This week, a childcare centre sent a note home to their charge’s parents’ and it promptly went viral.
When you see what it’s about, it’s easy to see why: The letter has asked all non-working parents to collect their kids by 4pm, or face an additional fee to cover the cost of extra staff “who have families and commitments that they need to attend to just like you”.
The internet has exploded with all sorts of opinions on this – and I have a big one of my own.
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And it is… What an absolute joke. I think this is ridiculous and so very judgemental.
I’m a working parent – part-time and from home, if it matters – but I strongly believe that stay at home parents (SAHP) deserve a break, too.
Parenting is RELENTLESS. We don’t have the village we used to have to help with car-pooling and picks up and drop offs and errands.
If you don’t work, having your kids in day-care can be incredibly beneficial to your mental health. You can do things like grocery shop, run errands, read a book, pee, stare into space, enjoy silence, finish a hot coffee, paint a wall, go to a movie, ferry other kids to sports and activities, and a whole host of other activities made easier without ankle-biters in tow.
It really is no one’s business how you spend you time ‘off’; if you’re paying for a childcare service then you should receive that service, free of judgement and restrictions.
To be honest, I have more of a problem with families putting their babies in care 5 days a week, 12 hours a day so they can return to work.
I remember a gorgeous little boy in my daughter’s class a few years back, aged 12 months, who was signed it at 7am and out at 6pm every day. That would break my heart to leave my kids in someone else’s care all day, every day.
But I don’t judge the parents who make that choice, and I’m glad they have that option available to them. Different strokes for different folks, and all that jazz.
So, while there are many people ranting that SAHP’s “don’t need childcare anyway” – often followed by that trusty old judgmental phrase, “Why did you have kids if you’re not going to raise them anyway?” – it’s my belief that all parents deserve some well-earned downtime, regardless of how they choose to use that time.