Interesting conversation. My kid will turn two this summer and I am currently doing my 2L SA. I don't know if there is a right answer on the SAHM question. My spouse and I were both raised by SAHM (in suburbia no less, and we're not even white Rayiner!). Even if it makes us some type of unusual freaks going against norm of human history, we would like to get to the same position where one of us will stay home with the children.
rayiner wrote:The fact of the matter is that kids won't remember all the extra attention you give them before the age of 5. I have a mom that gave up a professional career to stay at home until I was 5-6, and a dad that was traveling for 3-4 months out of the year during that time. I honestly don't really remember any of that time, and while I can appreciate, in retrospect, at an intellectual level my mom's staying home, honestly it doesn't make me feel any different towards her nor do I think it made me turn out any better.
By all means try to spend as much time with your children as you can, but remember that until they're teenagers it's really more for you than it is for them.
A child doesn't have to remember an experience for the experience to have value. Any parent who has sent their toddler off to grandma's house for a week knows that even in that short time span the kid's behavior and disposition will change as the child becomes accustomed to interacting with the grandparents. One of our kid's aunts is staying with her this summer and I can tell you that my kid's behavior has started to evolve and change in the short time my kid has been with her aunt. I imagine that nannies have a great deal of influence in a child's development and play a key role in shaping the child, even though the child may not remember the experience. Most nannies are great and wonderful caretakers, but, IMHO, the child won't get the same level of care as he/she will receive from a SAHParent. The one caveat being that the SAHP must be wired to handle that role. I know some parents simply aren't fulfilled in a SAHP role.
piccolittle wrote:I actually think stay-at-home moms are less healthy for their children. Kids are narcissistic by nature; eventually it's going to be a shock for them to wake up and realize the world doesn't revolve around them, if their mom has been helicoptering around them forever.
SAHP does not necessarily mean helicopter parent. There are plenty of working parents who fit the mold of a helicopter parent (not allowing the child to experience life for herself, always trying to fix the child's problems, etc...). Plenty of working parents raise narcissistic kids, too.
rayiner wrote:Nannies who take care of your kids aren't complete strangers. They often become quite close to the family. Fundamentally, they're just people in your community sharing responsibility for raising the community's kids. It's how human society has worked for thousands of years. The intensive, isolated relationship between modern suburban stay-at-home moms and their children is something that's relatively unusual in the world.
a. You seem to be substituting the isolated, intensive SAHM relationship for an equally isolated, intensive nanny relationship.
b. "Fundamentally, [a SAHM is just a person] in your community sharing responsibility for raising the community's kids." If you're going to interpret the more traditional, communal child-rearing model in a manner expansive enough to capture the modern nanny, why are you bothering to exclude the stay-at-home parent?
acrossthelake wrote:3) I know a lot of lawyers at my summer job in their v. late 20s/early-mid 30s with babies/toddlers. They seem to be making it work just fine.
Honestly, I don't see how. I worked 8-6 this week with one evening social event and one late night at the office past 6. My commute each way is 20-30 minutes. I saw my kid less than 5 hours this week. Even on the reduced SA schedule I wasn't an active parent this week; I struggle to see how it could be better on a real biglaw schedule. I don't necessarily feel bad about it, nor am I going to give up on biglaw, but I'm not going to pretend that I'll be nearly as involved as a parent during the toddler years.
I do think there is the possibility for more involvement once the kid is older and doesn't require as much sleep.
*Sorry for any typos and grammatical errors; the little one just woke up and is hungry....