Top critical review
A book guaranteed to trigger postpartum depression
on March 17, 2004
A parent (that usually means "mother") who has a child in a commercial day-care center will probably want to shoot herself after reading this book. Robertson makes a densely argued case against any kind of early-childhood care other than maternal and in-home. "Day Care Deception" will reinforce the choices of the comfortably-off reader (that's me!) who has not had to put her kids in day care. However, some of us at-home mothers worry about the rest of America's kids in addition to our own. There isn't enough quality child care, and it's pointless for Robertson or anyone else to try to hustle American mothers away from paid employment. Most cannot afford that luxury.
Corporate America hasn't done much in a concrete way to accommodate parenthood, and the author doesn't think much of what options parents do have. He appears positively scandalized to reveal that day-care centers are, gasp, a business, and one that has to turn a profit in order to stay viable just as any other business does. Can a day-care center provide loving care to children and make money at the same time? You'd never know it from reading this book.
"In the face of the strange but powerful alliance of feminism and the Business Roundtable, who can be relied upon to defend the interests of children and families?" orates Robertson, near the end of this slim volume. The answer is, parents are on their own. He remains opposed to the "day care establishment that would foist the destructive regime of universal day care on every family, all in the name of concern over children's well-being and development."
I would welcome the existence of a regime Robertson calls "destructive," as long as it's "universal." This would make a welcome alternative to the inadequate patchwork non-system currently prevailing in the United States. Low-income mothers have the fewest choices regarding child care, and Robertson doesn't bother to ask them if they would prefer a clean, safe, universally available day-care environment for their children.
Instead, he trots out an eighty-year-old quote by noted child-care authority [sic] G.K. Chesterton, who is said to have said, "If people cannot mind their own business, it cannot possibly be more economical to pay them to mind each other's business, and still less to mind each other's babies."
Gosh, that's really helpful advice. And talk about witty! Maybe Dr. Laura (she's quoted in this book, too) could embroider that as a sampler.