Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Reader asks why I complain about money problems while I send my kids to daycare and offer my wife a maid.

In moderating the blog's posts, I came across a reader who made the comment that it makes absolutely NO SENSE to have a STAY-AT-HOME MOM and yet send the kids to DAYCARE (a.k.a., "SCHOOL") while at the same time complaining about money.  There was a maid comment in there somewhere also.

[The comment was a reply to my posting here.]

In short, I couldn't agree with you more.  My wife has this crazy idea that she deserves to have the kids in childcare as soon as they're old enough to walk, and that she deserves a maid to help her with the housework.  From a sympathetic point of view, I understand that with three kids under three-years-old, they could be a bit much to handle.  But then again, why have them if you are not going to take care of them?  I don't remember my parents shipping us off to daycare until at least Gan.

In my wife's defense, she does an amazing job taking care of them, and the reason we send them to daycare is because it really is too much for her to take care of all three at the same time.  So far only our oldest (now three years old) is in daycare.  In September, our oldest girl (almost two years old) will be starting daycare.  The goal here is the selfish goal to give my wife some breathing room so that she can read her books and spend more time with the youngest one, who is now trying to learn to crawl.

Additionally, the benefit of school (a.k.a., "daycare") is to develop our childrens' social skills and to get them to interact with other children.  Could she do this without me spending an arm and a leg on tuition this early on in our lives?  Of course.  Would she?  Not a chance.  She'd have regular play dates, but the truth is that if the kids are not at school, they'd be playing with their toys or watching Baby Einstein videos over and over again (by the way, no I don't recommend them).  What I omitted to say is that above and beyond the social skills, the kids benefit from being immersed in a Jewish environment where they learn Torah and are taught things they likely would not learn through osmosis in our home.  We obviously spend time with chinuch, but not for five hours a day.  Plus, I'm not even around during most of the day because for now, I'm working.

Bottom line, I am not so upset the kids are in daycare.  Really it is beyond my wife's interest level or emotional capacity to handle them full-time.  When the kids are in daycare, my wife is human and is able to eek out a smile once in a while at the end of the day.  I don't think my daughter needs to be in daycare, but she is ready to have friends to play with.

As for a maid or a sitter, we pay for one when we need one.  So far my wife has been pretty good about this and has only invoked the sitter from time to time.  She's been holding off on the maid for now.

This is the nicest answer I can answer at the moment.  I'm a bit upset at her now as we speak.


Rae Macklyn said...

Good answer, actually, and it makes a lot of sense.

Anonymous said...

I TRULY appreciate your honest reply. You are a truthful man.

My experience:

We had three young children, although we spaced them out because we PLANNED to have children when we felt we could take care of them. Our finances are and always were EXTREMELY tight. In fact in order to BE WITH MY LITTLE CHILDREN and make ends meet while my husband worked full time, I ran an in home daycare at a friend's home (our home was 620 square feet until our oldest of the three was 9), FULL TIME, with SEVEN kids (3 were mine and four were friend's kids)in diapers.

Was it easy? Never? BUT I will never regret being the one to be there with my kids to instill MY values and to give them MY time.

Maids? Nope, didn't and don't have the money. TOGETHER my husband and I keep the house clean.

Just a thought to ponder.

PS My oldest is 16 now and articulates how appreciative he is that I was and always have been there for them until they entered preschool at age four, till noon.

Zoe Strickman said...

Thank you for sharing. That IS an encouraging story. :) Please continue to share.

Ahuva said...

I'd like to second what Rae said. That was a nice, thoughtful answer.

I would, however, argue that if she isn't emotionally capable of caring for the kids, then that may be a reason to get a heter for birth control. You are both very young. Eventually she's going to get overwhelmed with all the children even with daycare (and the expense is going to become increasingly difficult for you to handle).