothering is a roller coaster ride--up and down. You may feel this way today or this month, but It can turn quickly with some fresh perspective and juice. Recharge your batteries and pat yourself on the back. You are doing great. Your girls think you are the queen of their world, and you are. Good luck.

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M.P.

answers from Houston on

I think you can see that you have a TON of support on this one. I think the thing I would suggest is to look at why you feel guilty. If you can see what it is that bothers you about this you may feel better equipped to stand up for yourself when you get the kinds of comments that you got from your husband. I guarantee that you will get those kinds of comments from many different people (I know I do!).

My husband & I are still paying off my master's degree student loans while I am a SAHM. Sometimes I really struggle with that, but I still send my little ones to MDO. It allows me to do what I need for myself and running the house (Dr appointments, grocery store, general chores that my kids can't be involved in, and the occasional lunch with friends/mani-pedi/haircut!). Then, I can spend my time with the kids actually with the kids. One way I started to look at MDO is that it makes me more effective at my job--being a mom and CEO of our household. MDO is my assistant to being a better SAHM. I don't know what your husband's job is, but I am guessing that he relies on others in some way to help him at it--even if it is giving him the space & time to accomplish his tasks.

I think if you feel better about the situation you can have a good conversation with him about it. He may be picking up on your feelings of guilt and putting his own spin on it. But I think it's important for you both to have a conversation about what your jobs are: mother, wife, house manager, etc. Then also discuss what his are: father, husband, income-earner, etc. Part of his job as father & husband are to be emotionally supportive & strong for his family, helping them to be the best they can be. Sometimes that involves holding feet to the fire (maybe that's what he thought he was doing by his comments), but doing so in a way that moves everyone forward. It sounds like he shut things down. That is good for him to learn from.

Hope that is helpful. I have 2 boys, oldest will turn 3 in October, I know how fun & challenging raising kids can be. I have to take care of me (someone has to!!!) so I can take care of them. Good luck and many blessings!

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K.O.

answers from Atlanta on

I don't struggle with guilt, but definitely send mine to preschool. it's good for their socialization skills with other children, separation from parents, independence, learning, etc. My 5 year old will be in kindergarten this year, 3 year old will be at church preschool 5 mornings a week, and even my 1 year old will be at church "preschool" (essentially a mom's morning out, 2 mornings a week.

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C.F.

answers from Rochester on

I'm not familiar with what the kids do at Mother's Day Out (whether it is educational or not), but what about starting them in preschool? The youngest is probably too young yet, but your 3 1/2 year old certainly could go. That would give you a little "time off" while your girls are doing something fun and educational. That may be less objectionable to your husband, too, and less guilt provoking for you. Either way, I think having a little time every week to get some things done, be able to work out, run errands, clean, have doctor appts, etc. is very healthy and will make you a better mom. It will also give your kids that social interaction with other kids that they need to help them develop.

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C.S.

answers from Houston on

My first instinct is to tell you to take a weekend away by yourself and have your husband be totally responsible for those two precious angels, so he can see what "your job" really is! I was a single parent of a daughter from her age 22 months. Her dad changed his mind about the responsibility of parenthood, so besides teaching high school I was 24/7 parent. In the summer, I did enroll her in Mother's Day Out, so she could have other kids to play with and structured play time with people who knew more about age appropriate activities than I did. It was great for both of us! BTW, I live in Houston, too, so feel free to email me directly [email protected]____.com. (I'm now a grandmother of a one year old; my daughter works full time with a very supportive hubby.)

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L.B.

answers from Houston on

There is no guilt in this at all. My son started in a program when he was 15 months. It was necessary for both of us. He an only child, loved people so this was a way for him to socialize. It was a way for him to learn to interact with peers and other adults, learning to share etc. There was no way for me to get my housework done and grocery store. When he was "in school" that was my time to get things done. I also enjoyed volunteering at his school. It was a time where I could interact with my son and not have to say no, no, no. He would love to show me things and later show me off to his friends. It was an amazing experience. There are so many benefits for you and your children. Explain it to your husband that way.

Good luck!!

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J.G.

answers from Houston on

I just wanted to give you some words of encouragement. I am a SAHM with a 1 year old and a 3 1/2 year old with sensory processing disorder. I just did MDO for the first time for my 3 year old March to May. I also feel overwhelmed most of the time and little ones at the grocery store takes twice the time with several opened packages just to get through the store. I felt like I regained a little of my sanity when my son was in MDO. SAHM's wear a lot of hats, but I think "we" tend to underestimate our job because we don't bring in a paycheck. MDO will give you the time to do the things you can't do when you have little ones to take care of. Then, when your little ones get home you get to focus on them and not worry about the floors, bills, dishes, laundry, etc. I look forward for the fall semester to begin.

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A.B.

answers from El Paso on

You have to take care of yourself too! Even if you're just using one of those days or a few hours to relax and have some me-time, you're still doing your job! You're making sure that you are well in body and mind, and that way, you'll be a better mama! I'm sorry that your husband said what he did, and I hope he comes to understand your need to have some time to get things done without the little ones. I also struggle with guilt sometimes--I have my 2.5 year old in daycare two days of the week--but I keep telling myself that I have to take care of myself (and the grocery shopping and the house cleaning and the cooking) in order to better take care of them!

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R.

answers from San Antonio on

You already have so many great responses. I just want to add my kids LOVED MDO!!! My 3 year old is starting this year and her brother and sister have her so excited to go because they have told her how much fun they had. It really prepares them for school in a way you cannot do so at home. Also, has your husband ever spent a whole day with the kids and also tried to get anything accomplished (not just play and have fun)? It is good for everyone's mental health and welfare. Do NOT feel guilty!

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C.M.

answers from Houston on

Your husband has a problem.

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C.B.

answers from Austin on

Just don't get me started on Mr. "Not Doing Your Job"! Does he ever get a day, an evening, or the weekend off? Does he get a lunch break and a coffee break? Does his job involve being totally vigilant 100% of the time? Does he have to take his work with him to the grocery store or to fill up the car or go to the bank, strap it in car seats, carry the diaper bag, and juggle the cart? Does his work involve multi-tasking ALL THE TIME...as in cleaning while watching the kids, cooking while watching the kids, doing laundry while watching the kids. Or perhaps he's doing one thing at a time at work with breaks and adult company. Just offer to trade places for a week and see what he thinks then. Let him read this and some of the other posts I'll bet you get.
Your girls will benefit by interacting with other kids a few days a week and learning to socialize and play with them. They will start learning skills that will be of great use to them in kindergarten, giving them a great head start. They will benefit from having a mom who is not worn out and frazzled from being with them 24/7.
You clearly are a loving and hard working mom, and you are doing the best thing for your girls and for yourself.
You go girl :) Enroll them and never look back.

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F.L.

answers from Houston on

I don't think you need to beat yourself up about it. Whether your job is to go to an office or to stay home and take care of the children everyone needs a break once in a while...that is why businesses have vacations. I don't think it is wrong at all to put your children in Mothers Day Out... actually I think it is a good idea. This will give your children the time to play with other kids and learn how to make friends and share and perhaps even start learning a routine...which they will need when they go to school. I am a mom who has to work away from the house and my children were in Montessori school. I think that helped them a lot when it came time to go to the regular school system. Please don't think you are a bad mom because you want to put them in mothers day out program. It just isn't true.

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C.P.

answers from Houston on

Our church's MDO (school year) program (9-2) is fantastic. The parents ask often if it can be expanded from 2 days to 3 or 4 days. The MDO has a formal educational curriculum that it follows, as well as art activities, large motor skills activities, social skills, etc. Most of the teachers now, were parents of children who attended the program, and now are in regular school.

You are very lucky to have a 3 day program available to you. Have your children attend and volunteer on 1 of those days so that you can extend their learning SEQUENCE experience at home. You may even decide that
you like it, and apply for a position when there is an opening...that is how our program has gotten many of the teachers through the year.

Our MDO also has an activity associated with it, called Lunch Buddies. They pick up enrolled MDO students from the private half-day Kindergarten,
they bring their lunch (thus the name Lunch Buddies) and eat, have art/ crafts and physical game activities until 2:00, when the day is over. It gives the parents a little bit longer day to do needed errands.
MDO also does the reverse, in that the children who attended the private preschool (kinder is each morning, pre-school is 2 days a week, pre-k is 2 days a week). The students go to MDO in the morning, eat lunch, then are bussed (Oh, how they love riding the church bus :) They feel like they are in school big time!) to the private preschool. The parents came up with the idea.

I have been teaching kinder for many years, and the 'structured' socialization that the children receive in MDO's or pre-school, and even day care, before they come to public school can make a very positive affect on their formal learning in school.
I hope you will consider trying MDO.

As noted, parents, on several occasions, have made requests/suggested ideas for MDO. They asked if MDO could continue during the summer.
(But due to all the church camps/VBS, this is not possible.) What MDO came up with is a 1-week themed (WATER you doing this summer; I'm GAME, how about you; & ART you crafty.) camp each month of the summer. The enrollment has been good and the kids have loved it...and parents, too.
Oh, by the way, another church also has MDO on the same days as my church and there are enough children to go around. In fact, a 3rd church is considering looking into starting a MDO program, too. They are considering the 2 days MDO is NOT on, so that parents have the option of what 2 days to attend or all 4.

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G.G.

answers from Austin on

When I first put my son in (and I was pregnant) I did feel guilty. However, I was no longer dragging him around town to run errands or blowing him off to clean the house, pay bills, handle phone calls. I think I'm entitled to 8 hours a week of alone time to get things done (he was in 2 days a week). If I had errands to run or cleaning to do, I felt very anxious and would plant him in front of the TV so I could get things done. That's not right either. MDO was great for him. He learned a lot of things that I couldn't really effectively teach him at home. One thing that stands out is waiting in line or taking turns. I tried to teach him this during play dates but he really figured out this concept from school. It was great for his social development too. Don't feel guilty. If you do, maybe considering to dropping down to 2 days a week. Is 8 hours a week really unreasonable for a stay at home mom? I think not. Working husbands (and wives!) don't understand exactly where we are coming from. It sounds so cush....you sit at home all day and play with your kids. It's so much more complex than that. We do what daycare providers do + most of the household responsibilities. My husband pulls this sometimes too; sometimes he forgets the value of a stay at home mom. However, leave him home alone with them for more than an hour and his patience wears thin. He admits he could never do it! I feel so sad when people say, I love my kids but I could never stay at home with them all day. It's true, everyone needs a break, but kids need as much attn as possible from their parents! You will really find that you are better mom (and wife) when you can get 8 hours a week to yourself.

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J.P.

answers from Austin on

Jen,

My B-n-L has his little girl for his summer visitation. After the third day of taking care of her he ended up putting her in daycare every other day so that he could get a "break" by going to "work." This is someone who wants multiple children and was hoping to meet someone to have them with and also that she be willing to stay at home. I think now he has a much better perspective on what he's asking for.

Perhaps, you could suggest to your husband that he watch the kids for a few days by himself (morning, noon and night) and see what he thinks after those few days =)

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K.C.

answers from Austin on

Hi J.,
I am a mom and a parent educator and I coach parents and couples. I loved being a mom of young children, but I found out in a hurry that I was happier (and so was everyone else!) if I wasn't at home full time. It is such a personal thing, but ultimately I think we are MUCH better parents when we are happy.

What I see all of the time in my classes and practice is that folks can work anything out if they negotiate from interests instead of positions.

Here is what I mean by that: From what I read in your post, your position is that you would like MDO and your husband's position is that he wants you caring for the children. Well, what are your (and his) interests? The WHY you want what you want. I am going to guess in this situation that your interests are rest, ease, efficiency, peace, support and appreciation.

I am going to guess his interests are rest, ease, financial security, teamwork and fairness.

I am also going to guess that you both would like harmony, closeness, love, support and and ease in your marriage and family.

So, I know this is a little time consuming, but will help you make decisions that everyone can live with. After identifying your interests together with your husband, then start brainstorming ideas that meet everyone's interests. This concept is from the work of Redirecting Children's Behavior, www.incaf.com and Nonviolent Communication: www.cnvc.org.

Feel free to contact me directly if you would like some article/resources.
Blessings to you and your family,
K.
"From the Heart" Family Healing
[email protected]____.com

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N.D.

answers from Houston on

For many reasons, I went back to work right around my daughter's first birthday. I had horrible guilt for letting someone else "raise" my child. But you know what? She LOVES it there. She gets frustrated with me when I won't take her there on weekends. It will not damage your girls to go to MDO -- they will probably love being with other kids and look forward to going each time! Once you see their faces light up when you get there, your guilt will start to go away. As for not doing your job -- your job is to raise happy, healthy, independent women. One way to do this is to let them have some time away from Mom so they can figure out how to do some of that on their own!

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D.M.

answers from Houston on

I have to say that I think SAHMs have the hardest job ever, and you never get a break unless you do enroll your kiddos in a MDO or day care program a couple days a week. I am the primary breadwinner in my house & have my kids in the evenings & weekends. While some days I would love to have more time with them, I just don't know how I would handle having them all day every day by myself.
Does your hubby keep them on his days off so you can run errands, etc? Would he? If so, maybe he would get a small taste of what it's like for you every day. Could you guys compromise at 2 days in the MDO program? Is it really about the money, but he's turning it into an issue with you "not doing your job?" There could be so many underlying issues even if it's not the money- like his own childhood, how his mom handled him & his sibs, etc. that are then being pushed to you.
My hubby is great about keeping the kids while I do the shopping or we'll each take one of them to go run separate errands so one of us doesn't have both the 5yo & 7mo to deal with getting bored & antsy while we're out (+ I'm 20 wks prego).
You shouldn't feel guilty. Everyone has to have "me" time to keep their sanity & be a better parent, spouse, employee, whatever. If you don't have the time to regroup, you just get lost in the shuffle.

B.A.

answers from Austin on

The link below provides guidelines on quality childcare considerations and also a link to a study documenting the benefits of programs such as a Mother's Day Out. Hope this helps!
http://blogs.goddardsystems.com/Cedar-Park-TX/2010/06/21/...

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L.C.

answers from Washington DC on

OMG! I hate stupid men!
Leave him home for the weekend with the kids. Do not call or email except to tell him you've made it.
Leave on Friday morning and come back after dinner on Sunday. Go to a spa, to see your friends, wherever...
Trust me, this will cure him.
LBC

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