Tag Archives: cons

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


When is close too close?

This will be a post about POV – point-of-view – in writing, so if this kind of thing bores you to tears, look away now. For everyone else, I have a question:

Do you enjoy First Person POV – i.e. the type of story that is all about what ‘I said’, ‘I saw’, ‘I did’, ‘I thought’, ‘I felt’?

The reason I ask is because I’ve never particularly enjoyed First Person POV, but I didn’t actively hate it until I began reading the second book in First Person POV in almost as many days.

The first story I read was actually pretty good. It had a lot of the elements I look for in a good sci-fi story. But it also had a heroine I simply could not ‘like’. She vacillated between ridiculously wimpy not-quite-adult and hardcore, kickarse hero. The motivation was there, but it was almost too much, along the lines of ‘familiarity breeds contempt’.

I like characters that aren’t perfect. I like them to have quirks, weaknesses, flaws. I even like them to be ‘broken’ because then there’s the hope that they will heal and grow. What I don’t like is seeing them from the inside.

I won’t name the story or the protagonist because I’ve suddenly realised that these are criticisms I apply to almost all First Person POV fiction. There have been exceptions [C.J.Cherryh’s Foreigner series is one], but they are rare, imho.

This issue crystalized for me when I started reading the second ‘Me, Me, Me’ story. It was even worse. Just a few chapters in and I couldn’t read any more. Not only did it have editing issues, it had a main character whose motivation can only be described as schizophrenic. This particular character spent virtually the whole first chapter being paranoid, for no real reason. Then she did a complete about face and…

Enough. I doubt that the author concerned will ever read my blog, or this post, but I don’t want to say anything that might identify the story because I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. Writing is hard. Publishing is harder, and none of us need other authors criticising us in public. That’s why I never leave reviews of books I’ve hated. Sadly, I hate this one.

Moving on. So what do I like?

I like Close Third Person POV – i.e. where we see the character from the outside, but also get some thoughts and feelings.

I also like reading more than one POV – i.e. where we get to see the story through the eyes of two or more characters. Importantly, we get to see the main character[s] through the eyes of other characters.

I know that some of you find multiple POVs distracting, and I can understand that; you’re reading along happily and suddenly, bang, total change of POV, of scene, of story arc etc. Unless you enjoy that particular technique, multiple POVs can be hard work. Nevertheless, don’t you think we get a more truthful version of the main character when we see them through the eyes of others?

I know I’ve been surprised by how others see me, sometimes in a good way, sometimes not. When I’m honest with myself, however, the change of perspective usually makes me grow as a person.

I’m not saying that I lie, to myself or others, but I’ve learned that we all see ourselves through the prism of some sort of bias. Confident people generally see themselves as hero material. Less confident people may focus on their flaws to the exclusion of their good qualities. Outsiders, however, can often see things we are incapable of seeing in ourselves.

Just as I believe this ‘outsider’ view is healthy for real people, I also believe it can work for characters in fiction. I think it helps to balance out the internal distortions of ego, providing a more realistic, and often likable, character.

Coincidentally, this outsider view also allows the author to avoid the necessity of writing that awful mirror scene. You know the one:

‘Look at me. I’m looking at myself in the mirror/pond/reflective glass so I can describe what I look like to you, the reader’.

That technique is a tool, and like any tool, it has its time and place, but like all the other tools in the writer’s bag of tricks, it shouldn’t be abused. And it shouldn’t be…predictable.

Okay, that’s probably more on writing than I’m comfortable with, but I would like to know what everyone else thinks. I really am open to persuasion. 🙂

Agree?

Disagree?

‘Yes but…?

‘You’ve just been reading the wrong books…?’

‘Boooooring…?

cheers

Meeks


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