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I want to work but what do I do with the children?
Every day there are more women who work outside the home and, therefore, there are more children who become "children of mothers who work. The controversy over whether mothers who have babies should or should not do or, extends from Stockholm to Buenos Aires, from Paris to Chicago.
Most of the discussions around the problem start from the simple fact that many women are already working because they have to work to live or to help their family. Let's start by analyzing the problem starting with children, from the moment of their birth, considering what their needs are and how we can satisfy them. With this we will be closer to solving this problem, because if we stick to the statistics, we will see that they show that the children of working mothers are, for the most part, healthier than those of mothers who stay at home and that they progress in their studies the same as those who have their mothers all day. But this is not what we will refer to here.
A baby needs continuous care. All the studies that have been done on this indicate that a very frequent change of the people who care for him has a negative effect on him emotionally. When a woman works all day outside, it is extremely difficult for her to provide this continuity. A young child needs someone to be genuinely interested in him, to give him hours of attention, responding to his games and initiating others, talking to him, noticing his changes of expression, reinforcing the activities he has learned and encouraging him to have confidence in himself . Babies who are raised in institutions, although they receive good physical care, often do not develop well and can even get sick and die.
Mothers, by simple definition, but more often because they want to, are happy watching and playing with their babies, and even with the children of others. Parents, in general, although they enjoy other children, prefer their own.
This ability to provide continuous care for a young child, which we usually associate with the mother, is essential in the educational system that characterizes our society. What the mother does in the years before school is essential to the success of what the teacher will do afterward. When there is a very large discrepancy between what the mother did at home and what the teacher is able to continue at school, teaching does not work properly.
A baby, who is given continuous and satisfactory care day after day, during that sensitive period between eight months and two years, develops a feeling of confidence in himself and in others, which will help him later to adapt and overcome changes in people and places. This continuity means that a single person is with him part of the time day after day, bathing him, tucking him in bed and, above all, giving him food. Without this continuity, it has been found that, without this continuity, children's ability to trust the world, leave home temporarily content (that is, without crying), and develop stable relationships with other people later in life is greatly diminished.
So, the basic question that arises is how to ensure that the babies of mothers who work outside the home receive the care they need, either because the mother stays that time with the child or by looking for a person to do so, either a grandmother, a neighbor, a sister or her own father, if her schedule allows it. Governs and other intelligent or trustworthy people, with the right personalities that require the constant care a child needs, are very difficult to find today. And there is no state institution that can afford to pay the kind of people with the required training.
The experience with the "kibbutz" of Israel (a kind of communes), which has been widely studied and commented on by Dr. Bruno Betelheim in his work "Los
Children of a Dream ", has shown that the person who is in charge of many children, and who therefore has to divide his time among many babies of the same age, is not loved by them and ends up being rejected. The mother, whose Taking care of your baby is limited to breastfeeding the first few weeks and then visiting it two or three times a day in the place where it is cared for, it also fails, as it does not provide a stable point of reference. Children raised in the "kibbutz "They support each other and seek each other the affection that they would normally have obtained from adults and, as they grow up, they tend to maintain those ties, to depend on their group and to remain locked in the 'kibbutz way' all their lives.
On the other hand, in our economy, it would be nearly impossible to employ truly competent and trained workers to care for infants and toddlers on a running eight-hour shift. But even if the nurseries we need existed, and mothers who work out of necessity could afford them, they would never have enough staff for the baby to receive that sense of continuity that he needs, being in this Play for up to maybe ten hours a day.
Meanwhile, every day pressures are increasing for women to work, even with very young children. Mothers with one, two, three or more children are desperately trying to solve their financial problems, and the only way to do it is by working. Those who really need to do so are joined by the women of the so-called middle class, who are pressured to work in the name of self-realization (they must overcome themselves), although in truth it is a disguised way of forcing them, because in this way they help society, and that they are women with an education.
On the other hand, the need to abolish large families and this must be done if we are to join the rest of the world in the effort to control the disastrous increase in population is resulting in hostile environment towards children. Facing these changes, what hope do we have of establishing a massive interest that allows, in some way, that the woman who is forced to work has a place where her children have continuous care? Perhaps in ten years time a consensus will be reached so that everyone realizes that the attention given to each child is of great value to society.
But first, what other roads open before our eyes? When I speak of open roads, I mean those that social networks, information media and professional agencies open, due to the great influence they have on public opinion. So they can support laws that implement changes in work habits and create new kinds of life.
Another simple step would be to return to natural nutrition, in which the mother breastfeeds her child, a system that has become popular again among the most intelligent women. Breastfeeding had been gradually eliminated as the bottle system was adopted.
Mothers have been made to see the advantage of breastfeeding her child, due to the psychological bond that it establishes between them. But this has another advantage for the working mother.
If accepted as necessary by the government and employers, arrangements would be made for the child to be close to her mother for the first six months of her life.
Industries can create daycare centers or establish staggered hours, as has been done in many countries.
But this only remedies the baby's needs during the period when his ability to trust others is developing. They have another need that is related to development or nabla and motor skills: that there is a person with whom the baby can establish reciprocal communication every day, that recognizes when he has mastered a new skill, that stimulates his progress or worry about the lack of it. It is this individual attention from a person, mother, father, grandfather, governess, etc., that differentiates the development of children who reach full capacity from those who do not. It is this attention that allows them to better use their natural intelligence to master new situations.
In the large families of old, and in a neighborhood where everyone knew each other, there was a realization of the need for each baby to have a person who understood their first babbling and attempts to speak, their personal language and her wishes. But among the changes that have occurred with modernization is that of the family, now of the "nuclear" type, which has replaced the great family of yesteryear.
The child must be under the constant care of the person who is raising him. We have the car, the playpen, the milk bottle, which is now plastic (which means that the child can be left alone with one thing instead of the person having to be vigilant against the danger posed by a broken glass). When the child is weaned, and in a way separated from her mother, she also withdraws from him in many other ways. Paradoxically, this makes it easier to leave the child with another person, but also for the other person to reject him, leaving him for hours in her crib or playing alone.
We should encourage the kind of home and the kind of social behavior that keeps grandparents close. Give more importance to the stability provided by a neighborhood and known neighbors, and do not look for a cheaper place or closer to where you work. A stable residence means a familiar neighborhood and a friendly exchange for babysitting between everyone. Perhaps you have to come up with a kind of cross between the typical nursery school and the mother of the whole block. That is, a house where a baby can be left in an emergency and where phone messages can be received (If a boy suddenly falls ill at school) and even where a hungry little one can order a jelly snack and stay a while when he leaves school.
All of these things were once handled by the extra aunt in almost every family. In our time, these same tasks can be carried out by women in the neighborhood, including those in the suburbs, where there are practically no services to take care of children.
All these suggestions are aimed at establishing more auxiliary and family contacts for the working mother and her children. The combination of nursery school and groups in which both working and non-working women share and share all childcare tasks is an emerging lifestyle. With enough people around, working at different hours and taking care of different tasks, some single, others retired, it is possible to establish a flexible regime, within which the youngest children can maintain that continuity with their mothers, grow and, consequently, mature .