The Faulty Option of Daycare


Sometimes I look around at what has become normal, even among Christians, and I don't understand it. I work with a 73 year old man that says I am more old-fashioned than he is. Well, I hope what I'm about to talk about isn't just from me being old-fashioned, but from a biblical standpoint that should be considered.

There was a time when women raised their own children. The idea of daycare or having other people raise your children would have been absurd. Sure, women have always gotten help from family members, but the responsibility of raising their children was unquestionably theirs.

Is Daycare Evil?

I'm not going to act like women that send their children to daycare are in sin. I have friends on both sides of the spectrum here, and I wouldn't say they are outright doing wrong by their children by not staying at home with them. I worked at a couple of daycares, and I feel like the children were treated well and generally had a good time. So, no, daycare isn't evil.

There are a few reasons a mom might choose to work instead of be with their children throughout the day. I would never condemn a single mom for working while her kids are in daycare. Of course there must be an income. She is doing right by her children, and they are cared for. This is very good. 

The two scenarios I want to consider are what I'll call "optional working moms". They are the ones that are either in a career they really enjoy, or the ones that feel like they can't afford to stay at home with their kids.

When Did Staying at Home Become Optional?

There was a point in American history (1960's and 1970's) when women were encouraged to stop staying at home and start working right alongside the men. We know this time as the "feminist movement". I think as Christians we generally have a sour view of this movement, but surely there were some good aspects to it. Being paid equally is a good thing, and being treated equally is also a good thing. 

Unfortunately, there were repercussions from that time period that our generation is now living with as a reality. Because women started working more, there had to be more jobs created. With more jobs being created, the jobs had to pay less as a whole in order to provide for the influx. So, to the women today that think they couldn't possibly just live off of their husbands salary as families once did, there is some legitimacy to it. 

Along with more women beginning to be encouraged to work, women became inspired to climb to the top of the workplace ladder, right alongside the men. Not only were they getting college degrees, but they were out to "out-do" the men in smarts and status. There was a time when an educated woman felt content to train her children up and not climb the corporate ladder, but I would say that is a thing of the past. I can see a fire in many women to prove themselves, and to fulfill their dreams of leading men and getting to use all of their skills and talents.

Let's Reconsider Our Options

We have been faced with many options for our children in this generation: daycare, stay-at-home dad, stay-at-home mom, grandparents watch the kids, etc.. What I want to propose is that the options should be far fewer. 

Double incomes can seem like a "must", but I know too many poor families that make it work on one income to justify this thinking. Also, when we take into account the cost of daycare, it really can't add up to much more income for the mom to work. I realize we won't get to have as many new gadgets or as nice of a home, and there will have to be sacrifices where maybe there wouldn't have been 50 years ago living on one income, but it isn't impossible. I propose that if we learned how to use our money more wisely, saved, and stopped wracking up needless debt, we might see it as a possibility once again.

The next thing to consider is why we have allowed a career to outweigh our responsibility to rear our children. Why have we replaced responsibility with career possibilities? Since when did our children become less of a priority? Does it make women not as valuable to use their talents to bring up their children? Have we considered that God has crafted women in such a way that this is one of the greatest outlets for our talents? We are called to bring up and nurture a new generation, and as women we are specially fit for this role. Is this less worthy than bringing home the bacon alongside our fellas?

Side Options

Of course there are part time jobs, volunteering opportunities, side jobs we can do from home, etc. The Proverbs 31 woman is very industrious. But let's not forget that she has her priorities right with how she "looks well to the ways of her household" and her "children rise up and call her blessed." There is the possibility that, even with staying at home to raise our children, we become so busy that it is equivalent to working outside of the home. We must be available to our children. I know I was provided for well as a child and loved, but it doesn't take away from the fact that my mom worked and was very busy all of the time; I always wished she had more time for me. So don't let yourself become too busy for your children. That's the whole point of not working outside of the home.

One Shot

As parents, we only get one shot to bring up our children in the discipline and instruction of the Lord (Eph. 6:4). Let's recognize our God-given responsibility, and not lightly let someone else have the privilege of those teachable, lovable, and fleeting childhood years.

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