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Archive for May, 2010

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Licensed or private?

Thursday, May 6th, 2010

Most people who know me know that I am an active participant on Internet forums and love to discuss and debate almost anything. There is an amazing aspect to these discussions that you can’t get face-to-face and that is exposure to different people from different backgrounds with different perspectives than those that you are likely to encounter on a day to day basis – especially when living in a rural community.

One of these discussions lately prompted me to do a great deal of thinking about home based businesses, a topic that is very near and dear to my heart but this discussion was about daycare and more specifically whether or not I would support a dad running a daycare from home so he could spend more time with his young child while the mother went out to work. Now having thought about it – I had to admit that no, I would not support such a venture – not with my own child and I would be skeptical of anyone who did. Now before you rush to hit the comment button on this post and start bashing me for man-hating and discrimination and tell me all about how men are great care givers etc…. let me finish. The more I thought about it the more I realized that it wasn’t the fact that this home-based or private daycare would be run by a man, it was the fact that I don’t support private day-cares at all and that realization shocked me. I didn’t realize that in all of my years of parenting – 16 to be exact – and the majority of those being as a single parent who relied on child care providers, I had never used a home-based or private day care – ever so that got me to thinking – why?

Well let’s look at it this way – when our toilets break – we call a plumber right? When our bathroom is flooding and we can’t use the loo we don’t usually call the guy next door who wants to make some extra money by staying home – even if we know he has fixed his own toilet, at least I don’t – I want the asset of my home to be entrusted to a professional – someone who has been trained and certified to take care of what needs to be cared for. If I called Joe Smith or even Jane Smith from down the street to re-wire my new addition because I hear they are pretty good with electricity, and they want to make some money on the side – and my house burns down – guess what?? No insurance coverage because they weren’t certified electricians, I should have trusted that job to a professional. Car warranty? Same thing. Most people don’t even pay their neighbors to cut their hair – they go to a barber or a salon for that. So that leaves the question…Why would we trust our children – our most valuable asset – to some person who wants to make money on the side by working from home?

Sure they may have children themselves – but like Joe and Jane Smith – experience doesn’t always mean proficiency and we all know that there are good and bad parents out there – we also know that even we treat other people’s children differently from our own, we have different values, standards and philosophies. So why does it seem that just because a new parent wants to stay home with their child and make money on the side they suddenly think they are qualified to care for, nurture and protect other people’s children on a full-time basis? We leave our children with child care workers sometimes 40 hours or more a week – these people have a great deal of influence over their emotional development, physical well being, social interactions, education… if that really a job we want to leave to an untrained person who tells us that they can do a good job at it because they have had a baby of their own? We wouldn’t even let them cut our hair without 9 months of trade school – but we are going to let them raise our children?

See that is where my problem lies – it isn’t with the gender of the provider – it is with the education, training and monitoring of the provider that I have issue with. Child Care is a profession – these workers study and learn about development, education, recreation, nutrition, health ,medical care, effective discipline, problem solving – all of the things that should be mandatory to parents the minute that second blue line appears but is not. Licenced workers and facilities are monitored and regulated for safety, security, efficiency, hygiene and adherence to acceptable standards. They have gone to school, they have dedicated time and money to learn how best to nurture our children – help them grow – recognize deficiencies or problems and to foster a sound and safe environment for them when they are away from home. They are also grossly underpaid and under appreciated for all that they do.

Yes there is a demand for more licenced spots – yes people often feel that they don’t have a choice but to leave their child with someone who is untrained and unlicensed and I understand that – sometimes situations suck. We need to campaign for more funding, more support and basically more licenced day-cares from the government – this has been ongoing and as the demand rises, will continue. I understand that. I also understand that where there is unmet demand there will always be people who will rise to take advantage of the situation and as far as I am concerned that is what the majority of home-based unlicensed day cares are. There are some trained child care workers who choose to work from home and I applaud them – they are NOT who I am addressing. I am addressing the Joe and Jane Smith’s who decide one day to babysit 4 or 5 kids 40 ours a day so they can stay home and make money – knowing full well that they don’t have the training, education or experience to do so and their only qualification for the job has been childbirth. These are the people I am addressing.

If you want to start a plumbing business from your basement – you go to school and learn how to become a plumber. If you want to start a home-based day care and take people’s money for entrusting you toproperly care and nurture their children – don’t you think you owe it to them and to those precious babies to invest the time and effort into learning how to do it?

Posted in General, Uncategorized | 39 Comments »

Motion changes Emotion

Monday, May 3rd, 2010

Suffering is not an enjoyable state of being and whether you suffer from a mental, emotional, spiritual or physical affliction, we can feel paralyzed by it. I know – I have been there. I have felt the overwhelming desire to lock myself in my bedroom never to leave, the almost physical repulsion at the thought of even seeing another human being let a lone having a conversation.

You don’t have to be battling the dark cloud of clinical depression to understand what I am talking about, everyone has felt what I am describing at some point in time – maybe it was due to the loss of a family member or pet, a life changing disappointment, discovering infidelity in a relationship or just a reaction to financial stress or unemployment. It doesn’t matter what causes the feeling what matters is what you choose to do about them.

Ten years ago – I suffered a traumatic miscarriage at 11 weeks of pregnancy which left me unable to conceive children naturally. I was lying in the hospital bed after surgery alone. No husband, no boyfriend, just me. My 6-year-old son was staying with a friend of mine, a woman who told me I was better off losing the baby than to raise 2 children on my own with no father’s present (I had divorced my son’s biological father 2 years earlier and hadn’t seen him since). And as I layed there contemplating my life – the last thing I wanted to do was talk – to anyone. 24 hours passed by with me in that room barely uttering more than a word or two when addressed and just staring at the wall. My body seemed quiet and serene but my mind was anything but. Again and again I thought about my situation – what I had lost, what I could never have, the direction my life had taken – over and over again until I got a special visit. From my mom.

My mother and I have never been close, actually our relationship was anything but and would take a whole dedicated blog to discuss but she did come to see me. And in her usual non-motherly way she said ‘If you don’t snap out of this and stop acting this way – they are going to lock you up in the nut ward.’  Ahhh the bliss of motherly affection. She may not have come from a place of compassion but she did succeed in one thing – she snapped me out of my funk – not because I valued her opinion but because as usual, she pissed me off and in my anger and frustration at her once again not giving me what I wanted or needed I learned a valuable lesson.

The minute I started focusing on her, the minute I sat up in that bed and stopped playing those negative ‘poor me’ tapes over and over again in my head, I started feeling better. It didn’t make the pain and the fear go away, but it did change my focus just enough to break through that black cloud and start moving down the path of life again, one baby step at a time.

I have used that lesson many times in my life since then (although I still can’t bring myself to give my mother credit for it) and I try to teach my clients and the people in my life the value of three small words “Motion changes Emotion”. When you are feeling down, belittled, unsuccessful, battered, hopeless, helpless – the longer you allow yourself to stay down, the stronger those emotions will become and the more power they will wield over you. Get up – move around, go for a walk – whatever it is DO SOMETHING. Take the focus off of yourself if even for a few moments at a time and slowly those tapes in your head will start to lose volume and you will begin to live again.

Sometimes the best ‘motion’ I have found is to work with or talk to someone who has it worse than I do so I can start to be grateful for being me and having what I do have instead of pitying myself and thinking only of what I don’t have. It’s hard – it is so very hard to make that first step though – to get out of bed – but think of it this way… what do you have to lose? If it doesn’t make you feel even a bit better – you can always go back to bed, draw the drapes and close out the world. But if it DOES work??? If getting out of bed, taking a shower, getting dressed and just taking a walk could have the power to diffuse that black cloud of emotion hanging over your head – isn’t it worth a try?

Posted in Mental Health | 62 Comments »

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