Sunday, December 21, 2008

Working and Stay At Home Parents Are Actually On the Same Side: Relevant READ THIS

I was going to include a commentary article from the U.K. Guardian into a larger discussion of parenting issues in the news, but decided that it was to good, and to important an article to risk getting buried and perhaps unread. And I am telling you that you should read it-take the time. The reason is that this writer, Geraldine Bedell, instead of writing a trite polarized article about the working versus stay at home mothering divide, really gets into the issue and illustrates that all to often we are fighting over choices that already are so loaded:

If you wanted to design an ideal childcare strategy, you wouldn't start
from here. You'd have to go much further back, to gender parity and social
equality, and an economy that was designed to serve those ideals, not ride
roughshod over them.

Perhaps the recession will induce a rethink; perhaps technology will
offer more civilised, financially manageable ways of working to more people. But
it's hard to see the balance of work and family being much easier for the next
generation of parents. Not as long as we are prepared to countenance quite so
much inequality, anyway.

I hope you will read and comment!

2 comments:

AnotherIdeaEngineer said...

I think the article implies that if your children go to daycare, somehow they are growing up short on love and parental care. Also, it seems to portray a rather black-and-white scenario of men/women/workplace dynamics. I am not sure I agree.

Both my wife and I work full time. We think that we are committed to our careers as well as our 2 1/2 year old twins. Sure it takes a lot of work, but I think it can be done. I don't really agree with the gender-equality issue.

I think it is possible to utilize the services of a daycare and/or at-home childcare, while working full time; and then pouring your attention and love into your kids when you return home. The problem arises when you are not really "present" with your children when you return home.

Every job has its demands and periods of high stress. Same goes for home - there are periods of stress (when the child is sick) and high demands. Like everything else, it is a matter of prioritizing.

I don't claim that we have it perfectly right. Far from it! There are days when we struggle. But we try. And that is the most important thing.

Thank you for sharing.

TwinToddlersDad
http://www.littlestomaks.com/about/

Kirsten Edmondson Branch aka "Aphra" said...

Thanks so much for your thoughts on this article.

I think the author is taking issue with a set-up that penalizes BOTH working parents and stay at home parents, because a balanced middle ground is just so unsupported in her view in the UK, and I would argue also in the US. In countries where gender equality is not such an issue you see policies and supports that do not force an untenable choice, but give options for families to find the best fit for themeselves, AND support the family as a KEY structure.

I think we get so derailed in feeling the need to defend our choices that we negelect to get at the real heart of the issue...societies that trully value and support families, working or not, and think that she is trying to get at this.

My sense is that many parents really do not WANT to put their kids in the care of others for a significant portion of their young lives. That doesn't imply that they can't make it work, but rather that so often it is a choice they are forced to make.

Thanks again for your comments--I really appreciate them!

Aphra


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