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At-Home Parents and the U.S. Congress - Part One

You've probably been rocking your baby to sleep. Or perhaps you've been busy discussing values with your teenager. Your priorities have been cleaning and cooking, cuddling and kissing, and otherwise creating a nurturing environment for your kids. Keeping track of politics in Washington, D.C. is way down on your list of "Things to Do Today."

In this spirit, I would like to report that two months ago the United States Congress passed a resolution acknowledging your importance as a stay at-home parent. Don't be upset that you didn't notice. You've been busy.

The House in H.Con. 202, along with the Senate, concurred that

"the Federal Government should acknowledge the importance of at-home parents and should not discriminate against families who forgo a second income in order for a mother or father to be at home with their children."

Are you looking up from the changing table?

The U.S. government is in the process of creating further regulations and funding for child care. This resolution, which does not have the force of law and therefore does not require anyone to do anything, is a statement recognizing that, whatever binding legislation is passed, the at-home parent should not be forgotten.

(The full text of the resolution can be seen at http:// thomas.loc.gov. If the link has expired, do a simple search by Bill Number for HCon202).

A brief synopsis:

According to the resolution, studies find that children need

"a sensitive, interactive, loving, and consistent caregiver." And since "most parents meet and exceed the aforementioned criteria . . . often parental care marks the best form of child care."

Insert puzzled looks here.

It continues by stating numerous U.S. societal circumstances:

  • The majority of preschool children have at-home mothers.
  • Many families "sacrifice a second full-time income so that the mother may be at home with her child."
  • "Only 30 percent of preschool children are in paid child care."
  • Some of the remaining 70 percent's families struggle to provide child care at home.

Because of these facts the resolution states that any further legislation passed regarding child care should not solely benefit the minority of families that do use paid child care. It states:

"any quality child care proposal should reflect careful consideration of providing financial relief for those families where there is an at-home parent."

As I will explore in part two of this series, it is difficult to determine how this resolution will influence pending child care legislation. Nonetheless, the U.S. Congress does close its resolution with the following:

"Mothers and fathers who have chosen and continue to choose to be at home should be applauded for their efforts."

Stand up and take a bow.

© 2005 - 2012 Hal Levy and the above captioned author.