I am not a mom. I don’t play one on TV. I haven’t had a regular babysitting gig in years.
But, as someone who paid for books and incidentals in college and high school by working various childcare gigs for children of all ages, I can only image how hard it is to be the person to whom a sick, crying, cranky, teething, miserable and irrational small human is entrusted by default. My experience was only a guest pass to the joy and frustration that parenting brings.
Now that I’m older, more of my friends are becoming parents. Many of them without so much as changing a diaper or slicing the crusts off a sandwich for an inconsolable toddler once in their lives. I see how happy they are–and how entirely overwhelmed.
Many of my new Mom friends in the Boston area turned to Isis Parenting to fill in the gaps in knowledge and to provide an outlet for those frustrations that I as a swinging single lady can’t fully help process no matter how many daycares I’ve worked in. None of us know it until we’re there, and Isis provided a place to connect for overloaded and under-rested new parents.
The Isis Parenting chain shut down today, without warning its customers. Many of the parents I know who visited Isis were despondent. But there were just as many posts saying we shouldn’t boo-hoo for women who can afford luxury baby strollers. Use your privilege to go somewhere else, seemed to be the subtext.
We’re a country that tells women to breed as often as possible but doesn’t provide support to parents–on all levels of the economic spectrum–once the baby is born. So there IS likely no other place for people to go. Hospitals referred new mothers to Isis for support. Families are more geographically disparate than ever–and some women aren’t lucky enough to have relations to rely on for knowledge and support. (My friend and Mom Jennifer Spencer explains this nicely on Isis’ blog.)
What irks me most about this closing is that this sort of support and education isn’t offered to every new parent, whether she’s pushing her newborn in a Bugaboo or a Graco stroller. Education classes provide a chance for new parents to learn from experts and from each other. Educators or facilitators could be on the lookout for women who might be experiencing post-partum depression or other serious issues after giving birth.
Small businesses shouldn’t be responsible for these services. It’s the role of… the healthcare industry? municipalities? states? nonprofits?… somebody! to facilitate the kind of community building that helps people become the best parents they can be. Hopefully an organization steps forward to fill this void in Boston’s parenting community.