Thursday, November 14, 2013

When did parents become so discredited for the education of their children?

So, I have something on my mind and it's been on my mind for a while. There have been a few incidents lately involving both strangers and family/friends which have completely discredited and undervalued myself and my husband as my daughters educator.

Ladybug turned 2 in August and she doesn't attend preschool or daycare. As a mother I am fortunate enough to be able to stay at home with her. No, we are not made of money. No, my husband doesn't make a killing. No, we don't have a huge savings account. This is just important to us. Both of us feel that it is important for a child to have a caregiver, preferably a parent, to stay at home and teach the child. More important than money, more important than fancy cars and more important than designer clothes. I know that this thinking is not for everyone and I know that some families simply cannot afford or do not enjoy staying at home with the kids and I am not disregarding what they do, that is what preschools and daycares are designed for! I do see a place for them and understand their need. But whether the parents stay home with their kids or not, they are teaching their child. 

The other day I was told (by a stranger) that my daughter must be so clever because she watches a lot of TV ... When did TV become the teacher? I should add that first they asked if she went to preschool: No. So it must be TV right? When (and why) did we stop valuing the parent as an educator? 

Every moment a parent is with their child has the potential to be a teaching moment. No, they don't have to be crafty with Pinterest boards filled to the brim. When they're talking to their child they're giving them language skills and teaching them how to interact with others. When they're bathing their child they're teaching them about their body and how to care for it. When they're feeding their child, they're teaching them how to listen to their body and nourish themselves. Everything they do is teaching their child something: How to regulate their emotions, how to feed the cat, how to cook pancakes. Children learn naturally from their surroundings and parents are there, always setting an example by what they do. The way a parent acts teaches their child how to love others and how to love themselves. And no parents are perfect, sometimes they teach their children undesirable things, but generally parents will acknowledge that and correct it and by doing this they are teaching their children respect, honesty and human nature.

Being a stay at home mum means I am Ladybugs' primary educator and I take that role very seriously. Despite what society has somehow come to think, I do not spend that time watching day time TV or spending all my husbands earnings. At the moment Ladybug has been doing some pre-reading activities and we are currently focusing on the letter E, size ordering of objects, toilet training and gardening. Being a stay at home mum does not mean that I am lazy, that I am stupid or that I am a succubus draining the fun out of my husband. Furthermore, the fact that I am a stay at home mum doesn't mean that I am alienating my husband from being a parent too. We're in this together and those 'big decisions' are not made lightly! We talk often and keep one another informed. I am not the 'one who calls the shots' because I am the one at home, just as he is not the 'worker' because he's the one with a wage. 

By the way, I'm not trying to take the credit for my daughter 'being clever', I believe this is attributed to her personality and love of learning. She picks things up quickly and her curiosity knows no bounds. These traits are merely complimented by the fact that I am at home with her and enjoy helping her learn. 

So, the next time you see a child write their name or recite the alphabet or tie their shoelaces, how about saying "Nice work mama/dad" because parenting isn't easy and it deserves some recognition. Whether they are a stay at home parent or a working parent, they are always a teaching parent!! 

This is Ladybug and we are her teachers

(And for the record, Ladybug rarely watches TV!)

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  1. I was nodding all the way through this! Hear hear Mama!

  2. So true I've been lucky enough to stay home for the 5 of my kids prior to them starting school and when i did go back to work it was at school so i've always been there when they are home. They are 25, 18, 16,13 and 10 now and i am so happy with the decision i made to be at home with them i really think it made them into the people they are today. And we didn't have tv much at all ( still don't). No6 is on the way and thankfully my new partner is supportive of me staying home as long as i want (which may be till retirement, seeing as that's not too far away lol).. Loved your blog

  3. Exactly. I'm a stay at home mum to my two kids too, and it's a big priority for us. We cope a lot of flack for 'lack of ambitions' and for not aspiring to have a bigger better house / car / status. But time with (and educating) my kids is more important to me than all that 'stuff'. My kids do watch TV, but we limit it, and we only let her watch certain shows. There's a lot of TV out there that is pure rubbish!

  4. This really resonates with me too, we have always been happy to give up a lot of the things other people consider essentials in order for me to stay at home with our girls, it's what makes us (all of us) happy. It's not what works for other families and so they have their own commitments and lifestyles, I'm not sure what it is about being a stay at home Mum that puts so many other people on the defensive though, where they feel like they need to voice their disapproval or put us down. Life is too short not to do what you love, whether that means working in a workplace, running your own business, being a stay at home parent or all of the above! I figure my girls only have one childhood, I want to be around to enjoy that as much as I possibly can.

  5. Brilliant post Julie,
    Our circumstances sound very similar. I've never had anyone question how much television my children watch, but I have had people question whether my daughter is being stimulated at home both academically and socially. It does make me wonder what people think we get up to each day.

    We are fortunate that I can be home with the kids- we struggle, but we can do it. I understand that some parents need to return to work- and like you I agree that this is what daycare/childcare is for. What really upsets me is when people say they are putting their child into care to stimulate their child- or because their child will 'learn' at that is discrediting the parents as educators.

  6. Well said! And well done Mum and Dad for helping your clever Ladybug learn.

  7. Such a great post. Very well said xx Keep on doing the wonderful things you are doing x You're the greatest teachers she'll ever have!