There are a couple of commenters and emailers who declare that I have no idea what's involved in being a stay at home mom--not merely the childcare, but the cleaning, the laundry, the bills, the scheduling, arranging for repairs, and so forth. These people seem to be under the impression that I have a staff of ten or twelve, or perhaps live in the magical fairy world of single people where my air conditioner has not just broken, and the bill-paying gnomes show up once a month to organize my personal finances and regrout the bathtub. Sadly, I too do laundry, cook meals, pay bills, get the car serviced, repair broken appliances, wax the furniture, wade through accumulated mountains of paper, wash the dog, clean the drool off the walls, and so forth.

Moreover, I come from a pretty large extended family, and have put in my time as both a remunerated and an unpaid childcare worker. I am familiar with the operations involved, and rest assured, I can do all of them except breastfeed (right now, anyway). And just to put everyone's mind at ease, I do know at least enough to put the formula in the bottle and the strained peaches in the dish that your child is about to throw onto the floor.

I have, believe you me, endless respect for the fantastic amount of labor required to care for a child, and my hat is off to each and every one of you who has voluntarily undertaken this herculean task. But it is not "skilled" labor in the sense of "something comparatively few people know--or can quickly learn--how to do." It is particularly not "skilled" when we are talking about childcare, rather than parenting. Their job is to tend to your child's physical needs and keep him or her occupied. You still have to do the trickiest part of raising a decent human being.

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