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Seeking a Remedy for a Child-Care Dilemma

May 26, 1991

It seems to me that Dodie McCarthy, forced to take her 7-month-old to work with her, was seeking the sympathy and indignation of other parents of today. Yet she won't get it from me. All sympathy eroded when I saw how difficult it was for her and her husband, being overextended with house payments, car payments and expensive hobbies.

Yes, our generation has it tougher than our parents, and, yes, things are more expensive now. But it is also high time that the weak-kneed in our society stood up and spoke the truth. My generation is selfish and spoiled, and a good number place their possessions before their children.

My husband and I are in our early 30s. We have three small children, but it is what we don't have that shocks most people. We don't have a compact disc player, a flashy car, the latest stereo equipment, a nice TV, nice furniture, nor even (gasp) a personal computer.

We spend our time reading (library books are free), playing sandlot baseball or going to parks. Instead of listening to TV, we listen to each other--a novel idea for most Americans. And the funny thing is, we miss none of these possessions. For we know something the rest of our generation seems unaware of: We have the rest of our lives to get this stuff (if we even want it then).

When people discover that I am an attorney staying home to raise my children, they look at me in shock. I look them back square in the eyes and say slowly and clearly, "I have three children who are always happy, always loving, always self-confident. Their joy at simply being alive is such that people remark on it everywhere we go. The one comment we hear over and over is, 'I haven't seen children like these in so, so long.' " I have the rest of my life to be an attorney, but only these precious few years to create happy human beings.

My husband and I are making major sacrifices to raise our kids right. I'm sorry, but I am not going to make additional ones to raise yours.

SUSAN K. PATTON FOX

Point Mugu

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