I believe your the thing you have to ask yourself is “how would this affect the 18 month old?”‘ The others are old enough to enjoy pre-school/daycare. I”ve had one child who would have been happy in daycare at 18 months– he was social and always “raring to go.” I have another child, however, who would simply be devastated if I left him with strangers. He’s not too happy being left with his dad a lot of the time!
I have worked in daycares and can tell you that when a child is scared a
nd doesn’t want to stay, it’s just HORRIBLE. Daycare people are NOT sympathetic to a crying, grieving child either. They’re very much have the attitude of “ignore him and he will stop crying.” ONce a distraught toddler (it was as if he thought his mother had died) was ripped from my arms and placed on the ground outside and I was told “you’re spoiling him!!!” Daycare people often aren’t child experts at ALL. They’re just trying to make it easier for themselves.
Oh, I didn’t even ask if you have some relative or trusted friend to watch the kids– that would make it much easier for you to work in any case.
Prayers that God will show you what He wants you to do!