Friday, July 27, 2007

Dreams

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!

4 comments:

Beth said...

You know, there are health care coop things for small business owners. I know it's probably more money than you pay now for insurance but if you could finance the yarn stuff and make it for a while he could be in the shop with you after school and Saturdays - that's what my plan is when buster isn't so crazy.
Just thinking.

mel said...

Hi Erika,

What do you know?? I finally found your blog! I have been thinking about you and I don't have your new home phone number. I don't know where I put your cell number either!! Sorry!

Anyway, what an emotionally charged blog. I don't have any solutions for you, but I give support and compassion. I too would love to be home full time with my kids. I work second shift just to be home in the daytime and run them to school and care for the house and make dinner...etc. It's a hard life. Things are never like you thought they were going to be. I have to applaud you for doing such a fine job of making a life for you and Youngling. I have always thought you were an amazing woman. Things are not what you want them to be right now, but things change. It's the only constant here on our planet Earth. You know the other constant....on your knees. Thats the best place to be. I love ya sister!!! Talk to you soon.

Melanie

Obsidian Kitten said...

growing up in georgia in the 70s, everyone had siblings (i was an only) and no one had a working mom (except me). i guess i was the beginning of that generation (or two). weird that you mention it, because i was just recently thinking about how common it is nowadays for kids to be only children and how working parents are now totally the norm.

my cousin homeschools her daughters (they're now 12 and 14) and it's worked out great for them.

and when i had my business we did get health insurance. it wasn't cheap (of course, that was NJ) but it wasn't all that much more than i was paying at my previous job.

you are so amazing...i know this will all work itself out in the way it's meant to as long as you allow yourself to imagine it the way you want it to be and feel it in your heart.

and as for whatever other people might think about the choices we make...well, who cares, right? there may be one or two idiots who think i'm at home all day eating bon bons (i don't even have kids, lol) but ah well. i really only get the bon bons on alternate tuesdays, most days it's just pints of ben & jerry's.

you rule!!!!

Monica aka Gloria Patre said...

Erika, everything you said was perfectly true, spoken from your heart like a wonderful mother. Believe it or not this may explain why your son is having anger issues - he feels the same way you do (but not in a blaming way) but since he's a child can't express himself another way yet. I really wish I had a drop-in-your-lap solution. You may well be on to something with the idea of being self-employed. It's a hard road, especially at the beginning, but it may be your only real way out. I don't know what kinds of funding/grants/supported loans are available where you live but the one good thing from the women's movement is that there may be $ help for you, a woman, as an entrepreneur. I know it's not like you need MORE work (to get things started) but it could mean a more manageable life in the long run and a happier child and a more peaceful heart. Getting any new business off the ground is a bit like launching a rocket ship with a campfire but if it's the right business in the right place you'll make it. (boy that was easy to 'say'! LOL!) You're a sweet gal Erika and your blog is great. Your son loves you and wants to be like you in the best sense, so you'll both land on your feet. Lots of compassion and empathy coming your way from me!!