Despite a growing body of evidence which suggests that children of working mothers are at risk for a variety of psychological problems, the number of mothers in the workforce continues to increase.  Statistics Canada census data indicates that 67.2 per cent of mothers of children under age six participated in the workforce in 1991, a significant jump from fifty per cent reported in 1981.

You don’t have to be an expert to recognize that children are suffering from maternal absence; and now the clinical evidence to support these observations is mounting.

Dr. Paul Klein, a psychologist, writes, “The first couple of years of life are a …critical period for the development of psycho-social traits.  Meeting the attachment needs of children produces people who are typically secure…and resilient to the ups and downs of life.”

“In the absence of a reliable, empathetic relationship with at least one primary care giver, children are at high risk for an inability to form intimate relationships and for defective or deficient sense of right and wrong.  In most cases, the attachment needs of children can best be met in the family setting, where the child is cared by loving parents.”

Gloria Steinem and Germaine Greer have each written autobiographies in recent years which are revealing examples of the pain caused by physically or emotionally absent parents.  Unfortunately, like many other advocates of a feminist agenda, they have extrapolated their own suffering and assumed that most women share their sense of loss and rejection.  Indeed, one psychologist has argued that their militant feminism stems from their own problems with parental attachment.

Dr. Brenda Hunter’s study of new mothers found that those who planned to stay home with their babies were most likely from nurturing, stable families with both parents offering positive role models.  Conversely, those wanting to return to work tend to have had relationship difficulties, usually with their fathers.  She found the latter group more likely to identify themselves as feminists.

Ironically, if Dr. Hunter’s thesis is correct, it may be feminists who suffer most from “male oppression” as the “child within” continually seeks father’s acceptance and approval.  This internal struggle distorts their understanding of the needs and wants of psychologically well-adjusted women engaged in raising their families.

“[Feminists] seem to consider stay-at-home mothers as the witless dupes of patriarchy,” writes Janet E. Smith.  “They tend to discount the experience of women who find fulfillment in marriage and family and who have satisfying relationships with the men central to their lives; their fathers, their boyfriends, husbands and male so-workers.  This experience does not count in the articulation of the feminist agenda.”

“Agenda” feminism cannot co-exist with the values which typically reside in traditional families.  The push for universal daycare, for example, does not meet the real needs of women or their children.  It is a social experiment of monumental proportions with children used as guinea pigs.

Smith accurately observes, “Feminists generally are more concerned to see the workplace restructured so that it allows women with small children to remain at the job than to restructure the economic system so that it allows mothers with small children to stay at home.”

It is important to note that the StatsCan data may be misleading, because they do not distinguish between part-time or temporary work and full-time permanent employment.  Nor do they indicate what percentage might be home-based employment.  They merely indicate the number of women who worked at all during the week prior to the census.  That includes anything from minding a child for a neighbour after school to running a corporation.

Universal daycare is expected to be an important election issue this year, and this inflated statistic on working mothers is sure to be used to justify the “need” for such a program.

That this motherhood-and-apple-pie issue is being promoted by the same folks who brought you abortion-on-demand should not be overlooked.  The working mother/daycare propaganda is not unlike the abortion jargon of facilitated, and by doing so, the other choice – the one which favours the interest of the child – becomes increasingly difficult.