Can Motherhood Survive?
Connie Marshner is another great voice in the wilderness against day care and for motherhood. In her excellent book, Can Motherhood Survive?, she says her book "will help you understand the importance of motherhood. It will also make you aware of the enemies of motherhood: the ideas, trends, and lobbies which are preaching that motherhood is not important." She writes as one who knows the "seduction" of having a career and children and then giving up her career. And her career was not the boring assembly line worker. She was a successful lobbyist in Washington D.C.
She correctly says the Bible gives the insights we need to have good marriages and families. The Left push their agenda of the "progressive Swedish government's child care system." Ivy League and major universities "use federal grants to persuade United States government officials to make laws and policies on Swedish premises." Motherhood is not honored anymore, she says.
The Biblical family is not only a traditional family but it is an extended family. Many generations and many relatives should live together.
She is critical of T. Berry Brazelton who she says believes "that mothers want to find fulfillment in the workplace; all his writing is built on the premise that they will make career or job a higher priority than baby; and within those parameters, he devotes himself to suggesting ways to minimize harm to baby."
I am all for women to feel guilty for leaving their children. I sympahtize with women who want to stay home and can't because they have to earn money, but even they should only take traditional feminine jobs as Helen Andelin teaches in Fascinating Womanhood. I also believe that home-based businesses are perfect for women who have to work so they can spend more time at home.
She quotes Shakespeare and says, "'... and the Devil hath power to assume a pleasing shape.' Hamlet was right. Satan does have the power to assume a pleasing shape. ... Day care is one of those pleasing shapes." The idea that women abandon children for the workplace is the core belief of communism. Marxism is feminism. Any one who calls themselves anti-Communist should be absoutley against day care.
Marshner writes, "It also happens that there is now a trend to provide day care for the elderly, more and more of whom share a similar fate with the young in our hectic society; namely, being parked somewhere for the day. Everyone says its good for them, of course, but what is certain is that senior day care enables grown daughters to pursue paid employment while paying somebody else to give care and nurture to their flesh and blood. I have long maintained that the two groups at the opposite ends of the age spectrum could be good for each other and their problems could be solved in tandem, but such proposals do not get very far with the senior citizen lobby or the child-care lobby: the former wants subsidized idleness for its members while the latter wants to create a whole new job category of semiskilled workers."
Marshner ends her book trying to encourage women to not be lonely during the day when they stay home, but she does not know about the concept of co-housing. The typical lonely home is not God's way. Families should live in communities -- especially religious communities. My goal is to get you excited about living in capitalist communites that believe in Biblical values for the family.
She says, "Warn your husband ahead of time that he will be your only contact with the adult world." This sabotages her whole book. Women go nuts being alone, just as pets go crazy if left alone. She goes on to say that stay-at-home moms have "a call from God" and that a woman needs to "renew the calling each morning." She says that women need to pray for strength to not get moody and impatient and feel self-pity.
She says that being alone with her children is a "spiritual hothouse" and women need to be strong to fight the "spiritual battles ahead. The last thing Satan wants is mothers training children to be holy. So holiness is the first thing we must pursue."
Pray and Read Scripture Daily
She says that just as women plan housework, they should also plan their spiritual life. "It is imperative that you have a support group of other mature women with whom you stand on no ceremony and don't have to pretend to be anything other than yourself. It is imperative that you pray and read Scripture regularly. But without the friendly nosiness of someone else to remind you, that good intention will be burined in an agenda of busyness. You know it will. So don't kid yourself. And don't delay in finding a spiritual comrade with whose help you can arm yourself for the coming struggle." Then she concludes her book with the Ephesians 6:11-18 that talks about putting on "armor for God" to "stand against the wiles of the devil. There are very warlike images in this passage and indeed it is a war we are fighting.
The Hutterites have one of the few religious communites that have survived over the centuries. There are thousands of members living in numerous isolated communites in North America. Like all religous movements they began by being persecuted. Their founder, Jakob Hutter, was killed three years after he started his movement in the 16th century. They are pacifists and were hated wherever they went. They have survived over the centuries and it is fascinating to see how powerful traditional, Biblical values of family has served them well. In the book Christian Socialism we read that "Between 1874 and 1950 only one divorce and four desertions were recorded. Only 2 percent of the men and 5.4 percent of the women never marry. Birth control is not practiced and the median family has 10.4 children."
They shoot themselves in the foot with their nutty ideas of pacifism and total socialism they incorrectly get from the Bible. But when it comes to Biblical family values they are perfect. The women wear dresses and men do the hard labor. Women follow men and only men lead. A good video on them you can buy called Hutterites: to care and not to care is excellent at showing how orderly their community is. They have no murders or crime. They are deeply religious and pious. They take things too far when they make the girls and women constantly wear scarves and some other things but it is powerful to see the beautiful harmony they have in their division of labor and how they work hard to live together with love. Father wants us to go beyond these people and have even more children and of course be smarter than they are.
Like all things we have to separate the baby from the bathwater. The evil forces that Ephesians tells us to fight are difficult to combat. Often Satan works through very well-meaning people who get caught up in secular thinking. We must keep our eye on religious values, not worldly values. And we have to not get caught up in the tendency of religous people to often go down the road of socialism because of one statement in Acts. Satan corrupts secular and religious people with socialism. We need to walk the line of true capitalism and true religion. Satan also corrupts secular and religious people with feminism to discount the traditional Biblical family.
One social critic had an article about Hillary Clinton in which he dissected her language which he called Clintonese. He said when she says "I am a New Democrat" it really means she is saying "I am a socialist." The following article is good about how day care is wrong from a Christian perspective, i.e., Christian Right -- not the Christian Left of Hillary's Methodist Church. The author begins by mentioning Hillary's book that in Clintonese is not about a village but about government:
National Child Care
by Kerby Anderson
National Child Care Debate
National Child Care
Imagine a country in which nearly all children between the ages of three and five attend preschool in sparkling classrooms, with teachers recruited and trained as child care professionals. Imagine a country that conceives of child care as a program to welcome children into the larger community and awaken their potential for learning and growing.
So begins one of the chapters by Hillary Rodham Clinton in her book It Takes a Village. The discussion represents yet another attempt to erect a national system of child care. In the early 1970s, Senator Walter Mondale pushed the Child Advocacy Bill through Congress only to have it vetoed by President Nixon. Again in the late 1980s, Congress flirted with socialized day care when Senator Christopher Dodd proposed The Act for Better Child Care.
Fortunately, the bill went nowhere.
But has the time come again for a national discussion of day care? Hillary Clinton proposes that the United States adopt the French model of institutionalized day care: "More than 90 percent of French children between ages three and five attend free or inexpensive preschools called écoles maternelles. Even before they reach the age of three, many of them are in full- day programs." The First Lady then goes on to present the French experience in glowing terms and provides additional examples to bolster her push for a national day care system.
Many social commentators believe our contemporary day care debate has dramatically shifted from whether the federal government should be involved to how the federal government should be involved. What was once in the domain of the family has shifted to the government due in large part to the increasing number of women in the work force. During the Carter Administration, a federal child care tax credit was enacted and the budget for this tax credit has mushroomed to billions of dollars annually.
The debate is changing as well because the child-rearing patterns in America are changing. Through most of our history, women traditionally assumed primary responsibility for rearing children. Now as more and more mothers head off to work, nearly half of the nation's children under six years old are in day care facilities.
This dramatic shift from child-rearing within the family to social parenting in day care facilities is beginning to have frightening consequences. Stories of neglect, abuse, and abandonment are merely the tip of the iceberg of a multi-billion-dollar-a-year industry that is largely unregulated.
Sadly, this change in the way we raise children has been motivated more by convenience and selfishness than by thoughtful analysis of the implications. Psychologist Burton White, author of The First Three Years of Life, laments that "We haven't moved to day care because we were seeking a better way of raising children, but to meet the needs of the parent, mostly the mother. My concern is that this trend constitutes a disastrous effect on the child."
This essay looks at the important issues concerning the subject of day care. What are the implications of a nationally-subsidized day care system? How does day care affect early childhood development? What are the psychological costs? What are the social costs? What are the medical costs? These are just a few of the questions we will try to answer in these pages. Psalm 127 reminds us that children are "a gift of God." Before we develop national programs that may harm our children, we need to count the costs and make an informed decision.
Use and Misuse of Statistics
Hillary Rodham Clinton isn't the only national figure proposing a nationally-subsidized day care system for the United States. In his 1996 State of the Union address, President Bill Clinton also proposed a national day care system.
Before we discuss the potential impact of a national day care system, we must deal with the use and misuse of statistics. Proponents of national day care frequently say that the traditional family is dead and that two-thirds of mothers with preschool children are in the work force.
Let's set the record straight. Reporters and social commentators have frequently said that less than 10 percent of U.S. families are "traditional families" with a breadwinner husband and homemaker wife. The 10 percent figure actually comes from the U.S. Labor Department and only counts families with an employed father, a stay-at-home mother, and two children still at home. Using that criteria, my own family would not be a traditional family because we have three children, not two children, still at home. Dr. Jim Dobson's family would not be a traditional family because his two children no longer live at home. In fact, a mother who works out of her home would not qualify as a member of a traditional family. I think you can see the problem. The 10 percent figure is artificially restrictive.
What about the number of women in the work force? Again, we need to check the definition used to define working women. The Department of Labor figure counts mothers who work part time (as little as one hour per week) as well as women who have flexible hours. The figure also counts mothers who work seasonally. Furthermore, it counts mothers who work from their homes. Again, you can see that this number is artificially inflated.
According to the recent Census Bureau data, 54 percent of the 17 million children under the age of five are primarily cared for by a mother who stays at home. An additional seven percent represents "tag-team parents" who work different shifts and share child- rearing responsibilities. And another four percent have "doubletime mothers" who care for their child while they babysit other children or earn income in some other way. Thus, the primary child care arrangement for 65 percent of all preschool children is care by one or both parents.
This isn't exactly the figure you will hear during a national debate on day care. Instead of hearing that two-thirds of mothers with preschool children are in the work force, we should be hearing that two-thirds of all preschool children are cared for by one or both parents.
Actually the percentage should be even higher. Another 11 percent of preschool children are cared for by grandmothers or other relatives. This would mean that a full 76 percent of all preschool children are cared for by a parent or close relative. But don't expect the mainstream media to use this figure when debating the so-called "crisis of child care."
Perhaps that is the most important lesson of this debate. President Clinton and the First Lady, along with countless child care advocates, want to talk about the crisis of child care. Statistics that do not justify federal intrusion into the family are ignored. Before we start down the road to socialized day care, we need to consider whether the problem is as acute as portrayed.
At this point I would like to discuss the psychological costs of day care. Now that we have been effectively conducting an unofficial experiment with day care over the last few decades, the evidence is coming in disconcerting evidence of the psychological harm done by institutionalized care. Jay Belsky, a child care expert at Penn State's College of Health and Human Development, says "It looked like kids who were exposed to 20 or more hours a week of nonparental care in their first year of life what I call early and extensive nonparental care, and here comes the critical phrase, of the kind that was routinely available to families in the United States today seemed to be at elevated risk. They were more likely to look insecure in their relationships to their mothers, in particular at the end of their first year of life."
Unfortunately most parents are unaware of this growing research. So is the average citizen who will no doubt be convinced by "experts" that we need a nationally-subsidized system of institutional care. Marjorie Boyd, writing in The Washington Monthly, found that "Practically everyone is for day care, but practically all the evidence says it's bad for preschoolers in all but its most costly forms. Most people do not know that psychologists and psychiatrists have grave misgivings about the concept because of its potential effect on personality; nor do they know that the officials of countries that have had considerable experience with day care are now warning of its harmful effects on children."
The concerns can be categorized under three areas: bonding, personality development, and substitute care. Bonding takes place in the hours and days following birth, usually between the mother and the child. Bonding demands consistency, and day care interrupts that consistency especially when there is not one person providing the primary care for the child. Children placed in a day care center too early are deprived of a primary care giver and will manifest psychological problems.
Personality development is another concern. Most children will get off to a better start in life if they spend the majority of their waking hours during the first three years being cared for by their parents and other family members rather than in any form of substitute care.
A final concern is the negative effect of substitute care on a child. Jean Piaget has shown that children are not capable of reflective thinking at young ages. For example, they do not have a concept of object permanence. If you hide a ball, the infant will stop searching for it because it has ceased to exist in the child's mind. In the same way, when mom leaves the day care center, she has ceased to exist in the mind of the child. The mother may reflect on her child all day while at work, but the child has erased her from his or her mind.
These then are just a few of the psychological concerns knowlegeable people have about institutionalized day care. Before we begin to fund national day care, we should stop long enough to discuss the impact such institutionalized care would have on our children and the nation.
Additional Psychological Costs
Another concern is what Dettrick Bonfenbrunner calls "social contagion." Poorly supervised day care creates an atmosphere that socializes the children in a negative manner. For example, Bryna Siegel (psychologist at Stanford University) reported in her nine- year study that day care children were "15 times more aggressive... a tendency toward more physical and verbal attacks on other children." By that she did not merely mean that the children were more assertive, but that they were more aggressive.
J. C. Schwartz and his colleagues have shown that children who entered day care before they were twelve months old are more physically and verbally abusive when they are older. They found this abuse was aimed at adults, and also found these children were less cooperative with grownups and less tolerant of frustration than children cared for by their mothers.
Christians should not be surprised by these findings given our biblical understanding of human sinfulness. Each child is born a sinner. When day care workers put a bunch of "little sinners" together in a room without adequate supervision, sin nature will most likely manifest itself in the environment.
Proponents of socialized day care begin with a flawed premise. They assume that human beings are basically good. These liberal, social experiments with day care begin with the tacit assumption that a child is a "noble savage" that needs to be nurtured and encouraged. Social thinkers ranging from Jean Jacques Rousseau to Abraham Maslow begin with the assumption about human goodness and thus have little concern with the idea of children being reared in an institutional environment.
Christians on the other hand believe that the family is God's primary instrument for social instruction. Children must not only be nurtured but they must also be disciplined. Children are to be reared by parents in the context of the family, not in institutionalized day care.
Over the last three decades, America has been engaged in a social experiment with day care. As more and more children are put into institutionalized care, we are reaping the consequences.
Emotionally scarred children who have been "warehoused" in sub- standard facilities are more likely to drop out of school, be arrested, and end up on welfare rolls. The cost to society in terms of truancy, delinquency, and crime will be significant.
E. F. Ziglar (Yale University) has said that "When parents pick a day care center, they are essentially picking what their child will become." This is not only true for the individual child; it is true for society. As a nation we have been choosing the children we will have in the future by promoting day care, and the future does not look good.
Financial and Medical Costs
Finally, I would like to look at the financial and medical costs of day care. The financial costs can be significant. Many women who place their children into institutional care fail to estimate the additional (often hidden) costs of their choice. Quality day care is not cheap nor are many of the other costs associated with going to work.
Sara Levitan and Karen Cleary Alderman state in their book, Child Care and the ABCs Too that "The cost of preschooler's day care services added to work expenses can easily absorb the total earnings of some women working part time." They continue,
Disregarding the cost of transportation and other work- connected expenses or the imputed cost of performing household tasks in addition to work (overtime duty), it is apparent that the daily salary of at least half of working women did not provide the cost of a single child's day care meeting federal standards.
By contrast, the value of a mother is vastly underestimated. Financial analyst Sylvia Porter states that the twenty-five million full-time homemakers contribute billions to the economy each year, even though their labor is not counted in the gross national product. She calculates that the average mother contributes nearly $30,000 a year in labor and services. She arrived at this figure by calculating an hourly fee for such functions as: nurse-maid, housekeeper, cook, dishwasher, laundress, food buyer, chauffeur, gardener, maintenance person, seamstress, dietician, and practical nurse.
Health costs are also considerable. Young children are still in the process of developing their immunity to certain diseases, and are more likely to get sick when exposed to other children on a daily basis. While some ailments are slight, others can be very serious. For example, infectious diseases (especially those involving the middle ear and hearing ability) are three to four times as prevalent in group care as compared to home care.
Dr. Ron Haskins and Dr. Jonathan Kotch have identified day care attendance as the most significant factor associated with the increased incidence of bacterial meningitis. Likewise, cytomegalovirus (the leading cause of congenital infections in newborns) has also been linked to day care centers. These and other correlations should not be surprising given the intimate contact with so many unrelated children in an environment of playing, sleeping, eating, and using toilet facilities.
As we have seen in this discussion, the costs of day care are high. As Christians we must begin with the biblical foundation found in Psalm 127 that children are "a gift of God." God has entrusted us with our children for a period of time. We cannot and should not shirk our responsibility or pass that responsibility on to others.
At the moment, this nation seems poised to implement a comprehensive, national program of day care. Before we develop national programs that may harm our children, we need to count the costs and make an informed decision.
© 1996 Probe Ministries