Wednesday, September 2, 2009

a question of childcare (3a) practicalities - contributions, please!

I'm taking a week or so off my childcare posts to read and reflect before I write the next one. It's supposed to be about "practicalities" - an impossibly huge task, now I come to think about it!

What I'd like to address is some of the practical issues which were raised by my previous posts on childcare. Obviously I won't be able to address every issue and every situation, and I'm no expert anyway, just a woman like you, muddling through how to apply the Bible to our lives!

I thought I'd give you a chance this week to ask any practical questions which were raised for you by my previous posts. I don't promise to answer them - but maybe other readers will have a go! Here's some I've thought of, just to get you started. Please add your own questions (or answers!) to the comments.

  • You say that burnout or depression may be good reasons for considering childcare. How do I tell if I'm approaching burnout or depression? What are some helpful steps to take before I consider childcare?
  • My child is very active and social and thrives around other kids, but is hard to entertain at home. Is childcare a good option for kids like mine?
  • What if childcare makes me a better mother?
  • We've decided our family needs childcare to survive. How should we choose between different kinds of childcare?
  • I agree that childcare isn't the best option, but my kids are in childcare and it would be disruptive to pull them out now. What should I do?

Feel free to have a go at answering these questions (especially the last couple - I'm a bit stuck on those two!! - in fact, now I think about it, I'm stuck on the second one too) or add your own questions to the comments.

image is by tantek at flickr


Lucy said...

Can I ask another question? I'll assume the answer is yes :)

I really love the idea of the older (or other) women (or men) from church being able to help out families and other people who need a hand in the church community, and I think it would be terrific if that were able to happen more, especially if it created more alternatives for the care of really young kids.

Something I struggle with personally though is the fact that I have nothing to offer people in return - I know it shouldn't really be about that, but I feel I can't ask someone to help me out regularly if I don't compensate them in some way. Also, when I'm really struggling with looking after my kids the thing I feel I need is a regular break from them - something I can look forward to and plan for - more than a one off thing (although of course that would help). I also don't feel I can really ask someone to look after my kids just so I can have some time off - I tend to only ask for babysitting if I have an appointment that the kids can't come to.

This is partly why childcare seems an attractive option at times for me - I wouldn't need to feel that I'm asking too much of someone (that's what the CCCentre is there for) and it would give me some regular child free time to look forward to.

I guess after all that rambling I don't have a real question, but I'd like to hear what peoples' thoughts are about this. The more I'm struggling the less I'm likely to ask someone for help because I feel like I'd be burdening them. It would be great if someone could see that I'm struggling and offer to help, but that doesn't tend to happen, so I'm not really sure what to do!

Jean said...

Dear Lucy,

I agree - it's hard to ask for help - especially when you're struggling and need it most! It's a reminder to look out for younger women when we're past the little kids' stage, isn't it.

And yes, childcare can sometimes be a good option during these times - as long as the care is good, our children cope well, etc etc ...

Another option which doesn't depend on asking for help and which may give kids more security is to pay a trusted woman from church to look after your kids a few hours a week. We've done this when I needed a break each week but there was no-one available, and it was wonderful - they were lovely young women and the kids thrived on the one-to-one attention.

Love Jean.

Simone R. said...

Hey Lucy.

I hear you. It's the anticipation of a break that can be as beneficial as the break itself. The knowledge that you will get some time to yourself is a little light shining in the darkness.

And I understand the difficulty of asking for help. When you are feeling down, asking someone to do something for you is near impossible. Especially hard to ask someone to come to your house if you feel everything is out of control.

I don't have anything to offer but to say that when the original question was posed (the one day a week childcare so mum can have some time off question) yours is the exact situation I was envisaging when I said I thought it was a great idea.

Some child care centers are better than others. I'd check it out. Sanity is a precious thing.

Lucy said...

Thanks for the advice :) Our situation's a bit complicated (whose isn't?) by a not-very-obvious-to-other-people physical disablity and our very straitened finances. I think I need to think outside the square a bit and see what I can come up with...

Hopefully I'll remember to look out for young(er) mums who might need a hand when my kids are a bit older :)