WHO CARES FOR THE BABY? by Beatrice Marden & Nesha Bass Springer Glickman


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As mothers who stayed home with young children and as investigators of child care options, Glickman and Springer are honest about their bias, wary of rationalizations, and conscious of the pressures surrounding women making such decisions today. Their report, for all its helpful inclusions, does not deliver any certainties--professional sentiments are changing rapidly--and they acknowledge that a single scheme will never accommodate everyone in a pluralistic society. Although they look for answers in the right places (appraising group care in other societies, extrapolating from animal studies, visiting several centers, interviewing Jerome Kagan and T. Berry Brazelton, who now endorse quality day care), they seem to vacillate, to struggle with their own bafflement, and this wobbliness, however necessary for their purposes, is unsettling, distracting: even when no firm answers are forthcoming, a reader needs some sense of authority. The centers they describe have neither the newfangled ingenuity nor parental involvement of those more analytically examined in Galinsky and Hooks' The New Extended Family (p. 967), yet the reservations they raise are apt, and the other alternatives--interested relatives, in-house or other-house caretakers--are also evaluated. In a strange chapter in which verbatim interviews with Kagan, and then Brazelton are recorded, all come out looking inadequate: Kagan as dodgy and irascible, possibly aroused by a few ""inappropriate"" questions; Brazelton as waffling, at odds with his published advice, apparently to avoid making working women feel guilty. And the authors are suspect for not sticking to their guns and reconciling inconsistencies. They remain committed to the importance of a mother who mothers much of her day--infants and toddlers have ""certain nonnegotiable needs""--and suggest that parttime work (or schooling) can provide a daily outlet for the mother without disrupting the primal interaction.

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 1977
Publisher: Schocken