As a working parent en route to three children, I have sampled widely from the range of childcare options. I’ve also collected data on childcare types that I haven’t personally tried. Scientific analysis of these data has led me to conclude that the “perfect childcare solution” for children of pre-school age is a load of hogwash. (more…)
September is a joyous time of year for the 39 million American families with two employed parents. With a summer of fractured childcare in the rearview mirror, we breathe a sigh of relief to be able to resume a better balance of family and work life. But just as we feel ourselves starting to relax, it hits us: the school calendar has a slower start than we hoped for, then gets punctured with various “vacations” that go unrecognized by most employers. Then there will be winter holidays and unanticipated snow days, spring vacations. Then summer again. September relief… not so much.
In truth, it isn’t just families with the under-five’s who struggle with locating sufficient childcare to make the professional-family life balance viable. It’s a much lengthier struggle than most politicians or policymakers will acknowledge. (more…)
On his second day of camp drop-off, Ali’s 6-year-old balked. He clung to her leg and asked if she had to work today. Did he need to be there the whole day? Couldn’t she come early to get him? He didn’t know anyone at camp and he wasn’t having fun. He teared up as he grasped for a way out of camp. Ali hugged him and said that she knew he could do it and that she would be there early if she could get out of work in time. He watched her go with a trembling lip. She glanced back as she left the drop off area and noticed how much smaller he looked than the other campers. (more…)
On Monday mornings I cavort with two small superheroes outfitted in bright red capes and felt eye masks. The larger of these superheroes is fast. During a neighborhood jaunt, he catches the eye of a driver at a stop sign and silently challenges him to a race. Determined to prove that superheroes can outperform automobiles, he churns his skinny five-year-old legs as quickly as he can. The tinier superhero tries to keep up with his big brother, committing to the waddling run of a two-year-old with an enormously round belly. The chunky little superhero increases his volume of panting to provide an audible demonstration of his speed, emphasizing it further with a declaration of “super duper fast!” And then the larger superhero scornfully observes that the tinier one could never beat a car. (more…)
Let’s assume you adore your kids. Not the detached kind of adore where you show off pictures at your reunion, or which finds you proclaiming them to be the sweetest of sleeping angels. I’m talking about the kind of adore that makes your heart expand with a mix of joy and love when your child firmly maintains that his shoes are on the right feet (they aren’t). The kind of adore which downgrades your fury to mild irritation when a singsong “I’m awa-aake!” rouses you at 5:00am on a Monday morning. It’s the kind of love that makes you want to be present and engaged with your singing alarm clock. (more…)