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How did/would you raise your kids? DW or outside help?
Old 06-11-2008, 09:38 AM   #1
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How did/would you raise your kids? DW or outside help?

One post (by 'lazy4nothinbun'??) in this thread Very Tough Choices ... Please Give Your Suggestions, triggered this question for me.

Quite a few of you are fathers, I believe (to me it sounds like almost all of you are men:confused: on this board). Others are starting families or maybe planning to start in the near future. If not, you could tell how you were raised.
So, I'm curious what you did or would do as regards to raising your kids (or how your parents raised you):

- Did you or your wife quit the job to stay with the kids full time? If so, for how many years and did you/she go back to work later?
- If one of you quit your job to become a SAHM or SAHD, was it more a financial or more an emotional decision?
- If you chose to have a nanny or a daycare instead, why and how did it affect your family's financial situation?
- How did your decision (staying at home or nanny/daycare) affect your retirement planning?
- Do you think kids whose parents are FT employees are more deprived of family love/attention and extracurricular activities (hence less to tell to a potential college/university to be admitted to)?
- If you could turn time back would you select a different route? E.g. instead of daycare, you'd be become a FT parent or vice versa.
--------------------------------------------------------------------

I'll tell about my family. My DH and his siblings were raised by their mother and much later she became a part-time teacher. But my sister and I started daycare very early though we were also raised by our grandmas at the very beginning.
Now we've got a 2.5y.o. DD and a boy is on the way (in Aug.). DD started daycare at 7.5 months old and I do hope that everything will go fine with our son and he'll start the daycare at similar age.
Why did we choose a daycare setting? Nanny would way too expensive for us and also because we think little children have to interact with peers of their age.
Financially I think we'd do pretty OK in case I raised kids at home and DH went to work. Unfortunately, I'm not the type of person who could be a SAHM. Another reason is that IMO my salary would be affected (not that it's big now by any means; DH is the breadwinner ) if I were a SAHM for a few years. A third reason is that the times are long gone when people had secure jobs, so having one person earning the bread is also a risk.
However, I do sometimes think that maybe in the near future our kids will feel deprived because we won't have time (due to work and commute) to take them to the extracurricular activities except weekends. So, this one thing bothers me a little bit right now. I comfort myself thinking that for the kids it will be more important to spend time with their parents than playing soccer, dancing, or swimming with other kids. We'll see...Maybe in the future we'll have to join a YMCA or something.
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Old 06-11-2008, 10:20 AM   #2
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DW quit work about a year and change before we started having kids. We knew that she would stay home and the time before we started popping 'em out gave her the opportunity to set up her part time business. To this day 5+ years later, DW continues in her business part time, which keeps her hand in, hedges our bets if my career goes awry, and she gets to keep doing what she likes about her profession.

We have gone through a number of (mostly excellent) babysitters, who are crucial to DW being able to see clients (she is a career counselor). Finally we made a commitment to our current sitter that we would pay her for a minimum number of hours per week whether or not we used them all if she would commit to being available to us. She was thrilled because she was able to quit a crappy part time job she hated. We were thrilled because DW now knows for sure she can schedule clients with lining up a sitter every time. DW's business is starting to take off what with all the layoffs and tremors in the job market, so its really good timing for this.

No doubt DW mostly dropping out of the workforce puts more pressure on our budget and pushes back FIRE by an indeterminate number of years. So be it.

I will not pass judgement on people who go the daycare route. But we felt it was better for our family for one of us to be around, especially since I have a very demanding job.

If I could turn the clock back, I would make the same decisions, by and large.
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Old 06-11-2008, 10:23 AM   #3
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DW stayed home until kids hit HS - and then worked hours that would have her home about the time they came home from HS. We did not even leave the Dog home or in a kennel when we went some place as a family. 3 out of 4 kids are/have a STAH spouse right now.
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Old 06-11-2008, 10:59 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aida2003 View Post
- Did you or your wife quit the job to stay with the kids full time? If so, for how many years and did you/she go back to work later?
Wife only stayed home with the kids for 6 months, after which they went to daycare. Luckily, DW works for DOD so there's excellent daycare on the base, and cheap too.

Quote:
If one of you quit your job to become a SAHM or SAHD, was it more a financial or more an emotional decision?
n/a

Quote:
- If you chose to have a nanny or a daycare instead, why and how did it affect your family's financial situation?
We're better off financially if we both work. However, IMO, you have to like your job. DW's job is really starting to get on her nerves [fed gov't crap], so she's seriously considering going part time or changing careers.

Quote:
- How did your decision (staying at home or nanny/daycare) affect your retirement planning?
Having the kids [oppsie] put the biggest dent in the retirement planning. If DW stops working it'll probably delay retirement, but I'd rather work 5 extra years and have a less stressful life. Luckily, we had kids early, so they'll be through college by 50.

Quote:
- Do you think kids whose parents are FT employees are more deprived of family love/attention and extracurricular activities (hence less to tell to a potential college/university to be admitted to)?
No. I think it's all up to the parents. The cohort of families we know, the families with no SAH parents do just as many, if not more, extracurricular activities than the families with SAH parents. The families in which both parents work may have to consciously think about keeping their kids curriculated.

With the parents both working FT, I think it's imperative that the children have activities so they don't get into trouble. Hello after school sports, clubs, karate, etc. Also, in my family the boys tend to need a lot of socializing, so the more activities the better. In virtually all the afternoon/evening/weekend activities, the majority of the parents both work. Of course, this could just be the time they have to take the kids to the activities.

Quote:
- If you could turn time back would you select a different route? E.g. instead of daycare, you'd be become a FT parent or vice versa.
Hell no. My kids need the structure of school/daycare, just like I need the structure/predictability of work. Plus, we need time away from each other. I never would've imagined that work would be less stressful than dealing with the kids. My parents say that my kids are just like I was when I was a kid. Man, they deserve gold medals or something. When we were being bad, they always said their revenge would be to stay healthy enough to be around when we had kids. I hate it when they're right.

When I was a kid, my brother and I were total jackasses to each other until we started school and activities. I always wondered why my mom kept us in separate activities when possible. Even when we were in boy scouts, we tried to have as little to do with the other as possible. When both my kids are in school, I may suggest to DW that she quit working or just go part-time if the job still sucks.

- Alec
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Old 06-11-2008, 11:08 AM   #5
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Two young kids, not quite school age yet. Both parents work ~40 hrs/wk without horrible commutes. During the day they stay w/ my MIL and their cousins. We have plenty of quality time to spend with them in the mornings (me) and in the evenings (DW and me) plus weekends. The kids seem to be doing fine, although we both wish we had more time to spend w/ the kids (especially DW). The kids say they miss us when we go to work, but I think they understand that we go to make money to buy them things like "candy, band-aids, and diapers" (in their words).

DW stayed at home for a while with the first one before landing her first post-college full time job and then took off 6 months when #2 was born. She was working part time doing some contract work that didn't pay all that well and the hours were weird and sporadic - which put pressure on me to pick up the slack when necessary. FT work was easier to work around. Financially it is great - we live on one income, and basically save the other. Without DW working, money was more of an issue and saving money made getting by on what was left much more difficult. Now, we can save tons and spend more freely on quality-of-life enhancing goods and services.

We struggle to get our kids social exposure to other kids (other than their cousins). We go to the park and the library and they interact w/ kids there. We have put the kids in classes like ballet. We recently joined a parenting group that meets a couple times a month for playdates more or less. Being around a bunch of other kids would be good for them, as in a daycare setting, so that is probably what I dislike most about our situation. But having them taken care of by family has its benefits without doubt.

I'm not sure what to expect as the kids enter school regarding after school activities and extracurriculars. I work near home and have a flexible schedule that would allow me to shuttle around for after school activities if necessary. However we don't plan to go overboard on these type of activities, since I think they can get just as much benefit or more from unstructured playtime and self-initiated exploration.
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Old 06-11-2008, 11:26 AM   #6
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I worked part time when my son was little and he was watched by his grandmother . I got divorced when my daughter was three so I was full time from then on . My son was ten so he was in school and my daughter went to daycare . A really great daycare so no complaints . When they started activities I limited it to one a season and that worked out well . If I had to do it over again I would hopefully make a better choice of who I married but otherwise they turned out great and have no bad memories of their childhood . All in all you do what you have to do .
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Old 06-11-2008, 12:07 PM   #7
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We don't have any kids of our own so I will talk about the way I was raised.

My mom remained on maternity leave for about 2 years after my birth and another 2 years after my sister's birth. After that we went to daycare for a few years, then preschool and finally to regular school. Until age 7 my mom used to drop us off at school and my dad would pick us up after school. We would spend several hours at my dad's work until he had finished his work day (we would do our homework in his office and after that we would play in and around the plant). When my dad could not pick us up, then my aunts would take care of us. After age 7, my parents would still drop us off at school in the morning but we used to walk home (about 1 mile) after school and we would spend several hours alone there before my parents came home from work. We spend those few hours watching TV doing our homework and playing with other neighborhood kids. From that time on we enjoyed a great degree of freedom (at least compared to kids today) though I am sure that if we had abused my parents' trust, things would have been a lot different. When we started junior high, we walked to/from school (4 times a day since we came home around noon to have lunch with my parents) and still spent about 2-3 hours home alone in the evening. In retrospect, I am amazed at the lack of supervision we were able to *enjoy*! We could have done drugs and brings girlfriends/boyfriends home and they would have never known! But we were both good kids and it all worked out really well in the end for all of us.
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Old 06-11-2008, 01:03 PM   #8
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I'm 30 now, so relating how I was raised isn't really recalling stories of a bygone era. I'll be shocked if my wife and I ever have kids (and I'll be asking for a refund on that vasectomy!), but here's how I was raised.

- Did you or your wife quit the job to stay with the kids full time? If so, for how many years and did you/she go back to work later?

Mom was a SAHM. She did some volunteer work on the airbase and she helped out at the preschool. All three of us were homeschooled through highschool. I started college at 14 and my brother and sister started when they were 16. However, there's a 7-year gap between me and them. So, she was a SAHM for quite a while.

- If one of you quit your job to become a SAHM or SAHD, was it more a financial or more an emotional decision?

I think it was partly religious and emotional (I guess you could lump those together) as well as logical. She knew she could do better than the public school system in Las Vegas (at the time at least!).

- If you chose to have a nanny or a daycare instead, why and how did it affect your family's financial situation?

Well, we were never rich by any means... after dad retired from the AF we moved to a depressed part of the US. We did well when he was working and managed when he wasn't. My mom always managed the families finances well and I know most of the anguish was hidden from us. I had a very happy childhood.

- How did your decision (staying at home or nanny/daycare) affect your retirement planning?

Their base living needs are covered by my dad's pension now. He has a job because I don't think he knows how to stop working. I'm hoping that we can talk him into hanging up the spurs by the time he's 60-62.

- Do you think kids whose parents are FT employees are more deprived of family love/attention and extracurricular activities (hence less to tell to a potential college/university to be admitted to)?

No, but as of late, I see a disconcerting trend. The parents that work the most seem to try and substitute "stuff" for "time". As a result, it seems that a sense of entitlement is creeping down to earlier ages and lower economic stratospheres. Then again, when I was 15 and helping out with the summer reading program at the library, I was amazed at how much the 9-10 year olds swore. So, maybe I'm just a codgy old bastard now and 'kids these days' have always been screwed up.

- If you could turn time back would you select a different route? E.g. instead of daycare, you'd be become a FT parent or vice versa.

I'm sure they wouldn't, no.
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Old 06-11-2008, 01:22 PM   #9
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3 kids, 1 in high school, one in elem and other starting prek next fall.

We both work full time, but i work from home so a little bit more flexible for dr appts, emergencies and i work 4 10's to get a full day off for groceries and spend a little week-day time with the kids (park, catch up w/ the other parents etc.).

My dad helps an enormous amount and MIL did so when we lived by her - so no day care for us and no financial hit for the care. Kids don't miss out on activities cuz grandpa plays SAHM essentially and runs them to the park, dance class etc.

Growing up both of my parents worked, but we never felt we missed out on too much (although we never compared ourselves to other kids with SAHM's since most of our friends parent's all worked outside of home too). We did do some classes on the weekend or later in evening and my dad always had a flexible schedule - which I think is key. If you have two working parents - who commute it makes it much much harder - but if one of you can cut hours or modify your schedule then it makes a huge difference.

oh, and as for being the SAHM type or not - you might change your mind with #2 - I couldn't have done it (well) for #1) but could definitely swing it now that i have the hang of it!
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Old 06-11-2008, 02:31 PM   #10
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2 kids- born in march of 08. One is home from hospital, one might be discharged on Monday.

I am working 2nd shift now- so I work a 1pm-10pm shift. Wife works mornings with clients and works from home in afternoons. We don't see each other much now, but it is what is best for kids and easiest on the budget.
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Old 06-11-2008, 02:32 PM   #11
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My mother stayed at home.
My wife gave up work - stayed at home for 20 years for the 3 kids - I had a modest income no inheritance - we lived frugally & BOM - one cheap car - public transit for me - did without luxuries - able to raise a family of 5 in SF suburb and get all three through private college and get early retired somehow - I still scratch my head on how this got done.
I retired in 2001 - she resumed career and will ER next year- I herded the three through remaining years of high school and college - last one will be done with college and on his own a year from now!
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Old 06-11-2008, 02:41 PM   #12
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My mother stayed at home.
My wife gave up work - stayed at home for 20 years for the 3 kids - I had a modest income no inheritance - we lived frugally & BOM - one cheap car - public transit for me - did without luxuries - able to raise a family of 5 in SF suburb and get all three through private college and get early retired somehow - I still scratch my head on how this got done.
I retired in 2001 - she resumed career and will ER next year- I herded the three through remaining years of high school and college - last one will be done with college and on his own a year from now!
All I can say is WOW. If you don't mind me asking, how old are you both? And what is the 'modest income' in SF?
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Old 06-11-2008, 02:46 PM   #13
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I am glad I finished school before extracurricular activities became a requirement!

Anyway, no kids here. I have two women friends who had excellent jobs so their spouses stayed at home with the kids. The guys loved the opportunity to be such a part of their kids' lives, but took a fair amount of grief for it. In one of the families, their kids are now grown and the husband found a PT job. That is really ideal for their family as there is extra money coming in but he is around to do most of the chores. The other stay at home dad I know has a small financial planning business he runs out of the home. I think it is more so he can say he also works and doesn't have an empty resume if push comes to shove.
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Old 06-11-2008, 03:49 PM   #14
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One thing I would have done different when I was working is I would have gotten a cleaning lady and not tried to be Super Mom .
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Old 06-11-2008, 03:50 PM   #15
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My DW has said on numerous occasions that the one thing in her life that she is absolutely certain that she will never regret or feel guilt about is staying home with the kids until they were in school. We both believe that if at all possible, those who made the kids should raise the kids.

To the O.P., if you want somebody else to cuddle them when they fall, or watch their first steps, or play with them, or teach them right from wrong, or be the first one there if they feel sick, or manage their diet and exercise and any of the other myriad of parental responsibilities that will forever bond your child with you, then by all means, make up some womens-lib excuse like "daycare is good for socializing the child". Harsh words, I know, but remember...you reap what you sow.

Once they hit school age, DW got a part time job that allows her to leave after the kids leave for school, and be home 15 min before they get home, and sometimes help at the school on her days off.

Did we sacrifice financially? Yes
Were the kids socialized with peers early? Yes, they were active with other stay at home parents and their kids (lots of new mother groups and play groups out there)
Do we feel self righteous? Yes, because we know that we did the right thing.
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Old 06-11-2008, 03:57 PM   #16
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All I can say is WOW. If you don't mind me asking, how old are you both? And what is the 'modest income' in SF?
58
ranged between 24-57,000 while there in SF
Left in 94 for Minnesota top money was under 80 when I left in 2001.
Key was moving and leaving jobs...freed up 401 money so I could invest it and then withdraw it early and golly it's cheaper here on the tundra, I mean on edge of the prairie!
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Old 06-11-2008, 04:49 PM   #17
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DW was a SAHM from the beginning. She remained so until our youngest reached middle school age. That was for about 22 years. One thing we figured was that any job she could have gotten would just about pay for two in daycare, so we figured it was more cost-effective for her to be at home plus the added child-rearing benefits. It likely would have affected our retirement plans, but I eventually got a state job with retirement benefits starting at age 60 (medical insurance being the deciding one). I don't believe it makes any difference whether you're a SAHM or have daycare as you have other times for family love/attention and extracurricular activities, but you do miss out on school field trips and classroom volunteering. Again, there are other thing you can do to make up for it. We wouldn't go back and change what we did, but we also have seen others with both parents working that have turned out fine.
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Old 06-11-2008, 05:11 PM   #18
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thanks for posting this Aida--what, no one shares Lazygood4nothingBum's hypothetical story from Craig's thread??

Quote:
they met in college where they both majored in business. he was impressed with her ambition. after college they both sought fast tracks to high end positions. they fell in love, married and soon thereafter had a child.

throughout their relationship they discussed how they would make lots of money together and live the high life. they would travel, they would party and they would both produce the income to finance their love of this life. but she changed as her tummy grew. she started taking sick days and watching donna reed on daytime television. he tried to keep her on their business plan, that she'd keep working. they'd hire help to raise the child and take care of the house so they'd be free to continue enjoying the fun life that was once their supposed shared dream.

so she changes course mid-stream. their dream was never her dream. she only made out as if she shared his dream until she hooked her man. she never wanted to be a working mom. why should she. she deserved to be a kept woman. she deserved to be donna reed.

so the guy had to work even harder to make up for her loss of income. instead of remaining in partnership, he wound up working for she, the queen b*. she became arrogant in this, castrating her man at every opportunity. she took complete control over his children. he didn't have a say in how they were raised, all he had was a paycheck to deliver. in her state of entitlement, she stopped loving him in bed. he felt excluded from his own home during the day and during the night.

and now she wants even more. she claims that she should get paid a six figure salary for the work an illegal immigrant would gladly have done for mere living wage. she doesn't just want half of what is theirs. she doesn't even want to pay for her half of the childrens' care. she doesn't think he deserves his half. she ruined his dream but he ruined her plan, her donna reed fantasy, and he's going to pay for that even if he has to become so depressed that he commits suicide just to satisfy her.

there, she can have all his money now. satisfied?
At least I hope it's hypothetical--
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Old 06-11-2008, 06:37 PM   #19
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I quit my job three years ago when our first was born. Originally I had planned to job-share with a co-worker, and we almost had the agreement all worked out. I was going to go back to work when my son was 4 months old... and just couldn't bring myself to put him in daycare, not even part-time. So I quit and haven't regretted it.

Financially, my not working puts us a bit behind financially and will delay FIRE, no doubt. But we crunched the numbers and after paying for childcare, taxes and work-related expenses (mostly clothing and shoes for me) I only would have brought home $3 a hour. With me at home life is much calmer, much more relaxed, and I know what's going on with our kids. No regrets.

Surprise bonus: For the first time in my life, what I am doing, what I feel that I should be doing, and what I want to be doing are all the same thing. This is a tough job, no doubt about it, and it doesn't always bring out the best in me, but I'm glad I'm doing it.

In a couple of years when the kids are in school I'll probably go back to my old job part-time, doing a special project that I had skills in and everyone else hated. It's not my favorite, but it's flexible and will be some extra cash that we'll use to accelerate our FIRE plans. Or, I'll take the plunge and see if our local independent bookstore will hire me. I'd LOVE that job but probably wouldn't take much money home with me.


As a side note: My DH would have been a great SAHD, but his salary blows mine out of the water and we could never live here on my salary alone. So I'm the one who made the switch and I'm OK with that, especially since I know I can go back to work any time I want.
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Old 06-11-2008, 06:40 PM   #20
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My DW has said on numerous occasions that the one thing in her life that she is absolutely certain that she will never regret or feel guilt about is staying home with the kids until they were in school. We both believe that if at all possible, those who made the kids should raise the kids.

To the O.P., if you want somebody else to cuddle them when they fall, or watch their first steps, or play with them, or teach them right from wrong, or be the first one there if they feel sick, or manage their diet and exercise and any of the other myriad of parental responsibilities that will forever bond your child with you, then by all means, make up some womens-lib excuse like "daycare is good for socializing the child". Harsh words, I know, but remember...you reap what you sow.

Once they hit school age, DW got a part time job that allows her to leave after the kids leave for school, and be home 15 min before they get home, and sometimes help at the school on her days off.

Did we sacrifice financially? Yes
Were the kids socialized with peers early? Yes, they were active with other stay at home parents and their kids (lots of new mother groups and play groups out there)
Do we feel self righteous? Yes, because we know that we did the right thing.
My wife and I both work full-time, and we have 2 kids in daycare. DW stayed home with each kid for 6 months before returning to work. We agree that they're both thriving in daycare, and are likely more stimulated and educated than they would be with either of us as a stay-at-home parent. This is a large daycare facility with multiple teachers, an established curriculum, etc. The decision to put them in daycare was both financial (DW is a high earner) and personal (she enjoys her work and didn't want to quit).

There are a number of cultures where children are raised by a group of caring individuals (either extended family, or "community"). Humans are highly adaptable; as long as the environment is a healthy, caring one, I think kids can thrive in many different situations.

I personally was a latch-key kid raised by a single parent. My Dad had a SAHM, who I believe now had emotional problems her entire life. I think he and his siblings would have been better off in daycare than stuck at home with her. I don't believe there is any one "right" answer, just a "right" answer for each family.
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