Sunday, January 22, 2012

Why don't friends with kids have time?

When I was expecting our bundle of joy, I figured I'd go back to work after 9 months. I figured I'd go crazy if I didn't. I was a homemaker in Germany for a while (without children) and it almost drove me nuts. Idleness does not suit me. What I didn't realize was that Moms are not idle, quite the contrary :) The lil man keeps me so busy I haven't had time to finish my thesis. My friends, who don't have kids, wonder what on earth am I doing every day. I confess, that's exactly what I wondered when I didn't have kids. I figured they were just lazying at home or something haha. I wish I had read the following Washington Post article back then, it pretty much explains it all:
In Finland we have this amazing maternity leave system, the government basically gives you money to stay home with your child until they're 3. Not a whole lot of money after 9 months, not enough to pay a mortgage, but enough to buy food etc. And it goes without saying that you don't have to stay at home, we have a very affordable daycare system too. In the United States, the system is quite the opposite. You usually get 6 weeks unpaid, and if you come back, you might even get to keep your job (yes, that's my attempt at sarcasm:). Quality daycare is super expensive, in fact daycare cost more than I earned as an archivist, so I didn't even dream of going back to work, nor did I want to. Here's my controversial two cents: I don't understand why people have kids, if they take them to full time daycare at 6 weeks. I mean accidents/surprises happen, and I admire people who take responsibility, but at the same time most of the time having children is a planned thing. If you don't have money/time to be with your children at least until they're 1, why have them? Perhaps I don't understand the biological need some people have to reproduce, and that at the same time they don't have the need to raise their own children. I will also never understand women (aside from those with health issues) who take their young, under 3-year-old, kids to full-time daycare, but stay at home as stay-at-home-moms. In my opinion, stay-at-home moms take care of their own kids. My controversial two cents ends :)

I contemplated long whether to post this entry or not, since it could be understood the wrong way. So as an end note I'd like to point out that I do not think ill of people who put their kids to daycare at 6 weeks and go to work, I just don't understand them. We all make our own choices. Also, I'm definitely NOT saying going to daycare is bad for children, I'm just wondering why parents make certain choices. My husband was put to daycare at 6 weeks and he turned out fine :)
P.S I voted :)


A said...

Before moving to the US I had absolutely no idea of how expensive having kids can be. After daycare there's school, then college etc... So very different compared to the system we have in Finland. And although I agree that the system we have is not perfect (and may turn out not to be sustainable with the demographics being what they are), it's still one of the biggest reasons why I'm not considering staying in the US for good.

Only yesterday I learned that the US median income in 2011 was less than $27000. Cannot imagine raising kids with that kind of money, not around where we live anyway.

Sugar said...

Thank you for your comments! And you are absolutely right, having kids in the U.S is super-expensive. The health care costs alone are massive, let alone education etc. I've learned to appreciate Finland a lot more after I had our lil man :)

jersey_girl said...

I agree! We have 2 kids and daycare cost would be ridiculous, so I couldn't even think about working full-time at this point. I Found a part-time job for nights, I love my job but I'm looking forward to when our kids are in school so I can work during the day and see my hubby more than 2 days a week :)

And healthcare...we have pretty good coverage but we pay about $9000 a year for insurance... That makes me miss Finland!

Sugar said...

Oh my, that's a lot of money to spend on an insurance, but with children I guess full coverage is a must. My husband's previous insurance had very little coverage and when he cut his finger, we ended up paying quite a bit for the couple of stitches he had to have. Next time we'll get more coverage! Thank you for commenting :)