Dear Mr. VP,
Today, I thought we’d celebrate your 100th day in the office by revisiting one of the most ridiculous and offensive things you’ve ever said.
“Sure, you can have it all, but your day-care kids get the short end of the emotional stick.” – you, 1997
I was thinking about this yesterday as I made two attempts to pick up my kid from his preschool aftercare program. The first time I walked in he told me he wanted to stay. The second time I walked in, he and his friend were talking excitedly about what they were going to do outside. I left and did something for myself (Godly froyo, so you’d approve) and when I came back, he was chattering on and on about how they’d played Tumble Leaf. He was Fig, friends were Maple and Pine. He was totally happy.
Last week at drop off, he was upset. The second his teacher said “Can we make a paper airplane together?” he perked up and stopped crying. She knew exactly what to say to make him feel better, because she knows him so well.
A few weeks before that, when he was overtired and wouldn’t nap, one of his other teachers literally held him in her lap until he fell asleep.
I’m not saying that every daycare or school is equal, but let me tell you that I’m very clear on the fact that my kid is not getting the short end of any stick. We have a strong and caring parent/child relationship. And along with that, G knows that he has an entire network of adults who care for him and love him. Being cared for by other adults isn’t stunting his emotional growth. In fact, I believe he’s grown into a more social and more confident little kid since he started school, because he knows he has plenty of people to fall back on when he needs support.
This isn’t to say that stay at home parents can’t provide that same network for their children — what it is saying is that we should lay off judging the work/home decision of others because all our kids are going to be fine. And if G isn’t fine, it isn’t daycare. It’s probably an early exposure to Cthulu.
But of course it isn’t a real concern for kids that is driving you. If you were really concerned about kids staying home with parents, you’d get behind parental leave policies that allow that to happen. What you’d really like is a return to Pleasantville and moms in the kitchen with pearls and martinis at the ready when you arrive home. Gosh, I love the patriarchy.
Happy 100th day.