It takes a village

We were not meant to be one adult + children 24/7. Our babies ourselves has a good literature review on this topic.

People were not meant to be sole care-takers for their kids, that’s why we have families and play-groups and all those other support structures. It really does take a village. Some parents have family members as part of their village, some friends, and some paid help. As long as the folks looking after are loving and caring and responsible, it’s all good.

If you’re a SAHP, do not isolate yourself.  Get out and see adults.  Join regular playgroups, parent-and-me classes. (Or whatever floats your boat.) Make sure you get adult-only time each week as well.

If you’re a WOHP, stop feeling guilty!!!!  And stop telling people you should feel guilty.  WOHP are legion and our kids are doing great.  Kids are resilient and they get a lot out of spending time with different high quality care-takers.

That is all.  (Another post that was started 4-5 years ago…)

ETA (h/t Bogart):  Standard disclaimer:  Differing constraints and preferences may apply.  IOW, YMMV.

Posted in Uncategorized. Tags: , . 11 Comments »

11 Responses to “It takes a village”

  1. bogart Says:

    Amen. Also [standard disclaimer, every family has to work within constraints they face and figure out what’s right for them], I don’t think we do our kids any favors in not providing them access to a village of caregivers. We, that is, their parents, may become incapacitated (short- or long-term) or unavailable (ditto), and should that happen, their having familiar alternative caregivers is tremendously valuable. I speak from experience. And common sense.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Ah yes, the standard disclaimer. I felt like I was missing something that was supposed to be there. I should add that in.

    • xykademiqz Says:

      I really wish we didn’t always have to put a disclaimer… It’s not the fault of anyone on this blog, of course, but I am tired of every opinion, no matter how common sense or how well supported by research (the real kind), having to be stated so tentatively and qualified lest someone gets offended.

      I will say it — no qualifiers — kids need to be exposed to different people of different ages. Kids benefit from and generally enjoy being around other kids and other adults. It’s in fact not “the right way” to raise kids by having them 24/7 with a single caregiver if one can at all help it.

      So many people have preached to me over the years. “You work? So who takes care of your kids? They go to daycare? Oh. But research has shown that kids do best when they are home with one of their parents and not cared for by strangers!” There is no such research, it’s just bullshit for “women should stay at home because patriarchy.” None of these people ever thought to qualify their statements lest they offend me; they specifically meant to offend and put me in my place. So I am not qualifying what I will say:

      If you are keeping your kid with you day in and day out and not letting your kid develop relationships with other kids (not each of them vetted by you) and learn to trust other adults, you are f*cking him or her up.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        Oddly nobody has ever dared suggest such a thing to me. Not sure why. Maybe I just don’t get out enough.

        I have been the recipient of people’s confessions about feeling guilt about work and daycare though. So maybe I only hang out with working people.

      • Leah Says:

        I love daycare. My kid isn’t cared for by strangers; she is cared for by an amazing village of women who love her and want to see her do well. We picked our daycare because it is multicultural, so my kid is learning multiple languages and how to get along with other people.

        My kid is such a happy, independent kid. Maybe she’d be like that anyway — who knows? But I feel strongly that daycare is really helping her develop that. I feel blessed that we have the financial means to be able to send her to her own school. I do miss my kid during the day, but darned if picking her up isn’t often the best part of my day, and I do not think I’d say that if I spent all day at home with her.

  2. jjiraffe Says:

    Yes – you may have started this 4-5 years ago, but very true today (and tomorrow).

  3. Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life Says:

    As much as I was the kid who wanted zero exposure to other people, forever, it was good for me to be pushed into the world without Mom or Dad’s legs to hide behind. And it would have been good for me to learn many more lessons about building relationships because I didn’t know how and was consequently lonely when older.

    Of course as soon as LB came along, I got the “You MUST start daycare IMMEDIATELY because otherwise you and your child will experience massive separation anxiety and I know this because my kid / wife had this experience!” BS. I also see the sidelong looks acquaintances give when they find out ze is “already” in daycare, they’re useful for me to know who not to waste time befriending.

    We started daycare when it was right for us and lo! JuggerBaby loves it. And I hope to find a good preschool where ze is exposed to kids of different ages because I can already see hir learning from these experiences and becoming a better tiny human.

    And in case we’re both incapacitated or out of the picture way earlier than we want to be, I’m keeping a journal of the people who love us and who ze should go to for what help should ze need it and not know.

  4. J Liedl Says:

    Not being isolated helps so much. Finding a supportive community when you parent is vital. It’s hopefully in person so you have folks around to spell you in crisis but online ones also make a big difference in how well you can manage all of this.

    Respecting the reality that what works for you might not work for others. If we could make that a necessary prerequisite before you enter a park crowded with families or an online forum devoted to parenting, we could make the world a better place!

  5. Jay Says:

    Eve had a part-time babysitter from three months and was in full-time daycare starting at 8 months. Then I quit my job (because I hated it) and we cut back to two days a week of daycare while I figured out what to do next. I nearly lost my mind being “home” for the next six months. I need people. Adult people. I don’t see how she would have been better off if I’d stayed home and become depressed and resentful.

    I was always confounded by the sympathy that was offered from people who were sure I felt terrible about being forced to have my child in daycare. I didn’t feel terrible. She loved the staff and the teachers and even now, at 16, when we go to the JCC, she looks for the sweet maintenance guy she fell in love with at age 3. It gave her a secure base to venture out into the world and a positive image of teachers and school.

    • Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life Says:

      “even now, at 16, when we go to the JCC, she looks for the sweet maintenance guy she fell in love with at age 3.”

      That’s so cute. Even now in my 30s I remember the awesome janitor at our elementary school who was so kind to a scared and shy little kid. I hope he’s well.

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