Sunday, February 19, 2006

I've been too tired lately to pry my brain into action. Six months pregnant with a toddler and all, I'm beginning to feel it in my bones. But upon checking out the status of my neglected bog I saw that two new comments have been posted in my absence. That's enough to get me going again. I think I'm addicted to feedback. You can hear it in the way I often end a sentence with: " you know?".

Anyway, what I've been thinking about lately is family values, sort of. I got accepted into an art school when my first child was about one year old. It's very hard to get into an art school here to study fine art. There are only about 120 openings each year in all the schools put together and less in the schools that are in my vicinity. So I was extremely happy when I got my acceptance letter.

Here in Norway, it is the norm to put your child in day-care from around one year old because that's when your state-guaranteed paid leave of absence runs out. I've worked in day-care centers here for about 5 years. They are of a much higher quality than American day-care centers. It's actually considered to be kindergarten, even for the youngest. The ratio of adult to child for the youngest is 1:3. Still, the look of vacancy in the eyes of one year olds who only want to be sitting in their mommy's laps convinced me that I would never put my child in kindergarten at such a young age. Until I got my acceptance letter,- then I started thinking maybe it wasn't so bad after all. Everyone else does it. Women are encouraged to get back into the work force and put their kids in day-care. Husbands and wives should share duties and contribute equally to their own household and to society in general. I like to think of myself as an independant thinker, but even I began to feel the pressure. It wasn't until the very last moment that I decided to stay home with my son for one more year before starting on my Bachelors (which I want mostly for practical reasons...).

Now I'm awaiting my second in June, so I won't be starting this Fall either and if I'm fair to the coming child, the Fall after that will be spent with her as well.

The feminists who encourage women to get out of the house and look down upon those who don't, have a point though. My brain is getting rather blunt. Most of my days are spent with other mothers who I in any other circumstance, wouldn't have anything in common with. But now we get along just great and I enjoy their company.

I can't help but wonder what life would have been like if I'd started school and my son was cared for by someone else during the day. I'd definitly be more stimulated artistically and socially,- but would he be as stimulated? Would he be as happy? The more I write, the more I think I made and am making the right decision. Time spent alone with a child at home is time noone but those involved know about or can share. I get no feedback except his happiness or unhappiness. It's hard for someone like me, who enjoys feedback, it's a challenge. But I suppose life is a challenge, nothing is gained by avoiding it. Maybe, and I hope, both me and my children (and husband) will gain from these quiet days at home, wishing for a blast of freedom in between meals, naps, walks and playing. Wishing but being glad, actually. Glad inside to be so close to my child, - for being close.


Blogger The Female Stranger said...

It would be good if lots of mothers wrote in this way -- it seems like people who aren't mothers always see motherhood from the outside. Not many are willing to share their experiences openly, it seems.

And this is very good writing, too.

March 04, 2006  

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