As you know by now, I’m a big fan of Dr. Laura Schlessinger’s and her daily SiriusXM show, The Dr. Laura Program. I love how she tells it like it is; she has the common sense that seemingly most parents and people in general lack. I’m proud to have been raised by parents who think like her (without having known of her for most of my life because we lived in another country) and to whom I was a priority.
But many children aren’t so fortunate. From parents who advocate the benefits of leaving their kids alone, to those who work outside of the home and praise daycares and nannies, to those who work from home but still foolishly rely on daycares and nannies, there’s no shortage of parents who see their kids as mere accessories–things to look after only when it’s convenient.
And these parents also have the audacity to assume that they’re being “role models” for their kids: “Mommy and daddy are working so hard! They’re following their dreams! [Sure, we don’t see them very often or when it counts, but hey, at least they’re happy!]”
Two recent Dr. Laura calls touched on one of those situations and I’d like to write about them you so you see where proponents of full-time parenting come from. In short, a full-time parent IS the true role model: Their kids always come first–always above their career.
The first call: Not a role model
This first caller wanted Dr. Laura’s help (but as you’ll see she didn’t give him room to ask whatever his actual question was going to be because he shot himself in the foot by illustrating his solution).
The person who called was the dad. He’s married to their kids’ mom and they’re both full-time lawyers. On the call he explained that they have a nanny for their two kids because they
can’t be bothered to aren’t able to be there for them for most of their after-school activities.
Now that I’ve shared a bit of context, here’s the rest of the call:
Caller (C): We have a babysitter get them off the bus at 3:30, get them a snack, and then drive them to their sport or activity. And then my wife or I pick them up, we take them home, and do all the usual stuff.
Dr. Laura (Dr): I’m sorry, what’s “all the usual stuff” by that time of the day?
C: Well, we bring them home, cook them dinner, make sure they have baths or showers, do their homework, and put them to bed.
Dr: Stop talking. This is what I see for your future: You two in old-age homes with emphysema, and the kids hiring people to take care of you all day, and coming there to feed you a snack, pat you on the head and say “Good night,” and then go home.
That’s what I foresee for you because that’s what you’re teaching your kids; it’s the only importance of the family interaction.
C: All right. How would you change things?
Dr: You’re there in the morning; she [your wife] is there in the afternoon, you alternate taking them to their sports, you earn a little less money, and your kids feel loved, and that you invest in them. Therefore, they get self-esteem because they feel they’re of some value. Right now, they’re no different than your dogs: Somebody else takes care of them; you pet them at night, then put them in their kennels.
This is NOT how you raise human beings. We need a lot more personal interaction, love, attention, touching, influence, fun, laughter, more touching…
C: So you think the extra hour-and-a-half every day is the difference?
Dr: This is a joke question, right?
C: It’s a serious question.
Dr: Then the answer is YES.
C: All right. You don’t think that having a good role model for your daughter to see their mother–
Dr (Interrupts him): If I talk to your kids I’d tell them, “Don’t have children! Don’t be like your parents. If you’re going to be like your parents, don’t have children.” Children need YOU. They don’t need a “role model” [that places them] second to a career. That’s not the role model ANY kid needs!
C: All right, well, I will respectively [sic] disagree. Thank you.
Dr: You know something? You and your wife are unbelievably, myopically self-centered and I don’t respect your point of view AT ALL. And I’m waiting for you to have emphysema in the old-age home and your kids visiting you at night an hour before you to sleep. Bye!
I really do NOT understand how ANY man or woman could’ve said that last thing that he said to me–that he disagrees. What did I say that you could possibly disagree with? That kids don’t need a parent to sacrifice for them and be at their games? That kids don’t need the extra special time of mommy and daddy going to and from school to talk about their day? That all they need is stuff from food, do their homework, get them washed, and stick them in bed, that’s all human kids need? REALLY? How could anybody disagree with me?
Honest to God: give me an argument that really proves me wrong. This is a ROLE MODEL FOR THE DAUGHTER? This is a disgusting for the daughter! Be selfish about your career, have power and money and status, and leave somebody else to take care of your kids because they’re not human beings, and they don’t need anything tender from a mother. That’s what they’re teaching their daughter! And frankly, how blind can you be?
I will guarantee you that although he said what he said at the end, which was nonsense, he’s thinking about it. I’m not angry; I just feel bad for his kids. I’m glad she’s not my mother. And every time I talk to people like this, I’m more and more happy that I didn’t mother like this.
The role model I gave to my son was that family came before my career: That HE and the family was more important than my career. And, I’m sorry, doesn’t that beat the “role model” the caller’s wife is giving to hers? I think my role model is better. Sometimes I think it’s a damn miracle that I got to be as successful as I have….
To touch on that last part of her post-call bit, where she states she thinks it must have been a miracle that she became so successful despite her always putting her family first, I don’t think it’s as miraculous. After all, she actively worked to achieve that and get to that level.
“But how could she, if she put her family above everything?” you’re probably wondering.
Well, longtime listeners know (and to those of you who aren’t, now you’ll know >>) that she always worked while her son (who’s now in his 30s) was in school, at nights while he was asleep, and in the early mornings before he woke up. This is because she understood that while her career was important, her husband and son were vital, and she needed to be a wife and mom first before everything. Which is why she never sacrificed her family; instead, she sacrificed herself and her career at times.
She walked the walk, she practiced what she preached, and as a result, she got to where she is today.
This other caller did what she was supposed to do
This call, funny enough, came a bit after the one I transcribed above during the same episode.
For a bit of background: Both parents used to work full-time; she used to be a lawyer, together with her husband they have four children–16 to 23–and she’s been a full-time/stay-at-home mom their whole lives. She’s also been listening to Dr. Laura for over 30 years. (When I hear listeners say they’ve been following the show for a long time, I honestly always brave myself for the mistake they made and that they’re about to ask about. But this one was a happy exception!)
Here’s her story:
I had a wonderful job working for the District Attorney’s Office, which I worked extremely hard to get…. It was very valuable to me. When I was pregnant with my first child, I had a sister-in-law who was very wise and stayed home with her children, and she was very kind about it; she didn’t force me or push me, but she let me know how important it was for me to be there at home. And I wasn’t quite sure about it, but when my [oldest] was about three days old… [I told] my husband, ‘Remember that idea about me going back to work? Well, I just don’t think I can do that. I can’t leave her with anyone’.
And to my husband’s credit, because he’s a wonderful, wonderful husband, he looked at me and said, ‘Absolutely. We’ll just make it work.’ And we did! [Dr. Laura then tells her she “married a REAL MAN.”] It’s been the best decision I ever made, I’m so proud to have been at home with them, and I remember all through the years what you have said is that ‘You can be [substituted] at work in a heartbeat, but nobody else can substitute YOU with your own children.’ I spent as much time as I could with my kidlets, I homeschooled them all the way through…. Every moment’s been a blessing and I wouldn’t trade it.
I’d advise that gentleman and anybody listening that it is SO worth it to be there. It’s not quality time–it’s QUANTITY time… those moments go by in a heartbeat and they’re gone in a flash. So please spend time with your kids. Please honor them; they’re a blessing from God that he’s given and bestowed upon you.
This was a lovely call, wasn’t it? I mean, if being with your kids is important to you, then I can’t imagine you’d disagree like that first caller did.
But if you don’t care a whole lot because others raise your kids for you, then you won’t like what Dr. Laura said to myopic and self-centered parents afterwards:
Kids are accessories. ‘Yes we have two children. I don’t know what they’re doing right now; let me call the nanny and find out.’ Don’t you love when they develop things like, ‘You could tune in to the daycare at certain times with a videocamera and see what your kid is doing and feel close!’ Hahahaha! That makes you feel ‘close’?! That is so freaking sick.
Or you get the sheet, which tells you how much pee and poop your baby did during the day and you can proudly show that to the doctor. And that makes you feel ‘close’.
See, human beings were not born with instinct. So when you can tell a person, ‘Just be selfish and it’s OK!’ most people will be selfish first if they know it’s OK. That’s the nature of human beings: ME, survival, happiness.
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I love it when Dr. Laura discusses daycares because she’s right. Kids in daycares or with a nanny aren’t loved all day as they should be, which is really sad. It’s like those parents weren’t ready or didn’t want to have kids because they don’t care to put them first–they’re accessories, only to be looked after when it’s convenient (either with a camera, a poop-and-pee sheet, or at night before bed).
I’m happy to not only be the daughter of a real man, but also to have married a real man, who from even before we got engaged he knew (i.e., he had secretly decided before I shared my decision) that it’d be our priority to RAISE our kids and to be there for them. In other words, to have me at home to love on and teach them things so they know that they’re the most valuable to us–not accessories.
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What’s your stance on daycares and stay-at-home moms? Have you ever listened to Dr. Laura?