I was appalled at the sheer ignorance exposed in the article.
I was appalled at the sheer ignorance exposed in the article.
This is partly why I will never have children. Say what you will but it is " expected" that the mother handle everything to do with the kids.
I can't stand when friends say they can't do something because of their kids. How about your husband watches them for a couple of hours??????
While I don't agree all women are "better suited", I do believe one of the parents needs to stay with the kids. I don't know how children adapt to being dragged sound at all hours to baby sitters. People say "oh children adapt". Sure they do, we all adapt to our situation, but that doesn't mean they aren't paying a huge price.
I commend that family for finding a way to live on one salary. The woman sounds like a good mother. I just don't agree with her idea of the proper mother/father spiel.
Oh. The horrors. She sounds so oppressed.Quote:
Undistracted by office politics and unfettered by meetings or a nerve-fraying commute, she spends hours upon hours doing things that would make another kind of woman scream with boredom, chanting nursery rhymes and eating pretend cake beneath a giant Transformers poster. Her sacrifice of a salary tightened the Makinos’ upper-middle-class budget, but the subversion of her personal drive pays them back in ways Kelly believes are priceless; she is now able to be there for her kids no matter what, cooking healthy meals, taking them hiking and to museums, helping patiently with homework, and devoting herself to teaching the life lessons—on littering, on manners, on good habits—that she believes every child should know.
I'm not sure I could do that. At least, not well. Not because it's awful or a waste of an education but because not screwing up the future adult humans you're raising is kind of intimidating. More power to her--those kids will probably turn out a lot better than some I've had to deal with. And yes, history and biology bears out that generally, females are better suited to deal with offspring--that is how we evolved (not least because we're mammals and until very, VERY recently, you wanted an infant fed you were either nursing or you were wealthy enough for a wet nurse). That does not mean EVERY SINGLE WOMAN EVER SHOULD STAY IN THE KITCHEN OMG (as people who find stay-at-home mothers horrifying seem to be assuming), just that looking at human biology, human evolution, and human history, yes, generally "mom" is going to be the one more inclined to child rearing.
Not to mention (as the article does, one of the times I've seen someone writing from a feminist perspective acknowledge) that the idea that women CAN go out and succeed in something other than child rearing and taking care of the house does not mean that EVERY SINGLE WOMAN MUST WANT THIS, which is why Friedan doesn't resonate with everyone and a lot of women are resistant to being labeled a feminist. It carries with it the notion that you MUST believe women are EXACTLY LIKE MEN, can do anything men can, and beyond that they should NOT want to do anything traditionally considered feminine. From certain feminists there is the sense that "women should be free to choose, and are smart and capable--unless they make a choice to stay at home while their husband works because then they are mindlessly warped by patriarchal assumptions about women's roles and clearly cannot be making an informed decision." IOW, women are smart, strong, and capable, unless they disagree with me.
It's entirely possible to think a woman doing an equal amount/time/quality of works should be paid the same as a man doing the exact same thing and also think there is nothing wrong with women wanting to stay home with the kids because they WANT to, not because they've been brainwashed. (The longer I work, the more I understand why, down sides of children notwithstanding, someone with the chance would stay home instead of dragging themselves to work every day.)
Well said, Dancer! ^^^
Taking on the challenge of rearing a family can be in many ways far more daunting than going out and dealing with a boss, clients and co-workers. At no time can you just decide to hit "send to voicemail" when you hear a little voice hollering "MOMMMEEEEE!"
"she is now able to be there for her kids no matter what, cooking healthy meals, taking them hiking and to museums, helping patiently with homework, and devoting herself to teaching the life lessons—on littering, on manners, on good habits—that she believes every child should know"
This sounds very helicopter-parenty. My mom stayed home when my sister and I were kids (and so did all the other moms at that time), but she didn't focus on us all day long, thank goodness. We learned life lessons running with a pack of neighborhood kids all day long in the summer and after school rest of the year. We'd go home for meals, then back out to play, then home at dark. We'd ride bikes, build forts, make up games, have conflicts and work things out. Kids that were a-holes got shunned by the herd until they shaped up instead of being told they were special by their overly involved parents.
Reading the first couple pages of that article makes me want to barf.
The article could have been about me. I left the career I loved because I was a single mom and couldn't make it happen on the money coming in. Took a job I loved that fell within my skill set, but it still wasn't overly conducive to child rearing. When Dh was just my future DH, this topic was discussed in depth. My mom had left the work force when I was a year old to raise us, started selling real estate when my sister and I went to school, then entered a different field once we were in junior high and reasonably self sufficient.
I knew I wanted to be a stay at home mom because frankly, if anybody was going to screw up raising my children it was going to be me. I wouldn't have married a man that wanted me to work and have more children and run a household, because I knew I couldn't do it. I lack the time management skills.
I like being the class room mom and coaching Battle of the Books. I love being able to go on field trips, and not have to call in sick if one of the little breeches is home sick. I admire women who work and have families. I don't see how they pull off what they pull off, week in and week out. I KNOW I couldn't do it.
We have a dairy farm. There are times when DH has promised he could do something or would be home at a certain time so I could do something, but when something goes wrong and animal welfare is on the line, guess what gives? If a part breaks on the feed wagon, he has to fix it and then feed, he can't just tell the cows he will feed them the next day. I scramble and find a back up plan. Often, if the weather is nice, I can leave the kids with him. He did an amazing job of covering when my child care plans changed at the last minute while I was out of state at a conference.
There is no way I could have a 'real' job and rely on him to take up the slack. He doesn't have a 9-5. He relies on me to keep things running smoothly at home while I rely on him to make enough to cover our needs.
It was a very well discussed decision we made, but I can honestly say we never fight. The only thing we ever fought about was his family and that has been resolved. We don't both hit the door at 6:30 at night tired and hungry and fighting about who has to bathe the kids, make dinner, fold laundry etc. Our 'jobs' within the family are clearly defined. He doesn't have to work inside the home, I don't have to work outside the home. Although I have worked on our dairy, and still do most of the hauling and 'gophering'.
What I find sad is that the people getting most upset about SAHMs are other women. We should all respect the choices we make as individuals and keep supporting each other. So what if a woman chooses to stay home, or work full time and have a nanny, or work and never have kids, or has a partner that wants to be a SAHD. Women went through hell not that long ago to give us the ability to make that decision for ourselves. I'm glad that I wasn't under the pressure many women faced in the 80's that they HAD to work and have a family (and large permed hair), or under the pressure that I had to have a family and stay at home like women in the 50's. The role I chose to play was entirely up to me.
This will sound terribly harsh, but IHMO a 'traditional" housewife is nothing more nor less than an unpaid servant for a man who can afford such. There is NOTHING traditional about a non-working wife who can focus on children. The "job" that such a woman does has traditionally been the work of the servant class.
When I was coming along, it was understood that one HAD to choose between a "real" career and a life as unpaid servant. Now most people don't have that choice. Women have to work in an economy with a declining middle class. The world of the 1950's is long gone. Before then, if you could afford it, you had servants. If you didn't, providing food and clothing for your family was a full time job; and the children worked also. If you were a farm family without servants, the women and children worked right along with the men unless the woman was pregnant. Look at the lives of women in the 3rd world today; that was the life of the American woman in the past. If you weren't a farm family, the children were put to work as soon as they could be farmed out to help with family finances. In the history of the world, only very affluent societies could afford SAHMs. That will continue to be the case. With easy divorce, many women suffer when they lose the attractions that make a man willing to keep them.
While it's great that some can afford to have choices, IMO, those choices benefit only the male. Smother love is not good for either the mother or the child.
"The world of the 1950's is long gone."
I don't think it ever existed except in TV land. All of my grandmothers and their mothers worked AND took care of the house. My mom still works and is getting ready to retire in a few months. My baby sitter lived across the street and I was left with her at a young age. I grew up fine and my mom was a great role model on how to not put up with any shit. My dad was oddly "feminist" for someone born in the 1930's, but he grew up on a dairy farm with 9 brothers and sisters. His mother worked HARD.
Leave it to Beaver is mostly fiction.
So? What is the point of working a FT job and having kids if you hand the raising of those kids to a "paid" servant? I didn't have kids to have them raised by somebody else. And backing oneself into the two income trap has it's drawbacks. I think that if it's a choice you make, a choice you CAN make, more power to you.
I've come to agree kids are better off with one parent at home while they are young - up through grade, maybe middle school. I think dad's can be just as good at this as mom's and the decision should be made based on who can make the most $ &/or has best job security.
That said, once the kids are in high school, I think it's different. Unless the family is totally well off, the stay at home parent becomes sort of a drag on the full time working one. Get a part time job or even go back to work full time. There's college to get ready to pay for!
My only grief is when stay at home moms get their kids off to high school & college, still don't want to work, and start griping to me about how their full time working husband doesn't appreciate them anymore. Meanwhile, their husbands are griping to me about how she says she raised the kids, she should be able to buy a horse & just have fun now.
So maybe if the partners agreed to revisit the agreement every 5-10 years? Weight pros vs cons & make sure one partner isn't starting to resent their situation?
Definitely agree parent at home through grade school is better than day school or paid/non family sitters!
What I think a lot of us are missing is that it's about choices. No one choice is right or wrong, it's only right or wrong for that individual family.
I chose to be a stay at home mom, I loved it and we could afford it. But that's not the right choice for everyone. My sister, for example, loved her job and could afford a live in nanny. That worked out well for her.
The families I feel for are those who don't have a choice. The parents who have to work two jobs just to keep food on the table and have to take the child care they find whether it's adequate or not. But then, that's not who the NY Magazine is talking about, is it?
And while it's true that a stay-at-home mother can't ignore a cry of "MOMMMEEEEE," nor can a woman who works in an office take a two-hour break in the mid-afternoon while the kids are down for a nap.
You have to remember that until effective contraception women had no choice about having children. They were either unmarried servants, nuns, or mothers--if they lived through childbirth. Contraception is what has allowed choice at all.
Until WWII, there was a rule in our school district that female teachers could not be married and still work. I wonder if such a rule was commonly in place across the country, because teaching and social work were the only "professions" that welcomed women.
Windsor1, that is precisely what servants got in the past. Room, board, uniforms, health care, and a few dollars of spending money per week. The ones who made a career of being a household servant sometimes got pensioned off and sometimes didn't.
I personally don't mind adjusting my thinking from "unpaid" servant to "paid" servant without either job security or an independent pension.
To me, day care or a nanny is paying someone to do what they are good at and I am not. If someone can spend 40 hours a week teaching my future kid, being creative, giving them opportunities, while I simply lack the abilities to provide that, I think I'd be a worse parent to try then to accept my own limitations. Simply being female doesn't mean I would be a good stay at home parent. I hope that when I have kids I retain the ability to let go of my ego and accept my own weaknesses instead of trying to convince myself and my family that I am the only one who can do this job properly.
I am so tired of this ridiculous "debate." here we already see it -- working moms must not love their children as much, or want their kids "to be raised by someone else" -- how offensive. And SAHMs are lazy leeches who sit on the couch and take long afternoon naps -- again, how insulting.
I don't care what moms do as long as the kids turn out OK. I work. My child is loving, happy, growing and smart. He likes going to preschool, and learns a lot more there than I could teach him (I have no degree in early childhood education, and my idea of hell is a "playdate"). I am not at all worried about his development, nor do I believe "someone else is raising him." That someone else was welcome to have taken over this morning, when he woke up at 5 a.m. with a stuffy nose and cough.
No, it's my 38-weeks-pregnant self that comforts him when he's sick, disciplines him when he needs it, and snuggles with him any time he wants. My spouse is actively involved as a parent, and the burdens and joys of parenthood are and should be shared. My kid is not at all confused about who his parents are, and knows he's loved. As long as a SAHM's kid feels loved and supported and is provided for, that's great and I am happy for my friends who have chosen that path and find it fulfilling. Why do we always have to feel like someone else's perfectly valid choice is a threat to our own choices? It's not. Get some self-confidence, moms who feel like they have to judge the "other side."
Gah. Kill me now.
Fordtraktor, I agree with you in many ways. My only point is that having choices has only been possible for a very, very short time in the history of the human race and should be cherished and protected for as long as economic conditions exist that allow choice to be viable. Personal fulfillment is only possible to the (comparatively) rich.