It’s Not All Mary Poppins


Mir is a very wise woman.

September 26, 2007 Posted by | controversy, individuality, parenting, peer pressure | 3 Comments

Here’s a question

A few years back, I was the Network Leader for our local association of home childcare providers. My role was to provide phone support for caregivers and to arrange social and professional development events for the women in my network. Once in a while, a parent would phone up, looking for childcare. I would happily pass on names, with the caveat that I was not providing recommendations, only information. (Because, frankly, there were women in the network I would never recommend. My job wasn’t to screen, either: just give names and numbers and the rest was up to the parent.)

But one time, I had a call from a mother who wanted to attend one of our meetings.

“Oh, I think you’ve misunderstood the role of these meetings. They are support meetings for childcare providers. The association does provide information nights for parents, if you’re interested.” I offered her the phone number of the co-ordinator.

“No, no,” she explained. “Yours is the meeting I want to attend. I would like to meet with caregivers, not other parents. I think we’d have so much to learn from each other.”

I held my ground, primarily because I knew my network would flay me alive if I invited her. We were discreet and professional when we met in public, but when our meetings were in someone’s home, top item of conversation is almost always “horrible parent” stories. How could we have a convivial bitch-and-vent session with a parent in our midst?

I mentioned the call at our next meeting. It was greeted first with horror, and then with puzzlement.

“We could learn from each other?”

Ranged round the room were women with anywhere from one to five children of their own each, children ranging in age from two years to thirty years. No one in the room had less than four years’ professional childcare experience. Many had a couple of decades.

It was clear that this woman (mother of a seven-month-old baby, with no other childcare experience) could stand to learn a lot from us. The question of the hour was: Could we have anything to learn from her?

It was an interesting discussion.

What do you think? Any thoughts?

September 26, 2007 Posted by | daycare, parents | 26 Comments