Leave it alone

Between 1970 and 1975 my wife and I had four children. My wife stopped working outside the home with the birth of our first child. At the time I was a office clerk and clerk supervisor.

There was no family or parental leave paid or otherwise. I saved my vacation time and took a week off after each child was born.

Thereafter my wife was on her own and made more difficult because I was still going to college two nights a week and Saturdays.

What triggered these thoughts? I just read an article in the Wall Street Journal relating the difficulties couples face because of limited or no paid family/parental leave.

But times are changing. In 2020, Wash­ing­ton state passed a new law en­ti­tling work­ing par­ents to 12 weeks of paid leave, to bond with their new­born.

I kind of think I bonded with my children. But now we know taking leave helps with test scores – he said with a dose of cynicism.

More parental leave-tak­ing ben­e­fits the econ­omy in the im­pact on fam­i­lies’ well-be­ing, said Emily Os­ter, eco­nomics pro­fes­sor at Brown Uni­ver­sity—rang­ing from near-term out­comes such as in­fant mortality rates to longer-term mea­sures, in­clud­ing child test scores and adult earn­ings. “In this sense, leave now is an in­vestment in the eco­nomic future,” Ms. Os­ter said.

Wall Street Journal April 10, 2023

How did we survive pretty much on our own and on one income and raising normal children with good test scores and adult earnings. How did all of society advance before the generations up until the sixties?


  1. When I was young…
    Most moms were stay at home. Most of my friends were “poor”, as were we. Divorce was a word you whispered, if you said it at all. Families were more intact, and, many women were living lives of quiet desperation.
    More broken families now, and over 70 percent of blacks born out of marriage.
    That was so incredible when I heard it, I immediately thought it was ” fake news”. It’s not. (More than 28 percent of whites. )

    We are changing, but beware of trying to force a return of “the good old days”. We are changing for a reason.


  2. I no longer trust academia, but if I did, I would like to see a study on the raising of children pre-world War II compared today’s children, other than Doctor Spock’s BS version.

    How many kids had to work around the family farm or be taken out behind the wood shed? How many families used to bond in church every Sunday? Why have we gone to participation trophies instead of rewarding those for merit and skill? What happened to our education system? My grandfather had an 8th education and became a supervisor in his early 20’s. I think better test scores happen when the parents are involved when their children are in school, not when they are in diapers. But now the schools are refusing, or teachers are not allowed to tell parents everything that is going on in the classroom or at least this is true in NJ.

    The government wants more early childhood education with no proof that it works other than to provide child daycare services. Today, both parents are forced to work to pay the bills, causing others to raise their children. May be the answer lies with not more parental leave but finding ways to assist having one parent staying home to raise their children. This should be done without throwing tax dollars at the problem because the government wasn’t throwing money at parents in the early part of the 1900s.

    I worked shift work and missed so many things with my son. Normal things that were scheduled during weekends so parents could watch, I missed because I was working. I always wished that my vacation time was given to me in reverse; that is 4 weeks while my son was young and 1 week the years before I retired, just so I could be home more for those events that I missed. But some how, my son made E-7 in the Army and is now a supervisor at a refinery. While others are still enabled as adults to play video games and sleep in their parents basements.


  3. You can find “experts” to tout any line you want to hear, especially those who work in colleges. That’s what a lot of these columns set out to do.
    On a different note, there are a significant number of out of wedlock babies and they are behind from the get go. It will take more than 12 weeks of parental leave to help those kids.


    1. We were fortunate to have been able to have our wives stay home with the children. Many today are not so fortunate. Working at PSEG granted us the ability to do thing that many others couldn’t. I was literally able to make up for my wife’s salary with contracted step raises, lots of OT and a promotion I’m not sure 12 paid weeks is the right number and I’m not sure if it should be for both parents but there should definitely be some guaranteed time off.


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