Tuesday, July 13, 2010

(more like a manic) monday

my stall at the market
hard at work, New Westminster Farmer's Market
 ... and it's Tuesday already .... but enough of the self-flagellation.

One of the hardest exercises I found at Mama Renew was thinking about my support network. Firstly, I summarised, mine is 8000km away. There's no handy popping round the corner to visit family when you've emigrated across continents. Secondly, and even more acute at the time, I realised how little of a support network I actually had in place around me. Sure, I had the emergency-type social services help which would step in until 8000km-away lil' sis could book her airfare over here to help out, but where was the 'not life or death' support in my life? Where was coffee-with-a-friend support? Where was the shoulder to cry/rant on? Where was the last minute keep-an-eye-on-the-kid help? Where was the friendly neighbour with an open house for the Wee Guy when family matters intervened? Where was the extremely short notice babysitter?

Where, in fact, was any kind of childminding full stop? I'd recently 'let go' my after school care and the Wee Guy's favourite playdates had re-emigrated or gone into fulltime after school programs.

In summary - we/I had no support network at all. Bummer (my least favourite class).

Or at least that's what I thought.
I stepped out and re-connected with a local babysitter.
We might have some playdate potential on the go.
After-school care doesn't seem such an impossibility now (indeed, after last term all concerned realise it is actually a necessity). Indeed following a hypothetical (but IRL) job interview and discussing the possibilities with mr ebb, after-school care may not be such a 'biggie".

Yes, you're correct - child care is top of my list in developing a support network. I'm willing to admit I'm somewhat obsessed with the matter right now as I consider What To Do With The Rest Of My Life. Just about any option under consideration (any sane option) includes The Childcare Question. So what do other mums do?

Well ..... it is a wee bit of a touchy subject. "It" being childcare which allows mum to fly the nest and be 'employed' or whatever. Not many of the high fliers mention much about the nitty gritty, except to say that they work late into the night after children's bedtimes. At a recent momcafe event, the nanny seemed to figure prominently in the world of "women who get things other than staying at home done". Over on Amber's blog, Sue Sinclair of Raspberry Kids was kind enough to answer my possibly intrusive questioning about childcare arrangements. Other interviews I've seen or heard in the media mention very little about working around the lives of a young family, apart from stressing how much activity goes on after the kids are in bed. I'm starting to feel that women are fed up being judged as poor mothers if they admit to any kind of extra help with the kids or are honest about needing to sleep at night for a full eight hours ... so they say nothing. There is a new kind of supermum on the block!

I'm in complete agreement however, that to be an effective mum it is important to be happy and fulfilled. This is a purely personal objective too. While I cannot understand some parenting/work arrangements, if it works for that family then I'll applaud it and probably take notes for inspiration.

The question for me is, what will work well for me and for my child? I got a very swift and surprising gut reaction to how much after-school care I feel is too much. I also faced up to how many days a week I was willing to contract out parenting to someone else. For the first time in my life I'm having to consider employment in terms of the needs of two people; my son and myself. We are still very interlinked and it has amazed me how automatically his needs have crept into my deliberations recently.
Job-hunting as a couple - hmmmm.

PS: I cry on the shoulder of my blog (though it sucks for coffee dates).


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