Friday, December 16, 2011

I totally get it now.

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 (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.


Sarah Schultz said...

I think we all do it! I certainly did! There's things I stick to my guns about, parenting-wise...but Braden watches his Thomas or Bob in the morning, regardless of what some people think, he does learn things and enjoys singing and dancing to the songs...and it gives me 20 minutes of non-interrupted coffee sipping and email checking EVERY morning - bliss!

Lina said...

I used to judge families with nannies. Now I am a nanny. Go figure, right? But I love the kids' mom to pieces, and I think it's very wise of her to have realized that as much as she adores her children, she isn't cut out to be with them 24/7. She is a successful career woman who thrives on that as well; we both know her being with the kids full-time wouldn't be the best scenario for anyone. In addition, it makes me so happy to be able to love those kids as much as I do, and know that they get tons of QUALITY time with their mom. I was raised in daycare (divorced parents, working, etc), and since I was a toddler, my mom has always stressed quality over quantity. It's so true. Every family makes the decisions they have to for them, and that makes it the right decision. And oh boy do I hope we can pay down some of these student loans before having kids,

LOVE MELISSA:) said...

I have a nanny but I need one. I am a part time working dentist and I need to work not only to pay off my loans but because I worked too darn hard, not to work-lol:) I never judge others. My kids def watch their fair share of tv.

LOVE MELISSA:) said...

ps- we all had blinders on before we had kids!