Thursday, September 19, 2013

My Response To "I know my little girl's too young for school but I need a bit of 'me' time."

How many of you read this article about the woman who feels guilty about letting her four year old go to full time school. I read it in utter disbelief! so this might come across as a bit of a rant -Do pardon me. This is what the mother had to say:

"After 14 years of fitting my writing career around my brood's needs, I've had enough. The main reason she's going to school is because, shamefully, it makes my life a hell of a lot easier.

I know this makes me sound heartless. Even I'm surprised at my behavior. Especially because the entire reason we decided to have Dolly was so that I could give up work and savour every precious moment with one last child.
(Please how does she sound heartless?)

She was born in August 2009 - almost seven years after the youngest of her siblings: Monty, ten, Annie, 12, and Flo, 14. After the madness of having three children so close together I craved to experience motherhood at a leisurely pace. I desperately wanted to try the whole stay-at-home thing. But then money worries drove me back to work when she was just ten weeks old. Poor Dolly went to nursery and I went back to my laptop."

She goes on to say;

"Every working mother in Britain knows how stressful it is to continue a career with a small person metaphorically - and literally - clinging to your skirt hems. Booting them out to full-time education a little early is surely preferable to hitting the bottle?

Yet many will argue that I am a bad mother for shunting my daughter through a system she doesn't even - legally - have to be in yet.

There are no complicated childcare arrangements to arrange and no guilt to contend with. I have convinced myself that my darling little girl is exactly where she should be. "

I understand the fuss about this woman sending her child to school is because recently education experts are now calling for full-time school to be delayed – until the child is seven years. That is the practice in Finland. Apparently the pressure of being in a classroom is too stressful for four-year-olds and is causing them profound damage.

And of course, there are those people who feel you are a bad parent and you shouldn’t have had the child if you didn’t want to suspend your career for 5 years to watch, Barney, Tom and Jerry and read fairy tales to your little one. 

We mothers always feel we are not doing a good job, what can we do to erase this guilt? and society only makes it worse.

Its certainly a crazy world we live in. If you home school, people say your child isn't interacting, if you send your child to school their are another mountain of opinions. My daughter started going to crèche at 3 months and has ever since, she loves it, and being an only child, it gives her a chance to play and interact with other children. Most work places in Nigeria give only a three month maternity leave and in the UK mothers can get up to one year but not paid. Hence, many working mothers are pushed to get some sort of daycare arrangement. 

My opinion is that some kids are ready for school earlier, so its OK to give them that head start. Further, many mothers just need a little breathing space without a toddler clinging to their skirt to maintain their sanity. I think generally parents put a lot of pressure on themselves to conform and impress others with their pristine parenting abilities while they die inside. I  must say, I felt pressurized  to put my child in playschool (Kg1) before her 2nd birthday because her birthday falls towards the end of the year. Why the rush?  As parents we should do what WE know is good for our kids, do your research but your child should be the primary cue. Be honest and do what works.

By Ijeoma Olujekun

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