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Discussion Starter #1
OK, my twins will be 1 year old next week so we're having a birthday party for them here at the house tomorrow.

I have a small family - My mom, dad and 1 brother (he has a kid 2 years old that he does not live with but sees somewhat regularly) and my husband is an only child, his dad passed away years ago and his mom became a first-time grandma at too old of an age and, as a result, she doesn't really have much to do with the kids at all. She sees them; it's just obvious that when she does she isn't comfortable with them being around.

Anyway, that's not my main concern. My concern is this: I feel bad for my kids because the only cousin that they do have (my brother's kid) won't be at their party. Before I go any further I should explain that I can sometimes let minor things eat away at me and I could be making a bigger deal out of this than it is.

Some things have come up and my nephew won't be at my kids' party so I let my mind wander into the future and think terrible things like how I feel bad that my kids are basically going to grow up without any close cousins. I guess I feel this way because I'm used to a huge family. On my dad's side of the family alone, I am one of 29 grandchildren so when I was growing up there were always other kids to play with.

I know I can't change the fact that I have such a small immediate family myself and my poor husband basically has nobody on his side so we've got to "play the hand we're dealt" and get on with it. It's just that since I grew up with my cousins around me all the time I'm wondering if my kids are going to miss out on that interaction as they grow. Obviously, I know they'll have friends from school and stuff but it's just not quite the same, is it?

Also, I feel like I'm in the middle of another tough decision because I'm a stay-at-home mom. I've always wanted to be a SAHM too and I'm really fortunate that my husband's job alone can take care of the bills. The thing I struggle with, though, is are my kids missing out on more child interaction since they're not in a daycare setting on a regular basis? For me, daycare has its pros and cons, pretty much like anything else. The big con for our family would be that I only want to work a part-time job if I were to go back to work but since you pay full-time daycare regardless of how many hours you use it there may be times when my paycheck wouldn't necessarily cover the daycare costs. Another con is having someone I'm not totally familiar with and have known for a long time taking care of my kids. People are pretty good around here for the most part but there's always that part of me that can't just give in to trust, especially when it comes to my kids.

The big pros would be I would be getting back to work doing something I enjoyed, getting away from the monotomy of the kids for a few hours a day and my kids would get to play with other kids on a regular basis and learn to listen to and respect other authority besides their parents, that being the daycare provider.

OK, now that I've gotten all that out and have probably confused the heck out of you, I would like your opinion on a couple of things...

1) For those of you who grew up with small families or no family around other than mom, dad and siblings, was your young childhood (under the age of 7 or so) fulfilling and did you enjoy your childhood or do you feel that you missed out not having cousins around, etc?

2) My other thing is... if these were your children and your decision, knowing that you don't "need" to work to help pay the bills, would you still find a job and place your kids in daycare just so they get the interaction with others?

It might help to tell you that I live in what most people would consider a small community - about 35,000, yet we know no one else personally who has children our age accept a friend of mine who lives about an hour away so it's not that simple to just meet up for playdates with the kids.

Sorry for rambling on but thanks for taking the time to get all the way through my post anyway.
 

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I can't answer #1 because I have 5 brothers and sisters and a lot of cousins, but I can answer #2. If I was able to stay home with my son I'd do it in a heartbeat.
 

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My brothers and I are several years older than my cousins, so I could answer question one and say, no, I don't think it affected my growing up. My cousin Rachel and my sister are the same age, and they were very close growing up. I think it would be awesome to have a family member so close in age, but I don't think you know what you are missing if it isn't available.
 

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1)ok, I am an only child, my cousins all live on the opposite coast from me so I never saw them. I did the daycare thing because my parents both work full time and I enjoyed it immensly, other children were a key to me learning social interaction and play and things of that sort. Have you thought about finding a playgroup(it doesn't have to be only the age of your children, I've noticed that older kids adore babies as long as it's not their own siblings)? where other Sahms and you can take your children to the park together to play and such? or a coop where you donate a few hours and get baisically free childcare


2) If I had children (and I plan on it) and was a Sahm, I'd definatly do part time daycare or preschool (which is half a day). because I want my children to be able to interact with others in a setting where no one has the 'home turf' advantage (the 'this is my home so we only do what I want' mentality)
 

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I had cousins my age to play with but they didnt' want to have anything to do with me. I think it did more emotional and developmental damage (at the time) than good, but I've outgrown the bitterness I once felt.

That being said, maybe you could host a play-date with any friends you have that might have children around the same age? Or, if your friends don't have children, you can always try finding a way to seek out other SAHM and arrange a playdate that way. *shrug*
 

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To give some insight to help ya out some:

1. I grew upw with my brother and I. My cousins were told that since we didn't believe in their religion they we not allowed to play with us. which was fine because they lived on one end of the state and we lived on the other. My parents did have a couple of friends with kids but we rarely saw them. So it was mostly me and my brother and when we got a little older (7-10yrs) we played with the kids in the neighborhood. I think my brother and I turned out and had a happy childhood even without many family members around us that were our age. (cousins)

2. My mom was a SAHM and it was the best thing in the world. I went to day care for kindergarden only and that was one yr. Before kindergarden it was me and my mom and my brother. when we both were in public schools that's where we got our socialization. That's the best way to get socialization in my opinion. I'm going to be a SAHM(part time) I love my job and its only 4 hrs a day monday-friday 180 days a yr. So the 4 hours I wouldn't be with my kids they would be with my mother-in-law (she lives in the same town)

In all honesty do what you and your husband thinks is best for your family. Its great to ask for advice but just follow your heart and if it says be a SAHM then do so. I have noticed that the more involved a parent(s) are with their children in school and out, the better the child will grow.
 

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1) I grew up with only one cousin who lived close enough for me to see. She was five years older, lived next door, and was more like a sister than a cousin. I honestly never felt like I was missing out on anything.

Cassandra said:
2) If I had children (and I plan on it) and was a Sahm, I'd definatly do part time daycare or preschool (which is half a day). because I want my children to be able to interact with others in a setting where no one has the 'home turf' advantage (the 'this is my home so we only do what I want' mentality)
Young kids think everything belongs to them, whether at home or in daycare! :lol: However, once the kids reach preschool age, socialization becomes very important. :)

It's not necessary to enroll your children in any kind of formal program or daycare just yet. They will learn more and get more quality attention at home with you than in a daycare setting. So enjoy them while you can!! They'll be in preschool before you know it. :wink: 8O

A quality preschool program is important, which is often very different than day care. One or two years in a good program is critical for kindergarten readiness. A good program will help them develop social skills, letter and number recognition, pre-reading skills. As a teacher, I can usually pick out the kindergarteners who lack good preschool experience pretty quickly.

For now, a good compromise that would benefit all of you would be joining a mommy and me playgroup, Kindermusik, a toddler reading group, or a toddler gym class. Check out the local library, YMCA or youth organization.

If you can't find anything, consider starting your own group. Hang up a flyer at your pediatrician's office to find other SAHMs.

These things saved me when I had babies! It was great to get out and meet other moms in the same situation. However, we all knew that these activities were more for the moms than the kids!! :lol:
 

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I grew up with four siblings and no close relatives aound so it wasn't a huge family or anything but... I was the oldest by six years. My Mom was a stay at home mom as well. I DID resent not having friends and the fact that we moved a lot, another story all together. As a result, with my kids, I've tried to socialize them as much as possible. I'm a stay at home mom too. I've got three under the age of six. They play with each other but it's not the same. We DO have tons of kids around us though right now but we didn't used to. I found a great preschool and started them there at about three years old, when they were potty trained. They loved going and made all types of friends. I only took them in the mornings. That way I could get some erands and house stuff done, go get them, let them take a nap, and play all evening. It worked out great. I didn't and still don't need to work. My youngest is three now, my other two have school. I JUST finished potty traing him this week. We'll be moving soon so I haven't gone in to enroll him anywhere but I plan to when we move, just the mornings again. He gets extremely bored when the other two leave. I have heard from teachers that at that young of age, children NEED interaction with other children. In fact, I had made a comment about how my son's kindergarten class was set up. It's got circular table and the kids face each other. I wanted to know how they learned without seeing the teacher. I was informed that socialization was even more important than seeing the teacher in Kindergarten and they did that on purpose. But it all boils down to what you think your kids need. You're their provider. If you feel they need more socialization, you should help them in that aspect. It sounds like it chips at your shoulder a bit. There are places with hourly care too. You may be able to bring them in for just an hour or two like when you go shopping etc. Just my two cents worth and hope I helped a little...
Bam
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Wow! So many ideas about these issues. I do agree with whomever said it to "follow my heart" and do what I think is best for the kids and our situation. After thinking about it some more I can understand how at my kids' age, 1 year, that socialization isn't "crucial" yet but at this point would be more handy for me and a way to get some free time.

I love being a stay-at-home mom but at the same time I miss my old job terribly some days. I'm honestly torn about what to do. I really think I've got to get out now, though, and find out what's available in this town as far preschools. Does anybody have an idea about readiness to enroll and availability for preschools? I would suppose it has to do with the size of the community you live in. In that case, we live in a fairly small community so preschools probably fill up fast and I should get cracking to see if I need to put my kids on a waiting list - hope not!

At any rate, thanks to everyone for the words of advise and divulging your own experiences. I just have to take bits and pieces of it and make it all make sense for our own situation. :)
 

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OK. I work at a very nice, well respected preschool that basically caters to people like you. :) It is only a half day preschool, and kids can either come in the morning from 9-12 or in the afternoon from 1-3:30. They can either come M/W/F or T/TH, and a few come all 5 days....regardless, they are only there for at the most, 3 hours. These kids all have SAHMs who do not work...that's the only way they are able to be flexible enough to drop off/pick up their kids in such a short time period!! :lol:

I gre up with 3 sisters, but none of us EVER went to daycare or preschool....EVER. I alwas thought when I was a SAHM someday I would not put my kids in, either.......until i started working at one. 8)

It is SO GOOD for the kids, and every one of them gets SO MUCH out of it....socially, emotionally, intellectually, physically, etc.

Now, since I know you have twins, I am going to talk a little about that....we have 3 sets of twins in our program....and I think they are some of the kids who benefit most. It is so neat to watch them come in, stuck to each other like glue, and then over the months see them gradually start to really be individuals, and have seperate friends, etc., but then still at the end of the day, or snack, or quiet time, they are right back at each others side, still best friends with an unspeakable bond. :)

HOWEVER (and sorry this is so long), I think 1 year old is too young. The youngest we take into our school is 2, and I even think alot of them are still too young. I work in the 3 and 4 year old classes, and I think that is probably the best age, and when they would get the most out of taking part in this kind of program. Plus, it works WONDERS at getting them ready for Kindergarten. :)
 

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I haven't read all the replies but here is my view/experience...

1) For those of you who grew up with small families or no family around other than mom, dad and siblings, was your young childhood (under the age of 7 or so) fulfilling and did you enjoy your childhood or do you feel that you missed out not having cousins around, etc?

I am the youngest of 3 and the smallest of the age gaps is 11 years. My Mum stayed at home until I started school. I had cousins but were not regularly in contact with them. My Mum was fantastic at amusing me as a child in general and would do lots of things with me and I had a fantastic time with my Mum. When I was 3 I started going to Playschool one morning a week. This is when my Mum would maybe go and do some shopping or whatever. I am from a small town and a lot of the kids that went to my playschool went to my primary, junior and secondary school so great friendships were formed.

This experience means that now, more than anything I want to do the same if I have children and I can amuse other children better remebering the simple things my Mum did :) Obviously with twins it is different ;)

2) My other thing is... if these were your children and your decision, knowing that you don't "need" to work to help pay the bills, would you still find a job and place your kids in daycare just so they get the interaction with others?

I would maybe not necessarily find a job. But I would perhaps go to a mother and toddler group and have a coffee or something with other Mum's whilst the toddlers played and learnt social skills. If you really feel the need to get a job then more power to you. It's personal preferance. The advantage of mother and toddler groups is that you are there with your children so you don't need to trust someone else with your child's care, you'll meet Mum's with children the same age giving rise to the possibility of babysitting circles, meetings in the park etc, you will be surrounding by "like minded" people :) and there is no commitment like there is with a job. If the twins had a little cold, you can just stay home!

:) just my thoughts on the matter
 

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Jo, I think if you feel you need a break to work or just have a bit of free time, then you should consider it. Daycare for the socialization only is a different choice than you wanting to spend a bit of time doing other things than being at home with the kids.

It sounds like you miss working. I did, too. I chose to stay home until my little one was in preschool, and then I got back to volunteering and substitute teaching right away. I loved being with the kids, but it was nice to do something different.

Hayley and I both mentioned the moms' group idea. As I said, this saved me. Not just for the interaction for my girls, but it gave me some much needed adult time as well as a break. The kids were entertained and we all helped each other out, offering support and advice for the issues we were dealing with. Our group also helped each other with child care. We would take turns watching each others' kids during doctor and hair appointments, shopping trips, etc.

So you really need to decide what everyone's needs and wants are (including yours!) and then see how best to meet them. Only you know what will work best for your family.

As far as preschools go, the best way to find out about them is to call the ones in your area. You can ask your pediatrician or local school system for names if you are unfamiliar with the offerings.

Requirements for readiness often include potty training, but that can vary. Some are sticklers and have firm no diaper rules, others allow Pull-Ups. Many start at age three, but some have programs for younger children. In my area, there is a preschool program through the public shool system as well as several private preschools. Cost can vary widely, too!
 

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On #1, I did not have siblings that were close in age with me, but I did grow up with a lot of cousins. I am in the same boat as you, I loved the experience, but I know that when DH and I have kids, they will have very few if any cousins and probably none close to their age. But I know you can't do anything about that. One thing to think about is will your kids have any 3rd cousins close by? This would be your 1st cousin's kids. I know I had two 3rd cousins who lived in the same town as us and we did things together and still were considered "cousins".
#2 If it were my kids, I am not sure. Dh and I are very involved in church, so I know our kids would be getting some interaction through being at the church nursery and at church activities. I don't know if that would be enough. DH and I are both very introverted, so we are sort of expecting that our kids may turn out the same way. So I would definately consider a mom's group or some kind of part time day care (probably starting at age 3 for the day care). I hope to be a SAHM and I don't know if I might want to work part time or not. One thing...when I was around 4 years old, my mom would take me to day care once a week. Now, it was not like most places are now. They would take the boys to a room with tons of toys, games and puzzles and the girls to a small room with a dollhouse and dolls. I hated dolls and was painfully shy so I would just sit on the floor for hours and do nothing. On the playground, kids were mean to me and I did not ever make friends since I was only there once a week. So I guess the moral of that story was that either I should have been going more often, or to a different day care or I should have started at a younger age before I got to be so used to always having mom around. I'm not sure which.
 

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1) I had cousins around that young and they were okay but they caused me more problems than anything. But my cousins were brats. :evil:

2) I wouldn't necessarily say you have to go find a job just to put them in daycare -- check out things in your area, social things -- you can meet other moms and they can meet other kids. You could even put them in daycare for a few hours a few times a week so they can socialize -- it'll give you time to run your errands and have some time to yourself, and it'll give them a chance to meet other kids.

Sorry if I repeated anything anyone said, I'm responding before reading the other posts.
 

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1. I have a small, nuclear family. I don't miss having cousins around. Since both of my parents are the youngest in their families I was always lacking "senority" when it comes to interactions between my cousions and I. I had no decision-making authority and I had to submit to their will (order is extremely important in Chinese culture) so I actually liked spending time with myself.

2. Daycare is overrated. There are bullies around even at a young, tender age. It is only natural for a young toddler to learn everything from the mother first before he/she learns from the peers. Besides, daycares can be disease-ridden. I was afflicted with respiratory illness for the most part of toddler days. I think children get the most from their mothers, not their peers.
 

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daycare

I am sorry but I may have missed how old your kids are, but if they are under 18, the best care they could get is from you and only you.

Nobody loves them the way you do, and nobody cares about their well being the way you do, I am sounding like Dr. Laura ha? for whom I really don't care much.

But in any case, the best for them would be to have you full time. Don't try to conveince yourself that daycare could be "GOOD" for them. they can socialize with other children when they get home from school with you being there or on week ends. I am not a parent but I believe if you choose to have kids, their best interest must come first.

As far as having cousins around, it sure is fun but the most valuable thing your children could have is their health and you staying healthy for them.

Cherish every second you have together, try to find good friends and they will grow up to be happy, loving/goo/kind human beings. What else can you ask for?

They would need your guidance full time......
 
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