Tuesday, July 21, 2009
I'm sorry to sound like a whiney, self righteous, stay at home mom
but I have a bone to pick with Parade magazine and anyone else who wants to whine about so called "affordable, quality childcare." Did anyone else read this article on Sunday and feel that this term, or the goal of such, is a complete paradox? The story is that there is a new need in this country to provide, presumably from the government since that seems to be the way of things these days, all star child care that people can afford. Oh, so I, unlike everyone else in America, am one of the lucky few who can "afford" to take care of my child? I don't think so.
You cannot subcontract the care of children and expect that it will be affordable AND high quality. You must choose: Either you stay home with your kids, which involves all sorts of sacrifices and risks for a woman's career and is not at all "affordable;" or you pay dearly for someone who MIGHT teach your kids all of the things that you would in a given day, MIGHT feel sorry for the kid instead of herself while cleaning up poop and throw up, MIGHT like them but probably won't love them the way you do, and MIGHT decide to give up if it is too hard or you aren't paying him or her enough. That sounds risky too.
I think this might be the one industry where the employees have more control over their employers; people who need someone to watch their kids are a dime a dozen. Finding someone who will do it, and do it as well as you would for said dime is a lot harder. I shared my thoughts with Adam and he responded, "Yeah, you know, I really need to find an affordable Ferrari." Affordable Ferraris don't exist because the scope of quality (apparently...I wouldn't in fact know-this is Adam's testimony, not mine) isn't compatible with a low price. Affordable, quality childcare is like seeking an affordable CEO, or healthcare for that matter. They don't exist-correct me if I am wrong, but I will probably be inclined to think you are just fooling yourself.
Frankly, I am kind of insulted by this debate. I understand that there are a lot or people who must work and must place their children in daycare-I am not attacking people who do not have a choice. But for people who DO make the choice, to assume that you shouldn't have to give up on either quality or price for raising your freaking kids!!!! is ignorant, insulting to the people who do make the sacrifice one way or the other, and really really unfair to the children who are the subject of this debate.
Most of you know I have aspirations outside my home and that I struggle sometimes with how badly I still want to go to more school, work a little bit and progress intellectually. So stuff like this that undermines what I do everyday and argues that we should make it a national priority to easily AND cheaply outsource being a mother just bugs the hell out of me. Why, it makes me feel like a Detroit auto worker! Seriously though. I know I am doing the right thing for my children-but it is really hard for me sometimes. I love it. I know it is in their best interest. But it is not something that just comes naturally, easily, affordably or otherwise to me...that is not a pat on my own back; I am just enunciating why this article bugs me.
A few months ago I was at the dental clinic. One of the primary attendants that came to check off my treatment began to make small talk with me, asking me what I do and blah blah. I told her I stay home with my two year old son to which she replied, "Oh that is so lucky that that works out for you to do that. I wish I could." Lucky? Excuse me? Does going into hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt sound like it was just a lucky circumstance? Does giving up my own aspirations for the time being sound lucky? It's not just dumb luck or fortunate happenstance my friend. And it doesn't just work and fit into a neat little box. My husband and I make it work. And it is NOT affordable. So hopefully it is high quality. That remains to be seen. I won't jump right into putting myself in the Ferrari class of mothers. Not yet anyway. Let's be honest, probably not ever.