Last night I was freaking out because I can’t seem to find an afternoon babysitter for DS1 next year. I’ve been seeing a lot of posts for people looking, but as far as I know, no one has been responding. So I did what any good problem solver would do- I googled it. I typed in the words “yeshiva working mother after school childcare” and came across the most disturbing article called, “The Abandoned Baby Syndrome.”
I wish my computer had a filter against these types of editorials. I already feel guilty enough about leaving my kids for so many hours during the day. Now, not only do I feel guilty, but I feel like the Worst. Mother. Ever.
While I do agree that things in my life would be very different if I were a stay at home mom, I don’t know if the time with my children would be better. If I stayed home I probably wouldn’t be sitting on the floor playing with them all day. I would have to cook and clean. I would drag them along on all of my excursions, which would probably not be fun for any of us. And I’d also probably spend more time chatting on the phone, surfing the internet and watching my soaps. (It’s hard to believe I gave up General Hospital after having kids… probably wouldn’t have happened if I were home all day.)
If a mother would emotionally abandon a child it would happen whether or not she worked. When I’m with my children I hug and kiss them all the time. They come to me whenever they get a boo boo and I think that they know and feel that they are truly loved.
I was also stunned to read how many people completely agreed with the article, but was glad to see that there were a few who didn’t. My favorite comment came from “shameful” who wrote:
“like mothers don’t already feel guilt enough. We feel guilty because we left the baby crying as we were helping the older kids with homework or we feel guilty for not helping the older kids with homework as we are attending to the baby. I’m a working mother, and yes, I’m sad that I have to leave her in crèche. However, if I didn’t do that, she wouldn’t be able to have the opportunities of a Jewish school (not funded in my country).
Shame on you, “therapist”. I’m a psychologist too and there is absolutely NO empirical evidence to what you are claiming. Abandonment syndrome isn’t linked to working mother, but to orphaned children who don’t get individual care. Shame on you for giving mothers more guilt.”
I couldn’t have written it better myself.
In the end I never did find my answer on Google, but I was glad to find one more person out there who is on my side!
Until next time,