Thursday, October 01, 2009

British Watchdog Group Won't Let Two Mothers Exchange Childcare Favors

Motherhood is the world's oldest profession. Our moms have been taking care of us since time immemorial. They've taken care of our friends. They understand that what is good for my child is good for that child.

Unless you live in England.

Apparently, while you may know what's best for your child, you need certification to do simple childcare things, like help a friend out by watching her kid while she goes to work.

A recent story in the London Daily Mail said two working mums are not allowed to watch each other's children, because they are not "registered childminders." These two friends work for the same company, and had made arrangements with each other to watch the other's child while they took turns going to work.

But some officious jerk ratted the two out to the education advocacy group Ofsted (Office for Standards in Education, which said that the two were breaking the law.

Apparently, if you watch a child for more than two hours outside the child's home for a "reward," you have to have your background checked, including a check from the Criminal Records Bureau. And since Ofsted apparently does not understand the plight or problems for working mothers, they considered this deal to be a "reward."

Education advocate Dr. Richard House said Ofsted's findings were "absolutely scandalous."

He told the Daily Mail, "There is no conceivable rationale behind it. It's like making the assumption that all parents are paedophiles and they have to prove that they aren't. As soon as we create a society like that then family life ceases. Parents have to have the confidence to make their own choices about their own children. This is absolutely extraordinary."

"Absolutely extraordinary" is the polite "f---ing stupid."

Basically, as an English parent, I culd choose to register my kids for football, rugby, or beginning rock climbing. I could feed them Twinkies for breakfast and make chocolate pancakes for dinner. I can let them walk to school, or play with the friends they made in council housing (that's British for "the projects.")

But I can't let a close friend watch my child while I go to work in exchange for doing the same thing for her.

Ofsted, or at least the British government, needs to realize that while Ofsted may be in charge of educational standards in British schools, their reach does not extend into private homes or business matters. And that just because they declare something to be so doesn't mean it's right.

Apparently, the two moms have had to put their kids in traditional daycare, which isn't cheap, which means they either have to work more (thus spending less time with their children), or make less (which makes their efforts a lot less profitable).

I've known several families where the mom put their children in day care so they could go to work. What they learned was that with the cost of daycare being so high, they barely made any money. Basically, they were working so they could pay for child care, because they were only netting a couple hundred dollars a week. And that money went toward things like gas to get to work, parking, etc. So they ended up quitting their jobs and found they were just as well off financially as they had been before.

If two women are trying to improve their financial well-being, and need to rely on each other to get it done, then Ofsted should get their heads out of their collective ass and leave these women alone.

Leave parenting to people who know how to parent, not idiot bureaucrats who apparently just don't get it.

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