Wednesday, May 16, 2007

The Tomatoes are Coming!

Last night the weather was frightful, but the kids were so delightful... ha ha! After a beautiful summery day, the cold front moved in and caused some wicked thunderstorms. We had just made it in from a promised bike ride (Lisa is now officially sans training wheels - yahoo!) when the heavens opened up and watered our very thirsty lawn.

My husband immediately put the Weather Network on to "track the storm". The kids were running back and forth to look out the front and back windows. Bart was concerned that the pool was getting wet (?!) and Lisa just kept looking up at the sky. Finally she said, looking very concerned, "Mom, are there really tomatoes coming?" After a brief pause, during which I rifled through the card catalogue in my head, I replied, "it's just a tornado warning, nothing to worry about." You just have to wonder what is going through their little minds.

This incident reminded me of a time about 4 years. The power had gone out (remember the August 2003 black out?) Lisa was 2-1/2 and she just didn't understand why there were no lights/tv/popsicles, no matter how many times we explained about the power being out. On day 2 of the blackout, she was playing in Bart's room as I changed his diaper. She squealed as she discovered the Johnson's Baby Powder on the shelf. "MOM! I found the power, now we can watch TV!!" Oy.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Baby Bart

Last night, Bart wanted to wear to bed his one-piece “sleeper” jammies that he found at the back of his drawer. He squeezed himself in (good thing there was some stretch), zipped them up and proceeded to refer to himself as “Baby Bart”. He kept up the act all evening, right down to falling asleep in my arms while sucking water from his Spiderman sport-cup “bottle”. I held him and stroked his hair until my arm fell asleep and just cherished this moment with him. Bart heads off to JK next year. He’s thrilled. Me? I’d like to hang onto Baby Bart just a little while longer

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

I am a working mom

I had to take a road trip for work today. I don’t do it often anymore and I was looking forward to the alone time in the car. I love talk radio and was happy to have the time to really listen. Leslie Roberts had Dr. Fraser Mustard on to talk about his new report Early Years Study 2: Putting Science Into Action. The Toronto Star credited Dr. Mustard with asserting that “Just one-third of parents are doing a great job. The rest are okay or even ‘godawful’.”

The discussion was interesting and Dr. Mustard was basically saying that the quality of the input in the formative years (0-6 years) will determine the quality of the output later in life, especially when it comes to literacy, numerology, behaviour, etc. Dr. Mustard’s criticism was aimed primarily at the government for not providing adequate funding and support for parents, but also at parents for not spending enough time with their children and not providing the quality of input required to develop young minds.

As I drove along, I was interested to hear the opinions of callers. Then, I felt like punching every self-righteous asshole that called in. Caller after caller talked about how parents need to make the choice to have one parent stay home (in every case this morning, it was the mother) to ensure that the child received that quality input. You have to decide whether material “things” are more important than the welfare of your child. Is it really that big a sacrifice? they asked.

My name is LoriD, and I’m a working mom.

I have nothing against SAHM’s. Nothing at all. It’s a choice and it’s the right choice for many, many families. It is not, however, the right choice for my family. I assure you that in making our choice, material “things” does not factor into the equation and I resent like hell the implication that it does. I also resent the implication that as a working mom I don’t make sacrifices for my children because, believe me, I sacrifice. I sacrifice time to myself so I can devote time and attention to my kids every morning, evening and weekend. I sacrifice sleep so I can do things like housecleaning, laundry and meal prep after the monsters are asleep. I sacrifice money, because I pay a premium to have a full-time nanny who is ECE trained.

I don’t work so that we can live large. I work because I love my job. I like that I make a meaningful contribution to something important to a great number of people. I don’t have the type of job that will be there waiting for me if I take 10 years off to stay home. Everything I have done to earn my position - the degrees, the jobs, the extra effort I put into projects – all of that will be lost if I take time off. My talents and skills aren’t suited to a work from home job, so my only options are to not work at all, or to work outside of the house. Perhaps that sounds selfish, but I know too many women my mom’s age whose identity is tied up with being only a wife and mother and they have nothing that is their own. That’s not for me.

The callers to the radio show were all bragging about their kids and how the teacher could tell they were from families with SAHM’s because they were so advanced. Well, allow me to brag a little. My daughter is the youngest in her class. She is also the best reader. She is well advanced in her ability to work independently and she is exceeding the provincial requirements for all subjects, except Art. She’s at the provincial standard for Art, which isn’t surprising since I always kind of sucked at Art.

If you’ve made it this far, I applaud you! The point of my rant is that I don’t draw the conclusion that SAHM’s are incapable of working, that they are home watching soaps or obsessing about the cleanliness of their homes. I ask that you don’t assume that just because I work that I love my kids less, that I don’t care about their health and well-being or that I have left the raising of my children to someone else. I’m sure there are just as many SAHM’s as working moms in Dr. Mustard's “godawful” category. They just don't listen to talk radio.