Ok, so today's announcement of the imminent closure of 19 ABC Learning Centres made headlines across the country. I'm not going to get into that - apart from saying I think it could have been a whole lot worse.
What I'm really interested in is the resulting war of words on news.com.au between stay-at-home parents and those who have chosen (or been forced) to return to work after having children.
If you've read recent posts, you'll know that I'm a bit of a mixed bag. Olivia (2.5ish) goes to "school" three days per week while Sophia (8-ishmonths - 6 months corrected) stays home with me...but she'll go to school once she's well enough.
We made the decision to leave Liv in care a few days a week pretty much as soon as we found out we were pregnant with our second child. Why? A combination of factors: first and foremost, she LOVES it. Give her four days at home with me and she's sooooo ready to get back to her friends. And she learns so much...at not even three she can count to 20, recite the alphabet and interacts beautifully with other children.
Secondly, I wanted to have the opportunity to do some things with Sophia that I'd done when Liv was a baby (i.e. gymbaroo) and to spend some one-on-one time with her. Lastly, it gives me a bit of time out a few days a week. It works for us.
But getting back to the issue at hand...I understand that the decision to put your child in care, or stay home, is a divisive one...but I wasn't prepared for the venomous outpouring on news.com.au. Here's just a small sample:
"All you parents out there that so casually throw your children into child care places, I have got news for you - you CAN afford to stay home to look after your kids. I don't care about all your lame excuses about mortgages and so forth. If you can't afford a bloody mortgage then rent. If you can't afford new furniture then buy second hand. You are all full of BS and it makes me sick to the stomach. By the way, I don't live an extravagant life style. You want to know why ??? Because I am a stay at home mother and I want the best for my children. Putting them in a child care centre is NOT THE BEST. Wake up !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
...and one response
"Get a life. I choose for my daughter to go to daycare as I believe she needs more in life other than me & her father, not to mention that my husband & I also need a life of owr own. I love my daughter more than anything in this world & resent the fact that you would think different of people who you have never met. By putting her in a loving educational day care centre, she is learning values and social skill, which you obviously haven't yet accomplished in your pitiful little life."
Strong stuff, eh?! So where do you stand on the issue of child care? I'm firmly in the "individual circumstances, individual choice" camp. Share your thoughts and, if you're interested, read the 100+ comments on news.com.au. There are some absolute doozies.