We parents are a shifty bunch. We make single people feel bad about their freedom, and all the sex they get to have, and we allegedly do not (I'm not implying anything, I'm just saying people I know keep having kids, so SOMETHING'S got to be goin' on, right?), and all the sleeping in they get to do. And even within our own tribe there are hierarchies and prejudices - working moms, non-working moms, fathers who are more and less involved, parents who can't wait to smoke up until their kid is asleep and end up hiding in a closet with their bong made out of a PBR can - cataloging these subgroups is way too much trouble.
But I'm here today to dispel a particularly insidious and effective myth. And that is the MYTH OF THE GUILTY DAYCARE DROPOFF.
The conventional wisdom goes something like this: Mom or Dad drops off Child at daycare or preschool, and Child proceeds to pitch a fantastic fit. Screaming, lunging precariously out of teachers' arms, full-on tantrum on the floor with punching and kicking and snot and tears. Mom or Dad, after bearing this outburst with a saint's patience, kiss their child goodbye and walk out the door, looking to one and all like they've made a tremendous sacrifice -
"Good for you, helping your child learn the value of independence, and time away from his/her parents! It's so tough, but you're a modern parent! You HAVE to work, otherwise you'd totally be with your child 24/7. You must be a VERY strong person. I am in awe, sir/ma'am!"
That tantrum is a point of pride. Sure, we have to look all distressed and anxious as we walk away - gosh, I hope s/he's ok without me! However will s/he handle the day without his Mumsy-wumsy? But deep down, we're cheering. Because that conniption is Exhibit A of our child's love.
If you're walking out of preschool, and your little Emma Bailey Aiden McFeminism-Smith isn't turning beet red and passing out, you're obviously a crappy parent. Maybe if you were more fun, or had better, non-plastic toys constructed by union workers at carbon-footprint-free factories, and fed your child hormone-free organic fruits and vitamin-infused soymilks and -cheeses, s/he would actually be said to see you go. Instead, they're all excited to go and bite that Asian kid, then hurt animals in a blatantly proto-serial killer sort of way.
Here's a hint if you want that awe-inspiring tantrum when you drop off your kid - tell him you're never coming back, and that his Mommy doesn't love him.
Oh, the tears will flow like rivers! And everyone will know what a great parent you are. Jealous much?