It occurred to me as I dropped my preschooler off today that I'm the first generation of mothers to have my kids start school so young. My mother had a two-morning, two-hour program, which was then called the politically incorrect "Mother's Day Out." And, as a tangent, I never understood that name. Two hours does not give a mom a day out. It gives her time to shower and eat breakfast.
But back to preschool. My daughter goes for four hours, three times a week. That gives me a whopping twelve hours of professional time. I can increase that to six hours five days a week, which would allow me to work pretty much full time. But here's a question: Is that a good idea? I'm beginning to think the whole reason some women decide to go back to work at least past time is because of the social push to put kids in preschool. If I had my daughter home with me, I don't think I'd feel as obligated to accept as many (or maybe any) freelance assignments.
Now, I think preschool is a wonderful invention. I love that my child is learning at this point in her life when she's excited and willing to soak up information. I also love the fact she's learning to share and understand the complexities of interpersonal relationships.
But I wonder if preschool is healthy for mothers who then feel the pressure to DO something with their time. Up until 40 years ago, handling the household budget and keeping the house, kids and dog clean was considered a full time position.
What's your point of view? Should we feel the need to immediately find work as soon as there is a break in our childcare duties?