Even before our revelation there were some common themes discussed with my fellow working parents. The school situation. The lack of a cohesive PTO. No day care. No after school activities. Also, no employment within a 35 mile radius. No food, clothing or recreation within that circle either. One parent seemed more willing to put her neck out in the day care business than the rest of us, though (as may surprise some of my gentle readers) I myself considered it briefly. Recently she put out a question on social media, asking us all whether we should have a day care open in Washington.
Kudos to those who open their homes and clean them up well enough to be able to offer at-home child care. Really. It’s not a well paying job and while taking care of your own kids might garner some rewards, taking care of other people’s brats just isn’t what the average person sees themselves doing with their lives. That’s why large screen TV’s and cookies so often make their way into these homes. Turn on the TV to zone out the little turds and then load them up on sugar so their parents get a taste of their own medicine. At least the parents got to work their full 8 hour-ish work day, even if their kids are over or under stimulated on a day to day basis. At least its a “smoke free home” with a fenced in yard and no dangerous pets. All good, right? But really, if it weren’t for these at-home providers, scattered amongst the foothills, we’d all be up a creek without a paddle.
So sure. On the face of it, another at-home provider offering child care in some fashion would certainly help band-aid the bleeding wound, especially since the two established at-home providers are looking to get out of the business and get their homes and their lives back. But you’re really just treating the symptom. Having a bunch of random people offering or not offering at home child care in different parts of town with no amenities and no employees and no curriculum is, well, it’s just ad hoc baby sitting. It’s not the village raising the child. It’s the parents in search of the lonely nun. It doesn’t make the problem go away or change the status quo. It’s just ensuring that you get more of the same.
The lack of a licensed dedicated pre-school curriculum minded day care in town is only one of the many many symptoms of a systematic problem here in this town. The actual problem is that most people don’t give a fuck. And then when some people raise enough hell to make these people do something, the people in charge of the obstruction move over a little. Just a little. Then everyone is appeased and goes their merry way feeling like they’ve changed something and they never look back. If they did look back, they’d notice that those people just moved right back into the way.
An older summer resident stopped us on the road to mourn our imminent departure. She had just picked blueberries and visited the farm stand, the epitome of our dreams gone awry. We haven’t been actively shouting our grievances to the general public, but when someone opens the dam we flow all over them. Lionel and I have gotten very good at tag-teaming on this rant. But when we got to the part where the summer camp only works for summer residents’ kids or with kids who have retired grandparents living in town due to its tendency to shut down early on “inclement weather days” despite the fact that there is a huge lodge capable of housing all the kids comfortably in the case of actual rain and the human race has had thousands of years to come up with things to do during these times, she interrupted us. She’d found the solution, you see. Not to the town wide tough luck attitude towards its working family citizens, though. Just for us.
“My granddaughter goes to that camp,” she said. “Your daughter could come over to my house, I’d be happy to take her there.”
Give a penny. Take a penny. Band aid the wound and keep beating through the thorn bush. You’ll run out of band aids and you’ll never make enough change, but at least you haven’t rocked the old, fragile boat. If you’re lucky, you’ll be so busy keeping the boat afloat that you won’t notice the rapids ahead.