28 August 2008

A different kind of crazy

An acquaintance recently lamented that her daughter “had to” put her 6-week-old in daycare and go back to work, even though leaving her newborn “was killing her.”

My purpose here isn’t to judge the specifics of that situation. There may be times when a mother of young children must work—though I suspect that, as usual, true hard cases are much rarer than we like to think.

That conversation made me immensely grateful to have a husband who has never exerted the slightest pressure on me to find “gainful employment,” nor begrudged me anything I asked because I don’t bring home a paycheck. This man thrives on sports but cheerfully chooses his children’s well-being over cable—even after Monday Night Football disappeared from the networks and even though it’s meant a months-long NASCAR fast this summer. He appreciates the fine lines of expensive engineering but is content to see a procession of used vehicles—minivans, no less—in his future. He savors the nuances of authentic pad thai, chicken tikka masala, and robust red wine, but happily consumes home-cooked substitutes and sips two-buck chuck.

Staying home with the kids might make me crazy sometimes, but I think I’d truly lose my mind if I “had to” hand over my newborn so that we could enjoy the luxuries that are marketed so seductively as necessities—possessions and pastimes which would after all only drive us to further distraction. For us, dropping the kids at daycare would effectively be sacrificing our babies on the altar of materialism. Talk about “the tyranny of the next thing!”

But I digress. I began this post, and I shall end it, in simple, heartfelt gratitude.


Rebekah said...

Good point. It's easy to think the dudes have got it made and what I do all day doesn't affect his life much. But he has to come home to a messy, lived-in house, and he doesn't have the pocket change to go out for a cheeseburger when I undercook supper.

Reb. Mary said...

Hey, I still think the dudes have got it made :P But I know of too many cases where the mom who'd rather be home is in the daily out-of-home grind, as well as ending up with most of the cooking, cleaning, and after-hours childcare anyway, because the dude can't live without some of his toys, and she just goes along with it.

Glenda said...

"monthlong NASCAR fast..." OI! Has he checked a local radio station? We're contemplating giving up our dish and when dh reminded me I'd miss some races, I reminded him I had a radio. :-)

(There's a reason my email is what it is.)

Rebekah said...

>>the dude can't live without some of his toys

Oh my. If I were married to a dude who needed toys . . . I would not be a good wife.

Reb. Mary said...

Glenda: He does catch some races on the radio, but apparently it's not quite the same as actually watching the cars drive around in circles :)

Joy said...

Amen, sistah! I did day care out of my home for 3 years. One mom had plenty of money for cigarettes, fake hair, fake nails, and her car was far nicer than mine. The kid was dressed in name-brand everything. Yet, she couldn't "afford" to stay home. It all boils down to priorities. You have time for what you make time for, and you have money for what you make money for.

Rosie said...

I liked this post. I'm also grateful for the stay-at-home option. Having worked in a daycare, I am ever so relieved our newborn won't be heading there once s/he's born.