Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The world of child care

Right before Hurricane Sandy hit the East coast there was a horrible story that was making news in this area.  It was the horror story of a mother who came home to find her two young children dead, stabbed in the bathtub by the nanny that had been hired to take care of them.  A nanny who by all accounts was a part of their family, someone who they had visited in her native country.   I cringe as I write this and cannot close my eyes for fear that I visualize any part of this. 

As a mother this a story that makes my stomach turn.  The devastation this must cause is beyond my willingness to imagine.  The story though, disgustingly, does not end there.  It led to the judgement phase.  From the left - questions about whether this high income family cared for their children, and if they had employed someone for low pay who was unstable.  From the right - questions about mothers hiring help, mothers working, mothers ability to mother in a world where women do not define all they are by being mothers.  As sad and emotional as the story about the kids made me - these rants made me boiling, want to slap the f*&k out of you mad.  This is 2012 people.  To the left - WHAAAT???? how dare you judge people by finances - pass judgement because of their income level.  Does being poor or middle class make you a better parent? NO - does it make you a worse parent? NO.  All children should be fortunate enough to be born to homes that can afford to give them both love and the safety of having their lives made easier - all children deserve at least that much.  I wish there were no children born into poverty, no children who did not know a warm bed on a cold night, who do not have enough or anything to eat.  I know this is a pipe dream but it is my dream.  It does not mean though that those children who are poor do not experience love.  Just like it does not mean you are an unfeeling, throw money instead of hugs parent just because you are wealthy.  Being a bad parent sadly crosses all economic lines and gladly so does being a good one.  

To the right -- WHAAAAT???? a mother, notice the father as primary care taker never gets put forth as an option from this side, is not better or worse for working.  My mother worked full time, hard and long hours,  and was by far one of the best moms that I have ever seen.  I have seen mothers who are home, across a financial spectrum, that are disinterested, cold, and at times downright mean to their kids.  I know mothers who are amazing at being home and make me smile at how lucky their kids are to have them as a part of their lives.  I work and I am not apologetic for this.  I never will be.  I enjoy working, I loved and worked hard to get an education that allowed me to broaden my choices and have jobs that allow for me to experience being a mother too.  I have never for one moment thought I would like to quit my job.  There might be other ventures I would try if I did not have to work for financial reasons, some that would have me home more time than I am (my ideal work world is always Tues- Thurs).   I am a dedicated, tired, loving mother who has a great relationship with my boys.  I am imperfect and make mistakes.  Another words I am a mother who works at being at mother - my mothering skills are not diminished by my working.  Around the globe studies have shown that mothers who are given opportunities for good child care and the ability to have choices for work are economically much better off - duh !!!

I had nannies, the first one slept along with the baby quite a bit - but she was good to him and quit as soon as he got mobile, the second one was an amazing woman from Zambia whose friendship I treasure to this day - my son called her GoGo at her urging (which means grandmother - really what more could I ask for) - whose dignity I felt fortunate to have as a part of my house, and we had Paula -- another woman who has remained a friend of our family.  Her dedication to our children was amazing and her skills as a mother to her own children, under circumstances that I wish she never had to experience, still makes me smile when I mention her name.  The day care we found when it became the better option for my kids (For Kids Only) had all the elements I needed, an owner who lives for community service, charity and helping kids make good choices.  It is a place that my kids ask for "5 more minutes" when they get picked up, with a chorus of same to other parents by their friends in there, give us parents a moment who have rushed to pick up a chance to breathe and talk to one another.  I have hired people based on gut instincts, they seemed like a good fit, along with reference checks. I never had nanny cams.  I never thought, nor did they, that these wonderful folks were responsible for raising my children.  That is my responsibility as a parent - they were there to take care of my children while I was at work - and to reinforce the behaviors that make kids into good adults.  

Stop - just stop - the judgement of the parents who were the victims in this terrible tragedy.  Convict the nanny and I do not care that she is obviously crazy - put her in jail forever - there is no sympathy here - she stabbed 2 young children to death.  There is no need for us to do more than offer condolences to the family and hug our own children a little tighter.  We should look at offering more affordable, safe childcare so that women at all financial levels can work if they choose to. It seems pathetic that we are in 2012 and there are still people out there who do not understand that being a parent for both men and women is a huge part of who they are, a part that requires a lot of their time/love/money/patience that most give gladly, but it is just that - a part - we are all the sum of our parts and we need to evolve to understand that.  Keeping us in single spaces is not good for us or our children.  Women work - women are mothers  - look at that you can have both in the same sentence !!!! 

2 comments:

  1. I think the key here is "gut instinct". Unfortunately, some parents lack that basic skill, or they just don't listen to that still voice within, and that's what can cause major disasters. As privileged women of the free world, we are educated, given jobs, taught how to dress, how to behave, etc. But we are NOT taught the basics of what it means to be a woman. Somehow, in our struggle to obtain equality with men in society we've lost a very ancient & valuable art. Our Feminine Instincts. They've been an invaluable tool for me as I raise my own 3 kids. They've NEVER let me down. I follow them in spite of contrary opinions from doctors, the so called "authorities", family or friends. There is no stronger bond between a mother & child. Whether we choose to work, stay home, or do a little of both, the health & future of our families depend on us owning our Motherhood, and acting on it accordingly. My heart goes out to the family that tragically lost their 2 kids, and I pray that their lives were not lost in vain.

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