Don’t talk about daycare “because parents suffer enough guilt already.”

An article from the summer 2012 Salvo.


Daycare Denial
Inconvenient Truths About Childcare Subvert the Very Best Intentions
by Marcia Segelstein

It wasn’t that long ago that there were frequent (and frequently annoying) discussions about the “mommy wars” in mainstream media outlets. It made for good copy, but even the phrase diminished the real issue to a kind of cartoon, a metaphorical mud-wrestling match between briefcase-toting, business-suited career women and apron-clad, breastfeeding, stay-at-home moms. The real question, which for a variety of reasons wasn’t seriously addressed, was whether it is better for mothers to stay home and raise their own children or put them in the care of hired help. And for most women, hired help meant daycare.

There isn’t much talk about the “mommy wars” any more, or whether daycare is good or bad for children. That’s because, despite study after study to the contrary, daycare has simply been accepted as acceptable. Which takes us back to why daycare wasn’t reported on deliberately and fairly in the first place.

Off-Limits Topic

When I was a producer for CBS This Morning, covering family issues, we sometimes partnered with Parents magazine. So one day I had lunch with the then-editor to talk about possible future projects. I suggested working together on a series about daycare. Before the word was barely out of my mouth, she stopped me by saying that Parents magazine chose not to cover daycare “because parents suffer enough guilt already.”

It took a while for the full implications of that statement to sink in. Parents magazine put parents’ potential guilt above children’s potential welfare. And of course there was the not small matter of selling magazines.

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