Monday, February 21, 2005

The "Other Mama"

I was speaking to my sister-in-law about funny things Marc does at daycare that he won't do at home. For instance, he will take any medicine without a fuss from Miss Cynthia, but absolutely refuses to take medicine from me. He will under no circumstances eat any vegetables unless they are the same ones Miss Cynthia makes (Del Monte, by the way - I found out to avoid further dinnertime drama). Little things like this that I personally find amusing.

My SIL, however, told me that would really upset her. She was bothered by the idea of her kids having "two mothers". I guess in a sense, she is right. My children spend about half of their waking hours with Miss Cynthia. They are very bonded to her. She kisses their booboos and has helped them learn to walk and talk. She was there for my daughter's first steps and she potty trained my son. During the Summer (when they stay home with my husband) they will sometimes ask to go visit her. She has been invited to all of their birthday parties.

It shocked me, though, that my SIL was upset by this. The truth is, after going through multiple caregivers, I was SO relieved to find Miss Cynthia. I trust her with my children and I know she is a good, honest, caring mother, but she is also an excellent teacher and probably stricter with them than I am at times. It never occurred to me to be jealous of that bond.

I'm curious as to how other working moms feel about this. Do you ever get jealous of your daycare provider? Do your children have quirks that are different with you vs. her?


Jamie said...

I personally LOVE that my kids have had so many wonderful caregivers! There were times that my kids were quite bonded to certain teachers and didn't even come to me when I came in their classrooms (I always worked at their childcare center, this may make my experience a bit different than yours obviously.) I, like you Amy, was always touched by that bond they had with their teacher. I honestly believe in the "it takes a village" idea when it comes to child rearing. My daughters are still in contact with several of their teachers and they get excited when they see pictures of themselves with these teachers in their photo albums.

My mom babysat a little girl, Danielle, who is about a year younger than my little brother while I was in high school (my brother was born when I was 14). Danielle was like my surrogate little sister. She was the flower girl in my wedding, and my reception was at her parents house. My mom is still in close contact with her family after all these years (Danielle is now 21)

My little brother is now working at the child care center my son attended until kindergarten (and I worked for as an admin assist during college). Several of the kids in his classroom are in his ward at church and the kids run up to him and love on him every Sunday. The parents are THRILLED their children are so loved and well cared for.....isn't that what we working parents want the most anyhow from the people we pay to care for our children?

My dh and I think being in high quality child care (teachers with college degree's, small class sizes, low ratio's) has helped them become the well rounded people they are today. My kids spend the summers (after they turn 5 yrs old) with their 3 sets of grandparents in California. All the grandparents say the kids adapt quite well to each different environment (which is the opposite of what happens with my sisters kids when they come for the summer).

Ana said...

I don't know ... I think of my boys' teachers as teachers, not "other-mothers." Partially this is because I was home with them for five years. Plus, they've already got two mothers each (me and their birthmoms) ... more would just be confusing! Anyway I hope I'm not just being jealous and deceiving myself about this ... but there's no way my kids are as close to their caregivers as they are to me.

Now, sometimes there are authority issues and funny things. One day I told Sam to do something (can't remember now what it was) and he said to me, "You're not Miss Kirsten!" LOL ... And Abe has picked up "oopsie" from one of his preschool teachers, a word I NEVER say.

Overall, I am just very grateful to have found honest, loving caregivers for my kids. It means the world to me to know that their teachers truly care about them. That was one thing I never felt with the kindergarten teacher at the private school Sam started in last fall. She just did not have any love for himor any personal investment in his success.

Hmmm, maybe I need to think about forgiveness, rather than jealousy, today?

liltreefrog said...

Ana, you brought up something else I hadn't mentioned. Marc says things all the time that make me pause and think "I don't say that!" It is especially interesting, because Miss Cynthia is African-American, and my two are the only white children there.

Like last night, Lisey was fussing about something and Marc turned to her and said, "Hush it up, Lisey." It just couldn't help but laugh - it sounded so funny coming from my 4 year old! He also finishes every prayer, after he says "Amen", with "Thank you, Lord" (his daycare mom is Baptist, so that is how they finish their prayers at her house).

I am glad they have the exposure to different people, different races, different religions. I believe it will help them grow up to be more tolerant and open-minded than I was raised.

Ana said...

Hush it up ... lol, I may have to start using that one! I feel like on weekend I go around with a perpetual "shhhhhhhhh" coming out of my mouth. It is hard to transition from my quiet office into a house full of loud little boys!

Differences in prayer: interesting! Last summer my kids learned, "Tick tock goes the clock, now it's time to pray. God is great, God is good, now we thank him for our food. Aaaaaaaaa-men!"

We had to do some teaching at home about that, essentially: "that's a very cute poem, but when we pray, we TALK to Heavenly Father!"

Still, I'm glad they were in an environment where some kind of prayer was encouraged ... and thanks to another little LDS boy at Abe's Lutheran preschool, they ALL now sing "I am a Child of God!" It's great!