The Daycare Generation
For centuries we have seen our family unit only one way; with the father going off to work, and the mother staying home with the children. All the way back to the beginning of humans it has been this way. Lately however, this is all changing. With women's lib came the "new woman". She wants to do everything a man can do including having a career. The only problem is, there is no one to stay home to raise the children if mom goes off to work. The need for daycare has risen sharply as more moms are choosing to work rather than stay home. As a result, the family unit is growing apart. According to the National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agency, over 20 million children ages 0-12 are in full time child care this year in the United States. Many of our children are now spending most of the day away from their home and family, and because of this, are not able to experience the values of close family bonds that our grandparents and great-grandparents had. If we wish to preserve our family ties and bonds, we should take steps toward bringing the family unit back together. The first step should encourage families to let children stay home with mom when they are young, and not put them in a daycare.
There are many reasons families place their children in daycare. For single-parent families, there is little or no choice involved. For other families, however, the daycare decision is made purely by choice. Many moms enjoy working outside the home and consider their jobs rewarding and fulfilling. Other families insist they need the income that a second working parent brings in. Whatever the reason, I think we need to take a look at the impact full-time daycare has on our children. Kim Clark, author of an article called "Mommy's Home" states that young children of stay-at-home mom's are more intelligent, get more sleep, and have less weight issues than children of working moms. I personally think the benefits of raising healthy and happy children far outweigh the financial gain of a second income. In order to compensate, some moms may cut their work hours down to part time, and others try to have the best of both worlds by working from home. In her article titled "When mother stays home", Megan Rutherford writes "Some women create home-based businesses in an effort to forge a better interface between their jobs and their children". It is my opinion that these work-at-home moms would still not be able to provide their children with the undivided attention they need. How much time can a mom really devote to young children while she has a business to run?
Money is extremely important to most Americans, and one of the main reasons for our dual-income families of today. Many families become accustomed to having two incomes, but really don't need them both. Michelle Conlin concurs in her article titled "Mommy is really home from work". Conlin thinks that most American dual-earner families can live well on a single income. I also believe balancing a family with only one income is possible if you consider the money saved when mom doesn't work outside the home. Rutherford asks us to consider the amount of money a family will spend on gasoline, work clothes, and restaurant meals. When we exclude the expenses associated with work we may be able to conceive the loss of a second income. Moms who stay home can cut spending in many areas. Clark suggests letting go of the housecleaning services, and shopping at Target instead of Nordstrom. The sacrifices are minimal compared to the advantages gained by the children who get to spend quality time with mom on a daily basis. Kelli Cole suggests on her website that taking away a second income may drop your family into a lower tax bracket. Also, a significant savings for stay-at-home moms will come from the child care bill that no longer has to be paid. In the past few years, the cost of daycare has gone up considerably. NACCRRA statistics state that in the...
Cited: National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agency. 2005 Childcare in the state of: Kansas. March 2005. Dec 2005. Website giving national statistics about childcare issues.
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