with Karli Larson
The transition from stay-at-home mom to divorced-and-working-full-time mom can be challenging, and sometimes very lonely. Throw in a few cats, an ancient dog and one very brave boyfriend, and life gets downright crazy. Join me as I talk through my thoughts and struggles, my miscalculations and my triumphs. We're in this together, you and I.
When I'm not writing here you can find me over at work on the TisBest Philanthropy blog.
Daycare for my 3-year-old son has been the single most difficult challenge since I started navigating the murky waters of Single Motherhood more than a year ago.
I spent nearly 12 months rendering almost an entire paycheck on a Nanny. I wanted Nolan to have dedicated, attentive care, because I couldn’t give it to him. I wanted him to go to the zoo, the aquarium with her, to perhaps be so distracted with fun things that he wouldn’t notice quite as much that Daddy didn’t live with us anymore, that Mommy spent hours with a furrowed brow at her desk, juggling bills and attempting to paste together mangled ends.
But then the Nanny lost her license, and asked for a raise, and though at first I sobbed my usual over dramatic Heaving Sobs of Despair, I quickly resolved to find a Daycare for my son. He was at the age where he wanted to interact with other kids, anyway, he liked to play blocks and cars and maybe he would enjoy the activity.
I found what seemed to be the perfect place: steps from home, they had French class on Tuesday mornings and the day I went to scope the place out, there were a series of mop-haired kids sitting clustered happily on the floor, watching an animated woman point to a picture of a cat.
“Chat!” they cried, and she flipped the picture.
“Chien!” they chorused jubilantly, and then noticed me,”Bonjour!”
It sounded like “bonjerrr!” and I shook hands with the warm Director, and knew that Nolan would like it there.
“I ran into Liam’s Mom on the weekend.” I sat in the garage with my brother. Oddly, my 29-year-old, non-married sibling has been my de-facto go-to on parenting issues I’m really struggling with. I don’t always agree with him, but I know he always tells me the truth.”Liam’s Mom is struggling because of Jose at daycare.”
“What’s up with Jose?”
My brother looks at me and I’m kind of scared to even say it.
“Well, she just thinks it’s weird that a young single man would choose to work at a daycare. She’s a little worried about it.”
“It is weird,”said my brother and this is not what I want to hear ,”I mean — what young single guy wants to hang around little kids all day, unless he’s related to them? I mean, unless he’s married and has kids himself?”
“Isn’t that totally and completely sexist?” I say,”I like Jose, he’s gentle and genuine and I think he’s good at what he does.”
“Maybe he’s an exception,”says my brother with a serious expression,”But you’d never catch me working in a daycare, or any other guy my age. I’d be a little concerned too.”
I was kind of blown away, kind of dully expectant. I’ve heard this sentiment before. None of my warning bells go off around Jose, I do feel confident in his capacity to care for my son and it makes me cringe that some of the parents are questioning him solely because he is a man. And yet, in this sad, messed up world I kind of have to understand.
I am curious what you think. Feel free to comment anonymously if this is too politically charged a subject — but would you have any concern about a single young male looking after your child?
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