If I could change the world… the Creche system

I was procrastinating today and stumbled upon a snippet of pie-in-the-sky I’d written back in 1998. In it, I was trying to work out how parenting could be ‘improved’ in the future:

The Creche System [child care of the future]

The creche system would provide living arrangements for guardian parents and their children in same sex communal living complexes where the guardians share both the nurturing, the domestic chores and often the professional jobs which they have in common. This would leave all guardians with at least some free time – via rostered “days off”  –  to maintain identities which are distinct from their roles as nurturers.

The creche system is based on three fundamental assumptions:

  1. that [usually] only one biological parent is suited to the type of nurturing required to raise happy, healthy and well adjusted children,
  2. that the guardian parent, in order to remain effective, requires a support network of similar guardians who are best suited to share the load and provide both physical and emotional support to each other,
  3. that the guardian parent, in order to stay sane and feel fulfilled requires adult relationships outside of the nurturing environment where they can experience those aspects of life which are not child related – e.g. sex, work, hobbies, studies etc.

The majority of creches would cater  for guardian mothers and children.

Some creches would be ‘father’ based for those men who have chosen to be the guardians for their children – whether from necessity i.e. the mother is dead, incapacitated or disinterested or because they have rejected the male stereotype and, like most mothers, are good at, and enjoy, the nurturing of children.

A guardian would be able to contribute to a Creche in a number of ways:

  • by trading goods and services/special skills etc.
  • by sharing the domestic chores of communal living 
  • by paying outsiders to do their share of chores etc.

The Creche would be a combination nursery/parents club/sanctuary.

Some Creches would be family based i.e. like old extended families but either all female or all male.

Some Creches would be ‘public’ i.e. any parent can gain a place either temporarily or permanently.

Some creches would be ‘skill’ based where a number of parents engaged in the same expert profession would band together and share both the nursery and the job. Skill based creches would usually be small, highly organized and employ outside help for the bulk of the domestic chores.

In fact the number and type of creches would be almost unlimited.

The only common rule amongst all creches would be that sex must occur outside the creche. This is to avoid a guardian feeling pressurized into having sex when she/he doesn’t feel like it.

The philosophy behind this rule is that sex is not just a physical release but also a complete physical and emotional experience. Sexual partners should always feel that the sex is special – something that both partners look forward to, work for and enjoy. i.e. sex should remain as interesting and exciting after children as it was before.

Most importantly, sex should never become a routine on a par with shaving or brushing your teeth. The only way to accomplish this would be to separate sex from everyday life, making it an ‘event’ rather than a habit.

In same sex creches, all parties would gain certain benefits.

Children

As nuclear families usually contain only one or at the most two children, a creche would provide the children with many other children – of varying ages, personalities etc – to socialize with. The children would also gain a sense of security from close contact with the guardian [mother/father] as well as a whole host of ‘aunts/uncles’.

guardians       

The guardian – i.e. the parent doing the nurturing – would be able to enjoy the bond with their children without the sense of physical, mental and emotional isolation that often occurs in the nuclear family.

They would have an instant support network :

  • to share the load of nurturing and domesticity,
  • to provide much needed time out and personal space.

For those in skill based creches, the creche would also provide the opportunity to continue their chosen profession AND enjoy watching their children grow.

And finally, a word about biologicals. Biologicals are mothers and fathers who do not perform the role of nurturer for their children. For them, the Creche system would allow them to pursue their own goals and aspirations without being made to feel guilty or selfish.

Biologicals would be able to interact with their children and/or partners for  short periods of time without having to cope – usually inadequately – with the demands of everyday family and domestic life.

The degree of interaction between biological parents and their families would not be determined by social expectations but rather by mutual liking and affection.

Apart from tidying up the format, and the text to make it ‘flow’, I’ve left these ideas uncensored because…I still think some of them have value.

Would the Creche system work?

In hindsight, I can see how getting along with many other adults might also be harder than getting along with just one other adult, especially if you’re not particularly sociable. And yet…I remember being awfully lonely for much of the time while the Offspring was growing up.

Were you lonely as a parent? Did you miss your friends, job, social interactions outside of parenting? If you had your ‘druthers’, would you change how families work, and if so, how?

There ya go, something to think about during the weekend. 😀

Meeks

About acflory

I am the kind of person who always has to know why things are the way they are so my interests range from genetics and biology to politics and what makes people tick. For fun I play online mmorpgs, read, listen to a music, dance when I get the chance and landscape my rather large block. Work is writing. When a story I am working on is going well I'm on cloud nine. On bad days I go out and dig big holes... View all posts by acflory

51 responses to “If I could change the world… the Creche system

  • robbiesinspiration

    Staying at home and raising children has become a luxury not afforded to many modern women. I would love to have stayed home and looked after my boys. Instead, I had to work and earn money, trying to juggle the heavy requirements of a corporate job with mothering. It created an endless tussle inside me as I tried to prioritise and it also caused me endless guilt as I felt I never measured up on either front. Of course, in retrospect, I know my guilt was ridiculous. I turned myself inside out to ensure my boys had the best of me and it shows. As for work, well, corporates don’t care, they will squeeze every drop of life out of you and then toss you aside. I am excellent at my job, but I know I am used and I’ve watched many colleagues being discarded after being used. It is best to keep work in its box and know that it is not your life, it is a means to life.

    Liked by 1 person

    • acflory

      -hugs- having worked in corporate, I can only imagine how hard it must have been for you. You had to be Superwoman, I was just lonely. Our kids didn’t suffer but we did in our very different ways. I think that’s what motivated this post, the realisation that there has to be a better way.
      With the benefit of hindsight, I’d advise every woman who is capable of it to run her own business. There’s just as much work involved, and just as much juggling, but…the work doesn’t have to be done within corporate hours and away from home.

      My ex ran his own computer business and I worked with him as tech support/office manager. When the Offspring came along, I retired to the house and started writing tech manuals for the off the shelf software the business was developing. I could do that during nap times and after everyone else was asleep. Not ideal but it kept my mind active.

      Honestly? I don’t know what the best impossible-to-reach-but-ideal solution would be. I only know that what women/mothers have now is soul destroying.

      Like

  • DawnGillDesigns

    really interesting idea. As you know, we’ve been fortunate enough to be able to choose not to have children, so I’m looking at this from a theoretical viewpoint, and I always wonder if effectively being raised in an environment where the formative adults in a child’s life are all one gender would inhibit their development/ cramp their perspective. Glad it’s not something I’ve had to give any thought to!

    Liked by 1 person

    • acflory

      Um…the kids would have access to parents of the opposite gender too, but as ‘visitors’ rather than authority figures. Pragmatically, that’s pretty much what kids have now once the parents are divorced. Access varies, but spending the weekend with Dad, or sometimes Mum, is a lot like having or being a visitor. Except that there is usually a lot of underlying animosity that sours the time spent with the other parent.

      In an ideal situation, both parents spend equal amounts of time and effort on their kids, and the kids learn that Dads can be just as good at parenting as Mums. That then may influence how they decide to parent later in life. But that is very much the ideal, and very few kids experience it. Instead, a lot of kids grow up experiencing the negative aspects of the nuclear family…and then do the same to their own kids. It becomes a vicious circle.

      Liked by 1 person

      • DawnGillDesigns

        yes, I guess. I suppose I must have a different perspective – I was one of 2 in my class (of 35) with divorced parents, and all Barry’s family have stayed together and raised their kids altohugh in reasonably traditional roles, they have all been very hands on and involved in all element. So all his nieces and nephews (and my classmates from the 1980s) would have had that steady drip of communication and experience that occurs 24/7. I was imagining from your description something like a retirement village, only instead of all adults being over 58, all the adults would be of one gender. ‘Course, now I have friends who are in same gendered partnerships, raising children, so I guess everything evolves! I’m relieved it is something I don’t have to expend any mental energy on 😉 (part of the constant joy of not parenting, in my hugely controversial opinion!!). This is one of the things I love about the internet, the opportunity to discover different experiences and viewpoints. Thank you.

        Liked by 1 person

        • acflory

          lol – there’s that generation gap! I grew up in the 60’s and we all thought, yay! We are the generation of women who will finally break free. The world is now our oyster! And it was true, to an extent. I travelled, worked, studied, had relationships and thought I was very much the independent Miss. Then I married, had a child and bam, I was faced with the age old reality of biology. I fell in love with the Offspring and everything in my life changed, including my priorities. Suddenly I was an old fashioned Mum, just like my own mother, but…I still wanted the mental stimulation of adult interaction but hubby was working 12-14 hour days with maybe 1/2 a day off on Sundays. It was the worst of both the old world and the new. When you have kids, /something/ has to give. 😦

          Liked by 1 person

  • D. Wallace Peach

    This is too dystopian for me. But I love the “it takes a village” approach to raising children. I was isolated as a parent too, especially when I became a single parent. Some local support would have been wonderful since my family lived at the other side of the country. I can definitely see childcare cooperatives between families and neighborhoods. My mom was responsible for us kids while my dad worked all the time, but I’m glad I grew up with my dad too. I owe my love of the wilderness to him. 🙂 Fascinating post, Andrea.

    Liked by 1 person

    • acflory

      lol – after talking with Alicia I’ve come to realise that what we have /now/ is kind of dystopian.
      Oddly enough, I was much MUCH closer to my father than to my mother. Mum and I were like chalk and cheese. The thing is though, Dad was a very hands on father back when it was not even a thing. Mum fed me but Dad fed my mind. When I had a child of my own, I assumed the Offspring would grow up the same way. Didn’t happen. My ex was a ‘Sunday Dad’. My brother-in-law was the same. Luckily my sister-in-law and I supported each other. We became ‘the village’.

      I think if the nuclear family is to survive, co-parenting must become the norm rather than the exception. And something else has to evolve for those who don’t choose to co-parent for whatever reason.

      I’ll be watching with interest as I head towards my 90’s coz that’s how long I think it’ll take!

      Liked by 1 person

  • CarolCooks2

    I think grandparents and the family can work together it works very well here and in many ways here it is even more extended to the rest of the family but that for me would be too much day in day out…I like my solitude or me-time every day…Coupled with some socialising it can work if balanced to each individual but in larger numbers …That wouldn’t be for me…

    Liked by 1 person

  • Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt

    Would it work for you? In the same way you envisioned?

    Liked by 1 person

    • acflory

      Hah! I wrote that in 1998 when the Offspring was in primary school and the marriage was starting to show cracks. I think that back then, yes I would have jumped at the chance. How long it would have lasted is a very different issue.
      Like you, I like my personal space. No…I /need/ my personal space. I think I would have loved Dale’s childhood of being raised by ‘the village’ so to speak.
      But the truth is that I was probably set in my ways even back then. What we need is new attitudes and new thinking about ways of living. For the generations to come. 🙂

      Like

  • daleleelife101.blog

    Meeks, I grew up in the best creche system… in a nutshell, before we were school age and later when we weren’t at school, the kids in our street, then village as we got older spent our days outside, together, older ones watching out for the younger, we could go to any one of our homes for help, a drink or snack. Parents were part of this loose flexible network, according to their circumstances. I was an only child, and part of this time had only one parent but we were part of an extended family and community.

    Liked by 2 people

    • acflory

      -sigh- that, THAT is the ideal, but I bet you didn’t grow up in the suburb of a large city. 😦
      Both the Offspring and I are ‘onlies’ and I know about the loneliness factor twice over.
      As refugees from Hungary, we had no family here in Australia at all, so… -shrug- I do envy you. 🙂

      Like

  • Stine Writing

    So, if I understand this is almost a way to break out of single-parent households where the single parent is stressed or overwhelmed with life working, taking care of their child, and having a life of their own?

    Liked by 1 person

    • acflory

      Pretty much… My ex was a businessman so I was pretty much a ‘sole’ parent. If not for the close connection to my sister-in-law & her kids, I would have been almost completely isolated.
      Not all nuclear families are like that. I have friends who co-parented the whole way through. But…I think they’re still the exception rather than the rule.
      Plus we’re just starting to see what parenting, sole or otherwise, does to a woman’s career prospects and end-of-career superannuation.

      We’re ‘living’ according to 19th century patterns but expected to work in the 21st century. Something has to change.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Stine Writing

        For sure! I also know a lot of people who have had children but do not want a spouse or significant other. That is okay too but you definitely need that group to turn to. People don’t realize it makes for happier and healthier children when they are happy and healthy. Then, like you said its about a profession. I finished my degree the year I got pregnant with my daughter. I didn’t try to get job for almost 5 years after, I also had a son. By then I didn’t have the experience and my education was sort of “timing out”.

        Liked by 1 person

        • acflory

          I know exactly what you mean. I didn’t become a Mum until my 30s, so by the time I was ready to get serious about a career it was time to look after my Dad who had mild dementia [I was an only child].

          I found ways to continue my career [part time from home], and I don’t regret caring for the people in my life, but the social isolation and the financial consequences I could have done without.

          The current model probably made better sense in my parent’s generation where divorce was a rarity. These days? A marriage that lasts till the end of child rearing let alone old age is the rarity.

          Liked by 1 person

  • Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt

    No, thanks. Communal living is for extroverts. And it never works as well as it should – there are always slackers. It was bad enough having four younger sisters. Whom I love.

    I enjoyed my time with my kids. OUR time with our kids. I cannot possibly have a bunch of relationships with other adults – except for the brief periods of time our homeschool group got together.

    What you are describing sounds like pure hell to me.

    Different strokes.

    And ‘same sex’? No, thanks.

    Heinlein, in The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, has a society which has some creches. One graduate, an older girl, couldn’t wait to get away.

    Communal means run by the State to me. If you want to do that, maybe it’s good that there are options to. I think the Israelis have managed some. Kibbutzim?

    Nothing suits everyone.

    Liked by 1 person

    • acflory

      -grin- I’d want to choose my communal ‘co-parents’ very carefully as I’m an introvert too.

      The model I was trying to imagine was a modern version of the ‘it takes a whole village to raise a child’ concept.

      Honestly, if someone came up with a better model I’d be overjoyed. All I’m really saying is that /this/ model is broken for a heck of a lot of women.

      Perhaps what we need is a whole lot of different models rather than a one-size-fits-all one.

      I chose to be a stay at home Mum partly because it childcare simply wasn’t financially viable – it would have cost more than whatever I might have earned as a tech writer. The other reason was that I wanted to be there to see those first milestones and to provide a stable, safe base for the Offspring. The fact that I could do some work from home helped keep me sane, but boy did I feel the isolation.

      Like

      • Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt

        One of the reasons for the survival of the nuclear family – whether with one parent or three – is that those adults are directly passing their genes on to their offspring, which is important to us, even as it is to the lions. The behavior which passes the genes on is the most likely to survive.

        That’s a very animalistic outlook – but that’s how we evolved.

        Variations are aplenty – and many are not good at the process – but it’s the core. Add to that passing on property, and you have civilization.

        You can fight it at the micro level as much as you want, but it’s the backdrop you face. It is indubitably hard work; when humans find a cheat that makes it a bit easier, they grab it.

        Make the village do that, and you’ve got your solution.

        Keep trying to make it fair, or as fair as possible, and you have sustainable.

        Liked by 1 person

        • acflory

          Oh now you raise an interesting question! Is human society really the result of natural selection? Strength and aggression were certainly vital when we all lived in caves, but as primitive technology took hold, it was skill and intelligence that eventually took us out of the caves and allowed us to reshape our environment to the point where the only predators we had to fear were each other. So in that sense, we gone beyond natural selection and the ‘natural order’, but we haven’t been able to shed the aggression, even though it’s now very much counter-survival.

          The only way I can see our species continuing indefinitely into the future is if we turn our skill and intelligence inwards and start changing ourselves. A big part of that will depend on changing the ownership pattern that is the nuclear family.

          Most early societies were matrilineal, for obvious reasons. Perhaps we’ll need to go back to that model in the future. 🙂

          Like

          • Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt

            99% of what you do is governed by evolutionary instincts and autonomic processes.

            Sure, blame the other 1% for everything else. We are very close to our animal forebears. Any time you see a behavior, especially the ones we tend to suppress, you can find it in the animal kingdom.

            Matrilineal societies existed because the only way to GUARANTEE that the child was the mother’s is to see it come out – and never lose sight of it. An impossible task – kids were substituted all the time, especially if there were money or property involved.

            Now we have DNA – and 99% of kids and their parents never get tested!

            It’s all fascinating. Rearing a child to adulthood is a HUGE commitment. We hope it is also a commitment from that child to take care of us when we’re old, as we most certainly had to take care of them for them to survive to adulthood – and many still don’t.

            The thing about natural selection is that it also includes punctuated equilibrium – when things change drastically at a point due to a big external stressor (pandemics, anyone), and outliers who might have been selected out of the gene pool hold, accidentally, the key to survival for the species.

            Such as what might be happening now with the ocean waters warming.

            It’s all too big to be managed. ‘Terraforming’ makes me laugh. All fascinating.

            The main ownership pattern we HAVE to change is to reverse the pattern of letting the rich buy laws to make themselves richer.

            I wouldn’t mind as much about rich people having what they have IF everyone had basic healthcare, access to a GOOD education, a decent place to live that they could own if they wanted to, enough food…

            But the misery of enormous numbers of people is too high a price. And stupid: out of one of those people who today can’t get an education could have come another Albert Einstein.

            Liked by 1 person

          • acflory

            -grin- I still remember a biology class about how a population of moths all changed from black to white, or was it white to black? For precisely the reason you mentioned – a random mutation that would normally never get a chance to reproduce suddenly provides the best camoflage in a radically changed environment.

            Unfortunately, we simply can’t breed fast enough to make that kind of adaptation possible. Instead, we gradually changed the environment to suit ourselves. Now we may have suited ourselves so much that we’re making the environment unbearable.

            I agree re the skewed ownership patterns we’re seeing now. The problem is, how do you make the 1% stop buying the laws when money => power?

            LOL! Einsteins? How about all the female thinkers, artist and inventors who might have been?

            I’m not a feminist per se, I hold to humanism, but the balance is just too far out of whack. Some days I wonder if homo sapiens is even worth saving.

            Like

          • Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt

            Things are out of whack BUT we still have a one person one vote system (though wondering how long), and the right propaganda will get rid of some of the deadwood clogging the government and feeding at the public trough.

            Women are doing better than men at running their countries during the pandemic.

            One can hope.

            Liked by 1 person

          • acflory

            I know that very few countries do what we do and make voting compulsory, but I’ve never understood /why/. If voting in a democracy is voluntary then what happens is that the two extremes of the population bell curve tend to vote while the middle, the /majority/ don’t vote at all. Add to that the fundamental disconnect caused by a representative democracy and I don’t think it’s a democracy at all. Apologies. I know how rude that must sound, but I grew up thinking that everyone in a democracy voted. It’s literally only the last couple of years that I’ve discovered that no, they don’t. It’s actually shocked me.

            Like

          • Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt

            I think compulsory voting is fine.

            Wish we had it – we wouldn’t be in this mess.

            Liked by 1 person

          • acflory

            Do you think things will change after this period finally ends? I don’t mean in terms of voting but in terms of the power invested in the office?

            Like

          • Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt

            The last four years have shown the deep flaws in the ‘American experiment.’

            I hope we can fix some of them.

            And the world needs to get over being racist, misogynist, and ableist – like yesterday. Disabled people have been saying for years (those who can work) that being able to work from home would really help; now that so many have been doing it, I hope it sticks.

            Liked by 1 person

          • acflory

            Working from home ticks so many boxes, not just for employees but for employers as well. I worked in corporate for a number of years and I’d hate to think how many man/woman hours I saw wasted over general chit chat or, and this was more destructive, over empire building within the management structure.

            For too long, we’ve equated work with ‘bums on seats’ rather than the end product. Maybe after this is all over, work as we know it will get a real overhaul.
            It may not happen in the first year, but I’m prepared to bet everything I own on the explosion of internet communications in the next year or two. What was niche yesterday will become current today and outdated by tomorrow.
            I mean, why pay super expensive overheads just to have a face-to-face meeting when the new tech will allow everyone to participate using VR? Maybe even holographic VR so you feel as if you really are interacting with live ‘bodies’!
            Ahem, sorry. I am a bit of a fan girl. 🙂

            Like

          • Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt

            But it is the disabled who’ve been told, “No, we can’t do that for you,” who now say, “Wait – you’re doing it for everyone else.”

            Liked by 1 person

          • acflory

            Of course. 😦 The elderly, the disabled and the sick are always the low hanging fruit that can be ignored. Perhaps if we had a union or some kind of global organization with clout, maybe /then/ we’d be heard. Maybe.

            Like

          • Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt

            We’re barely managing, many of us, to make it through the day. Organizing is not in the tiny list of things I can do during a day.

            But instead of compassion for a state in which many people will find themselves some day, they – the able-bodied – act as if they think they will be spared forever.

            “What you sow, you will reap.”

            Liked by 1 person

          • acflory

            Yes, that is precisely what makes me so very mad. We will all become old and frail one day. It will happen, even though a part of us never believe it will. You’d think that simple self-interest would dictate that we make this prospect as painless as possible. But no…

            Like

          • Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt

            Yes – if we have a Democrat for president, and a Democratic-controlled House and Senate.

            No, otherwise.

            Rebuilding sturdier public institutions that can’t be misused should be key.

            Can we? I’m no longer in the mix except for voting, and haven’t been for years due to illness. I hope so – this is the world my kids will live in. The oldest is 34. I hope they can inherit something better.

            Liked by 1 person

          • acflory

            -sigh- That’s a big ask but I hope it eventuates coz this should not be ‘possible’. Maybe the current political climate is a perfect storm scenario that never happened before, but if it’s possible then you’d hope that steps could/would be taken to close off those very dangerous loop holes.

            My Offspring is about the same age so I know how you feel. 😦

            Like

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