Childrearing. Neither High Nor Low


My parents both grew up raised by people on a salary. I hesitate to say servants. My mother had what they called a nurse, my father had nannies. The most cherished of those was a woman from Scotland whose name he still recalls with ease. He and his mother went to visit her once after she had returned to her home.

My mother raised us with the help of a neighborhood girl from across the street to get her through the late afternoons of 3 under 4, and a housekeeper who came twice a week. I raised my children without babysitters, until I had to go back to work. Once my second child was born my mother took pity on me and paid for a housekeeper who came once a week.

My parents both went to boarding schools. I went to boarding school. My children went to school down the street. Maybe over the generations we hold our children more closely. Certainly we speak more openly to them.

I believe that we have all tried very hard to do the best we can. Freud took the glass snow globe of childrearing and smashed it on the ground, leaving us reeling and picking up shards with our fingers. But we have all tried very hard to do the best we can. Resources or no resources, high or not-so-high, summers in wherever. When you live your life inside your self, no matter what stuff is around you, still you can be filled with anxiety or elation for no good reason. Still your life just feels like a life.

6 Comments

  • 04/30/09
    6:34 am

    Reply

    class factotum said...

    At least you got to stay home when you were little. I had a boss whose parents sent him to boarding school when he was FOUR. FOUR. Can you imagine sending away your FOUR YEAR OLD??

    No wonder it never bothered him to work all the time and never see his own kids. I wouldn’t have cared, except he expected us to be there with him at 10:00 p.m.

  • 04/30/09
    6:55 am

    Reply

    LPC said...

    Four? Four? That sounds illegal. Even in olde England they used to wait until the boy was 8.

  • 04/30/09
    7:14 am

    Reply

    accordionsandlace said...

    I too am shocked by the “four”!

    I had a nanny growing up, but I did not in any way feel “raised by someone else”. My parents were still there, every evening and every weekend, parenting. It was a collaborative effort I guess, and the nanny that saw me through most of my childhood is still a treasured member of the family (and all around awesome lady).

  • 04/30/09
    9:15 am

    Reply

    LPC said...

    I believe that nannies for working parents these days are a different beast than the nannies of High WASP moms in earlier days.

  • 04/30/09
    11:42 am

    Reply

    class factotum said...

    He was Jamaican. I don’t know what the rules and customs are in Jamaica, except, of course, that four year olds from some families go to boarding school.

  • 05/01/09
    9:20 am

    Reply

    Buckeroo said...

    “Freud took the glass snow globe of childrearing and smashed it on the ground, leaving us reeling and picking up shards with our fingers.”

    Such eloquence. :)

Post a Comment

I thoroughly enjoy your comments. If you find this form is broken, my apologies. Please email me and I will rage against the machine.

required
required but will not be displayed
optional