Excuse me while I get personal for a moment (in case you haven’t noticed, this blog is moving away from its e-zine roots to truly become my blog). I’m part of a single income family. I am lucky enough to have an engaging job that pays well and has as much security as is possible these days. My wife studies, and my work took her away from the university at which she was studying, so she’s been studying part-time. Except when our kids came.
My wife is the primary care-giver, and she has only recently returned to studies after spending the last 4 years focusing on our kids. I honestly believe that our kids are so awesome because of the attention my wife lavishes on them (I know, all parents think their children are awesome, but mine truly are . . . Case. Closed). She reads to them, does crafts with them, sings and dances with them, goes to the park, to the playgroup, it is honestly exhausting listening to the kids talk about their day.
And having read a recent article on the damage emotional neglect can cause to an infant’s DNA, I am so thankful my wife was able to do this. (Yes, the kid’s DNA, not the kid’s emotional maturity or coping mechanisms—though that too—but there is actual damage to the structure of the kid’s chromosomes)
This is not to knock parents who put their children in daycare. I can attest to the fact that it is extremely difficult to make due on one income (especially in a city in which the median wage is $93,000). We do not have a nice house nor do we have a nice car. These were choices we made before we had our child—that my wife would focus on study (given much impetus as she is an immigrant to Canada, and her job prospects, especially in her own field, sucked complete ass). Had we both been working at jobs that allowed us to afford daycare, we would have gone that route. Canada—and I’ll bet most OECD nations—are now designed that way. The single income family is really not feasible.
But, man, if only it could be. At least until the kids are going to school. If there were some program that one paid into, or that one could pay into after taking the time to focus on the kids, then we could spend the formative years with our children. As the article says—and this is by no means evidence, only opinion—a lot of social ills could be avoided if we were able to focus more on our children. Maybe if the people running the rich countries of the OECD actually cared as much about families as they say, they would do something to actually foster families rather than playing on people’s prejudices with a bunch of bat-shit crazy BS about the threat to the “sanctity of marriage.”
But then again, I’m just a damn, dirty socialist.
The article in question is here.