The Great Replacement

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“No matter how hard you try,” a well-meaning person told me some time ago, with the air of delivering an eye-opening statement, “you will never be able to replace a kindergarten teacher for your children.”

I was rather short-tempered, but I wanted to be kind. I also knew that a long explanation would be futile, and would lead to yet another argument. What I said was simply, “it is the kindergarten teacher who will never be able to replace a mother.”

But going back to the original statement… two things are implied here:

1. Small children need preschool/kindergarten, and the preschool/kindergarten program is without doubt the absolute ministry-of-education-regulated best.

2. If you teach/keep your children at home, you must be trying to imitate the preschool/kindergarten/school setting, with yourself acting as the teacher.

Even people who are prepared – very cautiously – to admit that maybe learning at home isn’t a very crazy idea, are most reassured by the sight of children with workbooks, working with timetables and being graded for their work. Because of course, without daily drills and grading, there is no learning… right?

Once, a mother confided in me that she is going to put her 18-months-old child (her only child, so far) in daycare, even though she doesn’t work outside the home, because several family members insist that the boy needs more “stimulation” and “socialization”; since she looked so obviously dejected when she spoke of it, and since I was certain she knows my opinion already, I allowed myself to gently say that as far as I can see, a 6-hour-long daily period in a daycare center would be overstimulating, tiring, and overall pointless for her son.When we are talking of a baby who can’t even speak properly yet, all the needed “socialization” is covered by a daily walk to the playground where he can see and interact with other people.

Since women entered the work force en masse, the question of what to do with the young children became highly relevant in almost every family. A home can be left alone, but not a child – and so day care centers, preschools and kindergartens became a widespread solution. This is now so normal that a mother who is raising her children at home is allegedly “replacing” a preschool teacher. Let us not forget it is the other way around.

The period of having small children at home is very intense, physically and emotionally demanding; it is also finite. It may a few years if you have just one child, or a couple of decades if you have many, but either way it will come to an end some day. Some day, I will not have anyone barging into my room shouting, “Peepee!” – nor will I need to interrupt an adult conversation in order to say, “please get your finger out of your nose”. Life will be calmer, perhaps, and more rational – and a little duller as well.

So let us, mothers, savor this time with our children, and know that we are exactly where we are needed at the moment, and that no one – no one – can replace us.

The photo above is from our old home, taken when our two eldest were little. We lived in an isolated little corner with a beautiful view and raised goats, chickens and a dog. The demands of such a lifestyle were many, but there was much joy in the journey, and the memories are sweet.

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10 thoughts on “The Great Replacement

  1. Goodness! how would any mum be happy knowing somebody else got to see her child’s first steps or hear their first word? Even Bubbee is not a perfect substitute for Mum, but she’s a LOT better than a day school teacher. mind you, I’m not cut out to be a home-school teacher, but we read stories, named colours, and learned to count our numbers at home.

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    • I think most Moms have a natural urge to stay with their babies, but our life, as a society, is so hectic that many are forced to be away from home many hours each day.

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  2. That is beyond crazy thinking ANYONE can love a child as its mother does…at least a good mom which most are. The man my daughter is divorcing (he is beyond hope really…a pedafile too turns out) began daycare at 18 months. If ever there is a poster child for NOT doing things that way, it is he. I feel sorry he was not nutured properly…but as an adult he does NOT want to change. Sad. I am glad you are trying to share with other moms…don’t pay attention to the advice of those who will not pay the price for that choice. Tis so easy to give advice when you will not live with its failure. GOD planted in women the desire to take care of their little ones (in normal women at least)…why ignore that desire? Keep on keeping on your path dear. (I homeschooled 2 of ours part way through…and the last one from day one until she entered college). All graduated with their various degrees with honors…the last one had a 4.0 gpa.
    Elizabeth

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    • Elizabeth, while I don’t believe that daycare will necessarily result in neglect and suboptimal development for children, surely it is not the ideal. People are making it seem like children who are home with their mothers are actually at a disadvantage, which is preposterous. My best wishes to your daughter as she goes through this difficult time.

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      • Thank you Anna…we are still waiting on the courts but no promises of hope there much. It will boil down to whatever HaShem wants it seems… I did not mean to infer that all daycares are bad ones. My daughter has our granddaughter in one near here that seems very good…most of the workers are great…but I still wish that my daughter could have stayed at home with her at least until Kindergarten as she had hoped. (We are too old now to keep a young child occupied enough or we would have taken care of her). That has given me grief as well…but I am grateful that at least the “teachers” seem like good people. I just wish that our society had a better idea on childcare and supported moms so they could stay home!!
        Elizabeth

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      • I’m sure many daycare workers are dedicated and kind to the children, but they are simply overwhelmed by sheer numbers. And no one can take mom’s place!

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  3. I was brought to strongly believe Mom should raise the children , not daycare ( or family/friend if there is some disaster which compels mother to work) . Of course the schools/society here ( USA) strongly teaches girls to be educated and work , not wasting time with children.( Although it is perfectly fine to get a job working in daycare raising someone else’s children) . My daughter now works in a daycare…and I ask everyday what songs did you sing ? what story book did you read ? what little game did you play ? and she always says the same .NONE. Feed , change diapers , keep them from hurting themselves or others. What a life…My daughter believes me more now, at least. Unfortunately many who do stay home are not taught how to interact with children and they just let them run wild, without any stories or song or manners or anything else , and the Grandmothers also raised their children in daycare are no help at all . We as a nation have lost the art of raising children in about 50 years…”we” now believe only paid professionals can properly raise children , of course that means no God , no morals , no manners. Excepting of course all ideas are equal , and to think otherwise is bigoted. We have a mess. I believe baby/ young childhood is the time they learn relationship, love , trust , like you find in family and close friends , not in daycare . I am opinionated on this subject .

    Liked by 1 person

    • Karen, I agree with you. Indeed, looking at it this way, prospects seem bleak. Add to this the massive screen addiction that wasn’t present even two decades ago, and you get a neglected, distracted, spiritually malnourished generation. On the other hand, there are also women like me, who hardly ever saw their mothers growing up, and are prepared to sacrifice a lot to stay home with their children and learn how to raise them properly.

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  4. I am so sorry your mom was rarely around Anna…that is what troubles me so much for my daughter too. However, she will drop everything to do things with the kids and we do whatever we can to help with her housework etc so she can be as available as possible for them. My mom had to help in my dad’s business and she sent me off to kindergarten when I was barely 5…but otherwise we were with her. It is always where I most wanted to be…with her!! I miss her so much…she left this life now 17 years ago. I am so glad you are devoted to your children!! It is how it was meant to be…and it is great your husband can work too.
    Elizabeth

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    • Thank you, Elizabeth. I have made peace with how things had been during my childhood. My mom, as a single mother, did the best she could with what she had, and that’s what matters.

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