Breaking News:  Moms Are Vital

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A child is born, and nothing is ever the same.

We’re not just talking Christmas and THAT child.

Every child.

Every birth should make a difference. Every child should be the priority, for the mother and father.

Is that a controversial statement?

Amazingly, it is.

When Erica Komisar wrote a book titled Being There: Why Prioritizing Motherhood in the First Three Years Matters, it seemed like a no-brainer. Instead, the book is being greeted by silence (from the so-called “liberal media”) or criticisms for its controversial nature.

Again, let’s repeat Komisar’s controversial premise:  Motherhood is important for children.

Interestingly, Komisar, a psychoanalyst from New York City, describes herself as a liberal. But when she writes a book, backed up by 30 years of clinical observation and scientific research, the liberals don’t want to hear it.

Why? It will hurt feelings.

In an article in the Wall Street Journal, explaining the backlash against Komisar and her book, she said, “a number of the agents said, ‘No, we couldn’t touch that. That would make women feel guilty.’ ”

When the book came out, Komisar was only interviewed by the so-called “conservative media,” including Fox News and Christian radio stations.

But “I couldn’t get on NPR,” and “I was rejected wholesale — particularly in New York — by the liberal press,” she said in the WSJ article.


Because we don’t want to admit that our culture no longer values family as the bedrock of civilization; and it ignores the truth that parents have no more significant role than raising their children in an environment of support and love.

Family means sacrifice. We would rather speak of self-fulfillment and following your dreams.

A child can get in the way.

After the Wall Street Journal article, WBUR, a Boston NPR radio station, reached out to Komisar for an interview. The interviewer claimed Komisar’s book was detrimental, saying it was “an enormous burden to put on already-burdened mothers …”

Burden? We used to call it a responsibility.

More than once, Komisar had to remind the interviewer that the book was not based on feelings or trends, but on observations and clinical data.

The problem that prompted Komisar’s book was that more children (and younger children) are being diagnosed with mental disorders and behavioral problems, such as ADHD and over-aggression. Her research found a connection between the problems of these children, and a detachment from their mothers.

A mother’s presence in a child’s life, especially the first three years, provides emotional stability that allows the child to handle stress later.

“Mothers are critically important in the first three years of life, and that impacts their emotional well-being,” Komisar said in a promotion for her book. “You can’t be emotionally present, if you’re not physically present, as much of the time as possible.

“There is a critical window of development … in those first three years, the social and emotional part of the brain is developing. And a mother is a critical part of that development. She protects the child from stress. She provides that child with emotional security. And, most importantly, from moment to moment, she helps to regulates that baby’s emotions …

“At the end of that three-year period, the baby has internalized what the mother has given him or her, and is able to do those things for themselves for the rest of their lives.”

I wish I had this book 25 years ago when I worked at a newspaper in Florida. My stay-at-home wife was treated with little respect from my female colleagues, and I was made to feel like the cave man for keeping her home, with our kids.

But if I had this book, I could prove I wasn’t being backwards, but progressive – with science on my side.

The liberal fear is that Komisar’s book will hinder women’s advancement in the workplace, while enabling the male chauvinism stereotype.

Komisar is not trying to wage a battle against working mothers. (She’s one, herself.) Her constant call comes from the title in her book:  Prioritizing Motherhood.

Can’t we do that without adding all the baggage?

First and foremost, what is best for the child? What does Mom have to do? What does Dad have to do, to both play a role in a child’s development, and make sure Mom has time for hers?

Children need their parents. Haven’t we seen enough evidence? Now we have an expert, using facts and not an agenda, to verify that. 

Komisar is attacked (or ignored) for stating such obvious truths. It is an indictment of a wayward culture, that no longer prioritizes what is truly valuable:  its children.


Kevin Thomas is a writer and former teacher, living with his wife and children in Standish, Maine.