Outrage of the Weekend Update (Re: Moms Punished for Helping Each Other)

Remember the Outrage of the Weekend? Two moms sharing a job were trading off taking care of each other’s kids. Or at least they were until this was declared illegal because they are not licensed day care workers. Well it looks like the authorities over there in jolly ol’ England are realizing this may actually be one of mankind’s stupider ideas. Take heart! Here’s the piece — a lovely essay in The Guardian.

Note at the end: “Unsurprisingly, given the debate this case has generated, the children’s minister has now ordered a review of the ‘babysitting ban.'” Huzzah huzzah! — Lenore

17 Responses

  1. what the heck! since when can you not leave your kid with a friend to babysit? sigh. so does this mean that no one can ever go out on a date or run to the store without the kids? sigh.

  2. I read the comments on the article you linked, and I liked the call for civil disobedience. The people shall unite and all participate in acts of unauthorized babysitting!!!

  3. I thought it was interesting that one of the comments on the Guardian site pointed out that both mothers could have gotten around the ban by having the caretaker bring her child to the home of the child whose mother was working, because while you are not allowed to care for unlicensed kids in your own home, there’s no regulations or licensing for a nanny who comes to your house (and may or may not bring her own child with her).

  4. The Michigan case was featured on The Today Show this morning.


  5. As a homeschooling mom I’ve often thought how much I’d love to have a friends’ kids over for a day or an afternoon… it would be great for all kids involved. Unfortunately, at least here in America, doing such a thing would likely be up to heavy scrutiny by some people (even though it’s none of their business!) – truancy, the potential daycare charge, etc. etc. Lame.

  6. Layne beat me to it. The Chicago Trib take on the story of a woman told she couldn’t watch her neighbor’s three kids for free and for LESS THAN AN HOUR before school because she was operating an unlicensed day care.


  7. Kelly – We constantly have friends over during the day. My kids are outside as soon as their lessons are done, riding their bikes, rollerblading, walking to the library. We’ve never had anyone question us beyond the curious “No school today?” and as soon as they hear that we are homeschoolers they say no more. I hope you aren’t keeping your kids inside all day. Here in my town they have a “Not going to school” party on the day public schools start and celebrate the empty parks. Aaahhh, all ours.

  8. “My kids are outside as soon as their lessons are done, riding their bikes, rollerblading, walking to the library.”

    Mine too. I just wish some of our friends could join us (take a day or a few hours off of school) without their parents getting nagged by the school district.

  9. Oh good. I thought you meant other homeschoolers too. I would be in trouble if my kids were in school. I would keep them home on nice days or snowy days or rainy days good for having mud fights. My kids are always wishing their school friends had more time to spend with them.

  10. I read that article you linked – I would have LOST it if someone told me I couldn’t mind my next door neighbour’s kid without a license.
    Could it be possible that between Australia, USA and the UK, England is the worst?

  11. […] are investigated for looking after each other’s children?” [Jackie Kemp, Guardian via Skenazy; […]

  12. I love that essay in The Guardian. As an American living in Britain, it often seems to me that people have abdicated any responsibility for self and neighbour because the State has told them that The State knows best and only The State can be trusted to care for them.

  13. This quote from this article http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/33068650/ns/today-parenting_and_family/ struck me:

    “Snyder also asked if the kids could come to her house for playdates. She was told that if the children’s parents were at home during the playtime it was OK, but if they dropped the kids off to play and then went to the store or out to dinner, it was no longer a playdate — it was day care.”

    So, this isn’t even really about “child safety” because I cannot see how my neighbor is any better at watching my kids if I’m home vacuuming under the sofa than if I’m running to Target. It’s as if they are using this law to make parents unable to make any kind of parenting decision for themselves without consulting the government. Very sad.

  14. In the Guardian article, there is one quote that I think is priceless. Quite possibly the most important quote in the whole peice:

    “Parents can do some things for their children that the state can’t do – such as love them.”

    This is the key. We’re entering a time when even “love” is defined at the state level.

  15. So much for the “it takes a village” approach! In the Michigan case, yes, investigate the complaint, but use some common sense. That, or the state of Michigan better start shelling out big bucks to open free before- and after-school programs for schoolchildren with working parents. Oohh, do we think that might be the reason? If you pay for childcare, then people have to be LICENSED ($$$ state fees, registrations) and then CLAIM THE INCOME ($$$ income taxes at both state and federal levels). Watching your friends’ kids undercuts all that opportunity for the state to get a chunk!

    Somebody in Michigan (hello, Governor?!?!) needs to publically apologize for this gross lack of mind cells, and direct resources to the issues that really need it. It would be horrifying to know that somewhere in Michigan there is a child who truly needs to be protected who isn’t receiving the attention he or she needs because of this case.

    Shows just how ridiculous things are getting, and takes a state off my vacation list – who knows, if I let my 14-year-old son go to the men’s room alone at the airport in Michigan, I might be led out in cuffs!

  16. There has been such a lot of anger over this. Everyon eis up in arms at the wider implication

  17. @WorkingMom: “…yes, investigate the complaint, but use some common sense.”

    It seems that the letter Snyder received from DHS was the first indication she had that there was a problem. It’s appalling that DHS didn’t even bother to investigate; they just took the neighbor’s word for it. So it’s come to this…..if someone anonymously complains about you, you’re automatically guilty.

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