Baby boomers continue to dominate even into old age

April 26, 2010

As a kid, I grew up aware of the giant generation ahead of me, the one who set the world on fire, who changed the rights of women and minorities. As a young adult, I was aware of the giant generation ahead of me in the workplace, who took up all the jobs, caused the recession of the 80s, and kept me from establishing a solid career, or at least from finding a solid, permanent-seeming job.

As a young mother, I was aware of the giant generation ahead of me that paved some roads for working mothers but left many unpaved. Where is the national daycare policy they promised? Where is the work-life balance they promised? And as a working person, I am certainly aware of the lack of a real social safety net they are leaving for my old age. I have no expectations of social security or old age pensions, something the boomers will enjoy, because their giant generation will bankrupt those government programs.

I know I’m sounding bitter. I am bitter. I’ve been bitter all my life about the boomers, but that’s a feature of my generation, the disaffected Gen X. But recently I read a great op-ed article that was so much more eloquent about the boomers’ self-absorption and how it over-dominates public policy discussions.

In a piece titled Beyond Boomercentrism, Paul Kershaw argues that Canada puts too much focus on boomers and not enough on the young. Our government is all caught up in pension reform that daycare policies and early childhood educational standards are lost. He says:

…We must move beyond the boomercentrism that guides our priority-setting to invest in the smart family policy parents require now, and that children deserve.

And I was reminded of this piece this past week when I read another article about the movie business, something I know a bit about. It was all about how theatre owners need to prepare for the aging demographic.

What will happen when the boomers are all gone, or are no longer much of a consumer force to be reckoned with? Governments and corporations need to retool for other generational priorities soon, not just to please Gen X and Y (and Z), but to be ready for post-boomer days before it’s too late.

I may be bitter, but I think I’m right.


Daycare waiting lists force parents to craft action plans early

August 24, 2009

New Picture

My kids are both in school, or at least they’ll be back in school in 13 days (but who’s counting!!!!), but that doesn’t mean my daycare worries have ended.

Every parent in British Columbia knows about daycare waiting lists. Those of us who work, either by choice or necessity, have to have some kind of child care, and while family care or nanny care is an option for some, it never was much of one for me. I had some part-time nanny help when my boys were under 18 months, but from that point on, both my kids were in group daycare.

I was lucky. Someone told me to get on waiting lists when my oldest was just under six months. I thought I was being pro-active, getting on lists a full year before I needed care. What a joke. I was back of the line for every daycare I checked out, and a couple months before I really needed a place, was looking at not having one at all anywhere. But then one centre, a good 15 minute drive from home but still close enough, said they’ll have a space for us. Seems with my son being born in April, we lucked out with the back-to-school thing. You might not thing back-to-school matters when you’re talking year-round care, but when five year olds leave their centre to go to kindergarten, it opens up spaces for the 3 year old to move up from toddler care, which opens up spots in the toddler centre. So we were lucky that we needed the spot in September or October. And weeks before he was due to start at the only centre that offered us a spot, we got offered another spot in a centre closer to home. So we got in, and the second kid got in automatically on the sibling policy.

Of course, once the older one was due to start kindergarten, and I’d sorted out the lottery for french immersion (that’s a whole other blog post!), I then needed kindercare (to cover the rest of the workday that the 2 1/2 hours of classroom time doesn’t) and aftercare. This time luck had nothing to do with it. I researched centres the fall before he would start school, found out the exact date when waiting lists started, and called that very morning at 9:03 am — and still I was third on the list.

I write all this not just to spill my guts, but to remind all mommies and daddies out there that it is never too early to put your name on daycare waiting lists. I knew a woman who put her second child on waiting lists — before she was even pregnant. And remember, it’s not just large centres that have waiting lists. Local family daycares have them too.

Some of the best daycare information for the Lower Mainland can be found at WestCoast Child Care Resource Centre.