My various blog networks were abuzz this week about the news of a recent study showing children who go to daycare are more likely to have behavioral problems in grade school.
As soon as I read it, I could hear the collective wail from working moms everywhere. Indeed, a couple of the ones whose journals I follow on a regular basis were downright depressed. I even felt like crap. “That’s just great,” I thought. “I really don’t have a whole lot of choice about putting my daughter in daycare, at least a few days a week. I guess we could NOT EAT for a couple of nights if it means she’ll behave better in sixth grade.”
What I wanted to say, however, was “Shut up!”
Seriously. Whenever one of these studies comes out calling into question “Are daycares safe?” or “Does childcare screw up your kid?”, I want to tell both the researchers and the journalists to can it. You’re not helping. Especially not with a story like this, which follows an alarming headline with a bunch of wishy washy garbage about how more study is needed, and it’s probably not that big a deal, blah blah blah…
I mean, I can understand if you’ve uncovered irrefutable evidence that 80 percent of kids in daycare grow up to be axe murderers or raving lunatics. That’s something we probably should know about.
But even then, what are we supposed to do? I’m being facetious when I say we couldn’t eat if I didn’t work. We would eat, but we would be hurting. There are women, however, who truly could not afford basic necessities if they didn’t have a job.
Even for those of us who aren’t in dire straits, it’s easy to feel like we have little real choice when the mortgage is due, the car needs repair, and it’s time to buy a season’s worth of new clothes for a kid who outgrows things before the store tags are off. We put our children in daycare because we need to. We do our best to find quality care, but many of us still feel conflicted about it. And when somebody does a study like this, it makes us feel more guilty. And helpless. And we don’t need it, thanks.
So, all you researchers, I’m sure the work you do is valuable. And journalists, I know you’re just doing your job writing about the latest health buzz. But I don’t have to like it. On behalf of the other working moms who got heartburn after reading this latest story, I’d just like to say, “SHUT UP!!”
Want more encouraging news about kids who go to daycare?
We’ve written lots of great posts about children in daycare and childcare situations—from a much more positive, inspiring perspective. Here are some of our favorites: