Radical Homemakers by Shannon Hayes

Radical Homemakers by Shannon Hayes

Author:Shannon Hayes
Language: eng
Format: epub
ISBN: 9781603582698
Publisher: Left to Write Press
Published: 2010-01-23T16:00:00+00:00

Child care is not a fixed cost.

With annual costs ranging anywhere from $4,000 to $14,000 per year, child care for infants, toddlers and preschoolers can be a serious burden for any family. But while it may be a fixed cost for some two-income families, it needn’t be an expense at all for Radical Homemakers. When David and Janice Peterson’s son was born, they did the math before enrolling him in day care:

I said to Janice, “Well, if we put him in day care, we have to buy a second car.” I had an old beat up truck, but it was going downhill fast. “We have to buy a second car [and a few other things] . . . then that would mean I’d have to earn this much before taxes to have this much money left over after taxes to pay those bills.” And we looked at it, and [realized] . . . I’m not going to make enough money to even break even doing that. So we’d be financially ahead of the game to have me stay home.

While investigating work and family issues, sociologist Pamela Stone reviewed research dating back to the 1940s exploring whether mothers’ employment out of the home had an impact on children. “People have always looked to working mothers as the cause of problems, but it always came out a wash,” Stone argues. She adds, however, “what’s more important is other things, like the quality of child care.”40 Despite the sophisticated day-care options available to families today, Mom and Dad are still usually the best candidates for raising their young child. For young children, quality care is not necessarily the number of enrichment or developmental activities that are packed into a day; it is about the love they experience. David Korten discusses the emotional development that takes place during a child’s earliest years. “The ability to accurately communicate one’s emotions and to read the emotions of others through verbal and nonverbal cues — is only partially formed in humans by the time of birth,” says Korten.41 He explains that the “limbic brain” is the portion of our brain that gives mammals the unique ability to experience and interpret emotion, socially bond, nurture and cooperate. “The limbic brain of the newborn represents a potential that must be cultivated into a usable capacity through emotional exchanges with a primary caretaker,” most often the mother or father, someone who will have a deep emotional connection and long-enduring relationship with the child. Says Korten, “Practice in such exchanges activates the neural connections essential to the intuitive reading of emotional states.” He adds that the broader and deeper these exchanges are between the child and caregiver, the more the child’s limbic brain develops. The result is greater emotional intelligence, greater capacity for empathy, bonding, nurturing and responsible moral function.

Of course, professional child care cannot be universally dismissed; used appropriately, day care has a valuable function. But there has arisen a troubling trend whereby the nurturing home is routinely supplanted by the child-care industry, on the rationale that parents are thus enabled to bring more money home.


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