About Me

Llantwit Major, Wales, United Kingdom
I am mother, librarian, avid reader, sf fan, writer (unpubished), singer(amateur), animal lover, needlewoman.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Child care

It is odd the way attitudes to child care change over time.

We have tended to be appalled by the upper classes in earlier centuries who entrusted the care of the children to nannies, and seldom saw the children when they were young.

However is that so very different from what is happening in the Western world now?  Many women go out to work when the children are very young, still babies and 6-9 months.  Sometimes it is choice and sometimes necessity.  Some careers won't permit a career break eg medicine (though doctors in general practice can earn more part time than most women working full  time for a couple of years, but still).  Some women need the fulfillment of going out to work with adults and are not cut out to be a full time carer.  I initially said 'parent' but they are always full time parents whether they are the ones doing the full time child care or not.  For others it is just money - we have created a society where it is necessary for most families to have both parents working in order to make ends meet. 

There are choices of childcare, but it must be really hard to leave a very young baby to go to work.  Whether you have a child minder, a grandparent or a nursery it must still be do heartbreaking.

My youngest was 3 when I went back to work, and I didn't want to go.  We needed the money, so it was necessary.  I was lucky in many ways because we had a combination of a childminder/babysitter (unqualified) who came to the house.  She picked the kids up from school and looked after them till either I or their father got home.  We had backup with my mother  nearby who could step in sometimes for emergencies, so they were in their own home, and had continuity of 4 principal carers.  It was also cheaper as it happens.  But although they seemed fine about it, I would have preferred to stay at home till they were older.

But are we doing what we criticised the upper classes for doing - rearing our children at a distance?  The reasons are different, but are the results the same?  Or are they worse?  At least a nanny gave one person in the home, whereas nurseries give a variety of carers.  Are we creating a generation of kids distanced from their parents and in the process altering the relationships between them? 

Or is it something that has happened in a variety of ways over the centuries, and this is just the latest version? 

1 comment:

oreneta said...

You have made such a good point. It is true that there are many many families who never see much of their kids at all, though I would argue that many of them do wish to see them when they can.
How much of it is our own bed that we make though? I know that many many families simply cannot get by without two incomes, but many could if they altered their lifestyles to some degree. It costs a lot of money to go to work and if you add a nanny or daycare in, the math may add up to someone staying home.
I don't know about there, but I know many more men who are staying home as primary caregivers, and I think that is a good thing too. And, I believe, really fairly novel.