Tag Archives: civilization

Paying for Childcare

This article¬†at Kindred Community raises a question I’ve wanted to know the answer to since forever (emphasis mine):

Our society needs to recognise the far-reaching developmental importance of breastfeeding and close, responsive mother-infant relationships in the early years, along with the close involvement of fathers, and aim to create social settings that facilitate and support them. If we are going to pay for quality infant care, why not support mothers to do it? Infancy cannot be re-run later.

Why would the government be willing to pay strangers to watch a baby but not the mother? It has always struck me as a punishment for poor people who dared to reproduce when they “couldn’t afford it.”

The underlying attitude of the family-values-right-wing policy makers has always sounded to me like: “Stupid poor people, having offspring in accordance with their animal urges. They’re just lazy and trying to get out of work! We’ll show them. You get a couple weeks off and that’s it! Back to the factory! Pop out another one and see what happens!”

I’ve always been violently disturbed by the fact that we in our supposedly civilized society allow conditions under which people “cannot afford” children. I believe that children are the only true wealth, insurance policy and retirement plan.

I’m not saying people should have to have children. I believe it should be entirely optional. If a person would rather completely dedicate themselves to a career, hoard money, invest in an IRA account, buy property and make investments, that’s one way to shore up resources for the future.

But when you’re old and you slip on one of your wads of cash and fall and break your hip in the middle of your castle, who’s going to come wipe your wrinkly butt and spoonfeed your shriveled mouth? Oh right, you’re going to hire a stranger to do that. That’s much more pleasant that having someone you love, who actually cares about you, treating you tenderly.

Or NOT.

And shouldn’t a baby have the same courtesy, of having the person they love and need more than anyone else in the world be the person who wipes their cheruby bum and nurses them lovingly at the breast?

But if you can’t afford such an idyllic life, then forget it. Park the kid at the licensed facility and punch that time card, or you’ll be under a bridge faster than you can say, “Subsidized childcare.”

 

Flashback to the West Coast

We’d been wanting to check out Asheville, NC (about one and half hours west of here) for a few years. Well, we did go to a Drive-By Truckers concert there a couple of years ago, but I don’t count driving into town in the dark, going into a concert and leaving town in the dark as actually visiting somewhere.

I was looking forward to being around the hippies and freaks, the art and culture, the diversity of opinion. I’m from such a place, after all, having lived in the East Bay, Mendocino, Santa Cruz, Eugene.

How telling it was that along with the “peace and love” artsy-fartsiness we encountered, we also got the West Coast ‘tude. As in, I don’t see you and if I did I wouldn’t give you the time of day anyway.

I instantly missed Hickory. I was immediately desperate for a stranger to look at me, smile and say hello. I went 37 years of living on the West Coast, which is devoid of that kind of hospitality, but after 4 years of being surrounded by civilized humans here in the South, I guess I am seriously addicted.

I just don’t understand how cultivating an open-minded community leads to being closed-hearted. I don’t understand how being surrounded by art and culture results in such coldness and rudeness to fellow humans.