As Inkwell readers know, we’ve been following the controversy triggered by the now-infamous New York Times article on well-educated women who decide to scale back their careers to spend more time with their children (scroll down).
F. Carolyn Graglia, lawyer, author and one-time stay-at-home mother, explores some of the same themes in a review of Mary Eberstadt’s book “Home Alone America,” about the toll growing up without a mother around takes on children. Emphasizing that Eberstadt says repeatedly there should be no guilt for mothers who must work, Graglia comments on the notion that mothers must work outside the house:
“This social experiment is, of course, the mother-child separation required by the feminist notion that a woman’s personal fulfillment requires her energetic participation in the workplace. Eberstadt calls defenders of this conceit ‘separationists’: those who believe that women’s freedom to work in the paid marketplace justifies separation from their children, and who refuse to consider whether the children and adolescents left behind by the adult exodus have suffered. She challenges a society, which only seems concerned with making it easier and cheaper for women to ‘combine work and family,’ to consider how small children actually experience being in daycare all day. She makes the very sensible point that the daycare debate is never about what it feels like for the infant and children in day care, but always about what the outcomes are in terms of personality development and cognitive ability. ‘The daycare proof,’ separationists believe, ‘is in the achievement pudding.’ Separationists, however, are often not around children, who, in their lives, have been made ‘someone else’s problem.'”