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Parenting and the Question of Quality Time

March 08, 2000

Having been a stay-at-home mom, a divorced working mom with two children, and now a working, remarried mom with one child still at home, I read your article ("Following Their Hearts," Feb. 14) with great interest. I am 48 years old and am a professional in the legal community (not an attorney). I found it interesting that the older moms chose to stay home with their children and the one mother who didn't has very young children, 9 months and 2 years. She justifies her time with her children as quality time, but I'd have to question how much of that she has when she gets home at 6:30 at night and leaves before 8 a.m.

When do her babies go to bed? Mine were in bed between 6:30 and 7:30. She doesn't realize that the first five years of a child's life are the most important and that a "full time" nanny (who, hopefully for her children, speaks English) and a housekeeper are the ones raising her babies. I had to go back to work because I was divorced. Nothing, no career, no excitement, no personal fulfillment is more important than raising and nurturing your children into well-balanced adults.

If people want careers, they should have them. If they want children, they should be willing to take on that responsibility. Children are not pets!

--SYLVIA ANDERECK-BIRT

Laguna Hills

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Regarding the question of whether or not to work after giving birth: Anyone can replace you in a job. No one can replace you as a mother.

--BARBARA HAWLEY

Los Angeles

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When are men and women going to relinquish the cliche "quality time with my kids"? Hello! It's quantity time--just sitting around doing nothing but knowing that your mom and/or dad is there consistently. Going 100% on a weekend to entertain and buy to replace lost time is insufficient. Until we are honest and admit we are selfish and want for ourselves first and our kids second, "quality" will be mentioned in great quantity.

I can hear it several years from now when our kids are grown up and we say, "Gee, I'd like to see you and the grandchildren," and our kids reply, "Hey, we spend quality time at Thanksgiving. We see you for four hours. It's quality time, remember?"

--MARK JACOBY

Santa Monica

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