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The Almighty Buck

Do Techies Care For Daycare? 252

Posted by Cliff
from the keep-the-rugrats-out-of-the-server-room-please dept.
DeICQLady writes "After browsing this, I remembered numerous days on my co-op when my mentor and other engineers had to come up with ways to entertain their children (when they had to be out of school, snowstorm, et al.) and had to do this instead of concentrating on work. I have not heard of many companies wanting to do anything about it. Is it that techies don't want (need?) it? Would it be to our advantage if companies were concerned about providing this for us? Why or why not?" The majority of "techies" are still young, male and single so daycare really isn't a factor for them until they are well into their careers. However, this majority is quickly dwindling and it may due to think about other 'perks' that the workplace can offer other than free cell phones and Internet access. What do you all think?
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Do Techies Care for Daycare?

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  • but if you let someone else handle your kids, do you want to take responsibility? would you rather come up with ways to entertain your kids or would you rather let them watch tv?

    if they're old enough, give them lego, if they're not, give them duplo. but keep them with you... hell telecommute if you have to, but don't leave your kids unattended until they're 'old enough' to handle themselves.
    --
    Peace,
    Lord Omlette
    ICQ# 77863057
  • I don't have kids, and I won't but I worked for SAS Corporation in Cary, NC, US a while back. They're famous for how well they treat their employees, and I think that they have daycare AND preschool right on their campus. Parents often ate lunch with their kids. Not only could parents be more productive by not having to worry about daycare (when SAS was open, so was the daycare), but employee satisfaction, thus employee retention at that company is among the highest in the industry.

  • The fact is, I would be much more willing to work for a given company if I had a less than school-age child for whom the company would provide daycare services. I'd say that this is a benefit which would make workers much happier than free cell phones or even company cars.

  • this could be very good. You are right in that most of the techies for whom this would be a good thing have been around for awhile and that these are the people who don't need it for the money but more for the taking care of the kids so they can get their job done sort of thing. I think that setting up a onsite deal would be overkill too much money and not enough people using it. But arranging for a last minute drop off at a place that is close to work and with whom the company has a good realationship would be a good thing. This would give them a good way to take care an emergency. I'm thinking that most of the techs who need something ongoing have arragenments with which they are happy and that the company just needs to provide a net for those days when things go wrong.
  • Well, I don't have kids, I'm not married, and I'm currently sans girlfriend, so I really can't see how this is an issue for me.

    But, daycare seems to work just fine for lots of kids, so why would it be different for techies? Other then the fact that they tend to work a lot more hours a week, have incredibly odd schedules, can take a lot of trips to deal with on-site problems, and are generally lacking in social skills...

    Why nothing at all... actually daycare may be the best thing for them... gives them time with normal people...

    Oh, and telecommuting is not an option for everyone. A lot of businesses don't have the option, or severely restrict it.

    Kierthos
  • by Zigg (64962) on Monday November 06, 2000 @08:33AM (#645694)

    I highly recommend that anyone who would call for IT companies (or any company, for that matter) to provide daycare while they are also calling for parental responsibility instead of government censorship think twice about what they are saying. By giving your children, which are supposed to be the most important thing in your life, to daycare, you are explicitly opting out of taking parental responsibility.

    My own children will never be in "daycare". Until they start going to school, they'll either be cared for by myself or my wife, or another family member, even if it means we have to live that much more frugally. Those engineers who had to "entertain their children" instead of "concentrating on work" (doesn't that ring alarm bells in anyone else's heads?) had the right idea.

  • But, daycare seems to work just fine for lots of kids

    Excuse me? Did you look at the progress of the human race as a whole lately? You know, starvation, wars, religious disputes. Oh wait, we already did that before daycare kicked in. Oh well, go ahead, give your kids to KILLER NANNY.
  • Employees using day care services can pay for it with lower salaries than single workers. Don't force me to subsidize your kids. Besides, if IT workers are so highly paid, then why isn't your spouse at home 24/7 with the kids? Can't afford that? Don't have time for that? Then why are you having kids?
  • As a young father and a tech professional, daycare on the job is important to me, but rarely even an option. My feeling is that the lack of daycare is directly due to the lack of corporate loyalty among the tech industry. Most of us are essentially hired guns; freelancers who are loyal to our community and our focus, but rarely to our company. Thus, due to high turnover and an unreasonable focus on providing $200 gadgets to people earning six figure salaries (as a means of luring them), there is little focus on the elemental pillars of life (ie. techie's with family responsibilities, personal necessities, physical abnormalities, etc.). The real question is this.....while we bicker about whether there is such a thing as a virtual community, can anyone even explain to me whether there is a REAL, non-abstracted techie community?

    1. O P E N___S O U R C E___H U M O R [mikegallay.com]
  • I think that helping with daycare is a great idea but most employers don't offer it because of the cost. It costs a lot of money to find a place, buy equipment (toys, stuff for food, tables...) and hire competent staff.

    You are more likely to find this situation if you work for a large company whose main focus is not just IT. The greater the number of people in the company the more of a mix of situations, sexes and ages of workers so there will probably be more demand for daycare.

    My wife and I had this discussion recently because we are finishing an adoption of two children under two. Fortunately for us my wife will be able to quit her job and stay home with them which is probably best for all kids but just not practical for many people today.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    I've been a techie for over two decades. I have children and get to deal with caring for them somehow. I do use my high-speed home Internet for telecommuting when I can, but usually the client environment does not allow that. Child care is an issue. (And I post anonymously just because this part of my personal life doesn't need to be connected to my public techie persona.)
  • At my current place of employment, I could probably enroll myself in day care.

    It sounds to me like day care is just one more perk that your employer would like to throw at you to keep you from leaving when something better comes down the road. In all honesty, I don't know why child care wasn't offered sooner. Hell, there are companies in Silicon Valley that'll walk your dog for you, then bring him back to your cube.

    Why shouldn't they take my kid outside to crap in a bush, too?

  • by empesey (207806) on Monday November 06, 2000 @08:37AM (#645704) Homepage
    I would love for someone to feed me cookies and juice while I'm working. I wouldn't turn down an attractive female singing songs to me while I'm debugging some heinous code either. I'd get a box full of toys (which I would gladly share with the other programmers). Currently my job doesn't allow me to take naps, but with daycare it's part of the package.

    Sign me up.

  • by Ratteau (183242) on Monday November 06, 2000 @08:42AM (#645708) Homepage

    Daycare is a very responsible thing to do for your children. This is certainly not opting out of anything -- its not as if you would have been there with them at that time anyway, you would have been at work. Remember, the person you are going to be is pretty much defined by the age of 6 (I cannot give a specific footnote here, sorry), and this interaction is very important.

    Responsible parents check out multiple daycare centers in their community, get references, etc. It is the start of education, and where most kids begin to develop their social skills, i.e. how to deal with other children, share, etc.

    And daycare is not just for preschoolers -- many offer programs for younger elementary school children after school and before their parent(s) get home.

    You have some good points about living more frugally, but some people just cannot do that, and I think your opening statment is a bit extreme

  • I like the fact that some companies offer daycare on-premise. Unfortunately, Netscape isn't one of them. My wife and I don't have any children yet, but when we do, I would like to get them involved in a Daycare, so that we (my wife and I), can both continue to work.
    It's a very good thing for children to interact with other children also. It builds character and relationships. It teaches kids to interact with each other, and also build friendships. I like daycares, and would like to have one down here when i plan to breed :)
  • I don't think its high on companies priorities for retaining staff, but if they want to retain the older experienced coders it should be.

    I'm just finishing the 4th year of a Software Engineering Honours degree and became a dad last year.

    When I go back into the big wide world again, working conditions and childcare will take precedance over salary.

    I'd love to work at a company that provides a decent creche, but I'd be more impressed if my kid left the creche and actually learnt something creative.

    Hi-Tech companies should be trying to inspire the coders of tomorrow. I'd love to see a creche where they make the kids learn creatively using graphics packages like the GIMP to draw their first pictures, or programming robots using lego mindstorms.

  • What do you all think?

    I think people should stop being selfish and hateful, and learn how to love each other again. Then, we wouldn't have so many divorces (and yes, you divorcees, it's partially your fault). As well as that, every set of parents should do absolutely everything in their power to leave one parent at home.

    Me? I sleep better knowing that my children are being raised by my wife, whom I trust completely. (As an aside - if you think about it, you'll realize that kids in day care are raised by other kids more than the day care workers. That's frightening.)

    That's the best solution. Anything else is a cheap imitation.
  • For those of us with a spouse/partner:

    Rather than give us the perqs of daycare, why not pay us the additional dollars so we can afford to have our spouse/partner can stay home and raise the kids?

    I have noticed a lot of young couples are going back to this "old-fashioned" way of family life.

    -JoeF
  • I don't believe that sending your children to a good (emphasis on that) daycare facility is any more of a parental copout than sending them to school. In both cases, they end up being taken care of by relative strangers who you hope will not undo your hard work as parent (regarding things like critical thinking and behavior).

    I think for only children it is actually a good thing to get them used to interacting with other children at an early age. I have a sister who is 13 years younger than me, so I basically grew up as an only child. I didn't go to daycare, but my sister did. I think she has turned out to be much more comfortable in social situations than me, and while who knows what other factors might be involved, I think being around other children from an early age probably helped.

    Sending your children to daycare is not giving up responsibility for them, and I think that companies are well served to make childcare available (off-site, with a high quality daycare facility that is more than a child dumping ground) at a discount for ongoing service, or at least for those emergencies when the usual arrangements fail.

    Wind
  • Are there any techies out there with enough social skills to actually find a mate and manage to procreate? Why get married and have kids when you could be spending your evenings in the basement writing code?

    Disclaimer: this message is posted in jest (Score: 5, Funny). I happen to be a husband and father (and techie) myself, so I know that this is a serious issue.
    --
  • I'd guess that employer-sponsored daycare, even if the costs were passed on dollar for dollar to employees, would be very welcome if they made room for it onsite. Even if most techies remained male, they still may well want daycare down the road, because they may have wives who work in other industries that aren't so obliged to provide good benefits to attract employees.

    That said, let me add that in many tech jobs, a cell phone isn't a 'perk' anyhow. It's just another way for your employer to harass you after-hours, and keep you working 24x7.

    From an economic standpoint, daycare makes sense if you can make considerably more than your daycare costs. I haven't had a chance to face this particular dilemna yet, but imagine this scenario:

    Husband: $110k/yr as an engineer manager
    Wife: $65k/yr as, say, a sysadmin, or QA tester

    Let's say, for the sake of argument, this is California. With the marriage penalty in place on their income, all her income (if you consider her working vs not working) is taxed at 31, then 36% for a small portion, federal. 9.3% CA tax. So, her $65k, just assuming a 41.3% effective tax rate (which is low, factoring in Social Security and other payroll-based taxes), has dropped to 38k. Now she has to pay for daycare. She's working full time, so that's 200 days per year. Let's say that 1/4 of those are during summer. That's 150 days of childcare for 3 hours, say, and 50 days of childcare for 10 hours. Assuming $7/hr for daycare, she's now paying $6650/yr per child. On 2 children, that means $13300, a cost of working, lowering her net income to $24500. Again, these numbers are generous. Daycare could easily cost more (especially in the valley), taxes take a larger bite. And then the parents have to ask: is it worth not having one full-time parent for the income? In the silicon valley, they may be so tight there's no choice, because of soaring housing costs. Of course, this analysis changes a lot for single parents who must have daycare, and either way, I think many large employers can become more attractive to 'established' workers, because you have to be fairly sizable to do daycare in house. But I live 10 minutes from Dell HQ, and their campus is colossal. Several of my neighbors work there. Having daycare (which they probably do) would undoubtedly go over very well, and help them to compete for workers against fresh startups with enticing options and chances for advancement.

    So, in the end, the question I have to ask is: will daycare attract workers only? Or will it actually create them? (by drawing stay-at-home parents into the workforce they left behind because the childcare is a reasonable option)
  • I always get a sense that the high tech force is a young one that may not even have kids to put in daycare--or ones that are old enough. So, any demand for daycare as high tech perk may only just be starting. The other thing is that day care is a fairly rare benefit. A lot of government and university positions may have it, but I've seldom seen it offered as a benefit in any corporate position I've bid on. And, when I have its almost always available only at the company HQ. The other reason why we may not see this at high tech firms is because the need is being filled to some extent elsewhere. First off, how many us actually work at a high tech firm as opposed to the info tech department in a place that does someting else as its main business? Secondly, I often see sort of parental split among couples. The guy takes the job at the wizzo high paying tech haus, while the gal takes the government/university job with the lower pay and top notch benefits. So, I don't know if techies are actually asking for daycare as benefit or option.

  • By giving your children [...] to daycare, you are explicitly opting out of taking parental responsibility.

    I don't want to use too much technical jargon here, but...

    Bullshit.

    My wife and I overlap our work schedules such that our son is in daycare 4.5 hours a day. This hardly qualifies as him being raised by someone else. He gets loads of attention every day from both of us, but while at daycare, he learns social skills he can't get at home (where there are no other children). Our daycare providers are loving parents themselves who care for their charges as if they were their own children.

    There is absolutely no truth to the idea that your child will be unjustly deprived unless one or the other parent is supervising him or her at all times.

  • Killer nannys aren't the problem. It's the idea of kids in day care generally being raised by the other kids in day care. That's not good for the children. Their role models are either the adults there, who have no real reason to actually love the children (although many do), or the other children, or whatever crap they see on television.

    I'll take my wife over any of those, any day.
  • by big_groo (237634) <groovis@g m a i l.com> on Monday November 06, 2000 @09:03AM (#645728) Homepage
    Opting out of taking parental responsibility?? Are you mad?

    This is an exccellent example of providing parental responsibility! You have to actively interview the said "daycare" to see if it is right for your child. Daycare workers have degrees in Developmental Psychology, Early childhood education, etc. etc. etc. If anything, they're more qualified than YOU are to raise a kid.

    You make it sound as if we're dropping our kids off at "Less's Crack House/Daycare Centre"

    What exactly do you think Kindergarten is? Glorified daycare. Daycare provides a child with something you cannot. Socialization skills. You can't provide that in the home - unless you're a Mormon with an enormous family - that would explain the "parental responsibility" comment.

    Some people simply can't afford to not work. We were fortunate enough to have my wife take 2 years off. What about the single mothers? Single fathers? Unless, of course, you're happy with welfare...
  • First let me just say you are an idiot.

    Employees using day care services can pay for it with lower salaries than single workers. Don't force me to subsidize your kids.

    Companies will subsidize daycare to attract and keep employees. Just like they subsidize health care and offer investment opportunities to their employees. If you do not have children you do not participate in the daycare, just like if you already have health insurance you will not participate in the company's health insurance program.

    Then why are you having kids?,

    I'd like to ask your parents the same question.
  • by nellardo (68657) on Monday November 06, 2000 @09:09AM (#645733) Homepage Journal
    I highly recommend that anyone who would call for IT companies (or any company, for that matter) to provide daycare while they are also calling for parental responsibility instead of government censorship think twice about what they are saying.
    Okay. I'm a parent. My daughter (4 years old) is in daycare full time. Any form of government censorship is repugnant to me.

    So let's look at this again:

    By giving your children, which are supposed to be the most important thing in your life, to daycare, you are explicitly opting out of taking parental responsibility.
    I'm sorry - this just doesn't make sense. How have I opted out of parental responsibility by choosing how my daughter will be cared for? I have taken responsibility for deciding what kind of environment she is in. I talk with her every day about what happened at "school". Any problems she had, anything especially fun she did, anything especially significant she accomplished (like when she counted to 102). Where have I opted out of parental responsibility? Just because I am not personally around her every moment of every day? I've got news for you - that kind of hovering is smothering. You get children that can't decide anything for themselves.

    Raising a child is not about producing a clone of yourself. Raising a child is about helping a human being reach his or her full potential. Exposing a child to new environments is letting the child learn. Your child will never learn to walk if you catch them before they fall.

  • That is *such* an insane generalization. Catering to the majority and ignoring the minority? There are plenty of women in the technology field. If there is a need in a company for daycare, it should be offered. As a female geek, I plan on having children with my future-husband. I would be much more inclined to work for a company who offered day-care. Having your children nearby in company daycare is very convenient, especially if there is any sort of problem like a child falling ill. And no worrying about driving to another day-care to pick up your kids after work etc. I can completely understand the employees wanting emplyer-provided internet access and discounted home PC's, but family is definitely more important than geeks toys and internet access.
  • by Masem (1171) on Monday November 06, 2000 @09:13AM (#645740)
    I don't understand why more IT departments have daycare -- think of how much MORE code you could produce in a day if you put the tykes to work (and the working are paying the company to keep them there!). And since they are 'temporary' , you don't need to worry about stock options!

  • by twitter (104583) on Monday November 06, 2000 @09:14AM (#645742) Homepage Journal
    Responsible parents raise their children. Daycare falls short in many ways, and the poster was not extreem.

    As rhesus monkey experiments show, infants need the security and comfort of a mother, not the "social interaction" of a daycare baby factory. Haven't you seen the films of monkeys raised on wire cages with a bottle as a mom? They grew up sociopaths because the world had never provided them warmth or security. What makes you think some overworked daycare "proffesional" is going to be able to provide any more love? Putting you child into one of these places where they are abandoned in a crib surrounded by the cries of all thier peers is just cruel.

    What do you get in return for this abandonment, more money? Huh! If your wife makes less than $25,000 you are loosing money on that second car, day care, and her wardrobe, so quit slaving her.

    Very few women I know really like the "liberation" and "empowerment" of work. What double think.

  • To hell with my moderator points...

    I want this. My kids often have "pupil-free" days at school. Even with advance warning, we can't get daycare, because their sitters *are* in school, and their grandparents work. Of course, daycare would hve to be available on an "as needed" basis, not as a pre-signup thing.

    The only problem is that a lot of the missed days come from dealing with sick kids, and no daycare in their right mind should accept sick kids (can you say "liability"? I knew you could...).

    But it would definitely be a step in the right direction. I've interviewed in a few places, and probably not gotten an offer because I've told them flat out that I "have a life". It's about time the industry got a little bit "family friendly".
  • As for me, I couldn't care less for day care - no kids, ain't gonna have 'em - so I have no use for it.

    That said, I've got nothing against companies that provide it, so long as they provide something of similar value to those of us who won't be taking care of it. Give benefits to your breeders, but don't overlook your nonbreeders.

    Thankfully, I work for a perceptive and conscientious employer, whose HR department goes to extraordinary lengths to keep things fair.

    For instance, many breeders (quite justifiably) need "a day off every now and then to take Sprogulina to the doctor/dentist". The medical professions don't work to your company's schedule, after all.

    But rather than say "If you have kids, you get one day off every month to take care of them", our HR department said "all employees get a day off every month for whatever they want". Let's see here:

    • If you're a breeder, you can take Sprogulina to the doc, or take a day off to take care of her when she's running a fever of 103.
    • If you have no kids, but your parents are running a fever of 103, you've got a day for elder care.
    • If you've got pets, you can take Fluffy to the vet. Ask any pet owner - Fluffy's worth a day off too.
    • Breeder or not, pets or not, if you don't need the day for anything, you can go rock-climbing, have a long weekend, stand in line at the DMV to get your license renewed, or whatever the hell you want.

    The secret to successfully apportioning a limited benefits-budget among your staff is never to pit one class of employees against another.

    My HR department understands this, and I'm thankful for their efforts every day I come to work. Even our recreational events typically have a good balance between "activities for the kiddies and their parents" versus "a space for the adults to be away with the kids". (And before you think a childfree person is running HR, think again - our HR manager has two young'uns herself.)

    I have no doubt that if my employer offers daycare - a perk to breeders worth $300-500 per month - it would also offer a perk of similar value (or a cash bonus for non-participants in the daycare program) to the rest of its staff.

    But if my employer were to offer its breeding employees $5000/year in after-tax benefits (about $8000/year pre-tax), and non-breeders didn't get a similar shake, I'd resign in protest. Nor will I work for a company that doesn't offer its childfrees the same deal it offers its breeders.

    Retention is a two-edged sword, and fairness in benefits isn't just right from an ethical perspective, it makes good business sense too.

  • Yeah, but keep in mind this: the $200 gadget is a one-time, $200 per employee perq.

    With child care, you need licensing, insurance, and you're paying tens of dollars per hour per child care worker, plus opening yourself up to MILLIONS in liability if something happens to little kimmie, plus "eating up" valuable office space. In certain markets (Seattle, Boston) where space is absolutely at a premium, it's like, "why not just hand out Palm Pilots instead?"
  • Two articles on slashdot about quality of life issues for programmers. First slashdot-izens cry foul on Philip Greenspun's view that techies should work 70+ hours, now we beg for on-site daycare.

    What does this all mean?

    Are slashdot-izens growing up?

    Is slashdot reaching out for a new audience?

    Are slashdot readers just feeling burnt out?

    Is it just a Monday thing?

    Or... is it all just a sign that today is the day to tell my office that my wife is pregnant?

  • I don't have kids, but if we had daycare here I'd bring them in off the streets! Hallelujah brothers!

    The other day some kid asked me for a quarter at Chik-Fil-A. I was feeling generous, I gave them a buck.

    Philantropy baby!

  • As a new parent, I have to disagree. Far be it from me to tell another parent how to raise his or her children, but I do use daycare and I feel it's the right choice for us. Here's some of the benefits that I perceive:

    • Her social and emotional well-being seem to be much healthier than my own.
    • We really need the break from each other. It's important that we lead our own lives. I found that while I was on maternity leave, we were developing an unhealthy dependence on each other.
    • When I am home, I spend the vast majority of my free time interacting with her, but I think we're spending more quality time together now.
    • Since I'm homebody and somewhat asocial, I know she's getting much richer experience out of the house.
    • I've also learned quite a bit from the people running the daycare that I may have had to discover the hard way.
    • I'm hoping that when my daughter is old enough to start kindergarten, she will already have at least one friend in her class.

    My decision to use daycare was not an abdication of parental responsibility. It's a personal decision where in my case, the pros outweighed the cons. I view daycare as surrogate parents for your child. This means it's very important to find a place that has as little turn over as possible (daycare seems to have a high turnover rate to begin with) and to find people who will respect your wishes in caring for your child. It can be very difficult if not impossible to find such place. A corporate sponsored daycare may be convenient, but I'd only use it if I felt good about the people working there.

    -Jennifer

  • The real question is this.....while we bicker about whether there is such a thing as a virtual community, can anyone even explain to me whether there is a REAL, non-abstracted techie community?

    I am at firest inclinded say "it depends on your definition of 'community'", but really, the answer is "no" for all conceivable definitions.

    Community is a localized phenomenon (this does not rule out virtual community, if you consider cyberspace a locality, as most geeks do). A bunch of people with something in common is merely a demographic, or a subculture at most. A community is a bunch of people which, at the very, absolute least interact (regularly, frequently, importantly). So for a non-virtual geek community to happen, you need (for starters) a physical population density of geeks which is quite high. That limits your choices to a very few places in the US (dunno about outside the US). I live in one of those places (Cambridge, MA).

    But even if you have that population density, community is a way of interacting which most geeks are neither into nor very good at. For instance, geeks are much better at being loyal to a cause than to a group of people. For instance, geeks prefer not to have to initiate socializing. For instance, geeks don't like to have to deal with the piddling details of people's lives. For instance, geeks don't respect ritual or other social technologies. (All for most geeks; there are of course exceptions.)

    But if you meant merely a self-aware subculture of techies, self-declaring as such and looking out for one another, well, geeks are really terrible about looking out for anyone (including themselves, but especially others).

    So, well, no.

  • Hi!

    Any tech employer with a brain knows the numbers: unemployment (overall) is at an all-time low; tech unemployment is simply nonexistant (if you can spell "VB" in New York City you can get a job); and the situation isn't changing any time soon. When Burger King is advertising $7 an hour, plus health insurance and (I'm not making this up) a 401k plan you know the job market is tight. How do you find employees?

    An interesting fact to remember is that employment statistics aren't what you think they are. The "unemployed" that count in the stats are people who have been employed that are now receiving unemployment benefits. If you've never had a full-time job, if you never filed for unemployment, or if your unemployment benefits have expired, you don't count in the stats. The people who count these things at the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics [stats.bls.govtargetblank] calculate the employment rate based on people presently working or collecting benefits.

    There are tech workers out there...
    There are tech workers to be found--and IMHO the largest cohort are skilled, experienced tech workers who'd love to pick up a job. They're moms who want to stay at home with their children, but still make the bucks you can make in the IT world. Those workers are generally much more sensitive to employee benefits than they are to salary--they're far more interested in working hours (and the limits to working hours) than they are in what they'll make per hour. If you create a workplace where telecommuting and bring-the-kids-on-a-snow-day are acceptable, employers can find a lot of talent.

    That said, I'm not sure that SlashDot is the place to ask whether techs care about employee benefits. The SlashDot crowd has a heavy representation of young kids, in or just out of college, that is heavily male. IOW, very few Slashdotters are wondering about Mommy-track decisions, so your answers may not be that helpful. If you're contemplating a Mommy-track kind of career choice, yes--there are employers who are sensitive to your concerns. And trust me--as the economic expansion continues, there will be more of them.

  • Haven't you seen the films of monkeys raised on wire cages with a bottle as a mom?

    Now, was it the bottle as a mom, or was it the wire cages which caused them to be sociopaths? To have a truly effective experiment on this, you'd have to eliminate the wire cage and put them in their natural environment without a mom.

    However, interaction with other childern is VERY important to a child's development. I'm planning on play dates for mine rather than daycare, but for some people daycare is the only choice they have.

    (OT)
    Also, $25,000 a year should be able to more than cover a car (you don't have to buy new), wardrobe (if you have to have a new outfit for every day, get over yourself - my wardrobe costs me under $200 a year, and my wife's is probably about $500) and daycare. After taxes and things like gas to get back and forth and stuff, you should still have about $10,000 from that job. Not a whole lot, but you're definately not losing money. I just figured out that I'd have $8,000 from a $25,000 a year job if I had my more expensive car ($20,000), my wife's wardrobe (granted, this isn't stuff I'd wear =), and one child in daycare. You could go a LOT cheaper on that car, and a bit cheaper on the wardrobe too.

    -
  • I always get a kick out pepole with your outlook.

    Have you ever been to a "good" day care?

    My daughter goes to day care for 2 main reasons:

    First, as a family we cannot provide for her everything we want her to experience on a single income. Thus my wife and I both work.
    Second, a properly run day care has professionals who are there to teach my daughter the things we cannot teach her at home. There are other children there as well. This helps her to become a social person. She learns to interact with her peers, something she cannot get at home with just her mother and I.

    Take 2 children, one who stays at home with mom or dad all the time and one who interacts with their peers and you will see a major difference in how they interact. Try to imagine what you would be like if you spent 90% of your time with 1 or 2 other people who were a full generation removed from you. Now imagine those 1 or 2 people were completely responsible for the person you are to become. Kind of scary isn't it?
  • by EricWright (16803) on Monday November 06, 2000 @09:31AM (#645763) Journal
    twitter babbled:
    Very few women I know really like the "liberation" and "empowerment" of work. What double think.

    Wow. I didn't know there were many Amish reading Slashdot. All of the childless women I know prefer working to sitting around at all day. Those women I know who do have kids have career aspirations, too. Staying at home for 5 years will kill any chance they have at a long, successful career in a field of their choosing.

    When you have a child who ISN'T a rhesus monkey, then you can spout off about your experiences. In my experience, my son prefers being able to socialize with other children his age on (mostly) his own terms. He also is growing up without experiencing the stereotype that mothers should stay home popping out babies every year.

    Eric
  • As rhesus monkey experiments show, infants need the security and comfort of a mother, not the "social interaction" of a daycare baby factory. Haven't you seen the films of monkeys raised on wire cages with a bottle as a mom? They grew up sociopaths because the world had never provided them warmth or security. What makes you think some overworked daycare "proffesional" is going to be able to provide any more love? Putting you child into one of these places where they are abandoned in a crib surrounded by the cries of all thier peers is just cruel.

    I agree that is a cruel scenario but it is not the reality of the daycare that I use. The person that looks after my baby has only two others in her charge and regularly gives my daughter plenty of one-on-one interaction. I wouldn't leave her there if it were any other way. I have done surprise inspections, btw, so I know she really is getting this attention. Of course, there is also a lot of group play. Unfortunately, out of all of the daycare centers that I interviewed, this was the only one that offered this kind of attention.

    Very few women I know really like the "liberation" and "empowerment" of work. What double think.

    I won't pretend to know what most women like, but I personally feel the need to work. I'm just not the full-time mommy type. It's wrong to tell anyone what they should or shouldn't do with regard to their children or their career. I love coding and I work in a great environment with fair compensation. My decision to go back work was a personal one, not based money as much as quality of life for my daughter as well as myself.

    -Jennifer

  • We studied this at Sara Lee and it was nixed immediately by upper management. Here's the problem: If there is a problem (molestation, death), the day care immediately becomes "The SARA LEE Daycare", no matter the actual name. This is even true if we were to use an existing day care. Not only would the press hurt the company and generally piss off the stockholders, it would make Sara Lee liable. We couldn't even recommend day cares. We did use an agency that recommended child care options.

    This is called the "Exxon" factor after the Exxon Valdese incident.
  • by Tackhead (54550) on Monday November 06, 2000 @09:40AM (#645770)
    > If you do not have children you do not participate in the daycare, just like if you already have health insurance you will not participate in the company's health insurance program.

    Your analogy is flawed.

    If I already have health insurance, I'm free to cancel it and take advantage of the employer-subsidized one. An investment opportunity is by definition open to all; I don't even have to cancel my existing brokerage account in order to take advantage of a 401(k).

    Consequently, the benefits you mention available to all employees regardless of lifestyle choice. This does not apply to day care. Employers should not be in the business of subsidizing lifestyle choices.

    Let me put it another way: Forgive me for putting words in your mouth, but I'd bet that if your employer said "we're gonna give all the childfrees, singles, and gay employees a $5000/year bonus because they don't jack up our group health premiums with pregnancy expenses and they never take [m|p]aternity leave", you'd be screaming blue murder that it was blatant discrimination based on a lifestyle choice.

    And you'd be absolutely right to do so. Any company that pulled a stunt like that would be guilty of discrimination, and would deserve more than protest, it would deserve lawsuits.

    So why do you consider it OK to discriminate against people who choose not to have kids?

    Understand that I'm not arguing against provision of day care per se. I'm arguing against a company that provides day care to its breeding employees, but nothing to its non-breeding employees.

    Got a problem with me being "childfree"? OK, what about a couple who desperately wants kids, but is infertile? Same thing applies.

  • Am I understanding this correctly? Or am I being a crumudgeon here?
    "For those of us with a spouse/partner: "
    Are you saying that people who have a partner should be paid more just because they're partner-ed?
    They actually did this in the '50s. Married men were paid more than single men who did the same work. This rationale was also used to keep (single, of course) women's wages down too. Does anyone here think this is right?
  • I knew a manager of a large and successful high-tech company. He told me that his company had a conscious strategy of bringing in pizzas late in the day so that their workers would stay around and put in more hours. They had a number of other perks like this, designed to keep their employees chained to the oars. They also had a policy of giving one-time bonuses and using them to guilt-trip employees who wanted actual pay raises. All-in-all, I'd rather have the money and provide my own benefits (although it certainly makes it attractive that some benefits like day-care aren't taxable). Ever since talking to him, I've been been inclined to look corporate gift-horses in the mouth.
  • I couldn't possibly agree more here... It seems as if "having children" has become a staple assumed-requirement of today's society, where people do it because it's what they're expected to do, when in reality, they have neither the resources nor the time to properly care for their children.

    So many parents today have children, only to pawn them off to day care, soothing their conscience with an obligatory allocation of "quality time", until such time as their children reach school-age. From there, put the responsibility in the hands of the school teachers, who, by the way, are now under so many restrictions and regulations so that they can't so much as put a supporting hand on a kid's shoulder without being brought up in front of a committee. Then these kids grow up, and their parents wonder why the hell the kids never come home, why they hate their parents, and why they have such a hard time expressing any genuine emotion.

    We're getting emotionally sterilized. Daycare is basically going through the motions of parenting, without all that excess "love, caring, support, and guidance" baggage. After all, if our basic survival needs are met, those other things are just a technicality anyway, right? So how does this connect back with IT jobs and daycare? Not directly, I suppose, my problem is more in daycare, and how so many people I know are so emotionally walled-up or bottled-up because their parents never provided them with any real emotional support, so now they don't even trust themselves, let alone anyone else.

    Yes, this is a rant. I'm sorry. But this is something I feel strongly about. Daycare is not the problem, it's a symptom of the emotional detachment of our society. When I finish graduate school, settle down somewhere, assuming I get married (a shaky prospect at best), I wouldn't even consider having children unless I made DAMN sure that I could be there for them in every respect. I don't want a daycare nanny getting paid by the hour to watch my child's first steps, hear my child's first words, and do all the things I want to do with my children. A child is not a trophy to be bronzed, put up on a shelf, and left for someone else to polish now and then, a child is a lifetime investment. Maybe we should start treating them this way. If you can't invest, then don't have the kids! With six billion people in this world, I don't think we're in any danger of going extinct.

    Finally, I would think that IT would be the perfect kind of job to have as a mother or father, because it allows the greatest potential for telecommuting. If I were to have children, this would be my way of making sure that I could be there for them. If that is not an acceptable possibility, then maybe having children isn't something I should be considering. Life is full of experiences, parenthood being one of them. It's not, however, the be-all and end-all of human existence. That having been said, I'll get off my soap box. Take care, and remember to tuck your kids in tonight. They like that.

    /* Steve */
  • Young Johnny running down the hall with a full diaper, catching it on the corner of a desk, and creating a toxic spill in one of the highest traffic halls in the company. The Sara Lee Disaster...
  • One thing that came out of the '60s is this conviction that you have the right to everything. We are living in a society of adults who think like children, where their "wants" are all that matter. What ever happened to responsibility?

    You want children? And you want a career? Take your pick! How dare anyone treat human beings as options, like a car or a big screen TV. Children are people, and especially in the formative years they need to be raised by someone who loves them.

    My wife and I decided early on that one of us would always be home with the kids. For the most part it's been her, but for one year it was me, and as a result, I can't understand why anyone would have children just to farm them out to someone else to raise.

    When I was a kid, my favorite retort was, "I didn't ask to be born." Well, I was right. Your children didn't ask to be born. Are you going to give something up for them, or just add them to your resume as one of your accomplishments?
  • I suspect that most companies don't even consider offering child care (of any sort) because of potential legal problems. Quite aside from having to arrange for liability insurance and the like, in most states, you need to be licensed in order to operate a daycare facility. I suspect that the end result of offering daycare would be much like running two companies, one of which is essentially not-for-profit... and what kind of small (or even mid-sized company) wants that kind of responsibility, or can justify it to investors?

    Overall, if you're trying to convince your company to offer daycare, I think you'd probably be better of making a case for the company to offer childcare assistance, rather than childcare services.

  • It's not even about the points now. I'm just pissed that because some moderator disagrees with my opinion, they choose to mod my post down like the spineless coward he or she is rather than post a rebuttal. This site *used* to promote intelligent discussion, but I guess it would be too much effort to type out a couple of sentences explaining why he/she disagrees.

    Maybe someone's just bitter about this [google.com]!

  • Speaking of child-realted benefits - how prevalent are adoption benefits in technology companies? My wife managed to convince her company to offer an adoption benefit to help employees defray the cost of the adoption; my company seems receptive to the general idea as well (and will probably institute it once I get off my butt and put the proposal together :-)

    So - is this an unusal benefit for a company to offer, or is it something that others have encountered (or taken advantage of) elsewhere? In particular, what size company (under 50, 51-200, 201-500, etc.) is more likely to offer these types of benefits?

  • I'm one of those people who are staying home with my toddler during the day and do the kiddie hand off at 5pm to my spouse. I enjoy parenting, and I *know* it has benefited my toddler, but its clear that my professional life has suffered...

    For instance, there's currently only so many jobs I could do on a part time night/weekend basis since I'm a tech rather than a programmer. I teach now, and make good money doing it, but if I was working full time, I should be a network/sys admin at least...

    The other issue is a lack of professional interaction and support. The Internet aside, there aren't many others I can talk shop with, and I accomplish my personal continuing education on my own (and that's expensive coming out of your own pocket!)

  • > I'll take my wife over any of those, any day.

    Trouble is, she says the same thing about me. What--other than gender stereotypes--says that she should stay at home? She enjoys her career as much as I enjoy mine. And I enjoy mine way too much to give it up and stay home with kids.

    The funny thing is that the stay-at-home-mom approach is most often offered up by people who have never spent any serious amount of time caring for young children and have very bizzare notions of the fulfilment that would bring. Dig deeper with many full time house wives and you will find layers upon layers of resentment and dissatisfaction. However, too many of them have been conditioned into accepting this as the norm, so they would feel like a bad parent if they ever admitted these feelings. There have been plenty of studies on this, it's nothing new.

    This model worked for most of history because in most civilizations the female played a sacrificial role. She was not the equal of the male, so most avenues of self-fulfillment were closed to her. Besides, females have breasts, which are for feeding children, right? What better proof that they are meant to be the caretakers?
  • ...you're an expensive liability to your company.

    At least that's how it looks to me in the bizzare, "Logan's Run" world of IT, where the only people over 30 have titles that start with "C".

    Only half-joking,

    -Isaac

  • $10k to taxes on $25k a year? You pulled that out of your ass.

    At 25k a year and with kids you actually get back more taxes than you pay in (earned income credit).

  • How have I opted out of parental responsibility by choosing how my daughter will be cared for?

    In the same way that you would opt out of parental responsibility by choosing a filtering software for your children's Web access instead of using the Internet with them, or by setting your TV to block shows that are considered evil by either industry or government instead of not allowing them TV at all unless you're with them. You're making a choice to allow someone else to set the standards for your children.

    I've got news for you - that kind of hovering is smothering. You get children that can't decide anything for themselves.

    Excuse me while I go off and weep for myself. I must have been smothered as a child since my grandmother and my mother cared for me. I guess I haven't been making any decisions for myself. I wonder why I got punished for doing things wrong as a child. They must have forced me to make those decisions.

    Your argument is complete and utter hogwash, and it sounds like it comes right out of a daycare pamphlet. You don't get smothering from being in the care of parents or family. You get smothering from people who choose to smother. You can have a daycare worker who smothers your children just as well as a parent.

    Raising a child is not about producing a clone of yourself. Raising a child is about helping a human being reach his or her full potential. Exposing a child to new environments is letting the child learn.

    Heh. I doubt you could produce a clone of yourself even if you tried. Human beings are like that -- they are always coming up with new and different things. The way you present it, one could reason that with exposure to daycare, you'd be producing a clone of the daycare worker instead of the parent.

    That said, I'd sure like to know where you got the idea that being in the care of a loving family member was equivalent to locking a kid up in a little cage in the basement. Kids being cared for by their family are not at a loss here.

  • As an adoptive father... keep in mind that not all parents are, as you put it, "breeders&quot. There are adoptive parents, foster parents, legal guardianships... any number of ways in which a child (of any age) might come into a family.

    Having experienced it, I can comment that adoption is often a much more severe financial burden on a single parent or couple than is having a child (which is generally covered as part of an employee's health benefits). In addition, while many companies offer paid maternity leave, in many instances, this is covered (financially) as if it were a partial disability... again, leaving adoptive parents out in the cold.

    As you pointed out, a good company should understand that it's employees make different lifestyle choices, and that they shouldn't favor parents over non-parents or vice-versa. Likewise, they should realize that there are many types of parents out there, and that there's many more ways to create a family than bearing a child... and that offering benefits to childbearing and childless couples may leave families like mine wondering who decided we weren't siginificant enough to bother with.

  • by Zulfiya (44302) on Monday November 06, 2000 @10:57AM (#645824) Homepage

    I'm a bit amazed at the negativity being aimed at the daycare concept.

    I'd most appreciate corporate sponsored daycare if they sponsored it onsite. You might manage to spend more time with your child - the commute to and from, and breaks. (Consider the number of hours a day smokers spend outside on smoke breaks - surely a parent could justify that much time on "child breaks".) Plus you'd be better able to keep an eye on quality.

  • Daycare is paying others to pretend to be your child's family.

    School is paying others to be teachers to your child.

    If you (and this is to everyone, not explicitly the AC) can't see the difference, perhaps you should reexamine why you'd send a kid to daycare or school in the first place. My personal theory is that you're just getting rid of the kid to make your life more convenient, and what he does there is not as consequential as what it "frees you up" to do.

  • > The fact that I have remained childless is my choice made on firm grounds

    BTW, you may wish to consider the word "childfree" instead of "childless".

    I'm not one for mamby-pamby PC-speak, but this one actually has merit, in that it actually describes something useful.

    "Childless" connotes loss - as though children were something without one's life is somehow empty. For many people (e.g. the infertile, gays who wish to adopt), that's accurate - a child is something they need in their lives, and it's something they lack.

    "Childfree" has no such negative connotation - one is free of the burden of having the thing, and one has made this choice freely.

    Making the distinction may not prevent breeders from asking "so when are you gonna have kids", but it shuts down the even-more-patronizing "Oh, why can't you have kids?" real fast :-)

    More importantly, it means that you can meaningfully tell your HR department that no, offering benefits for the childless (but not childfree), such as fertility treatments covered under a medical plan) is not an adequate substitute.

    The childfree.net [childfree.net] web site is a decent intro to the concept (though it takes itself a little too seriously at times). Suffice it to say you're not alone.

    If you're in the mood for a rant, The Misanthropic Bitch [shutdown.com] has some damn fine ones: Her take on The Weaker Sex [shutdown.com] is the best rant on "Family-Friendly" offices I've ever read, and is IMHO a must-read for people on either side of this issue.

    "If working mothers continue to garner more support and even more rights in the workplace, women who are serious about a career are going to get fucked over. "

  • I want that money too, since I won't be letting daycare workers pretend they're family and raise my children.

  • Staying at home for 5 years will kill any chance they have at a long, successful career in a field of their choosing.

    Bullshit! My mother put her career on hold to be a stay at home mom until I was eight (and my little sister was four) for those eight years she was mostly at home, during lean years she would work part time at night, after my dad was home. I nearly always had a parent around when I was a wee tyke, and it wasn't until my little sis was in school that mom started working on her career again, HR managment. She is doing quite well despite her eight year handicap, and more importantly she managed to raise two healthy, happy, (mostly) well adjusted childern.
    When I eventually start a family one of us will take time off from our precious career for a few years to do something truly important.

  • You've been listening to that bitch Dr. Laura too much.
  • If I already have health insurance, I'm free to cancel it and take advantage of the employer-subsidized one. An investment opportunity is by definition open to all; I don't even have to cancel my existing brokerage account in order to take advantage of a 401(k).

    I agree with your point about the investment opportunity, touche (or whatever). But with health insurance (as with a child care option) you would have a choice. If you do not want health care ou do not take it. You are still in essence helping to subsidize it for other employees. The same thing applies for child care. Your employer makes the decision to subsidize it so every employee pitches in so to speak. Those who wish to take advantage of it do. If you do not ave children you do not take advantage of it, just like if you do not want health insurance you do not take advantage of that.

    Consequently, the benefits you mention available to all employees regardless of lifestyle choice. This does not apply to day care. Employers should not be in the business of subsidizing lifestyle choices.

    So what you are saing is my employer should not provide a gym or subsidize a gym membership. I may have made a lifestyle choice to work out every day but why should that fat guy down the hall have to subsidize my membership? Employers are in the business of subsidizing lifestyle choices because that is what attracts employees. We could go so far as to say that even health maintenance is a lifestyle choice. So employers should stop offering health insurance?

    Let me put it another way: Forgive me for putting words in your mouth, but I'd bet that if your employer said "we're gonna give all the childfrees, singles, and gay employees a $5000/year bonus because they don't jack up our group health premiums with pregnancy expenses and they never take [m|p]aternity leave", you'd be screaming blue murder that it was blatant discrimination based on a lifestyle choice.

    First, I don't know where you live but child care is a hell of alot more than $5,000/yr. :-). I think your argument here is flawed. I pay more for my health insurance because I have family coverage. More than twice as much as a single employee. Also, I do not get paid paternity leave if I choose to take it. I must use vacation, then it becomes unpaid. I understand your point, but I pay more because I get more, so there is no point to give others a kickback. Unless we paid the same amount.

    So why do you consider it OK to discriminate against people who choose not to have kids? Understand that I'm not arguing against provision of day care per se. I'm arguing against a company that provides day care to its breeding employees, but nothing to its non-breeding employees.

    I understand what you are saying but it seems to me you are assuming day care would be a completely free perk to employees with children. I doubt many companies do that. I do not want to assume too much from your words but in most situations day care is like health care. It is subsidized by the company to help defer the costs to employees who wish to use it. If you choose not to use it then you do not pay for. However, since the company subsidizes things like day care and health care, all employees are, in a sense, paying for it.
    Why is it OK with you if you help subsidize your co workers' health care but not OK to help subsidize child care? Simple, you do not use the child care. I wonder if you would feel the same way about health care or subsidized gym memberships if you did not use them?
  • It strikes me that the solution to the problem might be for the woman to find a job where she gets paid more than a pittance, and find a daycare where they don't just pen kids and let 'em suffer, rather than giving up completely on having her own career. You're writing as if the wife's working was the husband's decision, and she can't possibly be the family breadwinner.

    Besides, I bet you don't always feel "liberated" and "empowered" by work either. But it sure would beat being isolated at home all day with the kids, and completely dependent on one person you only see early in the morning and late at night, don'cha think?

    No, I don't feel liberated persuing someone else's bottom line all day. Though I have friends, I feel isolated enough in my cubicle, don't you? My first rewared is that my wife will not have to work. This is something we talked about BEFORE we got married. My second reward is the good feeling I get helping to put 1 gigawatt onto the grid. Life could be worse for me.

    Life is worse for those who think they don't have that option. Supply and demand dictate that the women who ignore their children to toil beside me reduce my potential earnings. At some point this is, like you said, starts to feel less like a choice but economic neccesity. I worked hard and got lucky, but my wife and I agree that we would rather be poor than have her chase her career at our children's expense. We were going to have to move to some place with decent public education if things did not go so well for me.

    My sister has a different problem. Her career has taken off out of all proportion to her husband's. This is in part because she worked hareder, but also due to the smaller pool of women applicants she had to compete with. There is no way her husband can ever catch up, and he's going to end up Mr. Mom. It's a little irksome to my sister's employers and her. She's got a responsible position that she just can't leave for a month or so, but she will. She is also going to miss out on a lot of things that my wife could not. Mr. Mom is not to broken up about things.

  • Your son's manners will be as bad or worse than your own. It's hard to decide if nature or nurture is to blame.
  • I'm working at home part time as a consultant, and my wife is staying home as well. It's ideal, but we're making some sacrifices to offer almost all of our time to our kid. I just had lunch with my family and played chess with my daughter (she's almost 3) afterward. We don't have a car, we've cut back on how much we eat out, and I'm using Celeron 500s, but it's worth it.

    We just recently looked at what has to be one of the best daycare centers in America, the feeder preschool to St. Anne's prep in Brooklyn. The kids were learning about Monet and had iMacs to play with. But, they all looked tired, dazed, and generally bored. Though the place was well staffed, there's still only so many hugs to go around, and there was only one male instructor. The instructors there were highly qualified, but in general, how much return do you really expect to get for $7/hour?

    Some kids like the interaction, and by three or so many are ready for it. The four-year-olds were doing much better. Nonetheless, nobody can provide more love, attention, and affection for your child than you can. I particularly liked that post that said the first six years are the most important, so choose your daycare wisely. The first three are critical, and you have to be there most of the time. A few hours a day of daycare may be necessary to save your sanity, but your kid will suffer it you let someone else raise them.

    If an employer provides daycare, it would be a step in the right direction, especially for older kids that need attention after school. But, that sort of deal really needs to be coupled with full employer respect for our outside lives. This benefits both the childfree and parents. We need to return to the 40-hour work week. Greenspun should go back to the decompression chamber for a little longer. One of the best ways to spend more time with your young child is to go back to school for a cushy degree. I'm planning to get my MBA when I have my next kid.

  • > Then you have no business having children.

    And you have no business telling me what my business is. Classic catch-22.
  • It's more than just personal responsibility. It's an (indirect) tax on the housewifes.

    Before you fly off the handle, think about it. Everyone receives a lower wage to account for the extra costs involved. The benefits, however, accrue to the dual income and single parent family. Then net result is a transfer from the housewife family to the other families.

    Realize that your benefits are not without cost. Paychecks are smaller by exactly the cost of providing them (and the same applies to the so-caled "employer" section of your social security taxe: your wages are roughly 7.6% lower to accomodate this). The same "housewife tax" problem applies to tax deductions for daycare that do not also accrue to housewifes.

    This is not to say that it is less efficient for employer's to provide daycare--it may well be less expensive to have the daycare there on the premises--but that this isn't the freebie it sounds like, and there's a definite subsidy from the lower income family (1 paycheck) to the higher income family (2 paychecks).

    hawk, speaking as an economics professor

    hmm, this could make a good test question :)

    [now we see how many of my students read slashdot . . . :) ]
  • >Remember, the person you are going to be is pretty much defined by the age of 6 (I cannot give a specific footnote here, sorry)

    The sex of the person is defined by the age of 6 - Sigmund Freud (and this has nothing to do with your biological sex)
  • Read the fscking post. The submitter specifically talked about things like "days on my co-op when my mentor and other engineers had to come up with ways to entertain their children (when they had to be out of school, snowstorm, et al.) and had to do this instead of concentrating on work"

    The submitter is not talking about full-time day care in this instance.

    Yes, my wife did stay home to watch the kids, but we still put them in daycare 2-3 days a week because SHE was going stir-crazy.

    And no, we didn't consider it abrogating our parental responsibility. If you don't like that, you can bite my shiny metal ass.
  • <blockquote>In my case, daycare has helped. Even if I were to stay home, it would be necessary. I become depressed and dependent when I stay at home for prolonged periods of time with my daughter. I can't take care of her if I don't take care of myself. This is not an issue of self-indulgence. It's an issue of survival.</blockquote>
    <p>If that is so, then like so many of the "me" generation, you are an utter failure as a parent.

    Consciousness is not what it thinks it is
    Thought exists only as an abstraction
  • You know, I told myself "Self, don't answer - they're just flamebait." But I can't resist.... Be warned....
    How? By letting a stranger teach and instill values for half the child's waking hours!
    As a divorced dad, well, my daughter's mother seems like something of a stranger these days. Should I take my daughter away from her mother? How about her mother's boyfriend? Or my girlfriend (supposing for a moment that I had one :-( )

    I'm sure you think mom doesn't constitute a stranger, but frankly, she's not the same person I married - for one thing, she's making a big deal about being Catholic, something she never did before. I don't especially want my daughter raised Catholic. What do you suggest I do?

    As for day care staff, others on this thread have pointed out that, in fact, day care staff may be more qualified to raise the kid that the parent. Blood relationship does not confer knowledge of what a child needs. When we brought her home from the hospital when she was born, both I and my then-wife had the same reaction - "I can't believe they let us keep her. What do we do now?" - and we'd read everything we could get our hands on and been to no less than three series of classes.

    They can't decide anything if you haven't taught them the decision making process! Remember - kids don't start out knowing how to decide.
    Mmmm. Sounds like you don't have a young child - a two-year-old most definitely knows how to make decisions. You have heard of the "terrible twos"? The "fearsome fours" might even be worse - the kid (at least, my kid) can argue with you with some fair amount of linguistic skill. She can explain cause and effect, previous history on related situations, emotions, all going to explaining how she reached a particular decision - where to go for brunch, what game to play, why she does or doesn't like a particular video, person, toy, place, you name it.

    Young babies routinely perform "experiments" to figure out how the world works. They'll do something, watch the results, then do it again to see if the same thing happens. I know some scientists that could learn something about decision-making from babies.

    How about you teaching them what you've learned in ~30 years, rather than letting them figure things out with ~30 _months_ of experience?
    Duh, you're right, I never teach my daughter anything. Putting aside what I see as a veiled insult, how about letting the daycare professional, with ~30 years of experience with kids do some of that teaching? Teaching is a skill, and I know just enough about it (having written a textbook, fer hemos's sake) to know that it is hard and I do not have any special gift for it.
    They need a stable base to begin from BEFORE moving on to "new environments".
    Frankly, bullshit. Children are complete learning sponges. You can throw them in a completely new environment and they'll start to learn. My ex wife is not technically a native speaker of English - she's Korean, born in Seoul, came to the US at age 2. You'd never know it now to talk to her. In fact, she can't speak Korean anymore (though she could when she came to the US). When my mother speaks French to her grand-daughter, my daughter soaks it up and starts talking back in French.

    This is not limited to language - my daughter does the same kind of thing whatever is thrown at her (except maybe vegetables :-) Give her a new toy, a new book, new art supplies, a new mode of transportation (she hasn't been on a Concorde (yet) but has dealt with car, bicycle, boat, airplane, train, subway, bus, shoulders, stroller, and probably some I've forgotten), a new animal, a new city, anything.

    Children naturally CRAVE stability, as everything is new and they need a solid place to start before exploring - and you wish to deny them even the comfort of mommy & daddy for half of each day!
    If a child "craves" stability, it is because that child has only ever had "stability." Mommy and Daddy may be more familiar, but beyond that, there's no "magic sense" there that Mommy and Daddy are somehow different. Yes, kids look up to their parents - their parents are a major part of their life. Providing them with safe places to get some of that security makes them less dependent, more able to be their own person, more capable of coping with both joy and tragedy (spirits forfend Mommy or Daddy get hit by a car).

    In today's world, I'd rather have my daughter exposed to as many different experiences as possible.

    "Specialization is in-breeding. It's slow death."
    -- Major Kusanagi

  • Actually, decent human contact is required; whether or not that's from a mother or a decent day care worker is immaterial. Nobody is suggesting that children be bundled into wire cages and shoved into a corner while mom works 9 hour days; they're suggesting a kind of environment where the kids are looked after in a nurturing environment and where the parent or parents can drop in and see the child during the day. Dr. Laura might have a problem with this, but the wrinkled old divorced pr0n queen adulteress might be persuaded to shut her ignorant mouth once in a while. Like now.

    You seem to have this phallocentric view that women are the lesser earners and were dictated by God to be the child rearers. You are, quite frankly, wrong. Some women don't do the daycare thing for a better wardrobe - they perhaps had a decent career before the baby and would like to have both. Many companies would like to retain workers, too: that female you think is taking a male's job might just happen to be one of the best damn coders around and might be BADLY needed. So we can deal with the whole career/family thing by either requiring women to live in the 1950s or look ahead to 2050. Which would you prefer?
  • Rather than worrying about providing or even subsidizing daycare, one thing that employers can provide is a childcare reimbursement account. For those of you outside the US or without children who've never heard of these, I'll explain. An amount of money you specify (up to a maximum) is withheld pre-tax from each paycheck. That money is returned to you for any qualified childcare. It is a way of paying for your childcare with absolutely no taxes on it, rather than deducting it on your income tax forms after you've paid Social Security, etc.
  • by twitter (104583)
    I agree that is a cruel scenario but it is not the reality of the daycare that I use. The person that looks after my baby has only two others in her charge and regularly gives my daughter plenty of one-on-one interaction

    That's not daycare, that's a nanny. You are rich enough to do as you chose, and I'm happy for you. Don't confuse that with the what the rest of us are looking at.

    I love coding and I work in a great environment with fair compensation. My decision to go back work was a personal one, not based money as much as quality of life for my daughter as well as myself.

    You are lucky, but when are you going to start interacting with your children? When will that interaction outweigh the satisfaction you get from coding, and how will you know? It's wrong to tell anyone what they should or shouldn't do with regard to their children or their career.

    What's wrong with expressing an opinion?

    Don't confuse my advococy of motherhood for force. Force is generally comming from the other direction. As things are, it is going to be difficult for my wife NOT to work. We have to make hard choices between the quality of our children's education (private vrs public) and the amount of involvement we will have with them. All of these supposedly liberated women have helped keep wages down for most of us, as demand always meets supply. In general, society is forcing it's lower class women into "service economy". Worse than that is the prospect of government sponsored day care that would force us to subsidise a life style that we do not aprove of. Every little load is helping to push us out of the middle class and into the lower. My wife is the best nanny I can think of, and the only one that we can afford. This will only last as long as we think we can afford a decent education for our children, then we will be forced to move or use day care.

  • This is an exccellent example of providing parental responsibility! You have to actively interview the said "daycare" to see if it is right for your child. Daycare workers have degrees in Developmental Psychology, Early childhood education, etc. etc. etc. If anything, they're more qualified than YOU are to raise a kid.


    I wouldn't say that daycare workers are better qualified in every respect to raise my children. They lack a couple of things. One is continuity with the children they care for. My children have been my children all of their lives. I plan to attend their graduations and weddings. I want them to grow up to be good, happy people who I respect. And I plan to be around to see that.

    However, you are quite right that they have skills and a perspective that I don't have. My wife and I struck a balance that we are quite happy with. Our kids have been in daycare three days a week. It has served as a supervised playgroup for them, a place to develop social skills. We have also gotten valuable feedback from their caregivers about their behavior and development. It is a rare day that I don't spend five to ten minutes talking to one of the caregivers about my son's day. I know them by name. I know many of the other children and their parents as well.

    My children's daycare has been fare from an abdication of responsibility. It has been a conscious effort to provide my children with a greater range of experiences than my wife and I could provide alone.
  • Men will match women in childrearing when they can give birth and breast feed.

    Women will match men in the workforce when they develop uperbody strength equal to men, and do not have to take anytime in childbirth. The first will keep them from being useful manual laborers, the second will keep them from compeeting for positions of real responsibility.

    In short, the sexes will be equivalent and interchangable when pigs fly. Stranger thing have happened, but I would not forsee this by 2050.

    This opinion has little to do with the detriments of day care, my penis, or "the wrinkled old divorced pr0n queen adulteress".

    People are indeed suggesting that daycare is some kind of universal entitlement, and that people who do not aprove of such things pay for it. You can make those cages (cribs) out of wire, tube, wood, or sheet metal, they will not take the place of a mother's arms.

  • From age 3 on I went regularly to kindergarten until school. That was a very enjoyable time and provided me with interaction opportunities my mother at home couldn't have given me.

    My two-year-old twins (boy and girl) started going to daycare at age two. Being twins has definitely helped their personal development (the girl is by far the dominant one, as in most cases it seems). However, since they went to daycare, the boy has really flourished and developed at a much faster pace than before. While there are downsides to daycare (such as more frequent sickness), overall it's a definite advantage. Studies show time and again that kids who went to daycare and kindergarten later on socialize much more successfully.
  • Realize that your benefits are not without cost. Paychecks are smaller by exactly the cost of providing them (and the same applies to the so-caled "employer" section of your social security taxe: your wages are roughly 7.6% lower to accomodate this). The same "housewife tax" problem applies to tax deductions for daycare that do not also accrue to housewifes.


    hawk, it's good to see someone else around here who not only understands economics, but uses it. This strikes me as an ideal situation for one of three solutions:

    1. Companies filling different niches. Different companies can attract employees with different needs based on the benefits provided.
    2. A large company can make on-site daycare available without subsidizing it. Offer it at cost. This guarantees that it is available to the parents who want it, without costing the single or childless folks.
    3. Many companies can either locate where there is daycare available, or facilitate getting daycare nearby by making providers aware of the demand and perhaps putting the parents and daycare providers in touch with each other.


    Of the three, I like the third solution the best. It is not free, but it shouldn't have to cost much. It avoids most of the costs of subsidizing. It avoids the conflicts of interest that might arise when a parent has a problem with on site daycare. In fact, the company can help the parents by negotiating hours that fit their work schedules, etc. And finally, it helps fill the need.

    dsplat, speaking as an individual voice in the chorus of the free market.

  • This whole topic is a very good example of what is wrong with society. I am amazed but not surprised at the 1960s "I have the right to do anything I want, don't oppress me with responsibilities" nature of the vast majority of North Americans in general.

    My wifey stays at home, but for a year we changed roles because she needed to go back to work and we had previously decided to raise our kids ourselves.

    As a computer technician, I don't make squat compared to a coder, so don't tell me it's impossible to do this. We're doing it. It's about priorities. It's about taking responsibility for your children.

    Yeah, it's not for everyone. But if you (and your spouse) can't handle it, then don't have kids. They're not pets. They're not possessions. They're people.

    If you think your right to have kids is more important than your responsibility to raise them, then grow up, whiner.
  • RE: Men will match women in childrearing when they can give birth and breast feed.

    You'll note I said CHILD REARING, not giving birth. Just giving birth to someone doesn't make you their mother any more than being the successful male in the breeding cycle makes you a father. That's an insult to many men I know who do a damn fine job raising kids esp. if the mother has died.

    RE: Women will match men in the workforce when they develop uperbody strength equal to men

    Which as we ALL know is absolutely essential to write code.

    RE: The first will keep them from being useful manual laborers, the second will keep them from compeeting for positions of real responsibility.

    I think it's more YOUR ATTITUDE that affects the second more than anything else.

    RE: In short, the sexes will be equivalent and interchangable when pigs fly.

    So what? We're talking about child rearing. You seem to think it's "woman's work". Apart from the necessity of a woman giving birth and the necessity of a man somewhere along the line, the ROLES are interchangeable.

    RE: Stranger thing have happened, but I would not forsee this by 2050.

    What, like you growing up and becoming part of the 21st century?

    RE: People are indeed suggesting that daycare is some kind of universal entitlement,

    No, but child rearing affects everyone eventually. And people want and deserve options.

    RE: they will not take the place of a mother's arms.

    As a future father, let me go on record to say that I hope mine will. Because I intend to raise my children WITH my wife, not tell her it's HER job.
  • RE: Women will match men in the workforce when they develop uperbody strength equal to men, and do not have to take anytime in childbirth. The first will keep them from being useful manual laborers, the second will keep them from compeeting for positions of real responsibility.

    I hope to GOD you aren't in any position of authority and/or responsiblity to hire people, because if you carry that attitude to work with you eventually someone's going to come along and sue your ass to hell and back. And I for one will be applauding whoever it is that takes your outdated, phallocentric misogynistic self to court.
  • A lot of us aren't mature enough to go out in the world alone!

  • What exactly do you think Kindergarten is? Glorified daycare.

    Pardon me for going off-topic, but Kindergarten should *not* be "glorified daycare" -- at least not in a good school. Kids should be learning a lot of stuff which will prepare them for what they learn in first grade, which prepares them for what they learn in second grade, ..., which prepares them for life in the real world.

  • Reproduction is a right, and it is just as stupid to try to stop it as it is cruel to let children starve. Advocating chastity is good but saying that "some people can't afford to have children" is sick and wrong. What are you going to do about it? Institutionalize all illegitimate children? Good luck. By the same token anyone in this country can afford a stay at home wife and children. The extra food, shelter and clothing is not too expensive. What costs too much is all the crap that no one really needs anyway.

    Poverty is the curse of those who don't plan their lives well. Single moms suffer for their stupidity, but their children are inocent. Not having the extras that most people desire, drives single mothers to get married and curse those who recomended promiscuity. They learn their lesson, and don't really need to be preached too.

  • You forgot to check the post anonymously button, stupid.

    There you go resorting to insults and force to get what you want. Lawsuits! What a pox. It's a shame that such threats can be found here. How funny it is that people like you, who think they advocate freedom, would jump up and down on free speech like this. "My truth shall set you free, now shut up or loose all reputability, career and livelyhood!" Do you see the hypocracy here? Do and say what you want, but keep the treats to yourself.

    My opinions are my own and have nothing to do with the policy of my employers that I will cary out. My wife and I agreed about our roles BEFORE we were married. We are planning our lives accordingly. The views expressed here have nothing to do with my penis, and are far less misogynist than those who advocate day care.

    Day care is an evil institution useful only in enslaving women. My wife has far less interest in her work than she does in our house, health and the future of our children. The only winners of mass female employment are coperations who end up paying less for labor, and the federal government which realizes a temporary boost in GNP. The rest of us loose. Mass employement of women is something that should only be resorted to in war. You are blind to the truth, which is that women should have the choice to work if they please and employers should have the choice to hire them when they please. The present, where 2/3 of women work, is greedy and foolish. It is awful that people sit around an dinegrate mother hood as , "sitting around at home", "issolated " and unambitious.

  • And based on my experience and the experience of those I live and work around, developmental psychologists are the LAST people you ever want your child to be around.

    It's amazing how people will defend pretty much any sin that allows them to pursue their own greed. Give up the extra income and one of you stay home. You'll never regret it. Trust me.

    (I suggest the truly radical idea (for /.) of reading the Book of Proverbs for timeless and proven practical advice for raising children - guaranteed to kick the snot out of anything the developmental psychologists can tell you.)
  • How have I opted out of parental responsibility by choosing how my daughter will be cared for? I have taken responsibility for deciding what kind of environment she is in. I talk with her every day about what happened at "school".

    Sorry, but you *have* abdicated your parental responsibility, and your need to justify your rationale makes it even more apparent. In fact, you made a careful decision of where to warehouse her when she's inconvenient to you.

    I've got news for you - that kind of hovering is smothering. You get children that can't decide anything for themselves.

    The evidence is very much against you on this. Kids that stay at home with their mothers (the jury is still out on whether fathers can be as effective in this role) are not smothered, but wind up as much more inquisitive and independent thinkers. Disagreeing puts you at odds with the overwhelming evidence of the superiority of home-schooled children (look up their average results compared to products of the government daycare schools for a real eye-opener!)

    In short, you've obviously convinced yourself that what you're doing is right, but I'll bet you know deep down inside you're only finding excuses to selfishly do what *you* want, at the expense of your child. Read Doug Wilson's excellent book "Recovering the Lost Tools of Learning" or Susan Schaeffer Macaulay's "For the Children's Sake" for a more complete treatment of how we should really be thinking of these things. (BTW - my own children are not home-schooled, as I feel that in some cases, private schools are a superior option.)

    No career or job is worth the damage it causes your children if both parents work. One of you simply must stop. (In the spirit of this poitical season, this is one of the chief reasons that cutting taxes for *everyone* is a good thing - I know way too many couples that need the second income just to pay the taxes...)
  • You're treating your kid as if she was a computer or other machine, and foolishly believing that some sort of educational mumbo-jumbo is what children really need. Kids aren't "coin-operated" - you can't provide a "scientifically optimal" set of inputs to that amazing neural net and expect the child to be properly trained.

    The one thing your child needs most is the one thing she will *never* get in any daycare environment: lots of individual personal attention and LOVE. If that's missing in the early years, there's no amount of psychobabble that can make up for it later. There are many, many studies that bear this out. This factor is statistically much more influential than race, economic background or any other. Gee, imagine that, children DO respond to love - who'd have thunk it?
  • The fundamental question is this: Are those career aspirations more important than the welfare of your own children?

    This is not a hard or trick question. There is one right answer, and it's not the selfish one.
  • "some people can't afford to have children" is sick and wrong

    No it isn't. What sort of an irresponsible parent would be willing to have children that they couldn't provide for? Morally, that's equivalent to sending your children out naked into the cold and hoping that a passerby will offer them their coat.

  • Said in a properly operatic tone. And here I thought all we needed was more Bibles, Bullets, Beans and Bandages. Computers are the tool of Satan after all.
  • so if you worked in the same company as me and took two weeks, would they be discriminating against me because they could pay me more if they only gave you the amount of vacation I want to take.

    Of course, I might find myself working alone if they decided to cut everyone's vacation.

    Your answer show naivite over how companies decide to spend their money. If they don't provide day care to some other employee, they aren't going to give you a big fat raise -- they pay you as little as they can and keep you working there. They're going to cut the stockholders a larger dividiend if they can, or spend it on something which will allow them to create the biggest dividend possible.

    The fact that companies are providing day care is that it optimizes their profitability. They don't think they can put together an adequate work force out of wet-behind-the-airs early twentysomething male geeks. They have to attract fertile females and males married to them.

  • While there are downsides to daycare (such as more frequent sickness), overall it's a definite advantage.

    Actually, this is an advantage. Studies have shown that kids who go to daycare and get sick there, get less sick when they go to school.

  • Someone has to look after a child. For most ppl, they'd rather keep this in the family, so it's either the husband or the wife who does it. Granted, the woman can breast-feed, but many women these days would rather not, so that evens things up.

    The problem is that whilst the feminists were (rightly) campaigning for equality, they didn't think that someone would have to stay at home to look after the kids. This came down the education system, and our generation is the product of that theory. So suddenly we've got a generation of males AND females who don't have the education to look after children. Don't forget that the previous "cultural conditioning" included informal teaching in how to look after kids, cook, keep house, and so on.

    If we want equality, allow men to stay at home. The problem here is that the house-husband is only ever (even by feminists) portrayed as a figure of fun, a down-trodden henpecked wimp, so that's not exactly appealing! Although housewives may have had a raw deal in the opportunity stakes, they had a known position in society, and wouldn't be mocked for being in that position.

    And another problem is the skills. Schools need (MUST!) have classes for both sexes on home economics and childcare - if the boys can't cook, how can they look after the children?

    Personally, I'd be quite happy to look after any children myself and my wife have, and continue my electronics and software as a hobby at home. If my wife was earning more than I was and/or was in a rewarding career at the time, I'd be quite prepared to jack it in. If anyone's married and doesn't feel the same way, frankly you don't deserve to be married - you just want a servant, not a wife as an equal.

    Uradu, the resentment that housewives have felt is not due to what they're doing, it's simply bcos they were pressured into it instead of taking it on voluntarily. If we have a choice - and we do now - then there's no reason to resent it.

    Grab.
  • > the resentment that housewives have felt is not due to what they're doing, it's simply bcos they
    > were pressured into it instead of taking it on voluntarily.

    Absolutely, I can't disagree with that. I personally know career women that had children and chose to give up their careers for them, and that's what they wanted all their lives. It fulfills them being a parent.

    But this is not true of all women, probably not even most. It's just that women in general are conditioned by society to be the giver and to demure, even if they have strong personalities. I look at my wife, normally a very strong and assertive person, and still around the house she's sort of silently picking up the slack. In most households women do considerably more work than men. If it were the other way around, most men would vehemently complain. I often recognize this about myself and hate myself for it and strive harder to change it. But a lifetime of conditioning is hard to counteract :-) Just look at children growing up, girls are much more ofter called to task on household chores than boys.

    I feel the argument for men staying home is as strong as the one for women staying home. It's a matter of personal aspirations and values.

    My personal view is that society has degenerated into an environment very hostile for raising children. The whole workplace mechanics have evolved into a very strong separation of work and personal life. I feel that if companies provided an environment where children could spend the day in relative proximity to their parents, this could have a huge impact on the dynamics of the family. There are some progressive companies that have started to offer daycare for their employees with ready access for the parents to the kids throughout the day. This could work fairly well for large companies, blue or white collar factories.

    As technology evolves and telecommuting becomes more mainstream, I can see a future where companies decentralize themselves into satellite offices with more informal work environments and integrated child care facilities. This could bring us somewhat back to that idyllic past of the village raising the children. Of course, the ideal would be for both parents to work at the same facility to provide equal access, but this involves personal choices in partner selection and goes beyond what an employer can do.
  • RE: You forgot to check the post anonymously button, stupid.

    Actually, I stand behind what I say. No reason WHATSOEVER to post back anonymously.

    RE: There you go resorting to insults and force to get what you want.

    I didn't threaten you - I said when you bring that attitude to work with you, I hope you get your ass sued off for sexual discrimination.

    RE: How funny it is that people like you, who think they advocate freedom,

    Let me get this straight. You, who believes women should be barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen, are deriding ME for supposedly being against freedom? Or do you believe freedom belongs only to men?

    RE: would jump up and down on free speech like this.

    You have the right to your opinion, so do I. We also have the right to voice them, and I'm exercising mine.

    RE: "My truth shall set you free, now shut up or loose all reputability, career and livelyhood!" Do you see the hypocracy here? Do and say what you want, but keep the treats to yourself.

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA right. Listen carefully, it's more like "it's against the law to discriminate against women in the workplace". PING! Welcome to the 21st century!!!

    RE: My opinions are my own and have nothing to do with the policy of my employers that I will cary out.

    Oh, I'm sure you'll hire the odd token secretary. But if in your heart of hearts you think of women as breeding stock and indentured labor on the home front, I doubt you can be impartial.

    RE: The views expressed here have nothing to do with my penis, and are far less misogynist than those who advocate day care.

    Describing women as unfit for any responsible role and useless for any kind of manual labor IS misogynist. Horribly misogynist. Replace "woman" with "black" and read your sentence back and see how fast you'd be out of a job if your employer was anything other than the Aryan Nations. Keep fighting women of the world, you've still got a long way to go.

    RE: Day care is an evil institution useful only in enslaving women. My wife has far less interest in her work than she does in our house, health and the future of our children.

    Well, some women have interest in their careers. But that isn't the point. The point is that you don't even consider women appropriate for ANY responsible position, pregnant and with child or not. You're on RECORD as saying so.

    RE: The only winners of mass female employment are coperations who end up paying less for labor,

    Not for long. Pay equity is next on the list.

    RE: and the federal government which realizes a temporary boost in GNP. The rest of us loose.

    So women lose by having fulfilling careers? Explain that one.

    RE: You are blind to the truth, which is that women should have the choice to work if they please and employers should have the choice to hire them when they please.

    You're advocating discrimination. IN BLACK AND WHITE.(Or whatever color your monitor is set to)

    RE: The present, where 2/3 of women work, is greedy and foolish. It is awful that people sit around an dinegrate mother hood as , "sitting around at home", "issolated " and unambitious.

    Some people think of it as such, some think of it as a career into itself. So what. My beef with you is not what you and your wife have chosen to do - it's been your constant barrage of "women are unfit to work" "it's greedy if your woman works" etc. I somehow thought educated and professional people would be higher up the evolutionary chain, but given your level of literacy, never mind your 18th century attitudes and blatant bigotry, I guess my theory is shot...
  • That's quite true. I guess I was thinking mainly of the inconvenience at the time of sickness. In fact, one should encourage the kids to eat dirt and lick the floors, because it only strengthens their immune system--unless they lap up some Ebola or something :-)

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