Where oh where do I start.
I am a mother with an aching heart.
You see, everyday, at 9:30 a.m. sharp, after I have fed the Little Angel and have put her to sleep I hand her over to my mother-in-law, rush and get changed, slap on a little bit of concealer under my eyes (and blush-up the cheeks if I am feeling hopeful) I grab my son and off we go.
Another day. Another school or nursery to see.
I am in a race against time. As soon as I get a call from the mother-in-law I have to rush home.
Little Angel DOES. NOT. TAKE. THE. BOTTLE. If her life depended on it.
We go, we see a new place together. Hand in hand.
We come home. I walk in. Drop the car keys to hear my excited my mother-in-law asking the same questions, “ehhh… chi bwww?!”
Here is chi bw….
The school who was supposed take my son into KG1: The registration guy didn’t seem to even care about my concerns, my questions, or my thought. What mattered was “we teach our kids English,” and the fees. You know, he had to double check that I knew the fees. The system of learning? “Best English speaking kids in Kurdistan.” And if my child had difficulties settling in, his solution: “agar filipinitan haya la mal, lagari bnera.”
I answered back. realising I won’t get anywhere, I took the forms, smiled and left. After hearing the warning that places are running out fast and I might not even get a seat.
After many recommendations I went to visit the famous C nursery. It was okay, other than the fact they had all their kids licking lollipops and the nappy bin was overflowing. It stank.
Oh yes, and the TV. How can I forget the TV? More than 20 kids, a tiny room and a TV hung on the wall with the iBaby channel on.
Today I had to talk under the boiling sun in one of the nurseries. The lady wouldn’t even let me go inside. I told her my son won’t settle easily, her reply: “Badtse bera, niw sa’achedi xoy kr dabi” (leave him, after half an hour he will calm down).
I asked if I can see the place. She refused. It’s a room with games, what is there to see.
Where is Kurdish hospitality to be invited inside and have tea, or in my case cold water?!
I said thank you and left. In the car I had to be interviewed by a three year old all about the colourful house. Here is a little bit of how it went:
“Why didn’t we play?”
“Because mummy didn’t like the place?”
“Because they didn’t let us go inside to see it,”
“Because the lady said so.”
“You tell me, did you like it?”
“Why did the lady say that?”
My mother-in-law listens to my complaints and in the end just says “day kchm. Bayani bro aw shwenay tr bebina, xwa gawraya.”
Earlier we did find a place we liked. I enrolled and we started adaption period. I loved the owner of the place. A simple daycare, in one of Erbil’s “normal” middle-class suburbs. I fell in love with the atmosphere, the kids and the overall feel… except the staff’s lack of professionalism and the very dirty toilets. The overflowing water on tiles. The chaos. The lies. When the owner was there everything was perfect. When the owner wasn’t it was…. a chaos! I didn’t like the two-faced side of the staff.
I came home upset that day. Once again disappointed. I wrote a newspaper to one of my friends. Probably the only friend who understands me.
“Am I too fussy?” I wrote to her WhatsApp.
“When you let your child spend 90% of their day somewhere you have every right to be fussy.” She replied.
Aside from these daycares/ schools I have also gone to the big names. These are much better options. Topping my list in definitely Juniors and the French School at the first place, followed by Fingerprints. Of course, each one has their handful of negatives too. But compared to others they are sky-high, both of them are nicer than the daycare my child attended abroad. Not professional wise, but definitely the look and feel.
BUT this makes me think about other parents. Parents who can’t afford $600 a month to put their kids in any of these fancy names. For young couples who both work hard, this means one quarter or even more, of their monthly income has to go to childcare.
If all public and private daycares abided by the very pretty guidelines the ministry has put together than this wouldn’t be a dilemma. If all the staff were professionally trained by a certain institute, and every parent knew what they’re supposed to expect… then every mother could go to work without feeling guilty that her child is not at an amazing place.
Unless you know a staff member who works in the daycare you’re taking your child in, there is never a peaceful mind.
Last week we had dinner with a couple, the lady will quit her job and stay at home. “I will raise him myself. There isn’t a better option.”
My heart ached for her.
My heart aches for every parent out there who because of financial reasons they can’t put their kids in schools and nurseries of decent quality.
For god sakes, even when we do pay hefty amounts, we don’t receive the service that we should receive.
I shall stop my bola-bol here. Even though deep down I know I speak the heart of every working woman.
Lots of love from
My Nest in Kurdistan