A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about our decision to send Toddler L to pre-school on a part-time basis. I don’t want to rehash the content, but the basic gist was that we’d agreed nursery would be good for her from a development perspective, plus also free me up to crack on with various other stuff – most significantly being this blog.
I was struggling to find the right balance between work and life. So, in theory, shipping her off for a full day on a Tuesday and a half day on Thursday will hopefully allow me to rediscover that balance. At the end of the third week of her properly being in nursery, things are looking promising. For both of us.
For Toddler L, her transition to nursery has actually been pretty quick. To look at her – particularly this week – you wouldn’t have thought that she’d only had six proper sessions there. Whereas the first day I left her crying and not wanting me to go, she now barely stops to say bye to me. That’s quite a transformation.
It’s felt like she’s become more confident, relaxed and happier each and every time I’ve dropped her off. This is obviously a big weight off my shoulders. During the first few visits, I did question whether we’d made the right decision because of how upset she became. At the time of writing though, I’m 99.9% sure that it’s for the best.
Safe to say that Toddler L now enjoys nursery – instead of hugs and tears, today I got a half-arsed wave goodbye!
— The DADventurer (@The_dadventurer) October 25, 2016
I’m also benefiting from the time alone. Not only does it give me a bit of a break (in the nicest possible sense), but I’m putting those 15 free hours to good use. I’ve been able to do a few things around the house, but most importantly, I’ve been able to crack on with work. With no distractions, an eerily quiet house and a new found focus, I’m starting to tackle the huge list of work-related stuff I’ve got to do.
I’m also finding that I’m spending more quality time with her when she’s around. The vicious circle of guilt – where I feel bad when I’ve chosen the laptop over her or have chosen her over the laptop – appears to be subsiding. I’m still adjusting and have a long way to go, but I feel like I’m starting to find some kind of balance again. That was the whole point of sending her to nursery.
That’s not all though. I’ve discovered a number of other benefits of her being at nursery. Sure, I knew that I’d get time alone or that she’d have time with other kids, but I mean unexpected benefits. Those things which add the cherry on the icing on the cake. Here’s four of them:
I Miss Her
It may sound weird, but not having Toddler L around means that I miss her. I’ve barely been away from her in two and a bit years, so the concept of missing her is new. You don’t really get the chance to miss someone who’s with you every second of the day.
Because of this, I find myself a bit lost when she’s not with me. This translates to excitement when I go to pick her up at the end of the day. Considering that she hate’s me most of the time, hearing her say “missed daddy” and seeing her little face light up when she sees me melts my old, cold heart.
My new favourite thing is seeing Toddler L’s face when I pick her up from nursery. It displays nearly every emotion in a 2 second period.
— The DADventurer (@The_dadventurer) October 13, 2016
Avoid Crafts / Messy Play
In a world of Pinterest parents, the pressure has never been higher to turn glue, glitter and old yoghurt pots into something incredible. Judge me all you want though – I just can’t stand crafty shit or messy play. I try to avoid it where I can, but Toddler L has other ideas. The girl just loves to play with sand, water, paint, bubbles and other stuff which leave me feeling dirty.And not dirty in a good way…
Enter nursery. The perfect solution for this dichotomy. When she’s there, she can do all of the crafts and messy play that she likes, but I don’t have to get involved. When we’re at home and she wants to do something like painting or Play-Doh, then I have the perfect answer – “No, Toddler L. We don’t do stuff like this at home. That’s what nursery is for”. Boom!
Reduced Nappy Changes
I don’t think any mum or dad likes nappy changes. It’s just part and parcel of the lark that we call parenting though. As a stay-at-home dad, the nappy changing responsibility comes down to me most of the time. I once left Toddler L in a shitty nappy all day as a present for the missus, but there was very little appreciation when she got home. And she says I don’t ever surprise her…
Sending the sprog to nursery has therefore meant that I get a nappy changing break. During the 15 hours that she’s at pre-school, I don’t even have to touch – let alone think – about one. The joy that this brings me is on a par with finding an unopened jar of Nutella at the back of the cupboard. Actually, Nutella probably isn’t the best thing to mention when we’re talking about dirty nappies – the colour and consistency is a little too close for comfort.
Toddler L has been at nursery for 10 hours. That’s 10 hours without having a crap. She’s been home 10 mins and has already shat herself.
— The DADventurer (@The_dadventurer) October 25, 2016
Considering that we’re shelling out £350 per month in nursery fees, a ‘saving money’ category might seem a bit strange. I get the point, but you need to look at the wider picture. Toddler L being at nursery means that she’s not at home spending
my the missus’ money.
Think about everything she’d usually cost us when she’s at home. Electricity, food, crafty stuff, wipes, nappies, petrol etc. I no longer have to supply any of these though – that’s nursery’s problem. If a nappy averages something like 16p each and nursery are supplying their own, then I’m quids in. I’m not great at maths, but I’m pretty sure I’ll be sipping mojitos from my new yacht in 2.38 years time as a result of saving money.
I love how nursery looks after my daughter better than I do. Her wet nappies were changed 3 times today. I’d usually have changed it once.
— The DADventurer (@The_dadventurer) October 18, 2016
So those are four of the unexpected benefits I’ve found from nursery after three weeks.
Have you got any to add? What else can I look forward to over the upcoming months? Let me know below!