I sit here watching the much-talked about RTE Prime Time Investigates: Creches, behind closed doors and I feel compelled to write this.
Tulsa need to be held accountable and the system has completely failed those parents and children. However I think in the interest of showing a true representation, RTE Prime Time should have showcased best practice, gone undercover in creches that ARE doing the right thing.
Knowing how many viewers would be tuning in and knowing he likelihood of huge numbers of working parents watching, RTE as the national broadcaster had a duty of care to show both sides.
I debated even watching the piece. Working parents absolutely kill themselves with guilt every day handing kids into childcare…whether or not this is by financial necessity or by the choice that you would like to continue to have some work outside the home.
I want to preface the rest of this post by saying I have the utmost respect for those who are working stay at home parents. I will be honest and hold my hand up and say I could not do it. I wish I could be selfless enough to work 24 hours a day seven days without any time alone even to pee.
Work for me is something I choose to do. A differnent kind of taxing, a different kind of challenge, for me, the difference, the change, is as good as a rest. The change from being a full on Mummy, for me, allows me a chance to recharge and then be the best Mummy I can be on those days I have with Olivia and Thomas.
What allows me to do this, to keep my foot on the career ladder, pay bills, help keep a roof over our head and mentally help me be the best Mummy I can be, is the amazing, wonderful group of people (in my case, women) in our creche.
We painfully researched, visited, questioned and interviewed creches, childminders and even au pairs. We do not take the decision to have someone care for our children while we are in work lightly.
We have had the most wonderful experience. I won’t waste this post raving about a creche that readers might not even live close to but I will say the two wee ones go into creche every morning, either running or waving us off as a second thought….even Thomas, my little sticky plaster, as I call him.
In the evening I get a play by play of the adventures of the day from Olivia, activities, games, outdoor fun, even turning a delivery box into a car that they got to decorate and ‘drive’. Molly the Dragon who hides every night and they have to find her in the morning, photos of slow cooked beef and veg stew, paint stained hands and feet brandishing personal art pieces at the end of the day. Children interrupted mid play (and also mid sleep with their blankie in the sleep room) during those unexpected early pick ups which we never have to announce. Cuddles, kisses, hugs and appropriate discipline (hello fellow fans!! hands are not for hitting fans). Happy kids, with lots of stories of how much they have done and seen.
Tonights show while it shines a light on the categorical failing of Tulsa in not following up with identified issues, I worry it coule scaremonger working parents. I am not for one second condoning the behavior carried out by these specific creches. Nor am I saying Tulsa go far enough in their protection, inspection and holding childcare providers accountable.
What I am saying, is that those childcare facilities are not the norm. Childcare is a vocation. Those who work in it are called to work in it. They are those you can see working in a childcare and education setting from an early age, they are drawn to it, born for it. They are the people who selflessly care, teach, play with, comfort and love your child when you are not there.
To those who do this for Olivia and Thomas while we work, I salute you, I thank you and we appreciate you all more than you will ever know.
To those parents who are concerned, talk to your childcare provider, research your childcare setting before you place your child there, ask the questions you need to ask (see my Instagram for those accounts who have excellent research questions) and if any any stage you are concerned, talk to your childcare provider and if you are not happy with the action taken, put your child first and take them out of the setting and report the setting to Tulsa
Trust your child and trust your gut. Both are usually telling you what you need to hear.
For new parents, please look for the positive stories, this case is not the norm and once you do your research, ask questions, ask friends, neighbors and family for recommendations and feedback. Childcare can be daunting, but trust me, it doesn’t have to be frightening.
Karen and Derek
For our golden eggs
They come home with sand filled shoes, paint stained fingers and minds full of stories and adventures from their day.
They have built spider houses in the garden, met the Lollipop lady and he sto, look and listen, and chased ducks on visits to the Mills.
There have been visits from Wooly Wards Petting Farm, a Gardai, Santa and his elf and daily hide and seek with Molly the Dragon.
There are cosy naps when they are tired and cuddles when they feel overwhelmed, lunches, breakfasts and snacks so healthy I envy their daily grub
There are drawing sheets the length of the room and colouring while dressed as a dinosaur in a pink Stetson declaring the game is rocket ship space heroes.
There have been days of chats with carers, when they have been out of sorts, discussions to make sure we are all on the same gentle parenting page. There are have been tantrum tips shared and biting bits helped while talking about kindness to friends
These people are those who walk our parenting path with us. These people are our childcare providers.
Not every egg is a bad one. Most in fact are golden. Thank you to those golden eggs we have looking after Olivia and Thomas