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Bulletins Bulletin : Published and Discussed
Date: Wednesday, May 14, 2003
From: cluster11
Subject:
Motherhood and Career: is there really a conflict?
Description:


This is an extension of the "Motherhood and freedom" thread that I responded to earlier. I used the title "Motherhood and Career: is there really a conflict?" because of several reasons. First, the word "freedom" and "motherhood" are unrelated. Saying them together may imply that motherhood is an obstruction to freedom which I strongly disagree with. Second, I am not convinced that a mother is the one and only best caretaker of a child. I know dads who do a better job than moms in taking care of the child including infants. And no these are not stay-at-home dads, but ppl who work full-time. So now that I clarified the title of this post lets move on to the discussion.

I've seen a point frequently raised against career women who are mothers that they can never match the amount of time given to the kids by at-home mother. But I am not sure just being around child for a long time necessarily means the kid is better taken care of. If that was true, kids brought up by stay-at-home mothers would be better educated or smarter or more compassionate than kids spending a significant time of the day with nanny's or at day-care or at pre-schools. There is NO substantial evidence that any of the parameters I mentioned is better in a kid whose mother stay-at-home or that its even a factor in a kid's mental/physical development. If someone has any evidence to the contrary please bring it upfront (Aand please dont point to some academic studies done just for the purpose of academics. REAL research is subtantiated by government or public actions so show a study that has resulted in follow-up actions to implement its recommendation.)

Now we can discuss at length on what constitutes the proper methods of raising a kid but I feel its better to discuss that in a seperate posting as such discussions will possibly include a broad range of topics like cultural values, social norms, expectations etc. My point above in the current context is to show that length of time is hardly a benchmark for judging how caring a mother is as long as the daily needs of the child are cared for.

There are several variations on how a career woman deals with child development and hundreds of millions of successful exmaples worldwide. I know personally an extra-ordinary woman who and her two sisters were brought up in a male-dominated biased and hypocritic society (not unlike the one I knew back home) by their career-oriented mother single-handedly. Her father died when she was barely 6, and her mother was stripped of her social status and her financial possessions for refusing to fit the mold of "stay-at-home" caring wife to a new husband her relatives would pick. Instead she worked hard all her life and put her 3 girls through schools, caring for them, providing them with the best educaiton she could afford. All of them today are well established in USA, all very successful career women and proud mothers. And when they go back home those same sharks that they call "relatives" now treat them like princess. This example is of course in a Desi context. I see no point in giving an example from here in U.S. or Europe where "stay-at-home" moms are in the minority.

But let me be clear also on the definition of "stay-at-home" moms. A woman taking a long-term leave due to pregnancy or need of urgent care for her child (maybe even upto 2/3 years) is not what I mean as "stay-at-home". Someone giving up the career completely (like not doing a job again or never had a job) would more fit that description.

From practical experience I have noticed career moms as more educated and their kids more well-mannered than those moms who spend the day with their kids, cooking desi meals and gossiping on the phone or watching Z tv. I am referring to ONLY a section of stay-at-home Moms that I know very well in U.S. (and try to avoid in the social circle whenever possible). So please dont take it as a broad generalization of all the stay-at-home moms. I have nothing against someone deciding to stay home and raise their kids. What I am definitely against is undermining women who work hard no less then men and do an equally good job at parenting.

Just my 2 cents on the topic.

ClusterOne



People Discussion
haha
(Wednesday, May 14, 2003)

Early Childhood Development (ECD) is probably the most important phenomenon in the field of childcare in recent times. Scientists have proved that the early years of a child (0-5 years) is critical for future development and governments in many countries along with organizations like UNICEF have taken initiatives to promote and implement the concept of ECD. In Bangladesh, UNICEF was working on a campaign to educate parents, grandparents, elder siblings, teachers as well as the community at large about ECD in 2001 – I don’t know whether the campaign was actually launched or what happened later as I left Bangladesh. In developed countries, the focus is more on child caregivers as opposed to parents because most working parents traditionally don’t take care of their babies (e.g., Canada has ECD educators in preschools).

haha
(Wednesday, May 14, 2003)

I agree that it’s the quality of time spent with children that matters as opposed to the quantity of time but is that relevant to children aged 0-5 years? They need constant care anyway and given the paradigm shift in childcare due to ECD, they need it now more than ever – the quality/quantity aspect comes into play if we talk about teenagers. I won’t go into the debate whether child caregivers can replace parents effectively as I have said before, there is no single solution that will work for everyone and happiness can be achieved in many different ways. The important thing, however, is to put the child’s well-being first before anything else.

cluster11
(Wednesday, May 14, 2003)

Lets expand on this quote: ".. but is that relevant to children aged 0-5 years? "
I wonder if the author has been involved with raising kids. A child learns very fast once he/she is past 1 year and some of the MOST critical phase of the development happens before they go to pre-school (3-4 yrs.). Once they are in a school environment the quality of parental control is still important but as not critical as the early phase when they learn to talk, walk and understand the world around them. (Continued..)

ClusterOne


cluster11
(Wednesday, May 14, 2003)

It is a fact that there are many bad parents who spend less time with kids and more time at work. There are also numerous examples of bad parents who spends a lot of time at home. In developed countries the strong issue of taking better care of kids is well publicized because the majority are working parents. That doesn't make at-home moms in other society/culture better parents. I agree individual cases need unique approach with the well-being of the child as priority. But that doesn't mean someone's career has to be excluded and I am against generalization of motherhood and career as conflicting entities. Labeling a career woman as unfit mother is just plain wrong.

ClusterOne


haha
(Wednesday, May 14, 2003)

“A child learns very fast once he/she is past 1 year and some of the MOST critical phase of the development happens before they go to pre-school (3-4 yrs.). Once they are in a school environment the quality of parental control is still important but as not critical as the early phase when they learn to talk, walk and understand the world around them.” Which is why the quality/quantity aspect is not relevant to children aged 0-5 years and that’s what I said :-).

“I am against generalization of motherhood and career as conflicting entities” – I agree and I have already stated that in different terms :-)!




KonkaBoti
(Wednesday, May 14, 2003)

a childs learning startes from mother's womb. And thus any social, pschychological and physical experience the mother to be have has great significance in a child's learning ability, and well being. Some study even showed how important this is to develop a childs life long personaly

KonkaBoti
(Wednesday, May 14, 2003)

I guess I have had enough writing for a day!! I have used my over working brain ( which is working hard for the great "nesting instinct" at the moment) to it's full ability today!:)

Hope to respond your write up latter cluster. Thank you very much for participating.


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