Sunday, January 31, 2010

How many babysitters does a busy mom need?

Last week, when I was trying to juggle my children's different needs and schedules, I thought to myself: "Maybe the women who have a nanny per child have it right after all. How am I supposed to take my son to the doctor, ensure my baby doesn't lose his nap and get my daughter to her after school class all the same time?"
As I was navigating NYC subways with 2 kids- one in a stroller and one in my baby carrier, I had ample time to think about this issue. If I had unlimited funds, would I really want to have one caregiver for each of my three children?
I decided that I did not. True, if every child had their own babysitter, they would never have to worry about picking their brother up from a playdate or waiting to go to the park until the baby wakes up. But that would not necessarily be a good thing. That kind of attention would also reinforce the idea, that the whole world revolves around the child and his needs. Children have a tendency to be self-involved by nature and our job as parents is to teach them to share, to think about others, to expand their horizons a bit. They need to learn to be part of a family, a classroom and, as they get older, the community at large. Having to adjust their schedules to accomodate others can be helpful in making them realize that other people have feelings and needs as well.
Of course, there has to be a balance to everything. A child who always has to bend and live her life according to her sibling's schedule may become resentful. We need to try and set aside time for each child individually to show them how important they are to us. But that doesn't have to be ALL the time.
This seemingly mundane insight gave me a little boost for the week. It made me realize how even in the small choices that I make on a day to day basis, lies the potential to teach my children something valuable.

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