This can be a long week. The other morning I was negotiating the safe passage of some Rice Krispies from a plastic spoon into a moody little mouth when I first heard about it.
It was one of those days where, for various reasons, we were working from one of our childhood homes, within easy reach of one of our parents for help, and I was struck again by the feeling that a child’s diet, clothing, care and nurturing really matters an intergenerational endeavor. The breakfast TV show in the background discussed the budget and rumors there would be a cut in childcare costs.
The moderator read a text from a morning curmudgeon. That the state would give parents a little help was clearly anathema to them, as he was driven to write on TV to complain that he was “sick and tired” of hearing about childcare cost cuts while of there was no question of an increase in his pension.
Meanwhile, it has been widely discussed that the government will use the budget to reduce monthly crib fees from next year. This seems to drive people to apoplectum because they think the state is subsidizing (awful!) little daily short breaks for moms by paying for us to get rid of our kids and skip off to live a privileged life, swaddled and safe from the inconveniences of being a parent. It inspires too Angela’s Ashes Styled sweet from people like this prickly retiree who feel like they haven’t had any help raising their kids and shouldn’t be helped either. It seems that any improvement in society that they personally cannot benefit from must come only in defiance of them.
First of all, the notion that a daycare center is just a place where sticky kids crawl over each other like baby pandas until the requisite number of hours their parents paid for has elapsed is archaic nonsense. Early childhood care, including and especially play, is education. Some would strongly argue that this may be the most defining and critical type of education children are ever exposed to. Cranks: Look away now. If it were up to me, and I could still get it, if common sense prevails, childcare in this country would be almost entirely publicly funded, in part to defend children’s right to have their access to education unrestricted by resources. Childcare, like schools and hospitals, is a public good that we should all contribute to the cost of.
And why do we need childcare? Well, you’d have to be a dusty old moron to still think that moms shouldn’t be able to choose to keep working these days. The days of someone politely pretending to listen to that mindless point of view are long gone. Expecting families to earn up to €1,000 a month for the luxury of both continuing to earn money is absurd. And in a way, the more important point might be that mothers actually don’t choose to work anymore. In the vast majority of Irish families, we have to work – whether we like it or not.
Between the cost of our mortgage, our bills, our groceries, and yes, our childcare, I know that even the prospect of working part-time is completely out of the question for me or my partner. The cost of raising a family and running a household takes two full-time salaries for us. (I honestly have no idea how single moms deal with it.) For many moms, work is a necessity, not a choice. This also makes childcare necessary.
If you are one of those people who are outraged when they see other people getting help, I would kindly invite you to pull yourself together. Ireland’s childcare costs are so astronomical that they have almost made us a European anomaly. Those who use their poison pens to chastise parents — but mostly mothers — for having kids they “can’t afford” should reconsider what they’re saying. Are we really going to buy into the idea that in a country like Ireland, being able to have children should be some sort of class privilege? get real
I’m sick of not finding myself or my generation in those bitter portraits that people paint of spoiled, spoiled and boorish young Irish parents. If you were fortunate enough to raise a family at a time when people could choose to stay at home or go to work, then in my humble opinion you are the privileged one. So if you feel compelled to write on the radio next week how it was “in its day”, you should better save yourself that Sunday Miscellaneous. Such resentment certainly has no place in the forthcoming budget reporting. Nobody tries to say that it was easy for older generations. No one says they haven’t had a hard time their way. But your challenges are very different from ours.
https://www.independent.ie/opinion/comment/older-generations-should-not-begrudge-parents-of-much-needed-childcare-cost-cuts-just-because-it-doesnt-benefit-them-41989866.html Older generations shouldn’t blame parents for much-needed childcare cost savings just because it won’t benefit them