Before J, I was so judgmental. Being a teacher and working in a school for the last 8 years really makes one feel like an expert on families and parenting. While it has given me excellent experience, knowledge, and a window into parenting - I never knew what it was really, truly like to have a child.
In my line of work, in the area where we live, nannies are not the exception but the rule. Parents work ungodly hours to be able to afford a particular lifestyle. In our program I, more often than not, interact with the nannies/au pairs. I hate it! It breaks my heart not to see a parent dropping of their child. It breaks my heart to watch a child run into the arms of the nanny at the end of the day, instead of their parent's. While I am glad that there is a bond between so many, there is still something so fundamentally wrong about it.
I swore that would not be us, but here we are. J is picked up by his nanny in the morning and taken to the other family's home. He smiles when he sees her, she greets him with hugs and kisses. I am thankful that he loves her and is loved by her.
Our massive student loan debt is the ONLY! ONLY! reason why I am still working. Otherwise, I would stay at home and raise our child. But this is a necessity for us at this time, and so this is what we do.
Judge me! you young teachers who dream about staying at home with your children one day. Just know that you will be in the same boat as I, mulling of your preconceived judgments and feelings.
(Let me tell you this one thing: I sit her blogging/working from home today. It is a glorious feeling to know that my child is safe and loved, while I enjoy some coffee, music, the wafting scent of an Anthro.pologie candle, and productivity. There, I said it. Today I am THRILLED we have a nanny.)
Our students often have very intelligent, engaging conversations with each other. Unfortunately, it often revolves around a TV program. A few years back, I asked one student, "Well, what's going to work?" In response (and I kid you not!) the entire classroom erupted in song/chant: "What's gonna work? Teamwork! What's gonna work? Teamwork!" This song comes from the popular program, Won.der Pe.ts. Wow.
My general rule of thumb is still "no television before age 3." Now that I am faced with reality - I make an exception - when I have to trim J's fingernails. This little man never stops moving! Unless, the television is on. So for the 3.5 minutes it takes me to trim his fingernails, he has been enjoying Ses.ame Stre.et (thank goodness for Net.flix)!
I'm sad that I judged. I'm sad that I had blinders on for what I expected all parents to be. While I do wish to strive for perfection, I understand that I am bound to fail in my own expectations. It is hard to look back at myself before I was a mom, and see how stubborn I was in my opinions. I really think I did a disservice to myself and those parents by judging how they raised their children.
After all, we do the best we can do.
I do the best that I can do. And I totally get it now.