Today’s mommas always preach the value of a tribe – having friends, family, colleagues and neighbors who support and understand the struggle of motherhood and raising kids.
We have play dates with our tribe, wine nights with our tribe and inside jokes and memes with tribe members.
But for all the glory we heap upon our tribe, we always seem to stop short in allowing these great ladies (I’m making a generalized assumption here) to actually help in the care of our kids.
Mothers always have been and always will be the primary caretaker for most families. That looks different for each families but moms are often the ones running the show. However, as motherhood becomes more scientific, more specialized, more publicized, mothers have taken on an assumption that they are the only ones qualified to take care of their unique and special little munchkins.
More and more I see mothers debating the need to home school children to ensure they aren’t influenced by negative forces or questioning whether they should work or go so far as to leave the house for the weekend to enjoy some adult time. Mothers seem to be more and more concerned with outsourcing the duty of raising their children for fear that care by anyone but themselves will destroy their children and leave a lasting negative impression on their lives.
I believe this trend comes at a severe cost to our children. The more our kiddos are exposed to new people, places, rules and environments, the more they become adaptable, empathetic and understanding children who see past their own household and realize the diversity of our society and growing world.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not in favor or allowing just anyone to raise our children or leaving kids in dangerous situations with unqualified supervisors. And the possibility of bad actors and unforeseen situations is always there – always has been and always will be. But by and large, our tribes, our teachers, our friends and our families are good people with big hearts that want to see our children grow and succeed.
My husband and I both work full-time outside the home. Our two boys have been attending an in-home daycare since each was about 2 months old. My oldest now attends full-day kindergarten and the youngest will start 3-year-old pre-school next fall. Our schedules are wacky, ridiculous and different nearly every day. My boys have both known no different. They have been raised to go with the flow, adjust and make do. And the number of people I have involved in their daily care has grown. Grandparents, daycare owner, teenage babysitters, aunts, uncles and teachers have all had a hand in keeping them happy, healthy and safe.
When people ask about how my husband and I manage all of this I joke and tell them we are raising adaptable, well-rounded little boys. And that’s the truth. I want them to see that a mom an work and raise kids and mothers are not the only ones willing and able to care for them. It worries me when mothers want to be everything for their kids and deprive them of the opportunity to learn how to adapt to new people and new situations. We cannot and should not bubble wrap our children and shield them from society. Kids will do better when they know how to adjust to new people and new places and understand that this world is full of wonderful people that are ready and willing to help make their lives better.
Public schools is good, daycare is life changing and teenage babysitters may not always do the dishes and get the kids to bed on time but they all grow our children’s worlds and tribes and allow us mothers and opportunity to enjoy our tribes and our calling.