Monday, July 20, 2009

So is there a hierarchy?

frig 2009-07-20 002

In this wacky world of stay-home moms, is there a hierarchy? 

There certainly is a spectrum.  Many mamas mean different things when they say they’re home with their kid(s).

For me, it means we are home.  If Ted is out, I am in.  When I was still teaching, I arranged most of my classes for days and times that Ted could stay in.  I still do for my own dentist appointments, etc.

There have been a few times my mother or Sara had to babysit, but we’ve never had to hire a non-family babysitter to make money.  Thankfully, because it probably would have cost us more than we were earning.  But also because it’s family… there is almost always a family member with the kids.

Of course, there were a few times before Pesach – and at other times - when our friend-neighbour Judy would come take out one or both of the little kids.  I guess she’s not family, but maybe if you stretch the definition a little… she’s known them since birth and is certainly around enough to almost count.

Anyway, I figure these minor handings-over of the kids aren’t enough to nullify my stay-home committment (ha!  weasel word!).

But what about a paid babysitter, a few hours a week?

What about a preschool, a couple days a week?

What about a full-time or part-time nanny who’s there just in case you need to go out shopping or whatever?

There’s a stay-home mama with two kids (not especially burdensome ones, that I’ve seen) who used to bring her nanny to shul with her.  Every time a kid got a little uncomfortable or whiny, during shul or the kiddush, the parents would just hand it over and carry on.  That’s got to be somewhere on the spectrum.

So I’m wondering if there’s a hierarchy.

At what point are you no longer a stay-home mama?  Is it just the second you accept a job outside of the home during your child(ren)’s waking hours?  What about charity work?  What about “ladies who lunch?”

What percentage of the time do you have to remain tethered to your kids before you lose your “stay-home mom” status –slash– badge of honour?

What percentage before the other stay-home moms begin to sneer that you’re not really staying home the way they are?

I’ll admit:  when we used to go to our attachment parenting playgroup, I’d get shocked when the babies started approaching that 1-year deadline when all the mamas around here go back to work (in the U.S., I guess it’s probably earlier), and they’d start looking for either a nanny or a daycare who would continue “parenting” their kid(s) with the attachment principles they’d applied so diligently in those first twelve months.

And I’d be like:  good luck!  They may be cloth-diaper-friendly, and they may hug the kids and play warm music and offer vegan, emission-free stuffed animals, but they will never, NEVER be that kid’s mama or dad or even a grandparent or loving-yet-ever-cool aunt.

I still think that, when I see nannies trudging around with little ones in Baby Bjorns.  Would I even want my child having that level of face-to-face, almost skin-to-skin bonding with the hired help?

Just a few thoughts with question marks at the end during a much-needed break.  Naomi crashed on the way home from our morning circle time and we had to walk her bike home together.  Quick nummies and they were both out like lights, just after noon.

I’m hoping to hang some laundry and then take off before they wake up – hee hee hee.

Oh, and I don’t lose my cred because Ted’s here.  He’s a stay-home dad… for today!

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