'Rescuing' kids from child care

Have you ever tried to rescue another Mom from her child-care choices? My sister texted me today to say that another Mom from school invited her 8-year-old son over for the following afternoon. My sister said yes, thinking it was a playdate invitation. But apparently, the other Mom was reacting to my nephew's fussing about going to his after-school child care. The other Mom said he clearly didn't like his day care. So, she thought she would give him an afternoon off -- presumably in the more wholesome environment of her home. The thing is, this Mom was mistaken about why my nephew was fussing. He likes his day care, but he also wanted to go over to her house to play on his friend's new ride-on scooter. It says a lot about our continuing guilt over child care that this Mom felt she had to butt in and rescue my nephew. I think she was being very judgmental.

We're becoming ever more dependent on non-relatives taking care of our kids -- what with the growth of two-income homes, single parents, mobile workers. Yet, we still can't seem to resolve that child care is an acceptable way for our children to spend their time. I'll go out on a limb here and say that it's mostly women who are so uncomfortable with "strangers" -- that is, trained child-care workers -- taking care of our kids. In the back of our minds, we compare this arrangement with Mom or Grandma watching the kids, and the strangers never quite measure up.

I'm guilty of this myself. Several years ago, I met my daughter's friend at the YMCA, ready to put in a day of assistance with her Mom who worked at the Y. I offered to take the girl home to play at my house, certain that it would be a better day for the kid. But her Mom quite rightly said, "She's looking forward to spending the day with me." Her Mom was very nice about it, and we're still friends. But I wonder at my own motivation, trying to "rescue" this kid from a day at work. It's quite possible that she enjoyed her day with Mom and learned a lot in the experience.

What do you think?