Skip to comments.Bring back the stay-at-home mom
Posted on 08/08/2003 3:51:17 AM PDT by JohnHuang2
If there's anything that we all care about, it's "the children." Almost everything Democratic President Bill Clinton ever did was for "the children." Republican President George W. Bush long ago made the slogan of the liberal group the Children's Defense Fund -- "Leave No Child Behind" -- his own. We will do everything for "the children": spend untold taxpayer dollars on them, tuck them away in bicycle helmets, get hysterical about any perceived threat to their health or safety -- anything but acknowledge the harm done to them by day care.
In a devastating new book, "Day Care Deception," Brian C. Robertson marshals the overwhelming evidence about the risks of day care and explains why much of academia and the media try to cover it up. Any negative information about the effects of day care is considered out of bounds because it will upset one of liberalism's most sainted groups: working mothers, whom feminists adore as the vanguard of their assault on the "patriarchy."
The drumroll of day care's negative effects on kids includes higher rates of illness, including acute respiratory illness, ear infections and diarrhea; insecure attachment to their mothers; more aggressive behavior; and in the case of children of well-educated mothers placed in poor-quality care, slowed cognitive development.
Burton White, former director of the Harvard Preschool Project, writes, "After more than 30 years of research on how children develop well, I would not think of putting an infant or toddler of my own into any substitute-care program on a full-time basis, especially a center-based program."
White's forthrightness is rare. More typical is the surrender of the late Dr. Benjamin Spock. For years he maintained that nurseries are "no good for infants." But by the 1990s, he had dropped the advice, because it made working mothers feel guilty. "It's a cowardly thing that I did," he explained. "I just tossed it in subsequent editions." Researchers and journalists who are themselves working moms have a similar impulse. "I wanted to find that the child care was good," pro-day-care researcher Allison Clarke-Stewart has said. "I'm a working mother."
Despite the widespread use of day care and the propaganda campaign on its behalf, parents know it isn't best for kids. According to a comprehensive survey of parents in 2000 by the New York-based polling agency Public Agenda, parents say one parent staying at home is better than "quality" day care for kids under 5 by a margin of 70 percent to 6 percent. It should be a goal of public policy to make it easier for these parents to act on their natural instincts.
Our onerous tax regime, which tends to force both parents into the workplace, is the place to start. According to Robertson, about half of married couples with children in the mid-1950s paid no federal income tax, thanks to a generous $3,000 personal exemption. If this exemption had kept up with inflation, it would be $10,000 today. The tax code's dependent-care tax credit is, perversely, only available for parents who go to licensed day-care providers, a bias in favor of commercialized care that is worse for kids than the informal care provided by grandparents and neighbors.
If it were financially possible, many mothers would -- to feminists' dismay -- stay at home with their young children or work part-time while relying on informal day-care arrangements. Indeed, there has recently been a slight downturn in the number of mothers who re-enter the workforce within the first year of a child's birth -- probably as a result of increases in the child tax credit.
The biggest, most important change would be for the culture to stop showering praise and adulation on working moms in order to save some for those mothers who make the personal and financial sacrifices necessary to stay at home with their young children. No group in our society is so selfless or does so much for "the children" as stay-at-home moms. But we value some contributions to children's well-being more than others.
Like most govt. programs, "No Child" uses our money to provide what the individual could/should provide, and the govt. version is inferior and more expensive.
Secretaries, retail store clerks, bank tellers, customer service reps of all kinds ... where are the squads of black men lining up to fill these jobs? "Thanks" to the racist public school system, many don't have the academic skills for even entry-level office work.
I agree with the premise of the article, but I don't think most women got their jobs through gender preferences. Where I worked (a large insurance company) we rarely had men apply for the kinds of paper-shuffling, phone answering jobs most women were doing.
Wow. This is the first time I've read a valid, concrete detail that (at least partially) explains this massive shift in the culture.
I like to think that people were happier when we had fewer material possesions and spent more time with our families.
I work, my wife stays home with our children. Seemed to work well for thousands of years. Does my wife work? HELL YEAH she does. I tried her job for a few weeks, it's a LOT of work. I think that, in the long run, our children will be better off because of her though. No, I don't own an SUV (just the ubercool minivan..NOT!!) and a used truck. But when I go home at night I know where my kids are and what they've been expose to all day.
Perhaps it's time we quit thinking of ourselves and really did "what's best for the children".
This needs to be repeated. The reasoning I hear most from parents for mothers going to work to let a teenager being paid minimum wage raise their children is that its "for the children". The idea is that they want their children to have things that they never did; expensive crap, free college, etc. These things are nothing compared to what a child receives from a mother who actually raises her children.
Staggered work schedules with one partner only part-time is the best solution.
Once the children are in school, a teaching career works well....off when the kids are home. Nursing's high demand puts nurses (rn's) in control of their hours with a high pay rate. This, too, seems a decent choice because the high rate makes fewer hours at staggered times very possible.
Our youngest took her first steps a few weeks ago. It was the middle of the day on a Thursday, and I was there to see it. I miss having the money to shop, sure, but being able to see those steps (and everything else my kids do) makes it worth it and then some.
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