Tag Archive | Childcare

Mom-life Identity Crisis

I love my job as a teacher.  I love my students, I love the challenge, I love watching them grow.  But I don’t want to put my babies in daycare.  I believe – we believe – that babies should be at home, or maximum with a much-loved babysitter, one-on-one, until they show readiness for preschool.

When Shlomo was born, I was in my last semester of college. We had a mishmash of me, Yitzchak, and my best friend.  When I started teaching, he was six months old, and I took a babysitter.  That ate up half my salary, and I worked hard and came back exhausted, with no energy for anything.  The year after that, I worked from home; towards the end of the year, I saw that he was starting to become more social and by the time summer vacation came, I knew that he needed to go to gan that September.

I found him a gan, and found myself a teaching job. Towards the beginning of this school year, I had Tova.  So, after my maternity leave was over, Yitzchak and I did another mishmash of scheduling, and staying home, and Yitzchak would take her with him, sometimes.  Now, I have the question again, but slightly different, since 9 months is different than 6 months, and Tova will be 9 months at the beginning of the school year.

And I have a problem.  If my resume shows that every time I have a baby, I take a year off to stay home . . . no one will hire me.  So, what do I do?  Do I keep teaching, or do I stay home?  If there was an option for only Yitzchak to work, and for me to stay home and just keep house, I would.  Yitzchak would too, obviously, but I’m not sure it’s good for him to be keeping house all day.  At the end of the day, intelligence, politics, and equal rights aside, it increasingly seems to us that we are a pretty traditional couple.

I also am not thrilled at the prospect of working from home again, but unless someone gives Yitzchak a miracle job that will pay all our bills AND allow us to put money aside (so that, for instance, we can buy a couch and put the sapapa in the guest room; or so that we can buy a standing oven with a stove on top, instead of having a toaster oven and a two-burner stove that sits on the counter; ah, and a carseat for Shlomo and a new stroller because ours was not a well-researched purchase, and new clothes for me every time I change size), I don’t really have a choice.

And so, dear readers, I turn to you. Does anyone on here have a steady writing, editing, or teaching job that I can do from home?  It needs to be a set number of hours a week and a steady pay[pal]check at least $1500 a month.  Ideas?  Opportunities?  Have any of you done data entry, and can recommend a reliable website?

Hey, at least my parents can’t complain that they paid thousands for my degree and here I am looking for a simple job from home.  The Israeli government paid for 3 years of my degree, and Yitzchak and I paid for the fourth, 200 shekels at a time.

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Textbook for Daycare Teachers

cord in mouth, baby with cord in mouth, kid with cord in mouth, baby playing with cord, kid playing with cord, cord, safety, daycare safety

I am on my daycare soapbox again, after posting our story, and two posts on why I dislike daycare.

We have a college textbook on health, safety, and nutrition.  The textbook was created for daycare teachers.  We have this textbook because my husband started the elementary education track in college [and then got married to me, moved to Israel, and switched his course of study], and he had to take a health, safety and nurtition course.  Since the elementary track didn’t have its own course, students were offered two choices: Learn the course with the daycare students, or learn it with the nursing students.  He chose the daycare course, figuring it would be more practically relevant to teaching.

You know what?  The book looks like it was written for idiots (excuse my language).  He and the other students in the elementary teaching program just looked at each other, dumbfounded and wondering why they had to be there, when they started reading the textbook and participating in the course.  He kept the book, because he’s a book-collecting type of person (so am I), and it has some useful charts.  But seriously?  The book is So. Downright. Dumb.  The pictures are dumb.  The questions can be answered by anyone who has a dictionary, grammar, or a semi-useful vocabulary.  Most of the information is obvious.  Most of the “think it over” or “discussion” sections are dumb.

And this is a college level textbook?  But apparently, it is a very needed textbook.  Because, apparently:

a) Most people do not think about taking care of children until the very last second, and therefore know next to nothing about it.  This I find very hard to believe.

b) People who are looking to be daycare teachers usually aren’t too smart.  This I find very believable, even though I have friends who worked as daycare teachers, and are very smart.

Basically, there are two types of daycare teachers: The passionate ones, who quit after some time because of low pay and bad working conditions (as some of my friends did, and others would do if they didn’t work in the specific daycare that they do); and the ones who are in it for the money, who are simply there because they cannot get a higher paying job, or are not motivated enough to do so.

It scares me that most of America is placing their children in the hands of people who need that textbook to teach them the basics.  It just plain scares me.  Because, in my eyes, someone who needs that course in order to be a safe or effective daycare teacher, is not a good caregiver, and probably has an IQ of no more than 109.  And, for those of you who don’t know, 109 may be slightly higher than average, but it is by no means smart.

College grads usually have an IQ of at least 120, or they would have become college dropouts (the minimum required to graduate college is 115).  I am by no means an “only smart people are acceptable in society” type of person, but I do believe that America’s children – and parents – deserve that caregivers should be able to handle emergencies efficiently, and be able to give children the best. I am in no way undermining parents who have lower IQs and take care of their own children.  They are doing the best they can for their children, just like the rest of us are.  The best thing for a child is to be with their parents.  The next-best thing is to be with a caregiver who can give them the best opportunities for growth out there.

But the minute a child is not with their parents, they should be getting the best quality care possible, in all situations.  If a potential caregiver had to read that textbook in order to give proper care – they are off my list even before they were on it.  And – call me discriminatory, because I am a mother and I am allowed to be as paranoid, discriminatory, and over-protective as I want when it comes to my children – I would not leave my child with someone who I did not think could give the same quality care as myself or my husband.  That includes emergency preparation, that includes CPR, that includes the quality of the attention that they will get, the quantity of attention that they will get, and how that attention is given.  And it includes the caregiver’s IQ.

More on Daycare

daycare kids fight, sad daycare kids, daycare is bad, alternatives to daycare, daycare doesnt give enough attention, daycares dont care

Sometimes I think that I talk (or write) too much about specific subjects.  Maybe I do, but honestly, I don’t obsess about any random subject; I only obsess about those that are important to my life, or to my philosophy on life.  (The obsessing about topics important to my philosophy on life has got to stop, though.  I just don’t have enough time and energy to upkeep it.)

As a parent, daycare is one of those topics, especially since I’ve gotten quite a few comments on how Shlomo needs a social life, and I really should send him to a daycare to make friends.  About how kids who go to daycare are more “mature” (read: advanced) than those who don’t (they’re also more violent), and it’s very recognizable on Shlomo that he doesn’t go to daycare, since he’s not so advanced (read: doesn’t feel like talking, and is kind of shy around other kids).  Plus, he’s probably bored at home (which I can assure you is most certainly not the case).

One thing I noticed during the air raids last week was that the daycare nearest me did not take any of their babies to a bomb shelter.  Apparently, the one farther away, did; however, I didn’t see them, so I can’t know for certain.  On Tuesday evening, when I was talking with Yitzchak about a conversation I had had with someone in the bomb shelter, it struck me:  Why had Shlomo been the only baby in the bomb shelter?

Right across the way from the shelter is a small daycare, with at least six or seven babies.  There were several people walking the route between the daycare and the shelter, so even if the one or two workers on duty couldn’t have taken all the babies, certainly they could have taken three or four in their own arms, and passed the rest out to other people running to the shelter.  Especially since we had a whole minute and a half, and many, many people who made it in could have spared another twenty seconds to take a baby, without worrying that they wouldn’t have time.  They would have been happy to help out, because that’s the way Israel is.

But no – the daycare didn’t bother.  And this bothers me, because to disregard the siren is one thing.  To disregard it when you are in charge of other people’s children is another.  The first isn’t okay, but you’re only hurting yourself.  The second is completely irresponsible, and instead of ending up a suicide, you might end up as a murderer and a suicide.

Which just proves to me that even though I may be paranoid about placing my kid in a childcare center, I’m certainly not being unreasonable, and maybe not even obsessive.  And I might even be really smart.

After all, one of my primary fears about daycare was that in an emergency, my child might be overlooked, because each staff member has only two arms; if the children aren’t small infants, those two arms can only hold one child.  There’s also the chance that, in an emergency, someone might be overlooked.  I would never be able to forgive myself if the child who was overlooked was mine, and I could have prevented it by keeping him or her with me.  So, until my kids are of the age that you can teach them to follow instructions and how to act in an emergency, they stay with me – or with someone else whose only priority is their safety.  That’s one of the reasons I think that a babysitter is a world of a difference from a daycare, especially if the babysitter becomes a permanent part of the child’s life.

For those of you who need a little more of a push to reconsider daycare, check this out.  Actually, I take that back.  Take a look at it, no matter what you think.  Really.

Why I Don’t Want Daycare for My Son*

baby hurts another baby

One baby hurts another. Where’s the adult?

Yesterday I posted how we have avoided daycare until now.  Today’s post is about why we made that choice.  So, why are we anti-daycare?

1) There is no way that two or three adults can adequately attend to the needs of fourteen children.  The government minimum here is a 1:6 ratio.  Many, if not most, abide by that.  But it’s just not small enough.  Plus, if there was an emergency, G-d forbid, how do I know that my child will be okay?  You can’t know that – and I know that I would never forgive myself if something happened to my helpless baby (or anyone under four, when they can run and speak and learn emergency instructions) because I chose to put him or her in daycare.

2) The horror stories of daycare centers, anyone?

3) Shlomo is one of the only toddlers I know who doesn’t hit back, doesn’t bite, and doesn’t hurt other kids.  When someone hits him, he gives them a look of disapproval.  The other toddlers I have seen who act similarly also never went to daycare.  Point proven.

4) I do not believe that a child under three actually needs a social life.  Learning to share, yes.  Same-age friends, no.  Parents contribute a lot more to their children’s social abilities than any ‘toddler friends’ their child might have.  Children this age don’t make friends, anyways – and the little parallel play they need can be obtained by a play date or two per week.  And before you tell me that I’m depriving my child: Shlomo is very social, very caring and picks up on social cues that no daycare child his age would pick up on.  The only other toddler with those skills has a stay-at-home mom.  And believe me, I’ve seen a LOT of toddlers.

5) Toddlers‘ brains need more affection to develop properly than a daycare center can give.

And yes, I believe that one person who comes every day, provides consistent care, is a stable part of the child’s life, and doesn’t have any other responsibilities besides providing attention to your child, is on a totally different level than a daycare center.  While it’s not the ideal, it’s worlds apart from daycare.  And that, at least to this mother, makes all the difference.

*Unless noted otherwise, everything I have stated applies until age five or six.