I have a very good friend with a 3 year-old little boy. He’s very smart. Ask him the planets. He’ll tell you. What’s the name of our galaxy? He’ll tell you. What kind of galaxy is it? He’ll tell you. (Spiral, if you don’t remember). He can even tell you the names of the biggest moons of mooned planets. It is surprising how bright he is.
It’s also clear that she spends a lot of time with him. And she’s proud of him, but she’s also really depressed.
She stays at home with him full-time. The neighborhood she lives in doesn’t have other mothers with small children and unfortunately she doesn’t live close to (m) any Mormons. I think she’s depressed because she doesn’t get a lot of adult interaction and because she misses the positive feedback of a job. You have a list of things to do. People expect things out of you. You do them. They like you. Also, generally those people are adults. Hopefully some of them are your peers. And it is very rewarding to make your own money.
I talk to her on a fairly regular basis and her depression and the apparent reasons for it seem consistent. I’ve suggested on a number of occasions that she get a part-time job. Even 10-15 hours a week. Nothing major. It could be a simple retail job. It’s not about the money it’s about the interaction, the feedback, the accomplishment that is easy to get from a job like that, meaning you show up, they like you. You be nice, they like you.
She refuses. She says she doesn’t have the money for daycare for those hours but that turns out not to be true. It turns out she hates daycare. Pretty much thinks it’s evil and that there’s no way that it can do anything but bad for her little boy.
I don’t understand this. I support stay at home moms. If you have that choice, it’s a nice choice to make. Clearly they do better work than any babysitter or daycare and putting your kid in daycare may do a disservice to them. But 15-20 hours a week? Can that really screw up your kid? Is it a terrible idea?
She says that I don’t understand, and that’s true. I’ve just recently come around to the idea of marriage and I’m not sure where the horizon is that kids may or may not be on. I do love my nieces and nephews and am thankful for their mothers that give them much of their time, but I’d still think those kids were geniuses if they were in part-time daycare. And if it helped lift a mother out of depression, I’d think those kids would be better off.
I support my friend in whatever she chooses, but I still secretly wish she’d get a job. What do y’all think? Is it best for a mother to just hold tight, be depressed and stay at home until the kid(s) enter school? If a job would help alleviate depression, is it a good idea to put your kid in daycare part-time? Do I not understand because I have no kids of my own? Will some part-time job not make any sort of difference?