There are days that I am ashamed to be a parent. Reading News.com.au this morning – not something I would normally do except someone sent me an interesting link – and I came across the article:
As a mother who did have her children in Daycare from a VERY young age – the headline, of course, caught my attention. I was disgusted by what I read and the first comment on the article really made my blood boil.
For those who know me…. I am an extremely passionate person and believe in standing up for injustice when I see it. When I read this article – I felt is spoke directly to me and I felt it necessary to respond.
62 year old Mem Fox, is the author of Possum Magic (an Australian childrens book). According the article, Mem Fox drew howls of protest after comparing child care to child abuse early last month and in her first major interview since, Fox stated that babies less than 12-months-old who are placed in prolonged day care will suffer brain damage.
Fox is quoted:
“Putting babies as young as two-weeks-old into child care for the first year of their life, for 60 hours a week, will cause their brains damage,”
“For me, the corollary is buying a puppy, putting it in kennels for the whole of the week and playing with it at the weekends.”
“I couldn’t do it to a dog, so I certainly couldn’t do it to a child.”
Fox was careful to deny that she specifically labelled child care as child abuse. According to the article, she claimed she had been quoting a child care centre owner, who expressed the analogy to her. Yet Fox stands by other remarks and contention that babies would not “want” the sort of parents who placed them in care at six weeks of age.
Firstly – on what basis is Fox making these statements? Apparently she is ‘quoting a child care owner who expressed the analogy’ – REALLY?
Secondly – both my children were in daycare from 4 months and 2 months old. Not something that I was overly pleased with, but we had no option unless we wanted to find ourselves hungry and destitute. Do my children want me as a parent? Given I have a 14 year old son who SEEKS OUT my companionship and a 12 year old daughter who asks to go out with me – I think so.
Of course, I could have been the type of stay at home Mum who completely ignored my kids and let them run rampant down the streets. I would have been a better Parent, my children would want me as a Parent and my kids wouldn’t have brain damage….
The comment left on the article is possibly one of the most insulting things I have seen. The commentor suggests that parents should consider living in a cheaper area, so the financial burden is lessened and that Mums can stay at home – WHERE THEY BELONG!
Women belong in the home??? Last time I looked, this was 2008, not 1808 or even 1908. As a woman who loves her children without reservation, I would have gone mad if I was at home with the kids all day. Maybe my home business would have started earlier – goodness knows I needed the challenges that business provides.
The implication that parents should move to a cheaper location is nearly laughable. We had purchased in one of the least expensive areas in our city 4 years earlier – housing interest rates had peaked at 18% approximately 4 months after we had purchased and the real estate market had been stunted for that 4 year period. Around the time the kids were born, there was a number of layoffs and, in fact, just as I started my (unpaid) maternity leave with my daughter – the company I worked for had laid off half of the staff in our office. No matter what – there was very little option for us. Selling our house and moving somewhere cheaper wasn’t going to happen. Rental prices were rising and no one was buying real estate. Selling our house would have meant we were in a lot more debt with no assets.
Back to the original discussion – Childcare causes Brain Damage. Interesting…. my children are in the top percentiles for their year groups – which include children who had a stay at home parent; My children read at a very early age and have a great love of books; My children challenge our thinking – I don’t think they’re brain damaged.
Is this Iconic Australian so desperate for publicity she has to alienate a large percentage of the hard working population? Fine, she has an opinion and obviously believes that the kids should be kept home – good on her for having the strength of her convictions but…. I can’t go on…..
What do you think? Have you had your kids in daycare from a young age – are they brain damaged? Do they WANT you for parents?