I read with great interest the letter from a Martinez woman who wondered if our libraries might stay open longer to accommodate a working mother's schedule. She is concerned that her children may be missing out on enriching activities that take place during the day.
If this mother truly wants to enrich her children's minds, then she should stay home and read a book together snuggled up on the couch! Or how about building a fort out of blocks? Or they could have a pretend tea party? How about simply sitting in the front yard at night star-gazing? Whatever a parent may choose, do it together at home. I can't imagine, after being at school or day care all day, a child wanting to get in the car and have one more place to go in order to be "enriched."
This frustrated mother also indicated perhaps those of us who don't work may have a better way of life than she. I, too, was almost duped into believing both parents needed to work in order to give our children a more "meaningful life." Not so, dear mother in Martinez! I can assure her we don't live a privileged life. I am extremely happy and grateful to be home with my children. We have a large family of seven. When our children came along, we made a decision to live on my husband's income. It was a decision made with a lot of sacrifices.
... My children play in their own yard with a lot of imagina-tion. They are enriched by games they make up and time spent to gether. My husband and I drive cars at least ten years old, both desperately needing a paint job. Our last vacation was our honeymoon. The only recreation vehicle is a wheelbarrow -- recreation because I enjoy yardwork. We do live in an old house which accommodates our growing family. But due to our other expenses -- feeding, clothing and keeping a large household running -- there is little extra money left over. God gives us our daily bread!
In her letter, this upset mother asked, "How can middle class working people enhance our children's minds if we can't get other people to take time and care?"
Dear mother, I am taking the time to say I do care. The answer to your problem lies within your own sacrifice.
Vicky Sloan, Harlem