No, it’s not a sign of panic (though that does reign, from time to time, in our humble abode), but a sign of solidarity with working people all over the world. And so I find myself compelled to post this topical little dittie, and postpone (or would it be “post-post”?) the previously promised dittie composed to fit Chumpy’s title, “Waving not drowning.” So up to my eyeballs am I generally that I didn’t realize last week that today would be none other than May Day.
Like many of my countryfolk, I lament the hi-jacking of this day of solidarity with our fellows world-wide. (Here’s an account of the origins of the day by the Wobblies; or the Wikis if you prefer to compare/contrast. For neopagan-curious sisters and brothers, I offer up this Wiki page on Beltane, whose extremely low profile I also lament, while I’m at it.)
In a modest gesture of atonement, I want to acknowledge all those whose labor supports my partner and me as parents (what with this blog’s focus on matters parental; lord knows if I acknowledged all those whose labor supported our cushy existence, I’d have to make an interminable series of it). But I often find myself whining, kvetching, or otherwise wringing my hands over this or that childcare inconvenience, possibly leaving the impression that I stagger through my days, from sun up to sun down and beyond, the solitary provider of all my kids’ material and emotional needs. Not so, not so. It’s merely that I’m complaining in spite of the abundance of support I recieve.
Acknowledging the group effort in caring for my kids also helps underscore how very much a group effort all child-rearing is. Bearing in mind that to rear a child, you need to free up the time to earn their keep. At the moment, in our household, we have one full-time worker (the beloved) and one part-time worker (that would be me). Our kids see more of me in any given week than they do of any other single adult, but I am propped on many sides. Herewith, then, props to the proppers, in order of their chronological appearances throughout the week:
- The wise and wonderful women who run our girlie’s preschool, to which she goes three mornings a week. There, she learns all sorts of stuff, does all sorts of stuff, interacts with (and makes friends with? please?) peeps her own age, and we also happen to thin the childcare to one kid, thereby increasing our chances of having time for paying work.
- The mother out-law (that’s as vs. in-law; we both like it that way), aka the beloved’s mum, who twice a week cares for her grandkids for several hours, first one-on-one with her youngest grandson, and then again later in the week with every grandkid she currently has (aided & abetted by her partner, the kids’ GrandBaba).
- The downstairs sister in-law (spouse to the Know-It-All-Brother-In-Law), who makes off with both our kids in the afternoon on an exchange with us (I make off with theirs later in the week).
- The share care nanny, an incredibly kind and compassionate woman whom the both kids adore, and who for a time took care of the girlie along with her across-the-street chum a few afternoons a week. Now, she cares for the little guy one morning a week while the girlchild is in preschool. Double whammie! Care for them both; both parents free to work at the same time!
- A young woman I can only really describe as the diaphanous wood nymph, or some such. Basically a dreamy vision to the girlchild, who is promptly compelled to change her clothing and hairstyle to match this gal’s, upon clapping eyes on her. She comes for the boychild one afternoon a week, and then the both of them for a few hours on Saturday, on a childcare-for-voice lessons work exchange. Barter, gotta love it. Even better: barter with a sweet, thoughtful, kind person your daughter idolizes.
- On alternate weeks, the nice lesbian mom across the street, with whom we have an afternoon gal pal swap. Their girl comes chez nous once a week, ours chez them, and the girlies together spend the afternoon in elaborate play-acting fantasies, periodically exchanging notes about their Babas. What’s not to love.
- Once a week, the Know-It-All-Brother-In-Law and His Spouse, with whom we do a Date Night Swap. They do our kids one night; we do theirs. Without this arrangement, the beloved and I would never know what each others eyes look like.
- Finally, and awe-inspiringly, a trio of my closest chums, who have come and saved my arse over and over again when the beloved has had extended bouts of evenings away at theater rehearsals. The swing shift is the big one, parentally speaking: the child care decathlon, where you have to grab ’em under your arms and clear hurdle after hurdle and then have ’em happy and calm enough to be able to fall asleep at the end of it all. Wheew! I know for a fact that we would not be sane parents were it not for one particular super-shero’s unfailing willingness to come help “spot” me when I’m solo parenting in the evening. Like last night, for instance. If ever we make a mint off the lil’ peanut’s Hollywood film career, she’s gonna deserve at least a summer home out of it.
Laborers of love, I thank you all.