March 11, 2011 5:58:48 PM CET
There is no doubt about it, the best thing for young developing children (18mths-4yrs) is for a parent to be at home with them. Whether that is the mother or father makes no difference. And as men here earn substanitally more than women, it make sense that it is the women who stay at home
And if you look at any western culture, they are all doing as much as they can to ensure that mothers and to a lesser extent fathers, get to stay at home with their kids when they are young. In the UK you can now take 9months paid maternity leave. But only 2 weeks paternity leave.Granted its a staged payments with 90% for the first 6 weeks rapidly declining down to just the statutory maternity pay, but even o, the government has recognised the need to young babies to be with their parents. Flexible working hours are to be allowed by law, with employers unable to refuse a mothers request to go part time. Everything is stacked toward the woman being the primary care giver. Whilst this is not something I personally believe ( I would be more than happy to have Dutchie be a stay at home dad), society in western culture has always held to the fact that woman are mothers and men are earners.
All in all, it is not specifically Dutch culture to have mummy stay at home with the kids. It is western culture. It is just easier here to do so than other countries. Personally, if i have kids, I would like to be in the position where I dont have to work for the first few years of its life. Or, as I doubt financially that is an option, I would like to work part time. What is the point of having children so they can spend 90% of their early years in daycare? My neice has been in full time daycare since she was 6months old. she is now 7. If daycare closes she goes into a panic. Her day is so rigidly structured that she cannot cope with the unexpectedl her mother and father both work full time and even if they have a day off during the week, she cannot cope without going to daycare. they finish at 6, pick her up she eats does her homework and goes to bed She spends maybe an hour at the most with her mum and dad who themselves are stressed and tired after a long day at work.
Is that really a life you would choose for your child? I know i wouldnt. It is fair to say a balance must be struck between giving it all up for your kid, and retaining your identity as a woman and not just a mother, but I do think that western social pressure to have it all, has a lot to answer for.