Just when I was thinking I was okay in the balance of working and child care, this study comes out in the Los Angeles Times this morning.
A comprehensive study of behavior of children who were in a day care setting as toddlers reveals that they are more likely to engage in risky behavior as teens. Great. Just what us moms who work outside the home need. And while the data and findings are marginal--there is only a slight rise in risky behavior in teens who spent a lot of hours in day care and those who mostly spent their toddlerdom at home--this feeds my paranoia and adds more worry to my already exploding head that is constantly spinning with blather like, "am I spending enough time with them?" "Are they learning bad habits after school?" "Will they learn the social skills necessary to fit in in school while still learning academically?"
See how this works? The study was about day care centers and toddlers, not school-age children. But does that stop my worry? No way.
I have a tremendously flexible job, one that allows me long breaks in the year with time to spend with the children, yet I focus on the 3 days a week, 2 hours a day, 9 months a year that they're outside school and my care.
"Whatever" to this study I say. My favorite quote in the article (you gotta love journalists who cover all sides of a story) comes from Ellen Galinsky, author of "Mind in the Making" and president of the Families and Work Institute in New York, "Risk-taking, thinking creatively, taking on a challenge, trying something new -- all these aspects of impulsiveness and risk-taking can be a positive thing." She this may be helpful to tomorrow's workforce.
If my kids' experiences at their marvelous Child Development Center taught them anything, I hope it's that it's okay to allow lots of people to take care of them and teach them different perspectives of the world. Go ahead, jump in and take a risk. Just don't ask me to stop beating myself up about it.