Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Most Important Job

I know she's apologized, but Hilary Rosen's statement about Ann Romney never having worked a day in her life is something I need to comment on.

We have 6 children, including our youngest 2 who were adopted from Ukraine. I've lived with the results of children being raised without parents.  An orphanage is an extreme setting.
No parents ever.
At all.
But are we in the US much better?


Children are being raised in situations similar to orphanages in America.  We call it daycare.

Before you start throwing tomatoes, hear me out. I know that sometimes moms have to go to work.  Believe me!  I'm a single mom.  I am working.  But I was not single when my children were younger, and my husband was able to provide for us financially, so I had the blessing of staying home and WORKING WITH MY CHILDREN. And it was work!  I know full well that not everyone can do this.  Sometimes Moms and Dads both have to bring home paychecks so the children can eat, wear clothes, and sleep in warm beds.  When this is the case, this is the right things to do.

Imagine with me for a minute how much stronger this country and world would be if Moms chose to spend more time with their children.  How much less would bullying hurt if the child was secure in his home life? How much less skin would be showing on teen (and younger) girls' bodies if Mom and dad were there more? How much lower would our crime rates be? I'm not saying having Mom home will fix all of these problems.  But I am saying having Mom gone too much contributes to them.

Far too often, parents drop the kids at daycare and head out to the easier world of paychecks, accolades, and respect, while leaving the more important (but less fun) job of raising their children to rotating daycare workers paid minimum wage.

Let me share a few things I've learned from raising my adopted children who suffer from Reactive Attachment Disorder and other psychological problems resulting from their time without parents.

In the first 3 months of life, while babies seem to be unaware of the world, they are learning what it means to be human.
--They hear human voices, associate them with human contact and interactions and grow connections in their brains that allow them to understand language and human interactions. These are the first inklings of the ability to love.
--People mimic baby's facial expressions and baby learns that a sad facial expression goes with that sad feeling she has.  A happy face goes with that happy feeling.  Later, when she sees these expressions on others, the corresponding feelings are triggered. These are the roots of empathy.
--Even the rocking motion in Mom's arms stimulates vestibular nerves needed for language development.  (Did you know rocking helps babies learn to talk and eventually get higher SAT verbal scores?  I didn't either- until I was raising a child who wasn't rocked.)

By three months old, a child who has not experienced enough of these necessary human interactions can develop Reactive Attachment Disorder.  This is not small.  (understatement)  Not reversible.  (under normal circumstances) And not something any child should ever have to experience.

"But"- I can hear you saying- "daycare isn't an orphanage!"  You're right.  It's only a little like an orphanage.  Like chewing on a crib painted with lead-based paint only gives your child a little dose of lead.  It probably won't lead to full-blown attachment disorder.  But it often leads to insecure attachments.

Children-- especially very young children-- need one consistent care-giver they can bond with.  Without this, they pass the window of opportunity for growing connections in their brain to form loving relationships.

But what about older children?  Does it make a difference if Mom is there when they get up from their naps? Come home from school? Get ready for their date? Come home from college?

Yes! We know this.  We all remember times when we wished our parents had been there for us. Quality time is hard to get without a good quantity of time to work with.  Too often we look down on the women who chose to give up money and power to bring healthy, well-adjusted people into adulthood.

So, if Mom doesn't have to be gone regularly, I firmly believe she should be doing the hardest and most important job on earth.  Raising people.  And let's face it, Ann Romney did not need to be working to support her family financially.  She took the road less traveled (these days) and much less respected, to do the job that has the best chance of saving this world.  She raised people.

Domestic Engineers are needed all over this world!  Please express appreciation for women (and men) doing the most important jobs that will ever be done.

2 comments:

Cindy Watson said...

One of my biggest struggles with going back to work after so many years is the perception that work is where important things happen, social, etc. And home stuff is devalued. I am driven crazy by this attitude when I need to be "at the office" so that I'm "available" but there is nothing for me to do or I can finish the work in an hour and have to be there all day. DON'T THIS PEOPLE REALIZE I COULD BE DOING STUFF WITH MY KIDS RIGHT NOW?!?! No they don't the concept anyone would want to spend the majority of time with their kids is foreign.

Barbara said...

Well said Rebecca!
Cindy, yes, so hard for you all. It is sad that the world doesn't realize that teens can need their mom as much as 2 year olds. And I hope that work will settle down and they realize that you can be available from home as quickly as you can be available from the office.
(((hugs))) to all