I have pictures, but not today. It's been a long and trying week. My Little Boy got himself kicked out of daycare on Monday, and I've been struggling with him and with finding child care ever since.
Now, I have enough problems with the concept of daycare. I am NOT making judgements or casting aspersions on anyone else's parenting decisions here, but I decided a very long time ago that I would not use daycare, and that children need a parent to be home and well, be the parent. And I did, for as long as I could. And when I had to go to work (back when the ex wouldn't go find a job) I made sure that Daddy was home with the Little Boy, so he would have a parent.
And, well, that didn't work out either. And here I am, reliant on a daycare facility to raise my child while I work to pay the bills. Because I believe, whole-heartedly, that the single biggest job in my life is to raise my child. And I'm not doing it. I am paying others - young, childless others - to raise my child and teach him.
And now that he's having problems, I can't help but think how awful I've been at my job. At raising him. Beacuse it hasn't been me, it's been the daycare folks.
I have to say, right here and now, that the daycare he's in is a fabulous place. They're loving and consistent and truly care for each child as an individual. But they're not Mom. And when my child is having anger issues, and can't control himself, then it falls back on me.
If anyone out there knows how I can be Mom and still pay the bills and have health insurance, please let me know!! Because I can't seem to find it!
I never wanted it to be like this. I wanted to be home, and me Mom. Even in highschool, I knew that my ultimate purpose was to be a mom, raise kids, keep house, and grow our food, sew things for the family... And while many people think that is old-fashioned, backwards, or even anti-women, I still think it's where I belong.
And I'm not there. I'm working outside the home. I give more of my waking hours to my employer than to my child. And to my employer I am replaceable, but I am my child's only Mom. He's only young once. And his having problems leaves me feeling so ... inadequate.
I don't know. I'm at a complete loss. It's times like this when I fantasize about opening a knitting shop, where I can make my own hours, take him with me when I need to, and generally mesh life together a bit better. I fantasize about getting married again, and staying home again. I dream of anything that would allow me to be more accessible, even homeschooling, to be the parent.
I'm tired, and my Little Boy is confused. I've sent him off to my sister's for part of this week. I'll get him back tonight. But I still don't know what to do. I'm lonely, and upset, and tired. I pulled weeds in the gardens until dark last night, just to have something useful to do.
Are my priorities out of whack? Do I have things backwards? Am I spending too much time wishing things were different instead of making do with what I have? Or is it society that it out of whack? Has the Women's Movement gone too far, when we no longer see the value in raising children, but delegate it to older children who aren't even related? When we think that women in the workplace are required, and women who stay home are "lazy"? (That is the stereotype, no? That stay-at-home moms watch TV and eat bon bons all day?) What is the dollar value of raising children? Is it worth whatever paycheck we get from our workplace? Is it worth more or less than the daily rate at the local childcare facility?
What is the true cost of daycare? In my opinion, daycare has cost us an entire generation, possibly two, of children who have respect for adults and unconditional love. Somewhere in the 1980s, during the Power Women movement in the US, where we were told women can have high-powered careers and still be mothers, and do them both at the same time, children got lost. Women were so intent on proving themselves, and getting out of the house, that the consequences of allowing others to raise their children were not really considered. It was all about empowering women. But what about empowering childen? What happened to children who could come home to Mom and play in the afternoon? Who is looking after the latchkey kids? Who checks up on their playmates, and talks to the other mothers, sits and drinks iced tea while the kids run through the sprinkler on a hot day?
Somewhere along the way, we gave away the right, priveledge, and responsibility to raise our children. We started to believe that to be properly raised they needed to be on sports teams and in music lessons and in dance and in...everything that's "in" for kids. We have taken away the freedom for children to explore their world in the leisurely way they prefer. It's not boredom, it's freedom. They don't need to be in organized activity every night of the week. They're kids. They'll figure out something to do. It's called imagination, and given the opportunity, without TV and Playstation and personal video games, they'll find it and use it. Just like kids have for millenia, since the first Cave Kids drew pictures in the dirt with sticks. How much of the overstimulation of kids is really overcompensation by adults who feel guilty about not being home to parent?
I'm aware I've been all over the place here, but it's all related in my mind. It's all part of the same problem. It's an issue that's been bothering me for a long time. And while this is mainly a fiber blog, I have more going on in my life than wool and silk.
What do you think? Can we talk about this rationally? Can we keep it from falling into judging each other? Please, weigh in and let me know what you think!