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Thursday, 26 November 2009

Rocket Stickers, The Moon and Millbrook School

'Granny,' said Tyler, 'I really did get a rocket sticker and now it's lost.'

His eyes were full to the brim and his bottom lip was quivering. 'Daddy said it was just a dream, but it's not, Granny.'

My son-in-law almost shouted at him 'Look - just get dressed - and stop being such a girl, Tyler. It's not on your sweatshirt. You've either dreamed it, or lost it on the way back from school last night.'

'I didn't,' retaliated Tyler under his breath as he pulled on his grey, school socks. 'It said well done for knowing my numbers.'

It was 8.25 this morning before I finally began to give my eight month-old granddaughter her breakfast. With my daughter and son-in-law flapping around because they were both late for work, Tyler in a strop over the rocket sticker and Sophie doing her level best to spread porridge all over my work clothes I was beginning to panic. We needed to leave the house by 8.45 at the latest or else Tyler would be late.

Today was just a typical weekday morning. It saddens me that, having worked so hard to get their degrees, buy a nice modest semi for their family and give their children a reasonable standard of living, the price they have to pay for their success is heavy childcare costs and a stressful, hectic lifestyle. Despite my son-in-law having a secure professional job, they still can't afford for my daughter to be a full-time mum. I feel so sorry for today's hard-working parents because they have so little choice. They have to take on a hefty mortgage to buy a house and then row their own boat in this upstream world, give up huge amounts of their salaries in taxes and then pay heavily for the privilege of rushing out to work each day - helped by an army of grandparents who had thought their school-run days were over!

On the short walk to school, Tyler said, 'I told my teacher that you went to the moon.'

'No,' I said. 'I haven't been to the moon - only astronauts go to the moon.'

'You did, Granny. You said you watched the men land on the moon when you were a little girl, and your mummy told you off because it was in the middle of the night and you should have been in bed.'

Over a year ago, we all visited the Science Museum in London. It was a throwaway comment about my memory of that night in July 1969 when men first walked on the moon. We had been looking at a replica of the luna module at the time. I couldn't believe he had remembered that far back but had to smile at the way he had taken my comment literally and had actually thought I had visited the moon in the middle of the night in some sort of magical, fairytale rocket trip.

Going back to Millbrook School every day brings back so many memories for me. I had thought I'd feel old and out of place at the school gates, but the truth is there are loads and loads of grandparents there, just like me, saving their adult children childcare costs before they rush off to work themselves.

Something tells me this is not progress. I think we were all better off when women stayed at home, looked after the house and children and perhaps just worked part-time while their men went out to work, mowed the lawns and cleaned the car at weekends.

Controversial view, I know, but I'm thankful that I was, probably, one of the last generation of stay-at-home mums.

What do you think?

PS: We found the rocket sticker!

7 comments:

Debs said...

I'm so glad he found the rocket sticker and it never ceases to amaze me the snippets this younger children remember. So sweet.

My mum and sister stayed at home with their children, but I've always worked, at one point running a business from home, when my daughter was tiny, and I have to say I did prefer doing that.

I can't imagine how difficult it's going to be by the time my two want homes and families of their own.

Fia said...

Yay! You found the rocket sticker.

I thik working from home is probably what many women (and men) would rather do. Although leaving behind the house work is a nice idea. Coming back to isn't so good.

TOM FOOLERY said...

Great news about the sticker :-)

Controversial view? Nope! Methinks somewhere along the way society has lost track of what life is all about. Chasing the dollar sign, although alas a necessary evil, ultimately does't bring balance or happiness to family life. Sad but true. But, would we rewind the clock? TFx

Pat Posner said...

Aw, bless. So glad the rocket sticker wasn't a dream!

Lane said...

Isn't it lovely have a small thing like a sticker can be so important to littlies:-)

I think it's the lack of choice that's so hard today.
And the pace. It's relentless.

Annieye said...

Debs - It just shows how careful we need to be when talking to children. I couldn't believe he had remembered about me telling him how I stayed up all night to watch the moon landing. Although I stayed at home, I always found myself a little something to do, part time, and as soon as Nicky went to school, I went back to work.

Fia - I am beginning to wish I was part time now. Full time is just too much.

TF - I loved being at home with my little ones - but we were very hard up. I think you are right about the money though. Perhaps if my daughter made some sacrifices she could afford to stay at home, too.

Pat - I was so relieved when I found it in the porch. It must have dropped off his sweatshirt when he took his coat off.

Lane - yep, the pace is relentless, and there does seem to be little choice for those with mortgages.

letrunghieu said...

TF - I loved being at home with my little ones - but we were very hard up. I think you are right about the money though. Perhaps if my daughter made some sacrifices she could afford to stay at home, too.


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