Had our first consult with Early Intervention (EI) this morning. We are going through the Thom Anne Sullivan Center. It was a visit to plan out the services and programs that will help Finn developmentally.
Can I go off on a small tangent here? Since Kayla was born, it has really bugged me how many programs, play groups, and many more things cut out all possibilities of working moms being involved. I mean, c’mon, it is the 21st century and child care is still seen by society to be the role of a stay-at-home mom? Dads are often a secondary thought, though stay-at-home dads are becoming a bit more included in things (even when titles will still say “Mom-child group” it is often assumed that a Dad can go in place if he is the daytime care giver), but what about when BOTH parents are full-time employees (which, by the way, according to the Department of Labor Statistics is 59% of married couples in the U.S.!)? Where are the free library programs in the evening or weekends? Where are the parent-kid yoga classes that don’t meet on weekday mornings only? Seriously, name an activity that meets on a regular basis for kids and moms (or dads!) and the VAST majority of those will take place Monday through Friday before 3pm. I have been on this rant before, but today revved this up to a new level.
The Early Intervention classes that will help Finn socialize with his peers and help Dan & I connect with other parents going through the same thing- the classes that will help us learn ASL and give us tips on how to utilize the EI visits we are getting at home. When do you think these take place?? One WEEKDAY MORNING A WEEK. WTH?! Why? Because of course, it is mostly a moms group and, of course, the assumption is that we’ll be able to arrange for that. When I asked the EI coordinator about how detrimental this would be if we couldn’t bring Finn, she gave me a line about there already being so much guilt on parents and to try not to feel guilty if we can’t arrange this. What that means to me is that, yup it would be better for him to be in this program and probably enhance the speech-language he is already going to struggle to learn, but in order for me to be involved, I would have to quit or change jobs- which is NOT an option that I could or even WANT to do.
I love my job. I love teaching and I love that our family can be an example to our kids that a strong, healthy family does not have to be a dad working 9 to 5 and a mom staying home doing the house work & watching the kids. I AM NOT IN ANY WAY saying that is a bad thing!! I am just saying that I am happy to be able to help provide monetarily for my family and I psyched to have a spouse who I can truly call a partner. I mean, what the heck would I do if I had to cook dinner? Haha. Things in our house are divvied up according to who is better at them and who has less on their plate at the given moment- never on a basis of what the traditional role would have been. Never (ok, besides actually giving birth to the child).
I am not upset with the E.I. program or people at all. I am upset that in 2013, programs, and not just extra-curricular programs, are still assumed to be the role of the stay-at-home parent because society still thinks of it that way- even though statistically, that is not even the case. This starts with the pitiful maternity leave laws we have (Oh, we can take 12 whole weeks, in which they do NOT have to pay us- SOME companies ALLOW us to use our own vacation/sick time); compared to other countries, even some VERY poor countries, this is ridiculous! (See: http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/lab_par_lea_pai_mat_lea-labor-parental-leave-paid-maternity ).
I am 100% sure that Dan & I will do the VERY best we can for Finn as we continue, I just hope that things like this won’t slow us down.