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NURSERY, NOT GUILTY
Baby talk Baby talk
NURSERY, NOT GUILTY
February 26, 2018
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Baby talk Baby talk
NURSERY, NOT GUILTY
February 26, 2018
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I’m lucky. I have at-home childcare five days a week because I work five days a week. It’s also because it was the best option for both my husband and, most importantly, our children.  This meant that nursery for my first child, Sebastian, was another form of socialisation, rather than a full-time childcare choice.  I think that’s why I’ve had a different experience to most mothers.

Sebastian never cried when he started nursery at the age of two. I think he was simply unsure and shy.  Reluctant to play at first, observing the chaos unfolding before him in the “Orange” room, he took a bit longer to settle in, with the nursery extending his settling in period. But I didn’t feel sad, nor did I have the gut-wrenching guilt that a lot of mothers feel when they send their little ones to nursery, as I knew he wasn’t sad. He was simply figuring things out. It didn’t take long before he understood the routines, activities and games available to him.

A whole new, sensory world that he hadn’t experienced before: the train set as well as the painting, water and sand table were always his comfort zone apparently.

As a full-time working mother, I’m disconnected from the nursery world. I’m not able to partake in the everyday logistics of it all. I can’t do the drop-off or pick-up, I’m never available to attend parent sing-alongs and picnics, and party invitations get lost in the bottom of Sebastian’s backpack, only to be discovered months after the event, sealing my fate as the absent mother. Admittedly I had a tiny wobble when I discovered Sebastian had been a King in the nativity play. His first nativity play, a milestone in his life, and I wasn’t there, but the pictures and Sebastian’s recount of it were priceless. On the odd occasion that I have made the pick-up or taken Seb to the nursery panto outing, it’s been a fun and novel event – exciting for both of us in its novelty.

Maybe because he didn’t start nursery young and it’s a place for him to learn and experience new things as well as interact with other children, it’s been easier to swallow the guilt. I’m also fortunate that he attends three days a week during term-time rather than all-year round because of my primary childcare, so he has the benefit of half-term and holiday breaks – during which he asks constantly when he’ll be returning to his beloved nursery. The hours aren’t grueling either: a civilised 9am-3pm rather than the longer 8am-6pm set-up.

That’s why I’ll repeat my decision and send my daughter Sybil to nursery when she turns two. I know that she’ll totally rule the “Orange” room. Already confident and cheeky, and trying to keep up with her older cousins, nursery will be an experience to learn how to share and understand her boundaries because right now, she’s in charge!

Lauren Murdoch-Smith
@laurenmurdochsmith
British Vogue beauty dept, nail obsessive, Korean bling, beauty enthusiast
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