About three years ago, we discussed and took a mutual decision that my wife would take a break from her eleven years long career and focus on raising our daughter who was just over a year old then. We also decided that this would give her the opportunity of starting something of her own. But the daughter demanded so much of her time that the “starting something of her own” part kept on getting pushed to the next month.
We waited for the right time to come, for the proverbial wind to push our sails, but something or the other came up. Working parents of my age would know the trauma that the family goes through if one source of income dwindles into thin air, coupled with growing needs of a restless child, multiplied by school fees, bus fees and more expenses that look seemingly harmless but are deadly. My mom stays in the building adjacent to ours. We had the option of asking her to help us with our daughter while we both worked, but we made a conscious decision against it. Even if my mother was willing to take care of her granddaughter, a responsibility of an extremely hyperactive child on daily basis wouldn’t have been easy. We contemplated on hiring a maid, but thought against it. Perhaps, we weren’t as lucky as others to find someone trustworthy. We searched for a Day Care around our vicinity and found one where thankfully many children from our society were already enlisted.
“But why daycare?” my mom inquired with a stern tone. The reservation against day care with our elders surprises me to no end. “Why not?” my wife countered. It was a friendly argument.
I discussed the daycare topic with several of my friends who are parents, both mothers and fathers. The resistance was delivered to them from the same source: their parents i.e. the child’s grandparents. A grandparent in some ways thinks that the responsibility of the child on them is more than that of the parent, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. I believe, they come from the school of thought that forbids them from accepting that “keeping” the child with strangers at a day-care while they are alive is OK. This is something that I had to tackle. We had our conversation with my mother. The beginning of our argument/explanation to my mother was the sense of non-dependency and enhancement of social skills which my daughter will obtain among other things. And those other things included my mother’s freedom. My mother is quite an open-minded person. It wasn’t a struggle for us.
It’s been a few weeks since my daughter has started going to the day care for a few hours in the day, right after school. She has started eating her lunch on her own, she has become more tolerant to other children. She is more confident in her conversations with us, she’s more transparent in her opinions. The change is very visible and we aren’t regretting at all. My wife is a home-baker and a wizard in the kitchen. Her plans to take her little adventure from her little kitchen to the outside world has started gaining momentum.
As for me, our expenses have not reduced, but then, such is life. Expenses will never reduce, but I come home to a happier, TV-free environment and my daughter talks to me about her best friend at the day care during dinner. What more can one ask for?
Rohan Sonalkar is an avid traveler, a wannabe blogger and a struggling guitarist who works with an MNC in Mumbai for a living. He is currently teaching his daughter how to reduce a chicken drumstick to a shiny bone.