Daycare and Preschool

by Dr. George Wootan, M.D.
Author of Take Charge of Your Child’s Health


The "award winning" Windsor Stackable Cribs for Daycare


Many people feel that daycare centers are beneficial to a child’s development and a few early studies did show that children in daycare were more independent and made friends as easily as young children than those who spent their days at home with a parent. (1, 2) More recent studies, however, have reached disturbing conclusions. Pennsylvania State University psychologist, Jay Belsky, has expressed concern over the mounting evidence that babies in daycare are more likely to develop insecure attachments to their mothers and are at an increased risk of emotional and behavioral problems later on. (3, 4, 5)

Other studies of children who have been cared for by someone other than a parent have shown “more serious aggression, less cooperation, less tolerance of frustration, more misbehavior, and, at times, social withdrawal," as well as lower cognitive functioning later in childhood. (6, 7, 8, 9)

This doesn’t surprise me. Even the best nonparental child care arrangement asks that a child deal with considerable anxiety and stress. I believe that childhood should be a carefree time that builds a child’s sense of security and trust, not a time for learning to cope with difficult situations.

Aside from the possible detrimental effects of daycare on a child’s emotional wellbeing, there are serious disadvantages from a standpoint of physical health. Children who are in daycare tend to contract infectious disease more often, and at younger ages, than children who spend most of their time at home. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), children in daycare centers are more likely to get both minor and major illnesses, including influenza, giardiasis, dysentery, hepatitis A, ear and cytomegalovirus infections. (10, 11, 12, 13, 14)

The problem of infection is so great that the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) considered passing a resolution recommending all children in daycare centers be kept on an antibiotic at all times -- a prospect I find alarming. The antibiotic under consideration, Rifampin, is highly toxic, but the association feels that the high incidence of hemophilus influenza in daycare centers may warrant its use.

Nursery schools are not much better, but for different reasons. Many preschool programs are intended to advance early learning. While there is no question that you can teach young children, and even infants, phenomenal amounts of information, there is no benefit from pushing a child in this way. No system of early education shows detectable results beyond the third grade. Whether your child learns to write his letters and add simple figures at the age of three, or at the age of six, will not matter in the long run, and his ability to learn these things at an early age is not any indication of the level of his intelligence. (9)

During the preschool years children need to learn values, a positive outlook on life, and how to be loving, understanding, empathetic people. These are things that children learn from their interaction with other adults, particularly their mothers, not from schools.

Nevertheless, some people feel that nursery school is necessary to teach children how to “play well” with other children. I feel that a child who learns to care for, respect, and communicate with the people in his home will have no problem transferring these skills when he has the opportunity to play with other children. These values and skills will be effectively learned in the home, not in nursery school.


References:

1. Pat Wingert and Barbara Kantrowitz, "The Day Care Generation." Newsweek Special Issue (Winter 1989-Spring 1990): 86.

2. Karl Zinsmeister, "Hard Truths About Day Care." Reader's Digest (Oct. 1988): 88.

3. Jay Belsky and Michael J. Rovine, "Nonmaternal Care in the First Year of Life and the Security of Infant-Parent Attachment." Child Development, Vol. 59, No. 1 (Feb., 1988), pp. 157-167.

4. Jay Belsky, "Parental and Nonparental Child Care and Children's Socioemotional Development: A Decade in Review." Journal of Marriage and Family, Vol. 52, No. 4; Family Research in the 1980s: The Decade in Review (Nov., 1990), pp. 885-903.

5. Jay Belsky and R.M. Pasco Fearon, "Infant–mother attachment security, contextual risk, and early development: A moderational analysis." Development and Psychopathology (2002), 14:293-310, Cambridge University Press.


6. Jay Belsky and David Eggebeen, "Early and Extensive Maternal Employment and Young Children's Socioemotional Development: Children of the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth." Journal of Marriage and Family, Vol. 53, No. 4 (Nov., 1991), pp. 1083-1098.


7. Tiffany Field, Wendy Masi, Sheri Goldstein and Susan Perry, "Infant Day Care." Early Childhood Research Quarterly, Vol. 3, No. 4, (1988): 341-359.


8. K. Alison Clarke-Stewart, "The ‘Effects’ of infant day care reconsidered' reconsidered: Risks for parents, children, and researchers." Early Childhood Research Quarterly, Vol 3, No. 3, (1988): 293-318.


9. AG Broberg, H Wessels, ME Lamb, and CP Hwang, "Effects of day care on the development of cognitive abilities in 8-year-olds: A longitudinal study." Developmental Psychology, Vol 3, No. 1, 62-69.


10. Richard A. Goodman et al., "Proceedings of the International Conference on Child Day Care Health: Science, Prevention, and Practice." Supplement to Pediatrics 84(1994): 986-1020.


11. Harriet B. Presser, "Place of Child Care and Medicated Respiratory Illness among Young American Children." Journal of Marriage and the Family 50: 995-1005.


12. Stephen R. Redmond and Michael E. Pichichero, "Hemophilus Influenza Type B Disease: An Epidemiologic Study with Special Reference to Day Care Centers." Journal of the American Medical Association 252: 2581-2584.


13. Robert E. Black, "Giardiasis in Day Care Centers: Evidence of Person-to-Person Transmission," Pediatrics 60: 486-489.


14. NICHD Early Child Care Research Network, "Child Care and Children’s Peer Interaction at 24 and 36 Months: The NICHD Study of Early Child Care." Child Development 72(2001): 1478-1520.




Note: This is a very small fraction of the research that supports Wootan's above statements on children's health and childcare. Further investigation will lead the reader to decades worth of study demonstrating similar outcomes. I was, in fact, astonished at the astronomical volume on this subject - one that I've frequently glossed over myself, as a feminist who chose to temporarily step aside from a full time career away from home (making huge sacrifices along the way) in order to mother my own children.


George Wootan, M.D. is a board-certified family practitioner and medical associate of La Leche League International. He and his wife, Pat, are the parents of eleven children and the grandparents of twenty-one. Dr. Wootan has practiced medicine for 33 years with a focus on pediatric, family, and geriatric care and chronic illness. He speaks nationally on the subject of children’s health, healthy aging, nutrition, wellness and Functional Medicine.



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95 comments:

  1. The stackable cribs are very disturbing, reminiscent of a dog kennel.

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  2. Jessica MackenzieAugust 10, 2010 6:38 PM

    Ugh! Those cribs are more like little jail cells for infants than sleeping space. Looks like a pet store - very disturbing.

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  3. Sadly, I am not sure that one parent staying home is feasible for all families :-(

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  4. We chose to have one of us (in our case, my wife) stay home to raise our children because of economic reasons - it is much more financially straining to put infants (or four children) in daycare than it is to save the money on having someone else care for your kids, save the money on having to buy disposable diapers for use in daycare, save the money on formula, save the money on doctor's visits and medical bills because they are sick all the time when in daycare, save the money on the extra car needed for the extra job and the extra lunch purchased each day on the road... save the money from the extra stress and health issues it puts on a family that is never able to be together because both parents are always working. Yes, for us it was an easy financial decision to save our pennies and not put our children in daycare. And it is much more economically feasible in these pressing times as a result.

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  5. Maria - you're right. BUT, it's feasible for more families than you'd think. If it's that important for a two-parent family that one parent stay home full-time, there are dozens of ways to make it happen. Anything is possible.

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  6. It's true Marie, and it's sad. I think it's still good to question our practices even when there does not appear to be a way out for some. For example, maybe we should encourage people who have no choice toward smaller home daycares, although that has it's own drawbacks ( accountability and all). Maybe we should develop plans for helping people work at home with their kids and still make reasonable wages. Maybe there are other solutions. Either way, I think we have got to bring up the big questions, and it's not about momma guilt. It's about facts, facts that are disturbing and our children are suffering.
    That baby kennel is really freaking me out!

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  7. Thank you for this. I'm another mother who left her career (one I loved) to care for my children - those human beings I chose to bring into the world. There are many days it is very difficult, and many family members and friends routinely suggest putting them into daycare and going back to work "for your own good." Some have even suggested it is better for them - socially. That is something that has never been supported by research (or the daycare kids I see running around - anecdotal evidence of sorts). So amidst all the 'don't judge me' attitudes of people driving their 3 cars, living in their 5 bedroom homes, with 6 television sets, 4 computers, and more birthday presents than they know what to do with, funded by the 2 incomes they MUST have to sustain it all...we live very minimally, but happily, on one very small income, by choice. In an apartment. With one t.v. (no cable), 1 computer (we split internet with the neighbor), 1 car, 2nd hand clothes... you get the picture. We sacrifice - but are so rich in other ways - ways that really matter. Especially to our children. And it is very good to read research and other's experiences that encourage parents like us.

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  8. "There is no easy way, public or private; to buy for individual children the kind of loving concern that has never been for sale." -Karl Zinsmeister

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  9. I wish I could be a stay at home mom. I really do! It is not possible for my family though (we do live minimally too). My husband works (owns his own business) but does not have a steady income. I work 20 hours per week and also attend school (I will be a Midwife when I am completely done). My oldest son goes to (gasp) public school and my daughter goes to a babysitter's house and goes to the preschool on my school campus on school days. My children and I have no bonding issues, they were both nursed past age 2 (actually my daughter is currently nursing at 30 months), and we co-sleep or bedshare. Sure, it would be wonderful to be a stay home mom, but I cannot. Oh, and those baby jail things are crazy and it is so sad to see them.

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  10. Yes, I agree that childhood should be a happy,carefree, confidence building time of life. We all know the things we experience during childhood become a part of us and follow us into adulthood, for better or worse. I don't agree, however, that childhood should never be a time for learning to deal with emotional discomfort or stress. The moment they come into the world our children are living their lives, and sharing ours. As much as we'd like to shelter them from anything painful or stressful, sometimes it is simply impossible. My husband and I recently lost our jobs, and subsequently our home because of the economy. We and our two children (9 and 4) moved into a two bedroom apartment and had to downsize dramatically! As hard as we tried, we could not shelter them from the reality of what was happening. And the question became...should we? No...we didn't need to sit them down and show them the bills, but they new mom and dad were worried about money, that things were changing, and that we couldn't afford to keep our house. Kids are smarter than we give them credit for...even very young children can sense family stress. So, do we pretend that we, and they, are not experiencing stress or feelings of loss or sadness, or do we teach them now at these tender ages about what really matters, and how to deal with adversity. We lost our home, yes, but we teach them everyday that home is where our family is. We have fewer material things, but at the end of the day we are healthy, strong, and we have one another. We teach them to count their blessings even during difficult times. As a mother, I feel much better knowing that my children will know how to handle adversity in adulthood because of what my husband and I have taught them during childhood. I definitely choose that over attempting to shelter them from any and all stress during childhood, and then sending them out into the world without the tools they will need in order to deal with life. Life isn't always peaches and cream. Why not give them the emotional tools they'll need in order to deal with that.

    I also don't agree that all non parental care is inadequate. Some people still believe it takes a village to raise a child, and the love children get from grandparents, aunts and uncles and even close family friends is invaluable. Its great for kids to learn how to get what they need from humans other than their parents. Honestly, as parents, we cannot be our kids' entire universe. Not only is it impossible, its unhealthy.

    Some families simply cannot survive on one income, no matter how hard they try. Do parents who choose daycare love their children less than parents who stay home? Of course not. As parents we must, however, be vigilant when choosing where we place our children, communicate with the other adults in their lives, and be ever aware of any situation that may be detrimental to the health of our children. If and when such unhealthy situations arise, we must be willing to make necessary changes, even when its inconvenient or uncomfortable. Our kids must ALWAYS come first!



    And oh yeah...any school that uses those horrifying cribs should be put out of business!

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  11. Having been a nanny for 15 years and now a mother, I can tell you that the very best thing that any parent can give their child is their time...which is why we decided to sacrifice my income so that I could be home with our daughter.

    One of my last nanny jobs I had, the youngest (2 year old boy) was forced to go to preschool. I say "forced" because he would cry and beg not to be taken into school. I felt awful having to take him there when he was begging me not to. There was really no point to him having to go, in my opinion, as I was there as a hired hand to take care of the children so it blew my mind that the parents were very insistent on this arrangement. I should add that these parents were both stay-at-home parents and many times the mom would be dead-locked into her bedroom and her son would be banging on her door saying, "mommy, I know you are in there I can see the light on under the door." It broke my heart.

    Although I am happy I could be there for the children I cared for over the years, a nanny, daycare or preschool is no substitute for mom and dad. Children want their parents...NEED their parents. When we decide to bring them into this world we need to also decide to make the commitment of being there for them to be the ones to raise them...at the very least for the first five years of their lives.

    Maybe my nanny experience has made me go to the extreme in the opposite direction, but no one but me and my husband have ever cared for our 25 month old daughter. We haven't yet decided what we will choose for her school wise, but we feel school can wait and right now she just needs to be allowed to be a child...at home. We enjoy and cherish every moment we spend with her. These moments go by so fast and we want to savor them all.

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  12. @SusieQ - I completely agree with you!!! You typed some of the things that I often think but don't often say out loud.

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  13. Thank you for that. I believe that all this time and bonding we are doing now (staying home with him) might have an impact when our child is a teenager, making choices, etc--if we have had this strong bond early in life, likely what we say will mean more when he has choices, peer influences, etc. "Listen to them now, and they'll listen to you later". I left work to be home, and although financially it's a huge strain, I now know all those moments I would have missed. That being said, there are those (single parents, etc) who must work and do the best they can.

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  14. One parent staying home is almost always feasible, it's just often not feasible with the lifestyle you are accustomed to. Drop the extra car, move to a less luxurious house, quit eating out, etc. Not saying that's your specific situation, Maria, but it is often the case.

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  15. Oh, and sorry for the double comment, but Erin, that quote is fantastic! Thanks for sharing it!

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  16. Typically, in 2 parent households, it is cheaper to have at least one parent stay home until the kids are in school. If a 2 parent household can afford daycare, then it stands to reason that the parents ARE being selfish. My family makes less than $7,000 a year, but having a parent at home with our kids is more important than having materialistic objects, a new home, a new car, etc. Also, neither of us can make enough money to afford daycare, medical AND the bills necessary to just survive. You do learn to be thankful and not give a sh!t about what others think when you are secure in your own decisions.

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  17. I have the rest of my life to have the career I want...but only this small window of time to mother my children.

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  18. My husband and I have chosen that I stay home with our daughter, who turned a year old in July. Lately, he is pressuring me to put her into day care for 'just a few hours a week' so that she can be 'socialized'. I keep bucking him, but he keeps pressuring me, and all the reasons in the world will not stop this pressure.

    Ugh, it terrifies me :( that's the last palce I want her to be....

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  19. I'm in shock over the image of the 'stackable cribs', just horrible. We have just pulled our 2year old out of the childcare he was attending 1 day per week. Since attending this centre he has developed a toilet phobia and has become overly clingy... the place had no love, and I couldn't bring myself to leave him there any more. Most people have told me I'm too soft?? Yes I am lucky I can stay at home with my kids, but we have made this happen, and have adapted our lifestyle to be able to live on 1 income.

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  20. As I read this post, with my 3 kids ages 11 months-8 years in the background, I wonder why it is so hard for people to understand this compelling research. I also wonder why the same conclusions aren't carried past the magic school age. If you think that first steps and first words are magical, try teaching your children to read, write, explore science, art, history, and think critically. In other words, home educate. It is a simple extension of the wonderful benefits of avoiding any institutional style of child rearing. Look at the benefits of staying home during the formative years and multiply it by ten. It is a better representation of real life, and setting of social norms than school any way you look at it!

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  21. In the end, this research (and as the last 'Note' highlights, there is mountainous volumes of research on children's health and childcare) speaks very clearly for itself. This is not a debate about "who can and who cannot" directly parent the children they choose to bring into the world. This is about *children's health* and development as it relates to their care.

    Traci - there is ample amounts of literature to support your desire to *not* send your 1 year old away. In fact, the book, "Hold Onto Your Kids" is geared toward parents with older children who are already having problems because of being 'pushed' away from them in the early years, but maybe it would be worth a read to see just why this is a bad idea... give you some support in trusting your mothering instincts on this one.

    http://astore.amazon.com/peacefparent-20/detail/0375760288

    The books, "The Continuum Concept" and "Why Love Matters" are also good ones for those with babies... They clearly highlight (the first with anthropological science, the second with neurological science) the reasons why babies and children thrive when cared for in their own home, by a parent -- provided that home is safe, secure, and their parent is mentally/emotionally healthy.

    The Continuum Concept: http://astore.amazon.com/peacefparent-20/detail/0201050714

    Why Love Matters: http://astore.amazon.com/peacefparent-20/detail/1583918175


    (cont. below)

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  22. (cont. from above)


    As I also mentioned in the last note on the page - as a professional woman who loved my career, and was the primary earner for our family, it was a difficult choice to make - birth babies who would need my mothering 24 hours a day for at least the first several years of their life - or continue on successfully in a position I adored.

    I should say it was difficult at first - before I explored the research and became a mother.

    I deliberately waited until my 30s, securely partnered, and saved for a year while working in another state from my husband, so that we would be financially stable during the time I was mothering. We made drastic cut-backs (moving from a house into an apartment for example, selling a car, minimizing our 'stuff') when we chose to birth our first baby and sustain a family on one very small income (his).

    Even while pregnant, I thought I'd return to my work post-birth... I wasn't sure I wanted to live without cable and a DVR and a big back yard at first... ;) and then I started reading the monumental research on this subject, and the answer was very, very clear: If you choose to become a mother, you are also choosing to 'mother' those children -- they need you. Period.

    It doesn't matter if you turn to developmental, psychological, health, neuro, attachment, or other sciences - the answers are the same. And then when my first child was born, giving him away to be raised by someone else was simply not an option.

    So when people criticize me for speaking of something "you know nothing about because of your privilege" (and I've received these emails about 20 times in the last day after posting Wootan's article) they, too, are making assumptions about a mother they know nothing about -- one who makes mistakes (Oh, I've made a lot of them!) but one who makes every attempt to practice what is clearly laid out before us for the health and wellbeing of my own little ones.

    My dear partner got a kick out of some of the emails - because if you come visit our place, you will see how very, very little we live (happily) off of -- by choice -- so that our children can be nurtured and loved and cared for by those very people who brought them into this world in the first place -- ones whose love cannot be bought, but is forever flowing just the same. And, living minimally, so that we can funnel whatever pennies we can squeeze into the peaceful parenting organization (which is 100% non-profit) to assist, support, and empower other parents desperately looking for answers, materials, and help. I've been told I am atypically empathetic... but when I read your letters sent my way, it often breaks my heart, and I will do anything in my power to help you and your little ones out.

    Parenting matters! :)

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  23. Traci,1. if you have a choice, your baby is definitely better off with you! 2. If you want to appease him, Join a play group, then you can tell him you are "socializing" her. The real truth is that 1 year olds don't even play with each other anyway. Beyond that, I believe "socialization" is something that a child does for him or herself at their own pace and time, they don't need to learn childish social skills, they need to learn adult social skills (which they learn from adults). I've got a thousand arguments, but really I hate that socialization argument, it's just a buzz word used to manipulate parents into forcing their children into groupthink.

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  24. Kenya:
    "Honestly, as parents, we cannot be our kids' entire universe. Not only is it impossible, its unhealthy."

    I am sorry, but this is simply untrue. it's part of the propaganda perpetrated, again by the group think advocates. Having only your family to socialize with is perfectly "healthy," and in most cases, not "impossible at all. Parents are all you need when you are little.

    Children who need and want to expand their social horizons will do so when they need and want to.

    And I am truly sorry about your sad situation. I hope thing get better for your family.

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  25. I have been called a privileged classist B**ch b/c I had once stated that children in the home is better than children in an institution. Apparently, these days, even that is an offensive concept. I naively thought that we all agreed that children with their parents was best. I was very very wrong. I quit my 90k/yr career to be home with our child b/c I felt how sad for a child to know that his/her mother chose her career over them. Sometimes, I feel like selfishness is running around under the guise of feminism and it has only allowed us to institutionalize our children without guilt. So sad.

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  26. Kate - I am in love with every word you wrote. As a feminist who also left a six figure career to raise kiddos as a newly poor housemom, I've felt (and been called) the same, and what you write is so very, very true! "Selfishness is running around under the guise of feminism and it has only allowed us to institutionalize our children without guilt."

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  27. Does anyone know if there is a copy of Karl Zinsmeister's "The Problem with Day Care" online somewhere? I'd love to read it.

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  28. We ALWAYS have a choice!

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  29. There is a myth that socializing (playing with others) leads to socialization (the ability to interact in a mature, responsible, respectful way without changing the core of who you are). Putting children in daycare at an early age does create opportunity for socializing but does not lead to socialization--only maturity can get you to socialization. And maturity takes time. The best book I have ever read on this topic is called Hold Onto Your Kids: Why Parents Need To Matter More Than Peers. Get it, read it, pass it on. You won't regret it.

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  30. I praise those who stay home with their children and those who work. I agree with others that stated policies need to be created for more support/flexibility for the working mom/dad with children. For now, I hope that my daughter will understand someday that I had to work so she has good health insurance, a roof over her head in a safe neighborhood that is warm in the winter, clothes on her back, shoes on her feet, and a full belly at night. I do not feel guilty for working and my daughter goes to a loving in home daycare. We all make different choices, but are all trying to parent as peacefully as we can.

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  31. just to put out something for the other side... i am blessed to have my 2 1/2 year old in a daycare no more than 5 hours a week and at home with me and her and her 5 day old brother and her father all the rest of the time. And I must say she really seems to like it. dropping her off is so sweet, she loves her teacher, a girl i went to school with for most of my education years, she knows the names of all of her "friends", and the daycare is run by a woman my family has known for over 20 years. I would never keep my kids in a day care instead of quitting my job and I would NEVER put my infant in a daycare no matter how well i know the people who run it. but i do love our situation. not all places fall under this umbrella.

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  32. I remember a church from my childhood having these cribs and thinking they were SO awesome. Seriously. I was probably 3 or 4.

    Now, as a parent, it makes my insides cringe.

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  33. no way would anyone put my baby in a cage! I can't believe that's even legal...

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  34. We can't have cribs like that here in liscensed centers in Alabama but church daycares use them "to save space". :(

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  35. They have these cribs at my church *dislike*

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  36. I work in a daycare center here in Germany, I have 12 kids in my room and if we would have a crib or toddler bed for all of them we wouldt have enough room for toys.

    My older kids (2 1/2 to 3) love to sleep up top, we have a baby monitor in there so when they wake up we hear them, there is no difference to a normal crib, just that there is more room for other things!!!

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  37. i am a stay at home mother, we make it work. but we thought about that before conception.

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  38. i can't believe they make those cribs - if you really don't have that much space in your daycare maybe don't take on so many children.

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  39. How is a stacked cage really any worse than a solitary cage? A cage is a cage.

    And this is more a reflection on our society and our need for greed than of daycares itself, IMO.

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  40. I've seen pictures of cribs like that, but never actually seen any IRL. I was thinking about these the other day, wondering if they were real or fake.. I'm sad to hear they are real. That's just icky.

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  41. The cribs: Right... because some magic faery could come in and make all 6 babies go to sleep at the same time.... why not just mats on a floor for sleeping? Right... because first one needs to make a baby cry itself into sleep.... OMG.

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  42. Our church used to have them as well. But I agree, a cage is a cage no matter how they are stacked.

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  43. Yes, it looks horrific! But that's what humans do, that's how we look after our children now. Looking at it like this puts it in perspective for us - wrong really wrong, unnatural, saddening :(

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  44. Lovely article, really makes me thankful that I can stay at home. I dislike normal cots, but stacked cots are much worse, they must wake up feeling so trapped.

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  45. Like anything else, these cribs can be abused. They are not, in and of themselves, intrinsically horrible, but this picture also disturbs me in much the same way a room full of occupied cribs in a Russian orphanage would disturb me. Incidentally, This is what regular cribs look like from the side, too.

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  46. We rent a smaller place now rather than own a home, so I can be a stay at home mum instead of going back to work outside the home. Pretty sure having me home to raise them is more important then me owning a house.

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  47. The hard fact is that because most american's have lived beyond their means ie credit cards, buying a home they can't really afford, 2 income homes are the only choice unless people are willing to sacrifice downsize and stop getting into debt the amount of children in daycare will only increase.
    We scrimp by on only my husbands salary so that I can stay home and raise our baby. We do without dinner out, vacations, or any extra spending and it's soo worth it.

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  48. You'd think that the cribs would be a SIDS risk since they don't have very good air flow...

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  49. ...everyone has a choice. It is a lifestyle choice to stay working and send your kids to daycare. There are other options. People can downsize or move somewhere or job-share or become self employed or create a community of support or any number of possibilities besides sending your kids away every day. People get so stuck in victim mode thinking they have no choice but to be a slave to the system. Step into your power and make the changes to create the life you want. It's time to think outside the square. Or cage, as the case may be.

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  50. This article was great! Confirmed what I've already learned and re-learned elsewhere.

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  51. Licensed centers in my state can't have mats on the floor either. Unfortunately I go into a lot of centers church and non-church ones. Almost all of them use any type of crib as a place to put infants so they don't have to be held. The babies are hardly ever actually a sleep in the cribs.

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  52. I work in an infant room in a daycare. Our babies are well cared for, but it still makes me sad when we enroll a 6 week old. Babies should be with there mamas, but if they really can't be, a good provider is a must. I wear the babies in my Moby wrap, hold in a breastfeeding position to feed them, and try to mimic being at home with mama as much as I can.

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  53. I wish we would consider why, as a society, we make family and work so incompatible...

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  54. loved the article. people have different reasons for what they do with their children, but if early education is what you're interested in, the article shows and sites sources that show its "holiness."

    you can not produce a savant. no matter how early you teach your child the alphabet, they will still only read and spell when they are developmentally ready and if you push too much, regression and resistance is likely.

    my first was a daycare baby 'cause i was a young single mother and now with my second, i'm a stay at home mom with a lovely hard working husband who gives that to all four of us.

    i don't see any differences in the two other than the social developments of the daycare child were more equivalent to those of the other children his age, and the SAH child has done so only at his pace.

    To moms who feel they must work and give up their baby - let's talk. i was in your shoes. i feel you. i'm sorry for your pain. if this feels like the hardest thing you've ever done, you're right. you can get assistance without moving. you can receive TANF and nutritional supplementation. that's why I pay taxes, to help girls like you, girls like me. there are options, no matter your situation.

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  55. I worked in daycare for many years before I had my kids and I would as far as humanly possible keep my kids out of them.

    we are SITKOMs, Single income two kids, oppressive mortage :)

    I have a degree in Early childhood education and would earn a fair bit if I decided to go back to work, but I chose to stay home with my kids and we sacrifice financially because of it.

    I believe the investment in my children is totally worth the sacrifice. I realize that not everyone is in a position to do this, and my heart goes out to those parents who really do not have a choice.

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  56. As a stay/work from home mom since I was pregnant with my first, and I am now a SINGLE mom of two who has never left my kids in daycare, it CAN BE DONE! I am a doula, I sell Mary Kay, I'm a writer and I make soap and candles. All part time work, and I work less than 30 hours per week while my kids are in school or asleep (or 2 nights a week when they visit with their dad) I own a home (yes, it is the home we had when I was still married and even before kids, and I still live here now) but I don't extend myself in credit more than what I have to pay off IN FULL at the end of the month. I don't buy what I can't afford. I refuse to go into debt. And yes, I am American. If your desire to raise your own children is strong enough you will find a way.

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  57. Here was some eye-opening info on daycares for me:

    http://www.daycaresdontcare.org/index.htm

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  58. Is anybody else in Australia? Here it sound single mothers get it a little better then in the states?

    I just hate the fact that childcare parents get paid to put there kids in care, yet I'm staying home raising Australia's future and I get next to nothing! I have a partner and he works his butt off! That's how we get through.

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  59. The studies have found what the studies have found. Not everyone can stay home, not everyone can birth at home, not everyone can breastfeed. That doesn't change the science. I'm all for informed choice; here's some information.

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  60. I agree Melissa. I find it so sad that factual information cannot be shared without causing offense or being seen as judgmental.

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  61. @Erin, awesome quote, definitely pinching it.

    Also, while these cribs are for sleeping, when seen like this, it drives home how "untouched" we leave our children in our society - which in not healthy.

    Bubs asleep in slings and wraps close to their mama or papa seems far more natural. If only we lived in a society that supported this kind of upbringing for a child.

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  62. Some people are far too sensitive & can't take the truth. This article is not written to make anyone feel guilty.

    I happen to be a stay at home mom, but that's my choice, and I don't judge anyone who makes other choices. But, seriously, who are you kidding if you can't accept that being home with mom or dad is better for the child?

    I know people who tell me that it is better to put my kid in daycare because of the socialization. DD just had her first birthday. She doesn't socialize when I take her to play dates & play groups. That's because biologically she is not ready. She is still learning from observing mom & dad & exploring her small world at home.

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  63. The sad thing (in this case) is facts are facts.

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  64. I just showed my husband this and he said, "It looks like ZOOCARE!"

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  65. Just a thought regarding the how to do stay at home question...

    I think living on one income when you are first married/partnered/ whatever is a good idea.

    If you know you're going to need to live on one income because you don't consider daycare a viable option for your children's care, then start from the beginning living like that, banking on one income if both are working.

    And then what no one wants to hear.....prioritize and sacrifice.

    Of course some people (some single moms) have to work and that's a different story, but I think so many people are duped into thinking that they must.

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  66. GREAT suggestion, Shannon!

    We did just that (although I can't take credit for the idea - some financial planner advised it in a group we were in before getting married). If you start off ONLY living on ONE income, and plan accordingly (for babies, kids, etc.) on that one income from the beginning, then you don't get into the troubles of having to cut back and make more drastic changes when the time comes.

    Occasionally I will go into an art store and long for some item I cannot have (even a $50 painting is too much for us)... but oh, how my babies are worth it!! When they are older, I will splurge on those little things I don't get now.

    Thanks for sharing your ideas.

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  67. They market those baby cages to parents of multiples too. I don't think I would feel comfortable with a daycare that used them personally. They look like they're on display and that makes ME uncomfortable.

    I'm lucky enough to stay home but I know just how sick daycare kids get. Mine get sick fairly regularly and we always get the "are they in daycare" question. No mine are immune deficient and catch everything.

    I believe if we are practicing gentle parenting at home, and you have a good daycare provider who is responsive and caring to the kids as well, then I think everything will be fine. You almost certainly will have a child who is sick more often, but you will get that at school and in any congested situation including in large families or people who use mass transit... You get the idea.

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  68. Oh my. I'm so glad I've been able to be a SAHM up until now, but I'm in the process of getting a divorce and I will have to start earning some money soon. I had hoped to run a small high-quality home daycare but now I'm afraid that might be too risky without another income to fall back on. Some of the comments on here are very inspiring, and I really hope I can figure out a way to continue to keep my son out of daycare.

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  69. What is a more peaceful choice? Staying at home with your children, or sending them to someone else?

    I absolutely understand that a lot of families have no choice and need to utilize daycare. But that doesn't change the fact that daycare isn't as good as raising your children yourself.

    Peaceful Parenting is here to show the facts. Not to hold your hand and help you feel better.

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  70. I visited a church with those cribs when I was a child ('cept they were metal) & found them soooo disturbing. Somehow they mustve forgotten where Jesus said to allow the little children to come to Him.

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  71. Natasha -

    "The Problem with Day Care," by Karl Zinsmeister. The American Enterprise, May-June 1998 can typically be found in full text here:

    http://www.theamericanenterprise.org/taemj98m.htm

    Recently there have been some server issues with their site, but hopefully it will be restored.

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  72. I really appreciated this article as I have been criticized by well meaning friends & family for not putting my kids in preschool. In fact, having done at home preschool the past couple years, with the plan to start kindergarten this fall, I recently had the very thought this article expressed that I just need to just focus on instilling values at this age because there is plenty of time for 'education'.

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  73. These are the facts we are talking about! If it makes anyone feel guilty, firstly I feel very sorry for them, but secondly they're being irrational by blaming others for their own guilt, simply because they were presented with facts.

    It is very unfortunate we don't all have the perfect motherhood experience (who does?!) but with the facts in mind, we can at least have something healthy to try and aim for.

    The article is not blaming anyone who is in a position where they can't choose. But don't you want to know what is better for your child, if you did have the choice?

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  74. I don't see any attack AT ALL in this article. I don't see anywhere where it addresses a mother. I read an article that simply stated facts. I find the article hugely informative. Do I work? No. Have I thought about sending my kid to preschool? Yes. But this article makes me re-think that. Isn't that the point?

    Funnily enough, I did have an emergency c-section. Do I get upset at all the articles about how vaginal births are best? No! I feel secure that it was the thing I had to do for me and my child. So why would I feel attacked?

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  75. I have worked in a daycare that had a few things I didn't like and neither did the parents. Sadly they didn't say anything to the administrators.

    I did what I could tailor my day to the 3-5 12-18 month olds I had in my care. My daughter was at the school also. She hated it and that's why I ended up quitting but other things that went on there were starting to add up. As a former stay at home mom it was hard to see some of the things they did like bottle propping, CIO, overuse of baby holders, over crowding, shame as a discipline tool, just to name a few.

    My parents cried when I told them I was leaving. They knew they had another mom in there. My max was 5 children. I made $14.00 an hour in Breckenridge, CO. That's not much for that area. In the infant room they have 3 babies per worker. Ages 3 and up had 10 to a teacher. It was madness.

    Most of these parents paid $750 - 800 a month for full time care.

    It was a hard decision to send my daughter to daycare. She is old enough now to be in full time preK in a great Montessori program. She is not vaccinated. We are not having anymore children until we figure out a better solution to care for an infant. I do not want someone else taking care of my infant. Especially not a daycare or even an in home daycare after what I have seen.

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  76. My mom was a single mother who owned her own shop and had to work -- whether she liked it or not that was her reality. So she send my sister and I to a friend's home daycare. I have wonderful memories of Ms. Ann and if I weren't able to stay home I'd try to find the same situation for my girls.

    That being said, I don't think the article is judgmental AT ALL and I appreciate it being posted -- it reaffirms my choices as a parent and gives me some ammo to use against the family members I have who judge the decisions I make. I think everyone here gets that crap happens, but crap happening doesn't change facts -- I'd rather have facts presented to me and do with them what I can than not have them presented at all.

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  77. Where have I been that I have never seen this before? I know some of it is pregnancy hormones, but when this image finally hit home I sat here and sobbed. And I sobbed not only for the babies who are put into this thing, but for the mamas on this out there fighting for others to accept it.

    We deserve better, and so do our babies. Too many are being angry at the wrong people.

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  78. What's amazing to me on this list of comments (no offense folks) is that we're looking at stackable cribs in the picture as cages... But aren't all cribs essentially formed like that? Even if they're stand alone? They're all cages. That way the baby can't crawl out. Hence the reason our baby has always just slept in our bed.

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  79. I have lots of personal experience working in daycare settings.

    In a daycare setting, when taking care of infants, the ratio is typically one adult to four babies.

    The babies are in cribs, swings, floor time, etc... and that does not mean you are cuddling/snuggling/wearing even one baby at a time.

    You are feeding them, preparing the bottles, doing necessary chores/tasks, coordinating with parents... there is no way to give any of them the full care and attention they need, that they would be getting with a mother.

    Even with the most dedicated caregiver... and many of them are not dedicated.

    In some preschools, even the most highly rated ones, one year olds are just forced to SIT at a table for long periods because they don't have enough teachers for the ratio, kids are not given enough food for snack, etc.

    ONE daycare I worked at was wonderful, always kind and caring to kids, and I have stayed with them off and on for twenty years. But...Believe me, keep them at home if you can.

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  80. I really believe that the quality of the child care situation is very important. I worked at some large centers that I would never have sent my own kids to. When looking at daycares, ask about the rate of staff turnover. If there is constantly different caregivers/teachers coming and going, it is impossible for kids to form any sort of attachment, which I feel is very detrimental to their well being and development. Of course I'm not saying the same kind of attachment that they have with mom & dad, but it is important for kids to feel valued and loved by the people that they spend so much time with.

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  81. A mother taking are of her child 24/7 is always better than someone else doing it (unless the mother is mentally incapable). I don't think this fact can be debated.

    So why are so many people offended by hearing this?

    If you can not be with your child 24/7 then you might have to work harder to make sure they are bonding with you properly, but you still are always their best caregiver no matter what!

    I don't even understand why this is such a heated topic. Even those who have to send their kids to other caregivers don't debate that they would rather take care of their own children. This article is stating what has always been true whether it is possible for your family or not: children belong with their mother.

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  82. I have also had experience with a daycare that was highly spoken of and have worked there while acclimating my child to it. She did not stay longer than a few days after seeing very questionable treatment of the children! People were losing their tempers easier due to many factors, and this can affect everyone, children included-especially when adults can't control themselves. Now, before anyone says "Didn't you report what you saw?" Yes, I did to the owner/director and she threatened to sue me for "slander". I calmly told her I would sit in court all day if that came to pass to tell everyone I knew of about what I considered to be abuse....

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  83. ITA w/ Amy. I had to work for a short time before I sold my house so we could afford for me to become a SAHM. All of the daycares and in home daycares I interviewed had a ratio of at least 3 babies to 1 caregiver. My concern was how could 1 caregiver possibly give the attention needed to 3+ babies at the same time? It's simply not possible. There would most certainly be some part of the day where one child had to be left to cry while the others were attended to. I wasn't comfortable w/ that. I think the point of the article is that daycares are not the optimal situation for babies or children.

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  84. Our children can learn to socialize, be independent, stand up for her/himself and learn from being around others, like playdates, classes, neighbors, other family members and friends. Daycare and school are not necessary.

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  85. Lots of children are in daycare longer then 8 hours. I also ran a daycare and most children were left from 10-12 hours because of commute times and lunch hours. I also had at least one mother who would leave her child while she sat at home watching tv. She was off of work for a long time, sent the child because "dad was paying for it" and it was all day.

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  86. While we are on the subject of daycare...

    My sister works at one of the top rated daycares in N.E. Iowa. Her stories are troubling, but among them, this repeated event seems most heartbreaking: Parents will swing by to drop their newborn at daycare the same day (same day!) that they have him circumcised. So this crying, terrified, traumatized, in-pain, tiny newborn will be handed over with a nasty diaper - blood and feces caked onto his surgical wound site, and the daycare workers (most of whom know nothing about this awful practice) will scrub around at the wound to try and get it clean while the baby just wails.

    I just do not get it. Really, I don't. How can someone be *this* desensitized to the needs and the suffering of tiny, helpless life that they just brought into the world? How could you possibly take your baby in, have a part of his penis lopped off, and then toss him over to someone else to care for just an hour later?

    It's enough for my sister to come home with tears, and I just cannot imagine that these are the parents I work beside during the day... ones who can do such things to their infants.

    Please, tune into your own instincts, and those of your baby - don't just rip them up and drop them off. Our babies are not commodities, they are human beings who need us more now than they ever will again for the rest of their (or our) lives.

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  87. While I am a SAHM and would not have it any other way, I feel that the comments on this article border on mother-shaming. Perhaps we can re-frame the debate and place blame on where it belongs--not on WOHM who are too selfish to give up their jobs, but on maternity leaves that are only 6 weeks long and unpaid, nonexistent paternity leave, a culture that does not value childhood or mothering, and economy that is in the toilet while families struggle to pay mortgages on overvalued homes or for their healthcare. We can talk about mothers' choices, but many women do have to go back to work. It's not so easy to reorganize your finances now, some mothers are simply stuck.

    I agree that children thrive and do best with their parents and family, I absolutely have no contention with the findings of these studies. But placing the blame squarely on the shoulders of mothers helps no one.

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  88. Unfortunately, I married a man who refuses to be part of a one-income household. So my choices are work, or take my baby away from his father. The world is not black-and-white, and many people find themselves compelled to do things they don't want to do, choosing the lesser of two evils.

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  89. I grew up in a home where my mother and father both worked. In fact, my father went to school to get a bachelor degree when I was 5, finishing when I was 12. Remodeled a house at the same time.

    To be honest, watching my parents work so hard was encouraging to me.

    Ultimately, I grew up knowing that I could be a member of society that would change the world. And that is what I am doing now. I have a job as an engineer building products that keep our economy going strong, and our country safe.

    I want my daughter to grow up and know that she can change the world just like her mother and father are. And she will. My husband is picking her up from daycare as we speak. I know she will walk through that door smiling, laughing, and we will have a fantastic night together.

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  90. I praise those who stay home with their children and those who work. I agree with others that stated policies need to be created for more support/flexibility for the working mom/dad with children. For now, I hope that my daughter will understand someday that I had to work so she has good health insurance, a roof over her head in a safe neighborhood that is warm in the winter, clothes on her back, shoes on her feet, and a full belly at night. I do not feel guilty for working and my daughter goes to a loving in home daycare. We all make different choices, but are all trying to parent as peacefully as we can.

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  91. I was a workign mom and I am making it work as a SAHM now. I watch a few kids on a flexible schedule to help pay the bills... It isn't perfect, but it is better than daycare and feeling like you have to work...

    Some parents love their job and don't wnat to stay home...

    I HATED being a working mom and I think some of the Children need daycare to learn ideas are to make parents who have to/choose to work feel better rather than help the kids long term...

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  92. We had cribs like that in the nursery at church when I was little. I LOVED them. Lol. We all did! For some reason. A giant bunkbed crib. But they do look kinda like a kennel to me now. But! They weren't there to confine us. Just if somebody got sleepy, or, to play in. And, I totally agree. I fully intend to stay home as long as I can!

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  93. Funny how everyone who has seen those cribs in use has seen them at a church ...

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