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Daycare versus home debate

The Story

Daycare or staying at home -- what's best for my child? It's a question that millions of Canadian mothers are faced with. The decision is never easy -- especially for single mothers -- and involves the balancing of economic and emotional issues. In this clip from CBC Radio's Morningside, Peter Gzowski tackles the thorny issue with three mothers, including a stay-at-home mom who argues that mother care is superior to "other care."

Medium: Radio
Program: Morningside
Broadcast Date: May 20, 1986
Guests: Marilyn Bunton, Susan Redmond, Judy Segal
Host: Peter Gzowski
Duration: 14:50

Did You know?

• The issue of stay-at-home moms versus career women was a hot topic in the 1980s. When this clip was broadcast in 1986, the idea of the "supermom" who struggles to balance work with family life was a frequent subject of newspaper headlines and magazine cover stories.

• Peter Gzowski said he'd received more mail from listeners in 1986 on the issue than any other topic he'd covered.

• The first woman heard in this clip is Susan Redmond, a new mother who was working part-time at a Toronto Daycare.

• The second guest is Marilyn Bunton, a working woman who decided to quit her job and stay at home with her daughter. She says she feels sorry for working mothers, and thinks it's "selfish" for women to give up their child to someone else after they've given birth.

• Judy Segal is the third guest in this mother care panel discussion. The Toronto kindergarten teacher placed her six-week-old child in daycare and returned to work because she said her pregnancy left her feeling like "a basket case."

• In this at times combative clip, Bunton insists that every woman has a choice to stay at home with her children -- even single mothers. At one point she seems to imply that going on welfare is a better option than placing your child in daycare.

• The issue of increased support for traditional mothers has been a bone of contention in the debate over universal daycare.

• Groups like REAL Women of Canada (which refers to itself as "Canada's Alternative Women's Movement") have argued for decades that stay-at-home mothers have been ignored by both feminists and politicians. They maintain that the best place for young children is in the home, and that the federal government should offer financial support to women who want to stay home.

• One of the earliest uses of the term "supermom" was in a 1978 New York Times articles titled "Women and Success: Why Some Find it So Painful."

• In the article Alexandra Symonds, a specialist in the lives of women professionals, classified working mothers as non-traditionalists who "defied the pressures of society and family to achieve other things. And many have paid a heavy price.  "There is a large group of career women who don't ever seem to be fulfilled, although they work hard at their jobs and at taking care of their families," Symonds continued. "Usually they are nurturing individuals with a compulsive need to be supermom as well as a super success in their careers."


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