Monday, July 06, 2009


A friend of mine brought this to my attention today.

It is extremely timely, not only because I am going on maternity leave in a few short weeks, but also because she and I were talking about this exact same thing just a few days ago. I love my job and have every intention of coming back after 3 months (for more than the whole money issue). I LIKE working and being part of a cog in the world outside my home.

At the same time, I know I will be miserable leaving the little one every day. How could I not be? It is probably the hardest thing we ask modern mothers to do.

I have a feeling that my sentiments will echo those in the article, but a dual income family means more for the baby. My parents sacrificed time with my sister and me, and we benefited from those sacrifices in the long run. We grew up in a great town with a big house and yard, both went to private colleges with no student loans, traveled the world as teenagers, went to elite summer programs at local universities. I never thought my kids would be any different.

I suppose the question here is, do you leave your child for his own good or stay for yours?


Blogger Laura said...

who knows what I will think when I have kids - that said, based on my experience growing up, if you're going to stay home for a while I think the most important time to do it is when the kid will remember it during formative years (e.g., I feel like staying home around 5-10 may be more important than 0-5. not sure exactly what age range, but I imagine someone has done some research on it.) No one remembers much from when they're one or two, so if you've got a good nanny/day care and are an active, engaged parent when not at work, I don't think a baby is missing out (though as a parent it may still feel like you're missing a lot).

4:59 PM  
Blogger Deepa said...

That's pretty much how I feel. I feel like staying home with a baby is more for the mom, whereas staying home with a grade schooler is more for the kid. It is nice to have someone come to all your school events, chaperone things, be there when you get home everyday, etc.

Then again, I was a latchkey kid and I don't feel like I missed out on too much. My mom and dad came to everything they could. I guess you just make it work...

5:19 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Definitely no right answer and I don't think a make or break criteria of being a good parent - I know happy normal people who had two working parents their whole life and not so normal unhappy people who had a stay at home parent and vice versa. Just gotta go with what seems like it make sense at the time and hope for the best!

11:01 PM  
Blogger tarah said...

Not to throw another wrench in, but I know that for myself, I'm very hesitant to put any children I might have right into daycare 8-10 hours a day as soon as maternity leave is done. And not just for myself.

Two of my aunts married and had children later, after establishing their careers and went back to work almost as soon as they could. I would say that 3 our of 4 of my cousins had attachment issues, and even some of the needing attention and figuring things out on their own as mentioned in one of the comments of the article.

I don't know if this is because they were daycare kids. I don't know if it's because my aunts worked almost full time from infant through most of development. Of if it has something to do with group daycare instead of a private nanny. I don't know if it's a personality thing. Or if it's because when my aunts were home in the evening, they felt guilty and tried to make up for not being around during the day.

My mom worked part time nights to be there for us during the day and after school. I went to preschool, so socialized that way. When my mom's work schedule changed, I was fortunate enough to have my grandparents there every day after school.

I don't know what the right way is. But I would be nervous about ingraining attachment issues by leaving my kids so young just because of what I saw in my cousins.

12:46 PM  
Blogger SR said...

I think people overestimate these "formative" years. Kids are resilient, much more independent than you think, and you don't need to hover over them (within reason, of course. Please hover when changing diapers.) to show them that they're loved and to instill what you find valuable into them.

Where I come from, all mothers worked, everyone went to kindergarden and school and extended care - and somehow, we're not altogether abnormal.

Personally, I kind of resent the idea that a woman has to choose either or. Maybe it's because I'm forced to work in a dichotomy of being slavewhipped as a professional, and guilt-tripped as a woman without reconciliation of the two worlds at all, you're told you're supposed to do blank and blank to be a good mother, but no opportunity or support is available.

I think there are ways of making it work and people figure it out. And it's easy to blame all issues on the parents, but people tend to have issues. all people. Period.

Deeps, you keep posting about how privileged you were as a child and all the stuff you had because your parents made sacrifices... I'm not sure that it's altogether a sensitive thing to do because most people's parents made all sorts of sacrifices, but not everyone ended up being as lucky......

4:15 PM  

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