Culturally it is not okay to say that all children should be with a primary caregiver for the first 18 months. We have enormous data to prove that this is true, but parents don’t like to be told that childcare is not okay. So the media doesn’t say it

How can you breastfeed exclusively for six months if you are not home with the kid most of the day? No sane woman would pump twelve feedings a day. It’s not worth it. The pump is slow. You may as well just have the baby with you. The American Medical Association recommends exclusive breastfeeding, but we don’t talk about it. Because parents are going against medical evidence all the time.

This paves the way to pretend that childcare mistakes don’t matter, which really lowers the bar for how hard you have to try to replace yourself as a parent. A couple hired a 22 year old to take care of their baby. The babysitter, it turns out, was abusing the kid. The media covered the story because the dog saved the day. Who doesn’t love a good dog story? People love pictures of dogs.

But the real story is the lasting damage that beating a kid up for five months in a row has on the kid. We know it has lasting damage. We can do an MRI and look at the brain development during that time. Of course it has lasting damage. But then there wouldn’t be a fun dog story, so the media says, “The Jordans told WSCS that their child is doing fine and shows no lingering effects of the abuse.”

Of course the parents say that. They would feel too guilty if they didn’t say that. And of course the parents are not trained on seeing the long-term affects of abuse. It’s why American parents go to orphanages and bring home totally damaged kids who look fine when they meet them.

My point here is that culturally we accept the idea that kids go into terrible childcare situations but the kids are fine. It’s BS. But we tell ourselves that because media doesn’t want to be the bad guys telling parents that it’s wrong to have both parents leaving the house all day and leaving the kid with someone else.

This sets us up perfectly for school. School systematically shuts down a kid’s curiosity, natural energy, chattiness – all the things we use as data points to check if a child is developing correctly. School  shuts it all down to keep 30 kids quiet in a classroom for eight hours a day.

And we tell ourselves it’s fine. Because daycare is fine. We tell ourselves no one will criticize us for going against medical advice and putting our kids in daycare – often unregulated, by the way. Parents don’t have enough money to pay for childcare that would be up to the standards that they themselves would give. So the minute they put their kid into a child care situation they establish the standard for their family where sending their kids to adults who don’t take care of the kids as well as a parent is acceptable.

Parents working all day in order to pay for child care that is not that great becomes fine. It starts when kids are babies, and by the time kids go to kindergarten it’s a welcome relief to get childcare that’s even better because it’s regulated and free.

The barrier to having this conversation is setting cultural norms. Right now I’m saying something that is totally true, but goes against everything the feminists fought for – choices for parents. I am saying the only choice is your parenting or substandard parenting.

The big losers in the industrial revolution were kids – they went from spending their days with parents to going to factories, and then to school.

The big losers in the feminist revolution were kids – now they leave their parents earlier than ever before.

Mainstream media can’t touch this story. No one is willing to go out on a limb and say childcare is pathetic and unregulated and not working. And it’s breaking families apart. Who would like hearing that? No one, really. And that’s not good for business.

86 replies
  1. Jen Downey
    Jen Downey says:

    You could also say that feminism got us halfway there. Going the rest of the feminist/humanist distance would mean getting to the place where as a culture we encourage both male and female parents to commit to parenting; and getting to the place where it doesn’t feel like such a practical/economic/professional Mt. Everest for both parents to share in personally raising kids AND also share in earning money/participating in satisfying non-kid centered kinds of pursuits. My husband and I started our own small catering business absolutely in order to organize our life around a commitment to a non-school based life but it has taken every milli-particle of our ingenuity to pull it off, and we don’t have economic security. And we were lucky in that we were relatively advantaged to begin with in terms of having college educations, and relatives to borrow money from when our credit was cut off etcetera. So, I wouldn’t say children paid the price for feminism, I think children are paying the price for an economic system and set of economic policies that don’t prioritize the care of children by their parents.

    • mh
      mh says:

      Jen Downey, you jest.

      Feminists do not approve of “both parents” having choices. Women have choices, men acquiesce, or else patriarchal hegemony.

      • Jen Downey
        Jen Downey says:

        Though you’ve worded your reply in “logic-speak”, your claim is just that. I’m a feminist, and I approve heartily of “both parents” having choices. As a matter of fact I’ve yet to come across a self-described “feminist” who doesn’t.

        • mh
          mh says:

          Jen Downey,

          Thanks for setting me straight. Hoever, I’ve seen too many horrors committed in the name of “feminism” to consider it a benign political movement.

          • D.S.
            D.S. says:

            I am pretty new to blatantly calling myself a feminist, but I am still trying to grasp the reasons for the extreme negatives that many people associate with it.

            Is the horrors committed in the name of feminism similar to those manifested under patriarchy? How horrible are these horrors compared to the horrors committed in countries where women have no political voice?

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malala_Yousafzai

        • D.S.
          D.S. says:

          Anyone else want to weigh in on the “horrors committed in the name of feminism”?

          1. Most people believe that the majority of feminists are misandrists, i.e. someone who hates men.

          I have an easy rebuttal to #1, The majority of men are not truly misogynists, but there are definitely some that are… similarly most feminists are not misandrists, but there are definitley some that are.

          • mh
            mh says:

            D.S.,

            Send a son to college.

            Due to the VAWA (Violence Against Women Act) and its campus counterpart, the Campus SAVE Act), your son implicitly gives up his rights to the presumption of innocence, his right to a trial by jury, his right to address (or see) his accuser, his right to know what he is being accused of, and his right to a fair trial.

            If, let’s just call her “some hussy,” accuses your son of sexual aggressiveness, then it’s over for your son. How does it sound to have your son register as a sex offender in every jurisdiction for the rest of his life?

            That’s horror #1.

            Horror #2, pay attention to family courts. If your son is named as the father of a child, and even if it is proven with DNA evidence that the woman lied about paternity, your son will be liable for child support. Because the woman said so. Paternity fraud is rampant.

            Horror #3, family courts again. Women are automatically assigned custody of children. Women’s accusations against men are automatically credited, and restraining orders against fathers are routine. Try seeing your grandchildren when your son has a restraining order against him, at the whim of some woman.

            I could go on and on. Are you raising sons? You should care about feminism and work to restrain it.

          • SoTired
            SoTired says:

            haha, normally I try to stay out of internet comment threads but I’ve got to play with this one. :)

            If, let’s just call her “some hussy,” accuses your son of sexual aggressiveness, then it’s over for your son.

            Try seeing your grandchildren when your son has a restraining order against him, at the whim of some woman.

            You have tipped your hand too far. There are people reading this thread who are intimately acquainted with domestic abuse (in all of its forms) – and can spot an abuser just by the word choices.
            The son in question likely has a restraining order against him for good reason, and you are his ally. That leads you to post diatribes against women… because “some woman” interfered with your “rights” to your grandchildren :)
            I have two sons and I’m not worried in the slightest about feminism. The idea is laughable. I worry about them getting addicted to porn and treating women poorly as a result — that’s a much more likely trap for young men.

            And Penelope – since half of all marriages end in divorce and the number of single mothers is climbing, there’s very good reason to take that into account when discussing the work/childcare issues. You know there is a high possibility of your child being in a car accident at some point – which is why you teach them to wear seatbelts.

          • D.S.
            D.S. says:

            2. “Most often, the reason people cite is that they feel feminists are judgmental about their choices and seek to impose a worldview on everyone else, rather than truly letting women make their own choices. ” – Kristin Powers at Huffington Post.

            Rebuttal to #2, everyone is judgmental about others choices and seek to impose their worldview on others. (Homeschool moms on this thread are, old school white males who had it their way for centuries, feminist working moms, misogynist men… every group)

            3. In my own experience there are a variety of feminist agendas and the most public of these are reproductive rights, and addressing the double standard for women in the media and the workplace. Reproductive rights include a lot of highly religiously charged opinions, and womens rights are controlled by hundreds of legislative acts. Mens are not. The double standard for women in the media is highly contested between the “women should dress modestly to not tempt men into rape” and “men shouldn’t rape women no matter what they wear” camps, also religiously based arguments

            Rebuttal to #3, the only rebuttal possible is the separation of church and state or on the grounds that while many in America are opposed to birth control, the majority of American women have relied on some form of contraception at one point in their lives (Id say 61.8%-99% to include both the low and high estimations).

          • D.S.
            D.S. says:

            MH,

            Did you read my link about the young girl who was resisting the Taliban and got shot in the head and left to die? She had the nerve to argue for women and girls being allowed an education.

            I am very sorry to hear that your son was denied a trial or court appearance. There are obviously times when accusations are not true, but the vast number of times when assaults really do happen, victims or witnesses are not willing to step forward, buddies step in to label the girl a hussy or harass her into not pressing charges so their friend can get off, what little evidence exists is destroyed, or obscured by time passing. There will obviously be some over correcting for a while but I hope that anyone accused of rape will always get a day in court. Is it because it was just an assault that the criminal courts were not handling the case? Is assault just the nice newspaper way of saying rape? I have always wondered that.

            I wish more young men would be willing to stand up to friends bordering on illegal assault behavior and help get that girl home or handed off to a girlfriend who will get her back to her dorm instead of turning the other way or cheering him on, but it just doesn’t happen as often as we would like. In addition to lining up a sober cab, college parties should like up a rape detection and shutdown brigade :)

            I happen to be the product of a court system that awarded custody of me and my brother to my dad when my parents divorced 23 years ago. I know my case might seem like an anomaly but the best interests of the kids are at least attempted to discern. If these stories are the same son of yours than I would imagine the permanent record of a sexual assault from college would be more than enough to consider him unfit for primary or sole custody. So many times I am sure the judge looks at both parents and just shakes their head in disbelief that they have to choose either of the people standing in front of them to raise children.

            The hard truth is your son was failed by society. We don’t teach our young men about real relationships with real women they learn all the wrong messages through video games porn and movies, and we don’t teach our young women about confidence and deserving and requiring respect from men with whom she associates. Instead we teach multi faceted conflicting messages about be a man, but be a sensitive man, or at least pretend to be one around a girl so she can think you have a sensitive side. Have you read the drivel that passes as periodicals in esquire, Mens Health, Maxim, Glamour, Womans Day, Etc?? Never mind all the ways women are pushed into certain boxes forced to be the good girl or get called a slut/hussy, but also be enough the “bad girl” that a typical guy will give her the time of day. She needs to withhold sex so the guy will respect her, but gets pegged a frigid bitch when that relationship doesn’t work out and she never gave it up to him. Our whole existence is defined by our sexuality, not our worth, or respect for our intellect.

            Its so clear to me the many ways which we go wrong. It makes me very very sad.

          • mh
            mh says:

            D.S.,

            Men have no rights on campus.

            Is that the goal of feminism, to deprive men of their rights? Their right to due process, their right to presumption of innocence, their right to hear the accusations against them, their right to an attorney?

            Campus tribunals adjudicate without the benefit of any form of legal rights for the accused, and their decisions are binding.

            Do you think men aren’t catching on?

            How do you think this will affect the next generation of women?

            Is this the goal of feminism?

    • Meg Williams
      Meg Williams says:

      I love this. Getting women the option to succeed in the workplace is only half of the problem – the other half is addressing the “second shift” at home for most women, how having kids severely limits a woman’s success but not a man’s, and challenges men are having as the workforce changes. We have to start raising boys differently just like we raised girls to think they can do anything the boys can do.

      • Karen
        Karen says:

        This is the problem with feminism. You are perfectly comfortable with telling 50% of the population that there is something wrong with them and that they need to be fixed to women’s specifications. I could no more raise my sons’ to want to stay home with kids than I could dictate to them what their favorite color is. They are what they are. If you want a husband who will do his exact half of the child care, go out and find one – they do exist, but don’t tell me that I have to change my kids to better suit your preferences.

        • D.S.
          D.S. says:

          I personally think there is something wrong with about 90% of the population and that 90% of us (and include myself in this) need to make small changes every day, and big shifts every couple of years to even come close to closing the gender equality gap that exists. The issues feminism combats are there in all of society as well as most individuals who just refuse to see the gender bias that surrounds us.

          Working moms and star at home moms pointing their fingers at the extremes of the other side and saying “see they don’t respect us, or see they do think we are bad parents” is keeping us from joining together to actually solve some of the problems we both face. ( I saw the star instead of stay typo and just decided to leave it in, I think it has a nice ring to it)

    • D Schulz
      D Schulz says:

      Kudos to Jen for standing up for feminism with more eloquent words than I have.

      Lets vilify feminism, and working moms from two income families, and anyone who decides to do anything other than homeschool, farm and run their own business in order to facilitate homeschooling. Get real.

      I am 36 and to me, feminism means that there are more choices for everyone. In the 50’s women had few choices, in the 00’s women are choosing careers, not to have kids, homeschooling, consulting careers, business ownership and spouses who will share in the burden of child rearing. Whatever works for them they have more options and we have more of a voice than we ever had before. You think if you were living in 1950 Penelope that you would be able to make a career out of starting companies and writing about your life as a woman? When even those reaping the rewards of feminism vilify it yet it still persists year after year, decade after decade.. more than proves to me that feminism is still necessary and vital.

      • Karen
        Karen says:

        How is it vilifying feminism to point out that leaving your baby with a stranger is not a risk-free proposition? In all the truckloads of ink that has been spilled over the last few decades in the “mommy wars”, very little consideration is ever given to the consequences for the children. It is a needed perspective that has been given pretty short shrift, in my opinion.

        • Jen Downey
          Jen Downey says:

          I don’t think the concern about vilification has anything to do with Penelope pointing out that leaving your baby with a stranger is not a risk-free proposition. It lies in a statement like “The big losers in the feminist revolution were kids – now they leave their parents earlier than ever before.” It creates a false sort of logic (Women’s attempts to enlarge their spheres and work towards legal, economic, and status equality RESULTED in kids now suffering without enough prime parenting). and implies blame (Damn, if it weren’t for feminists, kids would all be so much happier and better off.) But that puts the onus in the wrong place. We don’t “fix” the problem by un-doing the expanded roles that women have fought for, we “fix” it by continuing the process, and insisting on our culture developing and allowing for viable options for parents – both men and women – who want to take care of their kids.

          • Penelope Trunk
            Penelope Trunk says:

            Just to be clear, there are plenty of moms who are single parents and homeschooling. I have met them in person and I have met them on this blog.

            And another thing, while I’m on my soapbox. Feminism gave women every choice except to want to marry someone rich and take care of him and and their kids and not work. That choice is gone. Why? Why is taking care of a family and doing no work outside the house such a forbidden choice?

            I coach so many people (men and women) and so many of them are tortured because their strongest skill is taking care of people and they feel social pressure to take care of people outside their home – rather than take care of their family — because our society is so unaccepting of people who want to be a caretaker and supported by someone else.

            I think we need to be more socially accepting of people who don’t want to work and want to marry someone who will support them. Why bother telling young people that they should prepare for getting dumped by their spouse? That seems to me that it stems from your own problems rather than the likely list of problems of the person you’re advising.

            Penelope

          • D.S.
            D.S. says:

            I wholeheartedly agree that the closest thing we have to affordable childcare in America is having to trust a random stranger who decided to open an in home daycare. I have had members of my family abused while in the care of an in home provider so I feel this point more acutely than most. I pay double the going rate in my area for in home care (about $500 a month) to be able to take my daughter to a licensed, reputable day care facility with lots of positive parental recommendations, a staff which always has multiple adults present in any classroom, remote monitoring capability from the lobby, and a focused curriculum from 6 months with daily reports and quarterly parent teacher conferences.

            This being said I don’t feel that feminism is to blame and I don’t feel that stay at home moms are not socially accepted. The devil is in the details here as far as who is to blame, what can be done to correct the situation, who is disproportionally affected, and what is a woman to do who feels for financial or other reasons that she must work?

            Some commenter on this blog and the blog itself seem to be doing exactly what the patriarchal society did before feminism and continues to do today. Telling women what to think, what to do and why they are horrible people for not doing it the way you chose to do it.

            Maybe when you graduate your kids you can slide into politics and make some changes? I would love to support you!

          • TayLo
            TayLo says:

            Thank you Penelope for addressing The Forbidden Choice. I am a homeschool mom with 5 children and although I did not marry a “rich” man, I married a man who supports me in every way. Most of the time I feel like I have to justify my “work” to friends and family simply because I don’t get a paycheck at the end of the week, but what I do have are children who love and have passion. I am trying very hard to raise boys that will love, respect and cherish women and be good husbands and fathers. I am trying to raise a daughter that can love and think and do for herself. To me these are blessings that are far more valuable than any size paycheck. I am raising children to be good stewards and human beings and hopefully society will appreciate that when it is their turn to go out in the world. I feel that because it was my choice to have children that it is my responsibility to raise good humans. For me this was not a sentence handed down to me by a man’s choice these are my children and I feel so blessed to have the opportunity to raise them at home and not in an institution. That will be all.

          • Kay
            Kay says:

            Well said, Penelope. A few months ago, my feminist mother told my daughter she could do anything she wanted to. My daughter went down the list of doctor, astronaut, etc. Then she said, “a mommy”. My mother went absolutely silent. If feminism is about choice, how come the one thing women can’t do is stay home and take care of their children, while the husband provides?

            Also, it’s quite clear that women have certain unfair advantages to certain laws in this country. To say otherwise, would be plain ignorance or just a feminist not speaking from experience.

            To say that women, by staying home give up their rights or freedom while men don’t is also complete ignorance. Both parents have the responsibility to train and raise their children. I you’re seeking to have a stable and happy marriage, the husband must be willing to cooperate in the family life rather than just become a glorified bank account.

  2. U.Shaw
    U.Shaw says:

    I agree with Penelope about 60% of the time, but 100% the time
    I appreciate her willingness to name the hard things that
    others aren’t willing to talk about.

    You go girl, for saying what needs to be said about kids and daycare! The media doesn’t want to touch it. (I am not in agreement that your argument extends over to schools, but thank you for speaking the truth about daycare)

  3. Sarah m
    Sarah m says:

    I think people just don’t want to admit their priorities because if they said the truth, it would sound horrible, as the kids wouldn’t be first in line. People work for what they want, and usually it’s a lifestyle issue if both parents work and one doesn’t stay home. Single households are a different matter.
    For most families on one income there is very little financial gain and things that most people have — a mortgage, one car per spouse, etc. are just not available nor valued, at least in our situation and many of my friends who have similar stories. If we valued those things, we’d have them and I’d work not stay home and home school, because then our income would double. It’s a lifestyle and paradigm shift and most people just can’t imagine themselves at a substandard lifestyle or don’t want to. I’ve had lots of acquaintances say things like, “I wish I could do that, but we can’t afford it” and I was truly baffled until I realized it was their way of saying they admire the life we lead but they don’t have the guts to live it (without money). Security comes at a high price.
    Sarah M

    • D.S.
      D.S. says:

      Sarah, have you considered that since you and your husbands earning potential seems equal (you used the term double) that the best long range plan for financial success might lie with you trading off who has the in the workforce vs at home role? I have heard homeschooled kids usually rock in college, you might need two incomes at some point to cover multiple kids.

      Different industries and jobs within have different potential for the ability to stop then start a career without impacting your salary as much. Lets face it any topics off will likely impact salaries but some jobs are more forgiving.

      • Sarah M
        Sarah M says:

        Right now we’re in our 20s and my husband has greater earning potential long run, his career is basically just starting. We would have equal income for a few years, but my job choices would limit any income over, say, $45K a year (using current market value). Our priorities as a family includes homeschooling and I’m not motivated by money; our family works well. My husband is very good at what he does and enjoys it.
        I have no intention of paying for multiple kids’ colleges. They will pay for that themselves if they want to go. I did, and my husband did. We will not encourage college as the only route, but if they want to enter for a STEM type job, I will help counsel them on finances or anything else they need help with and sit for hour after hour after hour applying for scholarships. I have no idea why parents think they owe their kids 4 years of a 20K/year school education.
        Sarah M

        • D.S.
          D.S. says:

          I don’t consider it owing, but I do know my kids won’t qualify for any of the needs based grants or subsidized loans that I was able to take advantage of. Knowing how impossible it is to get universities to disregard parental assets and incomes (I tried to get independent student status as a senior and living on my own with no parental support for the last four years and was not granted it). My entire education cost $28,000 so I have no expectation to save $80k for each kid, but I know I will need to be prepared.

  4. karelys
    karelys says:

    So what you’re saying is that we need to make polygamist marriages ok so that there are more hands and more money coming into the family. I think it’s a good idea too.
    Until I have to share my husband.

  5. Anastasia @ eco-babyz
    Anastasia @ eco-babyz says:

    This is a VERY unpopular opinion on childcare and school and I refrain from talking about it as bluntly as you do because my blog is, in some ways, ‘politically correct’ – but I wholeheartedly believe it and because kids are our priority we choose to live on one income and homeschool and start up 3 small businesses because eventually we want to spend more of our time with them, not less. I honestly do not understand why people have children only to push them away the moment they are born. It’s a societal ‘norm’ but in my eyes it is so backwards. I enjoy being with my children immensely, it’s not easy, hardest thing I’ve ever done, but it’s worth it and I know I will have no regrets in the future of not spending enough of my time with them.

    I also get that line a lot “I wish I could afford to stay home”. Yes, there might be a few people that can’t, like single parents (although I know a few that manage to run businesses from home that pay bills AND be with their kids). But otherwise it is just a matter of priorities. We have no second car, no smart phones, no cable, eat a small amount of high quality real, nourishing foods instead of spending tons on junk food (less in doctors bills), no big vacations, little travel, free homeschooling/unschooling, hand me down clothes. Our only big investments are toward mortgage and building a photography business. We both work our butt off and still manage to spend a ton of time with kids. They don’t need ‘quality time’, they need quantity. My kids could care less about Disney or the latest toys and I have proof when my 5 year old hugs me every day and tells me “You’re the best mom in the whole world!” just because, not for something I gave her or someplace I took her. They are happy with simple things in life.

  6. Isabelle
    Isabelle says:

    I am in total agreement here. The question for me is “how do I persue my own career path *at all* without using childcare for the next 20 or so years?” Is one person in the couple supposed to just give up any professional pursuits? Then what happens when the kids are grown? Starting a career from scratch at age 45 or 50 sounds like a recipe for never achieving anything. (And that’s assuming you have your kids “early”, starting before 30, which I am!) Even if you take the financial part out of the equation (assuming the family can thrive on just one income), I don’t know how to make this work without sacrificing one person’s creative potential totally. My kid is only 1, so hopefully I can figure it out as we go, but it is daunting- particularly when living in a high cost of living area.

    • mh
      mh says:

      Isabelle,

      You are young, and you have time on your side. Every decision about career/children/marriage/location requires a trade-off. What are you willing to give, and what are you not willing to give?

    • D Schulz
      D Schulz says:

      Isabelle – Take a hard look at your industry and career. Some are more flexible than others. Some are very unforgiving to even 6 months out of the workforce.

    • D.S.
      D.S. says:

      Most industries have some way of staying up to speed even of you are not employed. Conferences, part time or volunteer work in your area of expertise, in my industry there are open source programming projects, youth education programs to facilitate, science fairs that need judges, or the old stand by for anyone take some night or online classes to keep your skills current or obtain a certification. All things that keep your resume from having a gaping 15 to 20 year hole.

      Do you mind me asking what industry you are in?

    • Annie
      Annie says:

      Isabelle,

      Do you necessarily give up your creative potential just because you don’t establish a career outside the home?

      Most people don’t really even like their work, and most people end of working for business that are not their own, for other people’s dreams.

      I like my job, I contract marketing work part-time. And it gives me an outlet, balances my parenting work. But I would never say that it defines me. Or that without a fancy marketing title, which I gave up when I had kids, that I am sacrificing my creative potential. I expend enormous energy and exercise tremendous creativity raising my kids. If I can write an article here or there, so much the better.

      SO for me, it’s about outlets for my work, versus consuming all of me and my time, that allows for balance.

  7. Angela in Germany
    Angela in Germany says:

    I have learned this the hard way. My child has developmental delays, likely environmentally caused somehow, I am told,when I was working during her first three years of life and leaving her with a sitter. Even here in Germany, where the caregivers are all supposed to be “qualified” as day mothers, by the end of the day, my little girl would have been better off with me.

    I stay at home with her now, trying to catch her up on everything, including speech and concentration, but I kick myself knowing that I did this. I bought the “kool-aid” and my child paid for it.

  8. Editormum
    Editormum says:

    I think that you touch on one thing that is a huge part of the problem: parents view school as their “child-care providers.” No one really admits that the schools, pre-schools, etc., are just glorified baby-sitting services, but that is what they are used for.

    I was stunned to hear on the news recently, as they interviewed people who were furloughed due to the government shutdown, the comments of a number of people whose Headstart programs were closed.

    “I’m going to lose my job if I don’t have this childcare,” one of them said. “If I don’t have someone to keep my kids, I can’t go to work. I can’t take them with me!” It was the most blunt admission I’ve ever heard that these programs are valued less for the learning opportunities they provide than for the fact that it’s subsidized “free” child care.

    I disagree with you that without school, there won’t be bullies. There might be fewer bullies, but there will still be bullies. I have a son who has been bullied at church, in Scout troops, in other group situations where you would expect him to be safe. (I mean, really, at CHURCH?!) The one place he has not been bullied is at his karate class, and I’m convinced that’s because Sensei runs a tight ship and no one has time to bully anyone during the intense workouts.

    • mh
      mh says:

      Editormum, parents said something similar during the Chicago Teachers Strike last year.

      Schools/governments look extortionate in these circumstances.

    • Lisa
      Lisa says:

      To be fair, even if its not free, its hard to find alternative care for your child on short notice, for an indeterminate time frame. Even if this were paid childcare, and they could take that money and pay for it some other place, finding another place willing to take your child for 1 to 5 to maybe 20+ days, without a contract, etc. would be very difficult. Finding a trusted source for that ad hoc child care even harder. Having your child have to transition to a new child care situation for those indeterminate number of days is even harder. Its not just about it being free (though for very low income families, free is certainly a huge benefit, allowing them to be in the workforce), its about the instability. Most preschools don’t just suddenly close for “some” number of days. That would be very bad, even if it were not for cost issues.

  9. techkim
    techkim says:

    I started my business because I did not want to leave my children. I did not understand how any mom can leave their new born with someone else for 10 plus hours a day. I could not and would not. That said guess what job I do? Child care preschool. It still blows my mind when a parent drops off their kid under the age of 3 at 6am and doesn’t get them until 6:30 pm. It is not just the “need” to work a job but to get alone time. this one parent picks up in her sweaty gym clothes. I do agree you can make it work. Most doesn’t because they don’t want to. That all said I am more then happy with my job, I am good at it so asking everyone to stay home would put me out of business.

    • D Schulz
      D Schulz says:

      This is by far the most sane and NON-inflammatory thread on a parenting issue I have ever read (so far), but it still stands out to me that no one seems to realize the diversity of human existence within their city/state/country. Your choices work for you because of your inherent personality, skills and interests.

      And ouch, even criticizing the people who make your stay at home job possible because they utilize your services to workout?

      Is it really so hard for people to empathize with others? Not everyone is cut out for full time stay at home parenting and not everyone has the background, education or drive to start a home based business to facilitate homeschooling. Plenty of baby boomers were raised by indifferent moms who just wanted to drink their afternoon cocktails and get the kid to stay out of their way and not make too much noise. Being a working mother and getting in a workout a couple days a week (which the AMA recommends by the way, one of the precepts of this article) might be the only way that particular woman stays sane and lets her be the best most involved and loving parent on the evenings and weekends with her kid.

      Maybe as they have a second or third it will be the father who chooses to take time off from his career because he was never really that driven at work and would love the chance to connect with his kids in that way.

  10. Dorie
    Dorie says:

    I know I’m blessed because my mom watches my son while my husband and I work. I just couldn’t bear to put him in daycare. There’s something about the thought of all of those children lined up in a room based on a schedule that is best for more of the children rather than what is actually best for my child that just kills me.

    We haven’t been able to find a way to get by on just one income. My husband pays the mortgage and 65% percent of my earnings pay for my student loans. For my son to have his grandparents during the day makes leaving a little easier but it still isn’t perfect.

  11. Chris M.
    Chris M. says:

    Touchy subject- particularly with those who feel they really have no choice because their meager standard of living would turn desperate if one member of the household didn’t bring in some kind of income.

    The simple answer is most people can’t afford the kind of childcare they dream of or even half-way approve of- they take what they can get. My trouble with all this is, what are we all working for then? What was the point of equality for women if it means we can barely afford to send kids in for a good neglecting in an institution? Please don’t misread that as meaning women shouldn’t be able to choose the same things men may- my point is, rather than things turning out equal (can they ever really be?), we traded (or should I say, trusted corporations) and ended up with less for everybody. Why is it most people in America can only get by with two jobs these days? Do we want more or are we simply getting less? The idea, I’ve heard, is that if everyone works harder they’ll eventually get something worthwhile- so now two spouse working is the norm and the something worthwhile is less time with family and shrinking pay?

    How did we win wars with half the population staying at home? Were wars easier back then?

    I don’t expect corporations to give families time to be with children in their early development- no one does these days. Perhaps we should ask ourselves ‘why’ and if we can’t have that much, what are we really working for?

    • redrock
      redrock says:

      Historically working and keeping the house and garden going, a.k.a. women’s work was hard and required a huge amount of physical labor and organizational skills. The kids were just around but not much attention was paid to them other then using them to do little scores. Out of the house work was mostly something done by poor people, maids, washer women, seamstresses, cleaners, factory work, cooks… the kids were just part of life but not the center of the family. So if we now say that all family planning has to be centered on the education and well being of the children – this is actually a very recent development.

      Only in the 50s of the last century, when the washing machine became a household staple and women did not have to knit and sew all garments for the family did they start to have enough time to look for outside work

  12. Shelley
    Shelley says:

    It is actually possible to exclusively breastfeed for 6 months while working and sending your kid to daycare. It takes a lack of better options and a true commitment to giving the best to your kid that you can. Even if it means sweating/hiding in an unventilated bathroom to pump because your boss needs to use the office during your designated pump break (don’t get me started on that one).

    • D.S.
      D.S. says:

      Shelly, glad you shared, I had a great pumping environment at work when my daughter was small but I understand that a lot of places don’t! It is also possible in the smaller city I live in and the flexible work schedules at my current job to arrange a daycare that is close enough to work so mid day nursing is possible!! Working mom doesn’t translate directly into formula fed baby (a friend nursed and worked full time for 18 months).

  13. SoTired
    SoTired says:

    The really crapshoot part of this manifesto is when Mom stays home with the kids for 8 years and then Dad takes off with his new woman. (or dies)

    I work with a charity that provides emergency funds to single moms who are in danger of being homeless. On the verge — lights are being shut off – there’s not enough wood for the stove to keep warm – not enough food – and this is right here in the U.S., in every city. I’ve heard some of these moms cry about how much they don’t want to give up homeschooling (or how much they wish they could homeschool) – but of course the options are “starve” or “go to work”. Government benefits are not nearly enough.

    The theory among homeschoolers is that “everyone else” is just selfish and won’t give up their nice house and cars. And I’m telling you: THIS IS FALSE. That is NOT the biggest reason why people are putting their kids in school and going to work.
    It’s not about having a fancy house — it’s about wanting a dry place to sleep without rats or drive-by shootings.
    It’s not about having a nice new car – it’s about basic transportation needs and wanting to see a doctor if necessary.
    It’s not about eating takeout every day – it’s about starvation vs. survival.
    Soooo tired of reading comments along these lines – when you ignore reality (just look at the single mom stats in this country), then you severely limit your audience & pretty soon you’re only preaching to your (privileged, even if they won’t admit it) choir.

    I don’t think that people are unaware of the issues raised in this post. On the contrary, every mom I know is fully aware of it. We don’t need to turn on the news to understand what is already built into our own hearts and minds.

    (I suppose all the single moms I know could go on eharmony and try to find another man -and some of them do- but ending up with another monster in the home is a high possibility.)

    • D.S.
      D.S. says:

      AMEN! This is one of the reasons I work and a driving factor behind my career choice (software engineering)! Its not to neglect and avoid my kid, or a selfish desire for “adult time”, it’s to always be in the position to support my whole family if it becomes necessary. Provide the transportation, food and shelter on my salary alone albeit on a lower overall standard of living.
      My mom could not do that when my parents divorced, my aunt could not either.

      I want to be that positive example for my children and for the young people I know.

      • SoTired
        SoTired says:

        D.S. – thank you, I’m an engineer too, and when my husband split it’s the only thing that kept me and the kids out of the homeless shelters. I’ve seen and heard too much. I can never live in this fantasy world — my daughter is going to have practical job skills no.matter.what.

  14. El Bridge
    El Bridge says:

    I didn’t think I could afford to stay at home with my son. In fact, I planned to return to work 2 weeks after he was born! What a laugh I have at myself now! I quickly realized I couldn’t continue at my demanding job and exclusively breastfeed, so I quit. We were lucly enough to get some financial help from my grandmother-in-law, but we basically live beyond our means just to make ends meet. I really feel for single moms and people living on even less income than we have now. I’m a feminist, but an unfortunate sideeffect of women’s lib is that most people can’t support themselves on a single income anymore. For wealthy people who use daycare, maybe it is about being selfish, but for so many people it is just about survival. This is an important conversation to have, but we shouldn’t be blaming parents accross the board. We need to have the real conversation about reforming our economy and society to offer the best opportunities for families. We might have to do something most Americans hate, which is look at European models. It will be a hard, slow process just like civil rights was, but it is happening already. I know more and more faamilies that are using creativity to allow one sppouse to stay home. One friend is an artist, another does placenta encapsulation, my midwife is a homeschooling mom, I do Tarot readings for a tiny bit of extra money. The $15 I make off a reading is one more meal on the table.-

    • D.S.
      D.S. says:

      ” but an unfortunate side effect of women’s lib is that most people can’t support themselves on a single income anymore. ”

      Why do you feel that is attributed to Women’s Lib and not to rising home costs, increased taxes, and the passing of retirement savings on to the employee?

      • SoTired
        SoTired says:

        Actually, this phenomenon was spelled out in a little book from 2004: The Two-Income Trap: Why Middle Class Parents are Going Broke (I would put the Amazon link here but was not sure if my comment would go through with that)

        That book is still sitting on my shelf — it was amazingly prophetic. Spells out in data and statistics (and anecdotes) exactly how the 2-income family trapped itself, and the resulting rise in the cost of living means that everyone is now just one mishap away from the homeless shelter.

        • D.S.
          D.S. says:

          But did feminism cause women to enter the workforce or the economic demands to keep the middle class opportunities for their kids drive them out of the home? Which came first the chicken or the egg? Why are you convinced that feminism is the root cause (authors love to lie with statistics to make their point, correlation does not indicate causation). Articles I read about that same book did some extra math to see what the major factor was in less discretionary income and he concluded it was primarily taxes and also mortgages. I also am really curious the tax rates cited in an article about the book. Early 70’s tax rates cited as 24%, current (as of 2006 when it was written I presume) used 30%.

          Current effective tax rates on Americans that take into account both income taxes and payroll taxes show an effective tax rate for a family making between $60-100K to be either 12.1 or 16.0%. Did the authors confuse the tax bracket with the effective tax rate?
          http://pgpf.org/Issues/Taxes/2012/04/041612-tax-rate-explainer

  15. YesMyKidsAreSocialized
    YesMyKidsAreSocialized says:

    I read the story you mentioned, the dog was the hero; the dog was what made the story a national one. It was very touching how the dog pretty much saved the baby’s life; but it was absolutely heart wrenching that this baby was abused and would probably have died.

    I’m glad you put a picture of your dog in the post. Maybe we need more dog inspired stories to help make the point; keeping families together as long as possible….woof. :)

  16. Jill
    Jill says:

    Daycare sucks. You know what would be great? 52 weeks or more paid maternity leave instead of 12 weeks unpaid. Or wages for housework. Both of these are feminist ideas. I’ve never heard any feminist argument for unregulated daycare.

    • mh
      mh says:

      These are GREAT ideas.

      Errr… who pays?

      TANSTAAFL, as I teach my kids.

      If the business pays, then they become more reluctant to hire women, or they pay them less, or they become less profitable and energetic.

      If the taxpayers pay, forget it. Politicians can’t promise any more money — they are already defaulting on pension obligations right and left.

      If couples pre-pay into individual tax-free savings accounts, then anchors aweigh.

      • channa
        channa says:

        Politicians aren’t defaulting on pensions, private retirement plans are going under due to the cost of healthcare and the success of healthcare leading to an absurd duration of the retirement years. Nothing to do with the govt. The US could easily fun 52-week maternity leave if they wanted to. Just raise taxes. That’s not judging whether we should – but raising the money wouldn’t be hard. Any economist could tell you that.

        • mh
          mh says:

          channa, I couldn’t help but laugh. Taxes put the “fun” in finding — I can almost hear the Schoolhouse Rock song.

          Politicians are defaulting on pensions everywhere. Have you not read these stories? Stockton, CA – Detroit, MI – San Bernadino, CA – Harrisburg, PA… The promises can’t be kept; the taxes can’t be raised high enough to meet the pension obligations. It’s pretty much a given; those politicians made promises they can never keep.

          Not to sidetrack this excellent comments string, but the question of who pays? is a serious one. I could be on board with any plan that said people can put their money into tax-free savings accounts to withdraw for maternity leave. I could do the same for tax-free accounts for child care spending. Or retirment savings, for that matter.

          Depending on government to pay the bills is unrealistic in the etreme.

          It’s an interesting idea.

      • D.S.
        D.S. says:

        A tax free savings account would divert revenues from the federal government, reducing the amount of taxpayer money available to meet our financial obligations so even that solution would come out of the taxpayers pocket or be reflected in less services.

        • mh
          mh says:

          D.S.,

          “Directing revenues away from the federal government” — whose money is it, anyway? The person who earns it, right? Or does the government just “let” me keep some part of my wages, to be readjusted from time to time?

          I’m a free person. And you?

          • D.S.
            D.S. says:

            There are two kind of people in the world… progressives, libertarians, liberals, conservatives, fiscally conservative, socially liberal…

            When you talk about the raw math, and I have to admit I’m a raw math person, not everyone is, it is still shifting money that would have been revenue into something that is not revenue.

            The philosophical difference between me and you where I agree taxes are necessary to do some things it would impractical for individuals to do on their own is just that philosophy.

            I received government assistance at a few critical times in my childhood. I now contribute a great portion of my earnings to the government so they can give other disadvantaged kids, glasses, checkups, food and nutrition, housing etc. I care about them spending it wisely, and am aware of the many times things don’t get done right, but I don’t ever bitch about that because I know how much difference such a small amount of money can make in a kids life.

            Knowing that my contributions help ensure this same safety net is available to me and those I love if we ever get into a bad situation is wonderful and I do all I can each day to make sure I never need to use it.

          • mh
            mh says:

            D.S.,

            Is there any function we can agree is not within the scope of the government to provide?

            Can we agree that the government should not provide people a spouse?

            Can we agree on something?

          • D.S.
            D.S. says:

            I think we probably agree on most things in life MH. It never seems that way on blogs or in the weeds of exact implementation, but by and large people want the same things. Opportunities for them and their kids (or friends and fam if they don’t have kids), freedom to implement their own version of the American dream, freedom from crime and assault and the ability to see justice carried out, the hope that their kids future will be brighter than their own was, and an occasional really good movie.

    • D.S.
      D.S. says:

      I’d be perfectly happy with unpaid leave if I had some guarantee of an equivalent job at the end. Some companies do, but with the recession time off followed by jumping job to job can put you on the chopping block during layoffs.

  17. Beverly Willett
    Beverly Willett says:

    And divorce, too, is very much a part of this puzzle. Our free-wheeling divorce culture started in the 70s, too. And, of course, with “freedom” in most cases both parents have to work as well. Look, too, at the trend in alimony these days. If two parents really have to work outside the home during a child’s entire life, we need to be taking a look at why that is, what produced it and what’s continuing to feed it.

  18. channa
    channa says:

    I don’t really get all this minute micromanaging your child’s life opportunities so that they max out every advantage with breastmilk, stay-at-home parents, world-class education (however you define it.)

    If your kid is unhappy, make a change. If things seem to be working, why stress about what you’re doing wrong?

    98% of their lives are determined by genetics or random chance. We should all just simmer down and pursue what interests us.

    • D.S.
      D.S. says:

      Channa, your words have stuck with me longer than just about anything else on this blog or thread. Thanks for being willing to say it!

  19. laura
    laura says:

    Penelope blogs for people who are starting off at a pretty high level. She doesn’t address the problems that a lot of people struggle with in order to even have the kind of problems she mostly discusses. And why would she. She makes money doing this and many (most)? blog readers want to imagine themselves doing something more or better than what their life is like.
    But in this case I feel like it affects her point. The losers in the industrial revolution and I guess potentially the feminist one are not just children, they are poor children. They are children whose parents struggle to make good choices or are otherwise trying to overcome harsh realities. They are the children who pre feminism would be alone anyway because poor women have always worked outside the home. So maybe the media are lying to middle class women who have choices they can make to stay at home or not. But to those who are not at that place, childcare that is relatively safe is a huge step better than the alternatives. I feel like the media’s take on the issue is based on the understanding that these families outnumber those for whom childcare or not is a legitimate choice.

  20. Jen Downey
    Jen Downey says:

    There isn’t a way to respond directly to Penelope’s last comment near the top of this comment stream, so I’ll put it here.

    Penelope said: “I think we need to be more socially accepting of people who don’t want to work and want to marry someone who will support them.”

    I appreciate that you said “people” – acknowledging that such a choice would be fine for a man or a woman.

    And I’m in complete agreement. Of course. If that’s what the two adults in that particular picture need/want, great. How lucky that person A happened to fall in love with Person B who happens to be bringing down enough of a salary to support a household by him/herself, and likes the idea of doing so.

    But I’m not really that worried in this whole wide world about the people in that relatively happy and rare scenario (only -and this is something of a big maybe-missing out on the world’s approval)

    But what about people who “choose” a straight work/home split only because it seems like the best option currently available when really if one or both partners stumbled upon a magic wand, they’d really rather live a less bifurcated life? Maybe Person A wishes she only worked 30 hours a week and could be home with the kids 10 more hours. Maybe person B would love being home with the kids 30 hours a week, rather than 50, and would really like to work outside of the home for 15.

    Or what about the people living lives, let’s just say, where rich people capable or desirous of single-handedly supporting a household by themselves, are in short supply? Or the person they happen to fall in love with is, well, not rich? Or there is no second adult in the picture. And any of these individuals want to combine home work and outside the home work?

    I’m much more worried about those families. They need people with outsize voices like Penelope’s to advocate for real structural changes in our society that would allow for more REAL flexibility to make all kinds of home/work/partner balance choices work. Can we think a little bigger, and maybe put our energies into something more daring than advocating for “acceptance of families who “choose” to have one person stay home and one person work”. We’ve been there. It was standard. Fully accepted. Expected. Required. It’s hardly “unaccepted” now, mostly just unaffordable for the great majority of households.

    Let’s figure out what keeps families who would rather share in house-holding work and money-earning work more equally from doing so? What realities about how families get health insurance, or status, or paid differently for part-time/full-time work, or taxed or not taxed, figure into the situation? What would help? What are other countries doing?

    A part of the feminist message has actually always focused on the need for a society to properly value the work of caring for a household and children. The same media that can’t bring itself to talk about the realities of daycare also has chosen to focus on the “women entering the workforce” part of the feminist message.

    • D.S.
      D.S. says:

      I have a lot of respect for the 42.3% of women in America who are either stay at home wives or dependents in some other form (as of 2012). It is obviously still a very popular choice to marry someone who will provide the primary income and live within your means to provide care and service to your families. In fact it is most often women like this who fill out the ranks of girl scout leaders, carpool drivers, volunteer organizers etc that make it possible to provide some relief to working parents who can’t always head up every group/board related to school and extra curricular groups that their kids participate in. I have no disrespect for my mother, my sister or my good friends who have made this choice (and on varying different salaries).

  21. devildog_jim
    devildog_jim says:

    Not to get off on too muh of a tangent, but I found it interesting that you called out -gasp!- UNREGULATED day care!

    Public school is regulated day car. Home schooling is, by and large, unregulated. Why would you be so offended that the bumbling, uncaring hand of the government child care apparatus has somehow missed a few?

  22. Jennifa
    Jennifa says:

    Please don’t forget that ‘feminism’ helped half of all children greatly, the girls. If you are unsure, just look at countries with more patriachal societies and see how female chidren are treated.

    • mh
      mh says:

      Frederick Douglass once said:

      “The white man’s happiness cannot be purchased by the black man’s misery.”

      If we raise up the girls at the expense of the boys, how is that better?

      I think we can do better than be a “girl power” nation.

      • redrock
        redrock says:

        If a girl is allowed to go to school and later as a woman allowed to vote does not take away the boys right to go to school or the men’s right to vote. Equal rights is the key word. And, yes, there are wrongs on both gender sides if you talk about sexual abuse. However, unfortunately it is much more frequent that the women are told not to press charges and to keep quiet. There are women out there who have accused wrongly – but it is not the majority of sex abuse cases, and there is no doubt that accusing someone of a crime they did not commit is deeply wrong.

        Everybody, man or woman, should have the right to due process – that is what feminism is about. Go back a hundred years in the US and Europe – women did not have that right, look at Afghanistan or Saudi Arabia nowadays – the equality of human beings, men and women, has by no means been achieved. It is hard to deny that the last few thousand years of history is much close to a patriarchy then a matriarchy.

  23. mh
    mh says:

    Reason #4

    Feminists are not happy people, even though they are right about everything all the time.

    Rebuttal?

    • D.S.
      D.S. says:

      I’m a realist but not a pessimist. I read a lot of discouraging things about atrocities committed against women and girls in the US and abroad and if that was all I dwelled on it would make me a generally unhappy person. Its pretty easy to feel i am in the right to be outraged in these extreme cases of child sex trafficking through the Midwest, genital mutilation, shooting a 13 year old in the head for speaking about girls education, 13 year olds being raped in the bushes..,but there are plenty of ways to find the good people and the good stories too.

      Primarily by reading what other feminists and strong women and men have to say (like Penelope even if she doesn’t consider herself a feminist) looking for events conferences and awards that celebrate women in all areas of life.

      Grace Hopper Celebration of women in Computer Science for one!

      I’m a cheerful, and thankful person for the blessings I have had, the luck to be born in a country so advanced and to have the best Dad ever.

      I think if less people hated the mere mention of the f word, they would realize that they are for equality.

  24. Joanna
    Joanna says:

    This rings a bell with me.
    I live in Europe, in post-soviet Poland, where kindergartens were normal even in the 60’s. I suppose we have much better nurseries and kindergartens, but mostly because we have so much more experience with them.
    Anyway, I was born when my parents were students, so I wast sent to my grandparetns’ for the first half year. Then my grandma broke an arm, so I had to go back to my parents. They put me in a nursery, then added my sister, then we both went to kindergarten and school.
    I have my own memories of riding a bus to the nursery and walking around it to find my sister. I have some memories from the kindergarten. I have almost no memories of my parents. The first time they show up is when I’m 6 and they are quarrelling, because mum just got a driving licence and almost drove into a tree. Next memory with parents: counting Coca Cola trucks on our way to school – I was 8, maybe 9 then. First memory of playing anything with my parents: they thaught me and my sister to play bridge when I was 11.
    Seriously. I do not remember even one board game, even one cuddling, doll tea-party, or any kind of play with my parents.
    Because they were busy with their lives. I have two kids of my own and have not worked a single day in my life – I was pregnant while finishing university. I will reluctantly send my son to school, but only because he is disabled in such a way that I know I am not enough to teach him. I hope though that the principal will give him 1:1 tutoring – this way he will only have a couple of hours a week at school (but those are minutia of Polish SEN affordances).

  25. Christopher Chantrill
    Christopher Chantrill says:

    A few points:

    1. Traditionally, the rich paid to have someone take care of their kids. With feminism, this has included the professional middle class. I wonder what the studies say about the effect of nannies on rich kids.

    2. The industrial revolution was hell for everyone. They said that you couldn’t get post-pubertal people to adjust to factory work; they just wouldn’t submit to the discipline. Thus the children had to be the first to go into the factories.

    3. If we switch from today’s institutional child care — including school — to home raising and schooling of children it will mean a social revolution of incalculable dimensions.

    4. All considerations of the patriarchy aside, the great modern innovation was to socialize men to a life of work in place of predatory Homeric warfare. As we all run around socializing women for the workforce, men are retreating from the life of work that took centuries to achieve. Are we really sure we are doing the right thing?

  26. Michelle Straka
    Michelle Straka says:

    Your post resonated with me. I am lucky to live in a country that gives parents 12 months of paid maternity leave. My husband and I worked hard in our 20s to be debt free, including housing, and I worked hard to get the privilege of working from home after my first mat leave ended. My parents and in laws helped out with child care while I worked in between my first and second child. My husband is now on a parental leave from his job after unreturned to work after my second child (lucky again he has a government job with great benefits). However none if this would be possible if not for the foresight we had not to follow the pattern that many of our cohorts set by getting ourselves into massive debt. If we were not debt free we would not be able to do this. Regrdless I knew in my heart I could not bring my babies to strangers. Here are 2 things I learned:

    1. Just as I can’t say that I breastfed both kids till 2 years, I can’t say that I wanted my kids at home because I am the bad guy who makes people feel uncomfortablt becaus they doubt their decisions when faced with someone who did not take the same path. See the wrath you face when you mention that you breastfed and your kids don’t go to daycare; it’s palpable. People don’t want to hear it so those if us who do these things learn to keep our mouths shut. So the voice that says we need to breastfed and keep our babies at home is silenced.

    2. Most of the people I know who have their kids in daycare do so for one of 2 reasons. The first is that They are so far in debt that they can’t afford to live on one income. The other
    Reason is that neither parent wants to lose years paid into their pensions: makes sense when you wonder why people work for 4 years breaking even after paying for child care. Both are working for future rewards not present needs which contributes to anxiety and depression. When u read the facts on the likelihood of
    Actually Receiving a pension or how debt works these days it makes you wonder if it is all worth while.

    My takeaway here is that our kids are suffering in the present because adults are working for a payoff in the future. A payoff that may never come.

    Thanks Penelope for saying what I never have the guts to say when other parents ask me why my
    Kids are not in daycare or why I still don’t drink wine 2’years after my son was born.

  27. Stephanie
    Stephanie says:

    I guess I’m a bad guy. My son is in day care. I work full time, 8 hours a day, five days a week. We live in a city where the cost of living is very high, and we both have very middle class jobs.

    Would my son do better with me as the primary care giver? In some ways, yes, in other ways, no.

    My first son had a nanny. She was wonderful in many ways, however when my son started preschool we learned that he was on the autism spectrum. If he was in daycare, we would have found out much sooner and could have done something about it much sooner.

    Now my second baby is in daycare. At 11 months, he shares with me, which is something my older son never did. He plays ball with me, again, something my older son never did.

    And I believe that in some ways, my younger son’s life is enriched because he knows other children.

    And I can’t help but add my own experience. My first daycare situation with the baby was not great. I knew I could get better, but I had to look. And I found it. Yesterday, he was the only child with two caregivers, the same two that are there day in, and day out. The same two that have worked together for years. At most, there are 4 children among them, but usually, there are just 2. Good child care is available if you look for it and don’t settle. But you also have to look out for warning signs, too.

    I read the horror story of the nanny who was abusing the child, and the dog. That is on the extreme of the bell curve of nannies and caregivers. One person touched on the indifference of moms that just wanted a cocktail – it still applies today. I believe that as long as a parent is engaged and walking into any child care situation with both eyes open that in the long run, the child will benefit from it. But that is all, and it is a lot.

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