It's OK to do what you want

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-04-2007
It's OK to do what you want
255
Thu, 07-05-2007 - 7:54pm

I am going to argue that the decision to stay at home or work is something that should be based on the reality of the family’s financial situation and the mother’s desire to do either. I do not think a mother should sacrifice what she desires for the sake of a child’s development or for the sake of more money if it isn't truly needed. Why? Because I don’t believe staying at home or working really affects the child’s development in a significant way. A lot of people think or just feel in their hearts that it does matter. How could it not logically right? What seems logical to some does not always coincide with reality.

First, I am going to give two examples from my experience in life. Then, since I’m no expert I will provide some research. After I had my first child a very wonderful woman who I respect very much advised me that I should stay home with my daughter. My husband and I thought about it. I loved my job and my boss couldn’t be more child friendly. I made significantly more money than my husband but if we sold our house and moved and he could find a good job maybe we could do it. But this would mean leaving my stepdaughters- his daughters. It really wasn’t an option. I either work or we live close to the poverty line. I thought about what my friend said. She said she stayed home with her first two but couldn’t with the third because she couldn’t afford it. (I guess she didn’t realize my first was really our third) She talked about how much she enjoyed it and the close bond that developed with her children. I thought about all three of her children. They were all wonderful children and you certainly could see there was a strong family bond with all the children not just the first two. If it is only logical that the mother staying home is the only way to have a well-developed child and a strong bond between mother and child wouldn’t it also be logical that the third child should have behavioural problems and be distant from her mother? That is when I realized staying at home or working really does not make a difference to child development. That is as long as the child is receiving high quality care by whoever is providing it.

My own experience as a child confirmed for me that a mom staying at home does not necessarily result in proper development and strong bonds. My mother stayed at home. She had three children. She was depressed, trapped, and lonely. I was a severely sad child and I can only guess that was why. My earliest memories are of soap operas, which she watched everyday. Basically, the TV raised me. I don’t feel that my parents really had a lot to do with my upbringing. I had to find my own way and I almost didn’t make it. Recently my sister confided in me that she felt the same way.

Do I feel close to my mother? Not really I love her and I would look after her but there is not a close loving bond. I would have much preferred if she worked, left my Dad and was happy. I visited neighbour’s any chance I got and some of my fondest memories are of baking cookies with a mother who lived next door. The point is just because a mother stays home does not mean you will end up with a well-developed child who has a strong bond with their mother. It is always the quality of care that matters and many people other than the child's mom are also capable of providing quality care.

When I had my first child my mother came for the first 5 months. She also advised I should try to stay at home. I didn’t. When she came back the following year and she saw how happy my daughter was, how happy our whole family was and how much we enjoyed each other’s company she admitted she was wrong. She visited the daycare she thought it was fantastic. She admitted she did not play with us and that she was depressed and that she thinks my situation is much better for my daughter, my husband and me. She now firmly believes working is the way to go. I don’t, I think doing what you want to do is the way to go.

Now that I am about to go back to work after my second child I had to remind myself of these things. Not because a friend has given me some friendly well-meaning advice but because it seems many stay at home moms have for some reason taken to bashing the working mom. Like a lot of moms I too am quick to feel guilt and self-doubt. I think I will still feel guilt but I will remind myself that it is irrational. What I choose to do does not affect my children in a significant way as long as I continue to provide unconditional love and ensure they are being provided high quality care.

Now here is a summary of the latest most extensive research: The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development conducted one of the most extensive studies into the long-term effect of day care. By sixth grade, the researchers detected few differences between the daycare centre kids and the others. What mattered more than early childcare, in terms of school performance and behavior, were parenting and genes. The study found that kids who went to high-quality daycare centres had an edge over all the other kids on vocabulary scores. This association didn't decrease, as the kids got older. Children who spent three to four years in low-quality day care before the age of 4 1/2 had a slightly higher risk of disruptive behaviour in school by grade six. (http://www.slate.com/id/2162876/)

My argument is if you feel you are sacrificing to be home with your child perhaps you should rethink what you are doing. This could lead to resentment or strange behaviour like verbally attacking a mom who chose to do what she wanted and still ended up with great kids. If you stay home because you wouldn’t trade it for the world or you enjoy and love it do it. It shouldn’t feel like a sacrifice if this is what you want to do. If you don’t stay home don’t beat yourself up and don’t let anyone else beat you up. Your child will prefer a happy mom stay at home or working rather than an unhappy one and will, as long as they are receiving good high quality care, turn out just the way they were supposed to.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 11-08-2006
Thu, 07-05-2007 - 8:21pm

great post. i can't find a thing to disagree with. I don't think work status matters at all. It's all a matter of GOOD PARENTING and good parents can be EITHER woh OR sah.

Carole

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-08-2006
Thu, 07-05-2007 - 8:23pm

great post. nothing to disagree with here. Parenting status matters not one whit. GOOD parenting can come from sah OR woh.

Oh, and as a wohm I NEVER had any guilt or regrets.

carole

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-08-2006
Thu, 07-05-2007 - 8:27pm
Oops! Guess I loved it so much, I posted a response twice!
Avatar for cindytree
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-28-2003
Thu, 07-05-2007 - 10:03pm

I mean no disrepsect, but the "study" link you site is

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-04-2007
Thu, 07-05-2007 - 11:35pm
I completely disagree with your point. What the journalist did if you read the article closely is contact the researchers who did the study to get further details which showed that the alarmist headlines about daycare causing behavioural problems were false. (in 1999 some studies showed DC kids were better off personally I think this study shows the affects are so minimal compared to parenting and genes) A very small percentage of children who went to low quality daycare were shown to have problems. No surprise there. Perhaps you need to reread the article? It wasn't just her opinion the facts were informative and from the study. I agree that my experience with a depressed mom does not prove anything to the masses that is why I put information on the study. You can find a link to the full study if you are interested in sifting through it all. http://secc.rti.org/ However, my experience as a child does in fact prove that there is no black and white here. Just because mom stays home doe not mean happy healthy child. But that should be obvious.
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-04-2007
Thu, 07-05-2007 - 11:42pm
Thank you for your response. Good for you to not feel any guilt. I'm still working on that but I know it has more to do with my upbringing than the fact that I am a working mom. I feel guilty at the drop of a hat. Still love you mom if you read this!
Avatar for cindytree
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-28-2003
Fri, 07-06-2007 - 12:01pm

It seems

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2000
Fri, 07-06-2007 - 12:32pm

<>


You had me up until that paragraph.

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-12-2004
Fri, 07-06-2007 - 12:42pm

"Just because mom stays home doe not mean happy healthy child."

I agree, and just because both parents work does not mean a financially sound family.

Robin

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-04-2007
Fri, 07-06-2007 - 12:47pm

Actually she is the lead statistician on the study not an investigator. As a statistician she provided the numbers. Numbers are numbers stats can be wrong but surely the journalist wasn't making up numbers. It wasn't just her opinion. I also think anyone reading, like yourself, can go and find the study and is smart enough to know that an article is not the study. Are you implying I am trying to mislead people? I think people are smarter than that. It is obvious from the article that there are different opinions on the study. This is the one I found that actually contacted a representative and gets the data. I am not trying to defend a thesis this is an internet message board. It takes two seconds to get the study if you want it.

I have read a lot of it yes and what they found has not concerned or caused me to think high quality daycare is bad.

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