Suzanne Venker, a fulltime mother and former school teacher, has written a useful book called 7 Myths of Working Mothers: Why Children and (Most) Careers Just Don't Mix. She points out that every year, we see hundreds of articles and books selling the line about how today's mother can "have it all" -- a fulltime, high-powered career and an involved, loving relationship with her children. How does the modern working mother do it? "The answer, of course," writes Mrs. Venker, "is that she doesn't. She pays someone else to do the work of motherhood so she can pursue her career. She can't, after all, be in two places at one time."
Mrs. Venker dares to violate some of society's biggest taboos. She criticizes employed mothers, and asserts that daycare and nannies just cannot provide children with a mother's love and care. "The number of hours that parents spend with their children absolutely, unequivocally, matters." She cites scientific research and her wide reading to support her assertion that the rise of substitute child care has a lot to do with the declining well-being of America's children.
The seven myths that Mrs. Venker discusses are powerful cultural stories, such as the myth that only the very rich can afford for one parent to stay home. These myths influence the decisions that parents make, and Mrs. Venker believes that those who think there will be no negative effects when they work 50 or 60 hours a week while their children are young have been sold a bill of goods.
She also shows that lots more women are fulltime mothers than you would ever guess from the endless media attention given to daycare, finding a nanny, government preschool. Only one-fourth of children under age five are cared for fulltime by someone outside their own families.
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