Last month I said something about childcare and my dear AlphaDogma
was all WHAT?? The assumption she had had was that there would be a good range of childcare choices in this fine metropolitan locale; for a number of reasons there are not.
1. Social Credit
For many many many years BC had a legion of the white plastic belt types managing our provincial affairs. It is my belief that while the 70's and early 80's brought actual public or at least group daycare to communities of women in Saskatchewan, the Maritimes, Ontario (obviously) and even
Alberta not so British Columbia. Public money was expended to break ground for nice bridges and fancy highways, world expotitions, and BRIC shares.
No ground was broken for things like daycares and the ground that could have been gained there has now been permanently lost. Building childcare services from scratch are, like my business of libraries, EXPENSIVE. Too expensive really for the post-social-safety-net economies of North America. I have a range of micro-daycares run out of family homes that I can call, make that about 75 outstanding phone calls on my to do list. These centres can be great but they inevitably have downsides (challenging children at home belonging to the caregiver, short hours, fickle landlords, poor facilities, long vacation closures and even complete service cancellations). I will use one of these for my two year old, probably part time. To be honest I found them a bit unsuitable for kids over the age of 3. They just become a pay-as-you-go clique with a jeopardy of waaay-hay-hay too much TV.
2. Not a family City
and Mo-Wo the Ad Hoc Urban Geographer
Vancouver is expensive to live in. I love being a city dweller. I liken my neighbourhood more closely to the rural-come-newburb small village feel of the town I was raised in back then
-- even more than said town is nowadays
. It seems odd to me but daycare is much cheaper and more plentiful in the burbs.
I live in on Sesame Street
, South Vancouver. It has, in my scientific studies, a high density of SAHMs. It seems a bunch of us bought in here for the same reasons. It was one of the last realistically priced places to buy in Vancouver if you wanted a family home at the turn of the century. There are families with kids under 7 about every 3 doors on the 3 blocks surrounding me. This has created a vibrant and happy parenting environment and it has fostered more courage, may I say, to stay home longer and/or part-time through the pre-school years. I get a different story from my friends in Richmond, Coquitlam and Kerrisdale.
3. Nanny come lately
I could hire a nanny I guess. I am not a nanny fan and truth be told it is June... There will be no pre-school after next month and my 3 year old might commit hari kari if stuck home for the summer staring at her brother and an in-home care provider. Also, nannies in Vancouver are too plentiful for me to deal with. Every Jane, Agnes and Melodica his just migrated here from Manilla, Bogata, Nelson, Chetwynd and Provost thinking hey I CAN LOOK AFTER CHILDREN! It is a needle in a haystack to find good people.
I am interviewing and think I might do a nanny share with another family 3 days a week. But how long will I hire the person for? People I know with nannies often invest a lot into hiring a nanny they keep for only 12 months. What is the point of this?? All that search time, training and then getting accustomed just to do it all over again, and over again and over again.
There was a time when I told people I would go back to work when I had good childcare. I have in my 4 year parenting career had about 7 childcare scenarios. For the most part no scenario has lasted more than 7 months. I would clearly label one of those as a 'good childcare scenario'. Based on the conditions and my own experience I might never work. I don't think I have ridiculously high standards I just prefer my kids are not bribed with candy, barraged with gender sterotypes/division or are left with TV's for hours on end while I am at work.
Though my husband might be surprised to hear this I do think it is a form of discrimination. I like working but I like my children to be safe, secure and developing normally more. I have one friend with good childcare and I think if I could have beat the odds as she has of finding daycare I would be a different mother. She has her kids in a quality, managed, group settings that are continuing. These are centres care for kids for the periods of age 1 to 3 and then 3 to 5, adding preschool content to the latter program. I have 1
friend with quality care like this. Remember I am Mother-Woman!!! I know hundreds of mothers in Vancouver and getting spaces like these are a long shot. (Getting them in a single centre, by the way, is nearly impossible, my buddy still faces dual drop-offs cross town). If I had to make my work decisions solely based on my desire to go to work and not on a blend of work and available childcare services. I would be a different mother.
And just saying that I could be different as a mother at all seems a bit strange to me.
In the end I might be getting somewhere. There has been some luck on my part but nothing that will be simple. I am currently entertaining putting my Girl Friday in a full-time play-based daycare, one she was in before. I'll register my son in a family daycare twice a week and then book on for a nanny share with another two year old three days a week. Maybe I'll find a ft daycare for him by Fall? I will try and hang it all together for at least a year. We'll see.
This set up offers the kids a good bit of social time and development while I work. That is very important to me. I found when I was working before that I want the off work hours to be family time and the work hours I have to be work hours for them, too. It also gives us a bit of flexibility, for my after hours teaching and errands help and so forth by using a nanny part of the time. Both of the daycares by the way are within a block of my home so that gives us both time and the sense of community
that I think is important for little people as their independence in the world grows incrementally.
So what do you think? Is this a crazy blended solution? As you know I can tend to over-think things. I have not been happy that I need to go to work now. I want to find a soft-shoe solution, one that the kids think is fun and not one that puts the emphasis on fancy parental goals for development and programming. I have done that before and have not been pleased with the results. I know they are only 3 and 1 so their opinion might not be the most elaborate but as you know those are not always the most accurate opinions in matter like these anyway.
Labels: because I think about stuff too much, childcare, having a uterus, scamcouver, social justice