Posts Tagged ‘ judgmental moms ’

When To Start Preschool?

Saturday, August 10th, 2013

Emmett is 18 months. He’s a super active and happy baby. He absolutely loves going to the playground–not only to slide, but to also be around other kids his age. He is definitely a people person. But the thing I’ve found with my second child is that I don’t reach out to moms who have kids his age. I formed my close mom friendships when I had Fia and I actually don’t want to seek out new ones. I love the ones I have. And the person I’m closest with lives nearby. So we always pal around, either with our kids or without.

The other reason I don’t go on more mom playdates with Emmett is I’m often working around both their schedules. She goes to school 3 times a week, so there is pick up and drop off. He naps in the afternoons. On Monday mornings I take Fia to gymnastics. On Wednesday mornings I take Em (this is the class with the neglectful nanny). In other words, I’m juggling too much to have dedicated playdates with Emmett. Plus, this fall it gets even more hectic because Fia is switching to Montessori. Which is a whole other dilemma.

Nevertheless, I have sitters a few days a week for a few hours. When he turns 2, as much as I love my sitters, I think he might enjoy being with kids his own age. Fia’s current preschool allows total flexibility in terms of days and hours. I could enroll him for as few as 2 mornings a week. My pediatrician says she recommends some form of socialization for tots, starting between 18 months and 2 years. Granted, he gets a lot of socialization and stimulation from Fia and her friends. He’s not sitting in a corner all day. But this would be in a semi-structured environment.

It’s a no brainer right? Except, for some ludicrous reason, I have guilt. As in, shouldn’t I be with him? Phil says absolutely not. Do what’s best for him and me. And this is a guy who didn’t go to any preschool– his mom waited until he was 5 for Kindergarten. He’s perfectly social and well adjusted. (Well, sort of.) But I think it was a different time back then. I think there were more stay-at-home moms and preschool was more like daycare. Because the reality is, I’m not with Em every hour of every day anyway. And the reality is he would enjoy it. And I would get my breather.

I guess it’s the perception I’m worried about.  I felt judged when I enrolled Fia at 2 years old for 2 mornings a week (though I was hugely pregnant so that alone should have given me a free pass). Judgment by whom, I’m not sure. I just remember over-explaining it to anyone who asked. Which is also stupid since I generally don’t give a sh-t what others think of me.

At any rate, I’m curious to hear from the moms–especially those like me who don’t work full time outside the house, but need a break a few times a week. At this age, do you prefer sitters or preschool? And why?  Pros? Cons? Fill me in.

 

 

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The Sitter Chronicles–Your Comments

Sunday, June 26th, 2011

I’m pretty blown away by all the comments we’ve received (and I say that collectively, because many of us are commenting on each others comments as well). These three posts over the course of one week have caused quite a stir. We’ve had the good, bad and ugly.

I bow to so many of you for commenting in such eloquent, meaningful ways. Everything from sharing your story as a SAHM because your child has autism, seizures and cancer (there were a few of you and my heart goes out to how brave and strong you are. Those are not easy cards to be dealt. For me, unimaginable)– to those who feel privileged to be at home or at an office working. Or at home working. It sounds like for most of us, the arrangements we have fit our lifestyle. And that judgment isn’t necessary. Yet we do it anyway.

Why is it so hard not to judge? I have to catch myself all the time. Even the way I judge other members of my family or my neighbors–even my friends. I don’t know why it is human nature to feel superior. But for many of us, it is. Perhaps it’s insecurity or justification, but sometimes it just comes down to thinking your way is right and others are wrong. Why can’t it be that your way is right and other people’s ways are also right? It’s a work in progress for me.

I think the other theme I picked up on, particularly from the SAHMs is the lack of recognition they receive. And again, why is it that we feel such a need? Is it because the working people of the world get a tangible reward, i.e.: a pay raise, a compliment or a trophy? I know we moms get our kisses and hugs, which in many ways mean so much more, but it IS hard to not be recognized by your peers, your husband, your family when the job your doing is exhausting, and at times, thankless.

I took Fia to my in-laws this spring (a plane ride away), by myself. My husband was on a deadline.  I went for two reasons: so that they could see her and so we could both be pampered. Yet, I was fishing for compliments from my husband on how above-and-beyond I was going.

“My mom friends told me how cool it is for me to be flying Fia to Wisconsin to see your parents.”

“But you want to go,” he replied, seeming puzzled.

“I know, but still don’t you think what I’m doing is pretty great?”

“Yeah, I love that you’re doing it, but it’s also benefiting you.”

Not exactly the response I was looking for. But in all honesty, I had 24 hour childcare (oh no, here we go again with that bad word. Kidding), time to write, workout, and just hang out and relax. It was great. Why do I feel like I needed to be recognized as a hero? To be told I’m wife and daughter-in-law of the year?

These are all questions we can continue to ask each other and ourselves. Let’s just try and be kind about it. Like I said in one of my comments, you catch more bees with honey than vinegar…. Plus, it tastes better too.

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My Sitters Are Driving Me Crazy, Part 3

Thursday, June 23rd, 2011

I have a job. Actually several. One is this blog. Another is in television. In addition, there’s my job of being a parent. And a wife. And taking care of Wayne Sanchez.

IMG_0793

Yet, when it comes to the “professional” jobs, why do I feel judgment from “the other side?” I’m talking about the SAHM (Stay At Home Moms). Not all obviously, but enough to warrant a post on the topic.

On a typical week, I work 40+ hours at my professional jobs. I have sitters for 15 of those hours. Could I have them more? Absolutely. But I like to maximize my time with Fia. I grab other hours during her naptime and at night. In other words, I am just like many of you. Juggling, wearing many hats and trying to find that balance. Yet you can see how quickly I was fed to the wolves at the mere suggestion that perhaps a sitter has faults. And rather than addressing that, I got attacked by a bunch of you for not being with my child all 168 hours of the week.

Why were so many of the comments directed to the fact that I have a sitter? And that I don’t define my life solely based on the birth of my child? Here are some examples:

“…If she actually did it [take care of her child]  day in and day out, I’m sure she would consider it a job.”

Oooh, ouch. You can read more of Part 2 to see what I said about that.

“There is always taking care of your own kids…”

“Since it would seem that you just want to fuss about it, sounds like the mom thing may not be your “bag” either.”

Double ouch.

But this is my favorite:

“I honestly don’t think anyone should have a “parenting blog” unless they are a stay-at-home-mom/dad. Because only then can they make an entire blog about the day to day life of their kids and what it’s actually like.”

When did this SAHM get so entitled that it is her way or the highway? And that the only perspective on parenthood is from someone who doesn’t work outside the house? Granted this was an extreme comment, but it begs the question: is Parenthood a dictatorship? Is only one person’s parenting style worth hearing?  I don’t think so. There are thousands of ways to parent, all with their good and bad points.

In the 200 comments that were posted on this blog and facebook, I never saw one “professional” working woman criticizing the fact that I have a sitter (because frankly, that wasn’t the point of the blog). Yet, there is clearly some bitterness, judgment, maybe resentment?? in some of these comments. And this isn’t the only place. I hear it on playgrounds, in coffee shops, and as you can see–all over the Internet.

I admit, I have it good. I fall between the SAHM and Working Mom. But there are plenty of others who have to work far more taxing hours outside the home.  Some by choice, others because they need to feed and clothe their children. And guess what my friends who do it by choice say? It makes them a better MOM. That’s right. It is their way of getting balance and perspective, and space to breathe.

Trust me, I sometimes think that my mom friends who have full time nannies are missing out. And they are on some level. But what might they be gaining in return? And teaching their kids about life? Independence? Not to mention the financial contribution to their household. There’s also self-esteem and confidence to consider.

I guess what I really want to know is why is there such a debate between us? Aren’t we moms members of the biggest club in the world? Aren’t we supposed to be the biggest cheerleaders for each other? Why do we ridicule, judge and jump so quickly to conclusions?

When I had Fia, I made a decision to have help. I knew I would still need a creative outlet.  And I guarantee I’m a better parent because of it. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

feather finger painting

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My Sitters Are Driving Me Crazy–Part 2

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011

I was a bit surprised by the firestorm my blog set off. I was pondering it with my girlfriends Tuesday morning at the playground when a very strange thing happened.

A woman I had never seen came running up to us. She was almost in tears.

“Have you seen a blue baby blanket?” she asked frantically. (Her name is Julie.)

We shook our heads no.

“My sitter took it out with my son today and lost it!! It is his special blanket that was made from yarn we got in Australia. I let them take it because his father had to fly to Australia today and my son wanted to hold it. I even told her to be careful with it,” she said, clearly distraught.

My gals and I looked at each other, mouths hanging open.

“You gotta talk to HER!” my friend Stephanie said, pointing at me. It was like the universe sent Julie to me. Divine intervention reinforcing the point of my blog.

She went on to say, “You know the most ridiculous thing about this? I am paying my sitter to watch my son while I go searching for it.” I nodded. Been there too. It’s on my mom-crutch post.

Now before conclusions are drawn, let’s step back and think for a second what this argument is really about.

It’s about what we moms define as important. And what our expectations are. And it’s okay to agree to disagree. But I think it goes deeper than that. There was an underlying tone and theme in many of the comments. It speaks to the judgment we cast on each other, particularly the Stay At Home Moms versus the Working Moms.

And so begins Part 2 and 3 of my Sitter Chronicles.

PART 2

LOSING THINGS:

Let’s first answer the question– how do things get lost? Sometimes it boils down to an accident. A mistake. And in that case, yes, get over it. But a lot of times it’s because tots fling things out of the stroller, or throw something in the playground. I know the few times I have lost stuff it’s due to texting while strolling (not something I’m proud of). Or not paying enough attention to what Fia is doing. I accept that my behavior is unacceptable. And I make a conscious decision to be better. So are sitters beyond reproach on that? I don’t think so. Because at the top of their job list is to pay attention to their biggest responsibility: The Child.  Not their phone or their sitter friends. I believe that is exactly how Julie’s baby blanket got lost. And Fia’s things.

DIAPERS:

Dear lord. Diapers are a shit storm—literally and figuratively. I heard you all loud and clear on not checking the diaper bag: guilty as charged. Last Saturday was the first time it happened. And it bit me—and Fia—in the butt. It won’t happen again.

(more…)

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