Those few days a day feel like gifts from above.
Your child's daycare is open. Your office is closed. Maybe getting an unexpected day with your family is a wish fulfilled for you. That's wonderful. Enjoy the together time. Me? I'll be taking my toddler to the center, happily skipping as I head over because breaks from both working and parenting are as close to nirvana as I'm able to achieve lately.
Despite how much I miss my son, Jeremy, during the 10-plus hours a day I'm either working or commuting, I also miss my husband, my friends, myself and my sanity. So on the three or four times a year I have the day off, but Jeremy's loving, hard-working teachers are available, I take advantage. After all, I've already paid the monthly fee for the care and Jeremy has tons of toddler fun in his activity-filled school.
A part of me feels guilty. Aren't I, as a working mom who fights for paid leave and flex time, supposed to want to spend every moment possible at home with my child? Won't I one day regret not devoting these precious few days to making family memories? As I second-guess myself, my son pushes his bowl of macaroni and cheese off the table for no reason other than to see how much rage I'm capable of containing. Just like that, I'm reminded why I'm absolutely entitled to a few hours for me.
You (and your partner, for that matter) are absolutely entitled to a day for you too. Happy moms make good moms, and in the trying toddler phase, nothing makes me happier than a meal out with my husband without continually having to pry the salt shaker out of Jeremy's determined clutches. The hubs and I may even get crazy and go to a movie theater (yes! they still exist! and they play more than Pixar films!).
I'm sure there's a segment of the population who thinks it's cruel to bring your kid to daycare when you're free to care for him. (Then again, there's still a segment of the population who thinks it's cruel to bring your kid to daycare even if you're not free!) To them I say, I was a strong-willed child. If my mom decided to spend four days a year not working or mothering, she would still be a fantastic mother and human. Moms, whether they work outside the home or are the daytime caregiver for the little ones, don't get much downtime from their duties. I see no reason not to catch up on sleep, catch up with your partner or a pal or just sit on a comfy couch and stare at a TV until pickup time at daycare while your child is in a safe, enriching space. It's downright inhumane to deny yourself that—and deny your child a relaxed, recharged parent.
This article originally appeared on Working Mother.