When I was a freshman at the BYU, I lived in an apartment-style dorm with five other girls. We shared a back stairway door with another apartment of six girls. That door between our apartments was open a lot, and so the 12 of us all considered ourselves "roommates," more or less. We still keep in touch, eight years later, through an online message board (ladies, if I'm saying too much, give the signal). Usually our conversations are pretty tame, but a subject recently came up that has "pushed some buttons," as the saying goes.
I can't help but feel partly to blame, since I was the one who started that particular thread. It all began when I read this post on Feminist Mormon Housewives. Basically (though don't let my extremely short, slightly biased summary keep you from reading the original), one of the posters there was considering keeping her daughter out of her church's nursery program because they fed them hydrogenated snacks, used plastic toys, and otherwise did not conform to Waldorfian principles.
Most of what can be said in reaction to the above statement has, in fact, already been said in the extensive comments after the article. My feelings are pretty much summarized by comment #5:
"Wow! This sounds great! I hope you have great time planning, organizing, paying for, and carrying out the whole thing as the new nursery leader! Cuz baby, that’s exactly what any nursery leader would be thinking when you handed him that rigid mess of first-time mom gone haywire."
(For anyone not really familiar with a Mormon nursery: it's for kids 18 months - 3ish, it's two hours once a week during church, and it's free. There is a central curriculum but things like snacks, toys, and specific scheduling vary on a local basis.)
Somehow, the conversation among my roommates shifted to parents dropping off their sick, symptom-displaying kids at the nursery - it happens all the time and Miriam has been the recipient of a nasty sick bug more than once because of it. And that's when the topic heated up a bit.
Personally, Jeremy and I make an extra effort to keep Miriam home (or with us at church, but not in nursery, if her symptoms aren't too bad) when she's sick. Other parents, suffice it to say, do not seem to agree with me.
Of the parents who put their sick kids in nursery, there is probably a very small minority who honestly don't think about it and don't realize the havoc they are wreaking.
The majority of parents probably do think about it, and then drop them off anyway, and slink guiltily away before their kid starts hacking his guts out, much to the dismay of the leaders and also moms like me.
But there is a third, smaller majority, as I found out during discussions with my roommates. Some parents, apparently, think about it, drop them off anyway, and think it's OK. Because kids get sick, right? So why should we do anything to stop it? This particular roommate (if you're reading this, I know I don't even have to tell you to go ahead and stick up for yourself anytime :) defined her stance as "anti Nazi-anti-germ," a camp I thought I was in, too, until now.
Is that minority bigger than I think it is? I'm interested to know your opinions on this, even if the situation (daycare, playground, art class, preschool) is different.