I don’t want my children to have an ok life. I want it to be extraordinary.
I’m a reader. A researcher. I always have been. If I’m going to a restaurant, I look up the menu. If I’m buying a new appliance, I trawl the online reviews. We live in the information age, no matter the question, the answer is literally at our fingertips.
Why then, when it comes to raising our children (no doubt the most important task we will ever undertake as parents), is it considered OTT or extreme to do the same?
When my daughter started daycare, I spent a lot of time trying to find the right fit for her and our family. I did a lot of research and asked a lot of questions. Over and over again though, the answer to my question would come back the same, “She’ll be fine.”
“How will you get her to sleep?” “She’ll be fine.”
“She has intolerances, will you make sure she doesn’t have those foods?” “She’ll be fine.”
“What kind of activities do you do?” “She’ll be fine.”
“If her body temperature reaches over 30 degrees she will spontaneously combust.” “She’ll be fine.”
You get the idea.
No doubt those three words, usually delivered flippantly and with the occasional eye-roll, were an attempt to reassure me. I did not feel reassured. I felt frustrated. “Fine” is a term I would accept for the weather. Maybe even a meal (actually probably not a meal). But certainly not for the care of my children or any other aspect of their lives.
Now don’t get me wrong, we definitely have days as a family where “fine” is all we manage. In fact, we probably have a couple of days like that a week. On the whole though, ”fine” as an aspiration just doesn’t seem like enough. I don’t want my children to have an ok life. I want it to be extraordinary.
So I do the research. I talk to experts. I ask questions. I use my instincts. I suffer the eye rolls. If that makes me extreme, then I am totally “fine” with that.
I'm a first-time mother and I've found that I can't go out with my son without somebody giving me advice on how to raise him. There seems to be a general assumption that new parents have no idea about children, and it is everybody's duty to share their wisdom.
I think of you want your kids to be better than "fine" you need to consider just staying home or getting a nanny. A childcare centre has 4+ kids per educator so unfortunately "fine" is all they can guarantee at times when they have 4 crying children and only two arms.
Once child is in some sort of day care (nursery, child minder etc) their well being is out of our hands for those few hours...and that's fact and it's called life. I know that there are some better places and some not so well suited to individuals needs but unless it's your own family( grandparents or aunties) looking after them with all the love that imidiate family can provide, especially one on one- their care will be just fine and ok...not amazing. You can ask and expect things but reality is they will be one of many kids someone is looking after and they won't be that special...as they are to parents.