There are mothers who have to work outside the home and they need our support. Unfortunately, work is one of the main reasons that mothers wean their babies. It is frequently too inconvenient to pump and store their milk while working. If determined, however, these working mothers can exclusively breastfeed and keep up the nursing when home.
And the opposite can occur: some mothers get support to stay near their baby but aren’t interested. I know one husband who arranged for his wife to work where daycare was provided just down the hall, but she was not interested in that arrangement. The husband said his children’s biggest and only complaint about their mother was that they hated daycare during their younger years.
Other mothers who do not really have to work are pressured to go to work by their husbands, relatives, or society, and some government programs encourage mothers not to work through entitlements. The government pays them not to work. As was reported in our newspaper recently, one husband said his wife is not looking for a job because she gets $400 a week from the government for not working.
Another mother was quoted as saying that she works because she would be bored if she stayed home with her kids all day. That quote says something about our society and educational system and the value we placed on raising our own children. At high school career day, students would be lucky to find a session on mothering or on fathering on such days. Parenting sessions usually don’t happen.
I believe that any form of substitute care is never as good as a caring mother in a normal family situation. We know many homeschool mothers do well keeping their children at home. There was pressure in the Sixties to use pre-school. One mother once was so impressed with our 4 or 5 year old that she asked me what preschool I used. I told her “none”—just home. The answer took her by surprise. I remember one Protestant friend who was fighting her church’s new offering of daycare for working mothers on the church grounds. Why? It implied that working mothers were approved by her church, and that she feared more mothers with young ones would start to work because of it.
For those mothers needing support to stay home or arrange work so they can be with their baby or little one, read my booklet The Crucial First Three Years and the blogs on “mother and baby as one.” (After clicking, scroll down pass this article.)
Lucky the baby who breastfeeds for at least the first year of life or longer and who has a mother and a father who cares for him during those important early years.