Friday, January 04, 2008

Will Pick Avocados for Childcare

Over on Ra'anana Ramblings, a post and thread about kibbutzim and childcare that's got me slightly upset.

Basically, it seems there's some documentary about raising children on kibbutzim in the old days, when the kids were raised communally. THe resulting thread produced a lot of 'how could they have' commentary. The Balabusta, feeling contrary, commented:

I am starting to think about having a family, and one of the biggest problems we're going to face is how to pay for childcare with two working parents.

I might trade having my kids under my roof all night for knowing that they were being taken care of consistently by someone from my own community, and that they had a permanent community of their own to rely on.

OK. I get back (from three respondents):

BBJ- hmmm, see this movie and you might think twice about your last paragraph. One sentiment that was clearly expressed in this movie was about how cruel and lonely it can be growing up in a group of children, without having your nuclear family to return to at night. Children can be very cruel, no matter how good the supervision is.

BBJ, if and when you have children, if you and your baby bond well, you will be extremely sad to turn over your baby to a nanny and will be anxious to see him/her as soon as you can. And as Abby pointed out, young children are not capable of "being relied on" as a community.

BBJ: You've already gotten some good replies to your comment, so I'll just reiterate that once you have kids, no way would you be so willing to have them sleep elsewhere. Take my word for it :-)


1. Is there an equally great documentary discussing the horrors of growing up in a nuclear family? I've got enough friends who were abused by siblings and parents that I'm a little wary of the trashing of the kibbutzim for stuff that happens in a wide variety of settings.

2. Thanks for suggesting the baby and I might not bond well, in which case I'd be happy to hand her over to a nanny, I guess.

3. "NANNY"? We're talking about a daycare center in someone's house.

You know, it's not so much that I don't get that when I have a baby I will love him more than anything else in the Whole Wide World. It's just that I have watched my friends start their families, and go through experiences that included paying a quarter of the family's salary for indifferent childcare, and straining family bonds by needing more childcare than the family could easily provide.

So, yes, I stand by my statement.

In real life, I will try to eke out some time when I am on vacation, take a little maternity leave, do what I can. By the time the baby is a toddler, we'll be doing daycare, hopefully at the JCC, and pinching pennies for it. Luckily the husband will be out or almost out of school at that point, and we'll have some more options, options that will still involve daycare.

Would I prefer to be an at-home mommy for the first ten years or something? Sure.

But would I trade having the baby at home overnight for not having to rush to pick her up, worry incessantly about the caring and background and qualifications of the carer, and pay a quarter or more of my salary just to have a place for the baby to be safe during the day? For having the kid at home in the evenings to do homework, chat, watch movies, bond, hang out, and then return to the children's house? WATCH ME.

This is not because I do not understand that I will cry when the baby house lady comes to pick up the baby. It's because I've watched friends cry when they drop the baby off at the daycare, and then cry again when the bill for the daycare comes.

Nanny. Bloody hell, who has a nanny?


Friar Yid (not Shlita) said...

Back in the day in SF, the only kids I knew that had nannies called them "au peres." Which seems to connotate an extra layer of servility, as I think that usually requires that the au pere be there on a visa and living in the closet underneath your stairs. What better way to keep her in line.

Balabusta in Blue Jeans said...

I won't be able to afford one of those, either.

And the closet under my stairs is an apartment-building storage space full of woodworking equipment. Couldn't fit even an anorexic European au pair in there.


Tzipporah said...


Beleive me, there were certainly LOTS of nights I wished that baby Chalal could go sleep in another house at night. Especially during the first three months. And sleep regressions. And teething. ;-}

Because Bad Cohen is in grad school, we worked out a good deal:

Grandparents get grandchildren in exchange for free child care a couple days a week. With two sets of gps, that worked out very well, indeed.

Now that Chalal is a toddler, he's in part-time daycare at the place connected to the university's early childhood education program. Believe me, those places are FANTASTIC - rates, quality of staff, etc.

Best advice: put baby on the waiting list when you're pregnant. (I know, this sounds obscene, but it's actually necessary in a lot of communities, including ours.)

Good luck!

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