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"I got judged for increasing my toddler's childcare hours."

Formula vs breastfeeding. To co-sleep or not. Staying at home with your baby, or going back to work. When it comes to motherhood choices, you name it and there’s controversy around it. It seems EVERYONE has an opinion.

But there’s a new topic in the ‘mummy wars’ and it’s all about childcare shaming. Apparently.

How do I know this? I’ve felt the full brunt of it.

Recently I was judged on social media for deciding to increase the amount of childcare for our toddler. It was a conversation about what other mums did with their first born, care wise, when their second baby arrived. You see, we’re expecting our second and will soon have two children under 17 months – and I work from home two days a week.

I outlined that I was going to send our boy three days a week instead of two. And I was told, “why have another baby if you’re just going to increase the amount of care for your first?”. Why have another baby? I mean, seriously?

Never mind the fact that my husband works 12-hour days, we have no family help, I’m only taking a few weeks off work and our son loves the centre he goes to. Or that the new baby deserves some one on one time with me without her crazy high maintenance brother around.

But why should I feel the need to justify it? At the end of the day, what we choose to do with our own children is our own business – no one else’s. We all put enough mum guilt on ourselves, let alone having other mums make us feel bad about our decisions.

I was already wrestling with my decision, so this person’s comments really struck a nerve. Some other mums came out to back me, saying they’d also done the same when their second baby came along or could completely understand where I was coming from. They said they’d experienced the same sort of shaming for putting their child in care, and supported me instead of judging.

My son enjoys it . What's the big deal?

It’s a fact that childcare can be really awesome. Educators and mothering groups agree that, if you find a good one, the benefits for your child are endless. Our little guy loves it and his development has improved out of sight in the few months he’s been going.

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But it’s easy to be a keyboard warrior and pass judgement online. I doubt that the mum who criticised me would have said anything to my face. From her repeated comments, apparently you’re a better mum if you ‘tough it out’. If you’re overwhelmed by your two children and struggling to keep up with the washing. If you’re crying into your breakfast each day and never get any time for yourself.

Um, NO. You’re a better mum if you do what’s best for your family, and that includes yourself. And only YOU know what that is. Happy mummy = happy child.

You do what's right for you and your baby.

Some women go back to work soon after giving birth. Others take years ‘off’ to be a full time stay at home mum. Some do a mix. Some have babies young, some older, some out of wedlock (gosh I hate that term!), and some while married. Some breastfeed, some don’t or can’t.

The fact is, while I was happy being a stay at home mum for a few months after my son was born, I worked out pretty quickly that I’m a better mum when I’m also doing something outside of being ‘mummy’.

It’s a case of each to her own. Why does it matter what choices we make, as long as they’re safe for our children? Why do women judge other women? Moreover, why do they think they have the RIGHT to judge?

How about all us mums love a little more, accept a LOT more and spread some kindness rather than judgement.

After all, there’s no right and wrong way to approach this crazy ride that is motherhood. We’re all just doing our best to raise amazing little humans, in the best way we know how.

Have you ever felt judged for putting your children in childcare?

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