I’m popping out of my blog-break to rant. Today I (stupidly) read an opinion piece that flat-out stated daycare is bad for kids. And that studies claiming “the kids are alright” are actually carefully crafted so as not to hurt working women’s feelings with the truth.
Naturally, working fathers were not mentioned in the post.
I’m not linking to the piece because a) I think it’s BS and b) it turns out to be an old post making the rounds a second time and you probably already read it. But allow me to rage for a moment. Or longer.
This blogger’s argument makes the following (wrong) assumptions:
That all children at home are automatically receiving higher-quality care than those in daycare.
That all women have a choice between staying home with their children, and going out to work.
That there was some golden point in history where no mother worked outside the home, and the children were all perfect as a result.
That mothers who did stay at home were always focused solely on caring for their children.
That wealthy mothers who stayed home never hired other women to care for their children. (See: Downton Abbey.)
That mothers who work outside the home today are doing so to afford “luxuries” like [insert things other families are supposed to learn to live without if only they made sacrifices].
That mothers who could afford to live comfortably off their partner’s income but choose to work to afford said luxuries are automatically bad mothers.
That mothers who do have financial choice and still opt to work outside the home because [insert any other reason] are automatically bad mothers.
That men are more ambitious than women and wouldn’t choose to stay home with their children anyway.
That fathers who work outside the home never have anything to do with the raising of their children.
That fathers who work outside the home are never doing so for selfish reasons, or even if they are, that’s ok, because men!
That women are always the better caregivers and should therefore always be the ones to stay home with the children.
That marriages never break up.
That there are no single parents.
That there are no same-sex parents.
That all women who stay home with their children want to do so.
That women can just pick up where they left off career-wise after staying home for X years to care for children.
That mothers who do stay home never have all or some of their children in daycare or preschool.
That sending a child 3.5 and up to school full-time is fine, expected even, but daycare is “letting others raise your children for you”.
I could go on. But bear with me a little longer…
Let’s just say, it’s true: children in daycare are at higher risk of x, y or z. I don’t believe it, but for the sake of argument, let’s go there. So, what now? Many if not most mothers work! Have to, want to, whatever. This is not changing! So maybe something else needs to. Maybe…
We could be a more family-friendly society over all, one that actually cares about the well-being of all children, and supports all parents in caring for theirs? Where women—and men—didn’t have to fear career-suicide for putting their families first when necessary?
There could be better parental leave for both mothers and fathers (we’re pretty fortunate here in Canada, but not everyone can take advantage of it, for financial or other reasons)?
There could be more flex-time, telecommuting, or job-sharing options?
We could value child care workers, and pay them a decent wage?
Or, what if there were more on-site daycares, so families could reduce the number of hours their children are in care and maximize the time they spend together?
What if we had universal child care, so those opting or needing to put their children in care could be assured it is of high quality, and not just what they could afford to cobble together?
What if instead of offering working mothers criticism (because let’s be honest, the articles are never about “working fathers”), we offered solutions and support?