There’s nothing like Christmas for feeling a bit broke, specially Christmas in an affluent area when you’re on one (not very big) income, however today I was selling books at a nursery open morning (trust me, this does not count as a second income, today for example I only sold two books). It was one of those opens at 8am, shuts at 6.30pm places, which I know are very necessary if both parents are working, specially in London where you could be working in central London so not only have you got your working hours but your commuting time to. This nursery looked a perfectly nice nursery (and I have plenty of friends who put their kids in nurseries and are happy) but I sat there thinking about how I was glad my kids didn’t have to go to a place like that and it was worth not being able to have that ’4 bed house’, ‘foreign holidays’ and a ‘spend what you like food budget’, we live in a small two bed flat (yes ok in an affluent area), our holidays are at my dad’s in North Wales and have been for so long last summer we opted for a change and the change was . . . staying at home and our food budget, well let’s just say I look at the contents of Nigella’s larder and fridge with envy, but all worth it for the four years I’ve had at home with my kids.
I used to be a member of an internet forum full of mothers where a bitter ‘fight’ broke out over whether nurseries were right or not, I suspect it’s a fairly common fight across the net, I remember I tried to stay out of it but what really got my goat were the mums who sent their 12 month olds to nursery for some regular sessions not because they’re working but because ‘little x really gains from all that interaction’ or ‘I just couldn’t offer her all the experiences she has at nursery, like finger painting for example’, finger painting (!?!), yes it is messy but I’d much rather have the pleasure and delight of doing it with my own children than paying someone else to do it and as for the whole interaction thing mmm what about interacting with mummy, daddy, brothers and sisters, grandparents and what about toddler groups, mum and baby music classes, you name it, all the many many groups and classes I’ve experienced, yes each child sat seperate in their own little world not interacting with each other at all! I remember when Girl Lacer was one, she had her first ‘taste’ of interactions with the opposite sex her own age, there was another little boy at one of her music classes who liked to stare at her (at lot of kids did that back then as she had very very blonde hair then) and she used to go all coy and hide behind my legs but if he lost interest she’d shoot out from behind my legs to deliberately attract his attention again! Sorry I’m digressing but that’s better than me ranting and raving about mothers who don’t work yet still put their very young children in childcare. Yes I’ll admit from 2 1/4 yrs Girl Lacer attended playgroup, yes without me for 2 hours a week but she was then ready for it (she’d run in not giving me a backward glance). We just tried Boy Lacer with playgroup at roughly the same age and he hated it so much (after 2 sessions) that we decided he was just too young to put him through that when we didn’t need to, so he’ll be at home exclusively with me for another year and then we’ll try playgroup again when he’s nearly 3 for a couple of mornings a week, it’s just when they’re barely one and their mother’s arn’t working (and with no health or other reason than to basically get rid of the child for a period of time!)
So anyway, after some thinking today (in the long periods of not selling any books) I am far happier being broke!