Guest Blog by Anne R. Pierce
Author of Ships without a Shore: America's Undernurtured Children
Last Sunday The Washington Post ran a wrenching story by Gene Weingarten about parents who forget their sleeping baby or toddler is still in the car seat, park the car, and leave the baby in a locked, hot or cold car all day to die. READ POST
I was asked by a parent recently, "Why do you talk about public policy? Aren't you a child psychologist?"
I talk about public policy because as a psychologist I know how much babies and kids need their parents, and because as a mother I know how challenging it is for parents nowadays to live balanced lives and be there for their kids.
Parents need to know that their intuition about how hard this is is correct, that we are trying to do what most previous generations have done only in the context of not only an extended family, but usually a whole village.
And because if parents, who understand better than anyone, do not advocate social policies that support families in raising healthy children, then we cannot expect those policies to ever be adopted. This is not a hopeless situation. There are answers, better ways of living and raising our children. Together, we can advocate for public policies that allow all childrens' basic needs to be met. READ POST
Most senior citizens say they wished they had spent more time with their children, and that the years of child-raising, in retrospect, passed in the blink of any eye. Most fathers, and even more mothers, say that they want to spend more time with their children, especially in those tricky afterschool hours when kids could use supervision on their homework. READ POST
Let's be honest about babies and toddlers. They need us.
Developmentally, they need the concentrated loving attention of a
permanent attachment figure who adores them. (Which by definition
excludes paid caregivers.)
Women in our culture are given a terrible, unfair choice: either meet our children’s needs or meet our own. Excuse me, but why aren’t men faced with this choice? READ POST
Ever wonder what that decision to get pregnant will cost you financially?
“Social-science research is often equivocal, but on the cost of parenthood to mothers in particular a truckload of research exists to establish how it limits economic options in every class. Mothers work less, earn less, and achieve less in the marketplace than fathers and than childless women.
Child-rearing takes up enormous amounts of time—especially mothers' time. Taking into account child care, housework, and paid work, mothers work more hours than any other group. Even when both parents hold paid jobs, the mother usually takes primary responsibility for arranging child care, caring for the children during non-work hours and taking time off when children are sick or day-care arrangements fall through.
Mothers also shoulder the greater burden among single-parent families. More than 80 percent of single- parent households are headed by mothers, and more than two thirds of children of divorced parents live primarily with their mothers.
When mothers do remain in the work force, they earn less than other women. This gap persists even after controlling for age, education, work experience, and other attributes. Over a lifetime, mothers earn about five percent less per child than they would have earned otherwise.
Mothers' economic disadvantage during their working years has repercussions into old age. Job interruptions and lower lifetime earnings reduce their private pensions and their Social Security benefits.
Although this situation reflects continuing gender discrimination, the economics of parenthood are not simply a byproduct of gender inequality. The fundamental problem is that child-rearing requires an irreducible minimum amount of work. Whatever the division of labor between mothers and fathers, continuity demands intensive time and energy from someone."
Wow! This incisive analysis is from: What We Owe to Parents by Anne Alstott, Yale Law School. Well worth reading. READ POST