Should stay-at-home mums be banned? part 2
Should stay-at-home mums be banned?
(not sure what the hell I’m going on about? start at part 1.)
Bubba’s daycare is a small school made up of 2 groups of 1-3 year olds and 2 groups of 3-5 year olds. Her class is called the ‘trumpets’. I’m not making this up. There are 9 other little budding musicians in her class and 3 patient and slightly deaf teachers.
She comes home singing little Swedish songs of which I have no clue to what she is trying to sing. I don’t think she has much of clue either judging by her ad hoc avant garde Bartok inspired melodies she comes up with. I am pleased to say however, that her works in binary form are coming along rather well. Yes Twinkle Twinkle, with its open fifths and delicate four bar phrasing is a noted favourite and she’s showing real progress with it.
- Cost per month for full time care is 1260SEK/184USD/180AUS, we pay the maximum amount. This amount is reduced for siblings and for people on lesser incomes. Everyone in Sweden receives a non-means tested child allowance of 1050SEK per child per month, so we effectively pay 210SEK/40 USD/38AUS per month for childcare.
- Everything is included: food + nappies. There is an onsite chef, the food is prepared daily.
- Opening times are from 8 to 6pm although she is not there that long.
- It’s cleaned every night.
- We receive a weekly email including photos of what she’s been up to and a menu plan.
- It’s a 20 minute walk away. 40 minutes if you are pregnant.
- Ratio is 3 carers to 10 toddlers however I think the norm in Sweden is 2 to 10.
- She loves it. We love it. Mozart would have loved it. He would have been best in his class.
Sweden’s family policies are fundamentally good at their core and are usually offered as the model that Western governments should follow. Everyone (women) should have the right to be able to work + child care of a good quality, should be affordable to all. Bravo.
But what about the other side of the Pancake we call Parenting? What happens if you actually want to be your child’s primary care provider? Sweden just isn’t set up for this possibility. Unless you are the Queen.
Child care in Sweden and around the world is nearly always discussed as a ‘feminist’ issue and is attached to rights of women, but shouldn’t it be a ‘childist’ issue?
A long time ago in Sweden when everyone was a viking, family was considered the best option. Then a few decades ago everyone was offered 15 hours a week (of what is essentially free daycare) and now it is 40 hours a week. And everyone takes it:
92% of all children aged 18 months to five years are in daycare
Most people with small children however do work less hours and most kids are picked up from daycare in the afternoon. It’s not like every kid is Sweden is just left forever at daycare, everyone really cares about their children and are heavily engaged in their care, both mothers and fathers. I’ve also never heard anyone complain about the quality of their childcare. But I’ve also never met a stay at home mum (after 18 months when your parental leave runs out) and I’ve lived here for 12 years. It’s just not a choice, they’ve seemingly been banned.
So apart from paying 38 bucks a month for full time day care that specialises in music, Sweden also offers me this:
- All parents have the right to work up to 75% of the working week until the kid turns 7, and you cannot lose your job, it’s mandated by law.
- Between TSH and myself we are entitled to 120 days a year paid leave if Bubba is sick, paid by the state not the employer.
Is Sweden’s low cost day care, a high price to pay?
[Photos courtesy of http://www.sxc.hu ]