When my niece was born, we were all thrilled for my brother and his wife. Both with undergraduate degrees from William and Mary and masters degrees from the University of Delaware and the University of Pennsylvania, my brother and his wife were academics with great jobs and now had it all with a beautiful baby girl. My brother, Ben, is a physical therapist and had to go to work only a couple days after Isabelle, my niece, was born. My sister-in-law, Tina, stayed home for as long as she could until Isabelle was old enough to go to day care. Then she went back to her job as a professor of foreign exchange.
They put Isabelle in a qualified daycare that specialized in helping children to grow bi-lingual. Isabelle was making new friends and Ben and Tina were enjoying fantastic advances in their careers. Ben became a partner of the physical therapy company and Tina won an award for all of her hard work. Isabelle, however, began to suffer. She wasn’t allowed to go back to day care because she had a fever, so Ben and Tina had to take off work, get Isabelle to the doctor and fully recovered. As soon as she returned to daycare, she would get sick and they would have to repeat the process all over again.
After multiple ear infections the doctor began to discuss putting tubes in Isabelle’s ears. Ben and Tina looked at the medical bills and the budget for the month. They realized that Isabelle was only in day care one week out of that entire month. The rest of the time they were in the doctor’s office. Finally, they decided it wasn’t worth paying a daycare that their daughter never went to. Tina left her job and began working from home so she could stay with Isabelle.
Isabelle hasn’t been sick since. Now three years old, she has an impressive vocabulary, impeccable manners and loves to be around people. There is a lot to be said for staying home with your child, if you can manage it. According to a recent study, children put in day care are more likely to be aggressive, disobedient, develop poor relationships with their parents and respiratory illnesses.
The problem with this the idea of leaving your job to stay home with your child is guilt. Many parents believe they cannot be a successful unless they have it all. So, when children come home from day care, angry, disobedient and lacking in empathy for their own parents, lots of new parents fall into depression.
My sister-in-law was lucky enough to have a job that allowed her to work from home, but not all working moms have that advantage. In this case it is a matter of balance. With the assistance of a high quality day care or even a family member or caregiver, children can avoid illness and cognitive delays, however, it is suggested that parents cut back on the amount of time spent at work so they can spend some time developing a healthy family life with their children.
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