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I can so relate! I also feel guilty when going shopping without my baby. And I only have ONE to feel guilty about so far. :-)

I guess it's better than letting them leap off of couches and chairs reaking havic while you sit on your computer for hours on end.

Oh... funny we can all relate.. :P Thanks for the fun fun article.. Keep up the good work!

Not sure how much my opinion will count for, since I am not a mother, but I think what you're doing is fine. Your children are cared for, they enjoy the after-care, and you are able to devote some much-needed time to something else that is also very important to you.

I actually think you are doing them a favor. The more practice children get in social settings when they are young, the better they are likely to adapt to interacting with peers I later in life.

You are shirking your duties as a mum, you lazy cow. You should be able to do everything.


Ha! My kid is in aftercare, I pick her up between 4pm and 5pm every day. I usually feel terrible about it, until I kick myself into reality. She LOVES it. On more than one occasion, when I manage to pick her up early, she sends me AWAY, to pick her up later. If you think about it, kids don't have much time to play during school (she's 8). After school, it's party time. And let's be realistic: of course she'd rather spend her afternoon with 18 other 8 y/olds, than with me. So in fact, I am doing her a *favour*. Honestly. She is far happier for it.

And every day, when I pick her up from school and ask her how her day was, she always beams and says "Fabulous". So, apparently, her life could be worse :-)

Hey T - I keep my kids in creche while I'm on school holidays so that I can get a break. Tired and stressed Mommy = not a fun holiday for kids. To be a good Mommy you need to make sure you do your work when they're not around, so that they don't feel work is more important than them. If putting them in aftercare allows you to do your work, and keep them happy, so that you are better able to spend time with them when they are at home, then stop beating yourself over the head. You're being a good Mommy.

Sounds like they are learning, well cared for and want to be there. You are working while they are having a ball. Where's the problem?

I also have twins and regularly shop without them. They are having more fun at daycare than they would be strapped into a grocery cart, and I get my shopping done faster. Win-win situation!

I must be an even worse mom than you because I totally do that, but with out the guilt. There are things I love to do with my child like reading, playing outside, cooking a meal together. But, when it comes to getting stuff done, I drop him at this wonderful drop in daycare place and don't look back. I know he's having fun playing with "new" toys and other kids and I get.stuff.done. Everyone wins!

Darling Tertia, I have my 3 year old in after-care until 2:45 pm, three days per week. And I only work part time, and from home. She gets a nap and some extra play time instead of battling for my attention with work, the baby, errands, etc. I get a break and some stuff done. Everyone wins. Deep-six the guilt, lady!

They wanted to go. It's no big deal, really. I remember loving after-school. It was time to make friendships that we wouldn't have otherwise because of class schedules, etc. I would love to find something like that for my (almost!) 5 yr old.

Does your husband feel guilty about it? I would imagine not, because he knows he's a caring, involved father and that the kids are happy. Why is the standard different for mothers?

it's a shame when folks outside a healthy childhood swoop in and judge. you love your family, it's plain to see :)

Dude, also not a mom, but am a teacher, and I can relate from my own childhood experiences. My (school)kids have special needs (autism) and it's great to hear parents report back to me that so-and-so was doing the very thing,in a non-structured (aftercare) environment, that we'd been working on at school (more structured, obviously). You cannot be everything to everybody, you MUST manage your time well, that seems to be the key to a successful small business. Besides, wouldn't you rather be completely present and aware with your kids for a shorter time during the day, than divided and distracted for a longer time? There's only so many hours in the day, ya know. Anyhoo, I've nattered, on, just my two cents!

Hi Cousin, Michael starts aftercare on Thursday, his going to be going twice a week. He is so excited, wants to know if he can sleep over. It is a playdate on steriods for them. Wonder what the old men will have to say now?

Ah guilt, that untalked about bit of motherhood.

And OF COURSE you should be able to work full time (plus some) and be a full time SAHM. I mean, can't everyone? Heh.

You asshole... " I had visions of the children in after-care sitting quietly and sadly in a room, counting down the hours until their parents came to fetch them. Poor abandoned little children."

Ha ha that's what you really thought all along ;)

guilt is what you SHOULD be feeling goddamit.

i mean, the list of your crappy motherliness is so long already, why not add this to the list (and bulk email it to all the haters out there so they have an EVEN MORE inexhaustible supply of ammo)?

in fact, you are SUCH a crap mother, you should do what we (not the royal we, me and the father of the evil troll we call our daughter) have done: START A THERAPY DIARY, therein listing every rotten bad parenting thing you do, so that when your kids end up in full time therapy (or rehab, or the nuthouse, or PRISON), they don't have to go to all the bother of remembering what you did, or failed to do (anti-psychotic drugs play HAVOC with the memory, not to mention the libido and complexion) - and make things so much easier for their therapist, sponsor, mentor or probation officer.

finally, don't stop what you are doing!

you make us mediocre mothers look so darn GOOD, saintly even, with our self-designed one-off non-sweatshop-made organic underwear and home cooked meals and cookies and furniture (i am SURE you can make nursery furniture that is edible and therefore not harming the environment or the kids in any way). OUR kids don't WANT to go to aftercare cos we are so damned exciting to be around. compared to YOU as a mother, WE (now referring to all your readers) look bloody BRILLIANT.

you are, in effect, doing a huge public service, so bring the guilt-trip worthy stuff the hell ON!

Working and shopping for the family while kids are at school? Instead I would recommend to watch a girlie movie with a friend...or even WORSE: spend three hours doing something fun with your husband. That has the added bonus of his guilt for skipping work!

Enough said no more guilt !!!!!!

Confession time. Forgive me Father for I have sinned! I have a full time nanny for my 5 month old twins whilst I am on maternity leave and my 3 year old still goes to creche for a full day. I keep her out now and again so just the two of us can have some "quality time". We go to the zoo or to Exclusive books to read books and have baby cappuccinos or ride her bike around zoo lake. By the end of the day she is asking if she can go to school the next day as she's had enough of me and her little sisters. I feel guilty but she loves creche and her little friends. She is much better occuppied and active there than she is at home as I am so distracted with the twins.

Enjoy your work and enjoy your kids. Rather give 100% to each some of the time than only 50% all the time.

Is that long rude comment above serious?? If she doesn't have anything nice to say she should keep quiet.

If your kids are happy to go to aftercare you should enjoy your free time. Here in Europe kids have school until 3pm anyway, even from the first school year.

I enjoy reading your blog! Keep it going!

Nothing to feel guilty about. Those extra few hours you get to do more work, so you feel less stressed when you are with the kids, and can give them your 100% attention - it's a win-win situation!

anneliese, it was IRONY. i don't make edible nursery furniture . . . or organic undies designed by myself. and all the rest was a joke too . . . and i think T is remarkably normal, and good, and a bloody good mother to boot.

Guilt? You want GUILT?

I left my not-quite-8-year old home sick today, all alone with a fever.

He called my office and said, "It's getting dark, Mama, please come home -- I'm scared!"

So I did. The guilt monsters chased me aaaaaaaaaall the way.

WoW... I do my shopping alone most of the time... (otherwise I could not even finish the groceries aisle, let alone the cleaning stuff). Sometimes I shop FOR CLOTHES, FOR MYSELF! leaving my son with his father. Am I supposed to be guilty about it? I did not know... I also have a full time job and a nanny but I do not feel that guilt most mothers talk about. I must be a terrible mother!! (very practical though) so please disregard my opinion that I think you are doing a terrific job as a mother.

I wouldn't be able to be a sahm. Sorry but I would go nuts unless my kid was in daycare each day. I love him to bits, but I need "me time" and I need to get out of the house. My son adores his daycare and doesn't look back when I drop him there. I realised with a sore heart the other day that they are raising him. He spends more time there but then for some reason he has to stay home for one day and I am remided of how much happier we all are with the way things are.

Mine are in aftercare 2 days per week because they were requested to stay to get extra help. Mine are the youngest in their kindergarten class because they were born 10 days before the cut off date. They were behind on some things, so they stayed an hour later 3 days a week and now just 2 days per week. I was partially relieved because work stress at having to leave at 2:15 to pick them up was tough. Still tough at 3:15. But they don't really like the aftercare...it's not fun time, they are learning. I am looking forward to when they are done with it. When I pick them up, we go get a snack and do homework, run some errands, go to the park if the weather is nice.

BUT...I choose to adjust my work schedule from 6am-2pm so I can pick them up. They are exhausted when they get done from school every day of the week. They are in school 6+ or 7+ hours. They are pretty young for that (not even 5 1/2 and just finishing K). I feel like I am doing the right thing for them. Later on if they would rather do sports or dance classes or drama classes or after care of some sort, I am all for that. But in my opinion, you look at what suits your particular kids best and then you do that if you can. That is exactly what you are doing. As long as you are getting plenty of time with them each day you are doing nothing wrong. And sounds like they love their after care.

You gotta let go of the guilt a bit. Remember that you are making these choices for them because it is best for them. If it was best for them to be home, you would keep them home and figure out your work stuff as best you could. You are a good mom and it is quite obvious that you are making good choices.

LOL Your friend Zsuzy must be getting to you. You know her kids would never go to after, before or any other kind of care. They're too good for that.

My kids love after care, too! But, don't have to go often thanks to my parents.

Hi, just chiming in to say you shouldn't feel bad at all... like you said, they love the interaction and you can work late or run errands (which you should also not feel guilty about doing while they're there!)...win- win.

You said it's only til 3pm... that means you're all still having dinner together and have plenty of 'family time'. I can't remember if A&K are in kindergarten, but they must be to only be in school half day? Where we are in the states Kindergarten is full day, 8:45am-2:45pm, so even though it's 'after care' and not 'school' your kids ARE still learning social skills and getting along in groups, etc... don't feel badly!!

Oh, L. I'm so sorry you had to leave your little guy (the 8-yr-old boy) home alone sick. We working mothers do what we have to do. You obviously trust him enough to leave him home alone. He must be a good kid.

Can't believe no one's montioned this. Here in the U.S. our kids go to kindergarten (5-6 years old) from basically 8 am to 3 pm. So it's not after school care between those times; it's just school. And we have no choice in the matter if they go to public school and even most private schools for kinder.

Love you Tertia. XXX


where I live, preschool is from 10 to 3. and pre 1-A (at age 5), is from 9 - 3:45. I dont see what' wrong with a kid that age being in a school/fun setting until 3 p.m. Please chuck the guilt out. Too bad your mom isnt jewish, because then you'd at least have a reason to always have guilt - jewish mother's guilt. Your kids are FINE, theyre having FUN, and youre doing the best for THEM.


to atone for my last comment (sorry, my irritation at people criticising mothers flowed over into too much irony):

kids need people. kids need to be able to mix with people - to work out what is and what is not appropriate, to able to play or chat or eat with or receive instruction from or medical care from or to watch a cartoon with one or more people - and the more non-family connections they can make (provided they happen in a safe and responsibly managed situation) the BETTER.

tertia, your kids are going to be socially able because you let them mingle with people of all types, and trust them to function without you being there to watch every move, or to rescue them when things go wrong. what a gift, what an absolutely precious gift. because you are not the only person they need to connect with in order to live a happy and successful life. if you wanted them to be hermits who can barely talk to a stranger then keep 'em home and stay with them. otherwise socialise the butts off them. they need it, and the world they will create as older people will need it too.

Dude, seriously - it takes a village and all that.

Mine's at school from 7:15am to 1:30pm, and after care till 5:30pm.
Me and guilt? We're tight.

I remember being in after care at school (back in the dark ages, mind you - 20-some years ago), and I loved it. I don't remember too much, but I have wonderful memories of a very loving caregiver, lots of fun games, and a feeling of "getting away with something" by being allowed to stay at school later. Ooooo.

In other words, I enjoyed it and most certainly did not feel abandonned. The only less fun feeling was being the very last kid picked up, especially if that was a long time after all the other kids were picked up - but in my case that was rare. I wouldn't waste perfectly good guilt on this! ;)

Today, I will pick up my kids from their after-school care/daycare shortly after 6:00pm only to drop them off at the free "play center" at the grocery store, which is open until 7:00pm. And they love it. Even after having been in school/daycare for 10h by that time. Then I will buy everything I need within 30 min (which would take me twice that minimum with them). After that we all eat something from the supermarket deli and call it a successfull evening.

Add me to the chorus of "it takes a farking village and some". I work full time, well, more than full time, about 60 hrs or more a week. I have a nanny, a 3.5 year old and a 5.5 year old. 3.5 year old goes to preschool from 9-12, and then gets picked up by the nanny to be fed and put down for a nap. 5.5 year old goes to school from 8;15 to 3:15 p.m. (yes, that's how long K-school lasts) and then begs, begs to stay in extended day until 4 p.m. If the nanny shows up early, she wants her to disappear. This way, the 3.5 year old gets undivided attention, the nanny has an hour or so in the afternoon to help me with the kids' laundry and toy sorting while the 3.5 year old naps and the 5.5 year old gets plenty of play time with her buddies. Guilt, I hardy knew ye.

My sons aftercare is so great, that he asked me if he can stay longer than the 14h30 that he currently stays there until (a scant 2.5 hours after his school finishes - on days that he doesn't have extra murals). He too enjoys a hot meal endless playtime with his mates, and can't understand, "Why are you here already mummy?" when I go to fetch him. My youngest one is so happy at the day mom, that I barely manage to get a kiss in, before he's scarpering into the place to say hello to everyone. I think I have guilt as to why I feel happy about this? As for the shopping without kids thing, I *never* take them with me anymore because a) they always want something b) it doesn't feel safe with all the horror stories circulating about kids being trafficked thanks to the big WC. I'm just grateful for *great* care!

Meh - they seem old enough to cope with it Tertia. Especially if they are letting you know they are bored in the afternoons. It's wonderful they are seeking the company of other kids. I know how you feel about lurking about the shops wile your kids are in carethough. Too funny. I always bump into someone who asks "Where are the girls?" and I feel like a shitty mother when I say "Oh they are still at daycare" LOL
Hey, when did you start spelling arsehole the other way??

I gave you an award :) http://gnatj.com/2010/04/23/my-very-first-blog-award/

In the US, lots of kids are in aftercare until 5 or 6 PM! So you're doing great by that standard. :) No guilt, babe. You are doing just fine.

Screw the guilt, sounds like a great opportunity for them! Besides, you get off so early, that is at least 2 hours earlier than most jobs.

This is not about aftercare, but I've been meaning to ask it for a few weeks.

I know that nudity has different cultural...weight, I guess you might say, in different countries, and goodness knows we've got "interesting" ideas about it in the United States. Which is to say insane uptight ideas. But I was wondering what your opinion was on girl children being unclothed from the waist up - at what age does this become an issue? See, I only have boys, myself, so until I saw a picture on your site of the twins I realized I had never given it any thought at all. I wondered if maybe that it would be when the child's own modesty demanded it, but then I remembered my oldest, who is almost 7, still thinks it is funny to run around the house naked singing "shake your penis." So maybe they are not a good gauge, heh.

If you've already made a post about this, I apologize. Also, I hope I don't sound like an asshole or some judgmental bitch. I'm really just curious.

Being a good parent is NOT about whether or not you are with your kid(s) every moment of every day of their whole entire lives - it is about whether or not you make good choices for them and ensure that they are well cared for - by you, by someone else, that part doesn't matter because what works for each family is different FOR EACH FAMILY. I've done both the SAHM thing and the working Mom thing and quite frankly MY kids are HAPPIER in daycare than they were at home with me. There are other kids there, a variety of things to do that they don't have at home, and it's a change of pace and scenery. They love their daycares, and I have learned not to feel guilty over it. I've made the best choice I could for MY kids, and I'm sure you have done the same for yours - so take what THEY say to heart and let the guilt go...

My son is in Kindergarten and his regular school day is 830-330! Then he begs to stay and play with his friends for a while after that! I think by the time they hit 5 or 6 they are happier with their own kind, especially if they're telling you they're bored at home.
save your guilt for something else :)

I think we all think we are not good mothers.
But we will not know till they grown and out of the house then we will see if we did our job.
I think that is kinda scary!!

You convinced me..... how about cutting yourself some slack now???

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