Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Warren and the Burden of Motherhood

 

Fifteen years ago, in her book Where’s Mom?: The High Calling of Wives and Mothers, Dorothy Kelley Patterson asked this pointed question: “Is being someone’s wife and another’s mother really worth the investment of a life?”

With that question, Patterson gets to the heart of what many mothers struggle with today. We live in a culture where motherhood alone isn’t treated as a respectable enough career in and of itself. A woman must also have a college education and then use that education to build a successful career outside of the home. Home life and motherhood are just a part of her life, additions to what really matters.

Sadly, children are treated as accessories and commodities, to be added for personal enjoyment, but discarded when they interfere with personal endeavors. These children certainly are not worth the investment of her whole life. How very silly of any woman to simply want to stay home with the children. What a waste of a mind, of an education, and of a perfectly well-functioning adult who should be contributing in much more valuable ways to society (like paying taxes).

Raising children gets in the way of the more important things.

Last night during the Des Moines Democratic Debate, Elizabeth Warren essentially answered Patterson’s question. Warren explained that we should have universal pre-K for every three- and four-year-old in America because “that’s an investment in our babies. An investment in their mommas and their daddies.” For her, and for the droves of liberal feminists she represents, being a mother isn’t worth the investment of a life. Women should not invest themselves in the lives of their own children. Instead, the virtuous investment is to use taxpayer money to place all small children in institutions.

Why? Because a mother should never have to give up her dreams, aspirations, career goals, and her very life to raise her own children. No. That would be ridiculous. What mothers really need is for their paths to be clear of any interference or distraction and what children really need is someone else to tend to and care for them.

Warren made it personal, which is to be expected of any Democrat in a political debate, and was nearly giddy talking about getting back to work as a young mother and dumping her two burdensome children off with someone else.

“I’ve been there,” she said. “I remember when I was a young mom. I had two little kids and I had my first real university teaching job. It was hard work. I was excited. But it was childcare that nearly brought me down.”

It was those pesky kids who were getting the way of her “real” work. Clearly we can’t allow children to do that, which is why she then added, “I think about how many women of my generation just got knocked off the track and didn’t get back on and never get back on.”

According to Warren, motherhood is getting off-track.

Children are a burden and a distraction.

Children aren’t worth the investment of a life.

That is, one’s own children aren’t worth the investment of her life. What I found interesting was how Warren went on to speak of childcare workers. That we need to treat them with dignity and value them for who they are and what they do.

And yet, for a mother to stay home with her very children, to give of herself to tend to and care for her own infants, toddlers, and school-aged children, somehow that’s just not respectable enough. Sure, Warren and others may not actually say that out loud, but that is precisely their attitude given their obsession with making a way for women to get out of the home and away from their kids, or as Warren would say, back on track.

Caring for your own children at home? Bondage.

Caring for someone else’s children at work? Freedom.

It’s all lunacy and evidence of the present effort to undermine and destroy the family, the home, gender distinctions and roles, and the very foundation of our society.

I’ll close with Patterson’s description of the, as she calls it, “surrogacy of this age” which describes quite adequately the attitude of not only Warren, but all six Democrats on stage last night, and I fear is the sweeping attitude of too many in Western culture today:

Of course, much of the world would agree that being a housekeeper is acceptable as long as you are not caring for your own home; treating men with attentive devotion would also be right as long as the man is the boss in the office and not your husband; caring for children would even be deemed heroic service for which presidential awards could be given as long as the children are someone else’s and not your own.

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  1. DonG (skeptic) Coolidge

    Jessi Bridges:

    Caring for your own children at home? Bondage.

    Caring for someone else’s children at work? Freedom.

    I did get vibe from Warren that she was pursuing a two-tier system where the world consisted of nannies and those that hire nannies. In the Warren world, government funds the parenting from cradle to grave. 

    • #1
    • January 15, 2020, at 3:17 PM PST
    • 4 likes
  2. OmegaPaladin Moderator

    I think that we do not value human life that highly overall. For most couples and single moms, a baby is an immense time and money sink worthy of government contracting and budgeting. Add to that the significant lack of social support for motherhood. It is even worse for fatherhood. Many of our liberal thought leaders resented their parents and dreaded being like them.

    Parenthood seems like a loser’s game, and people who have lots of kids are stereotyped as welfare queens and morons. If you have lots of kids, you probably neglect them, like a crazy cat lady’s flock of felines.

    The environmental movement views people like bacteria, who will reproduce and consume everything before starving to death . Having children is like torching a rainforest to them.

    So, your would-be parent has the option of dedicating their life to an expensive, frustrating multi-decade project that will get you social suspicion and probably kills sea otters or baby seals. Or use birth control & get the fun part without all the baggage. Is it any wonder the birth rate is falling.

    • #2
    • January 15, 2020, at 3:39 PM PST
    • 5 likes
  3. WillowSpring Member
    WillowSpring Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    I think this is in the same line as “It takes a village”. Unfortunately, the village will raise the child to the village’s values, not yours.

    • #3
    • January 15, 2020, at 5:22 PM PST
    • 4 likes
  4. Drusus Coolidge

    Careers are drastically overvalued. Very few professions have a high degree of intrinsic value – most just pay the bills. The stay-at-home-parent and the career parent both need to have something higher to latch onto for meaning. 

    • #4
    • January 15, 2020, at 5:44 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  5. E. Kent Golding Member

    The decision for my family was made easy – my wife’s career choices would pay for childcare, nothing above it. Given the choice between my wife taking care of our children, and paying someone else to take care of our children and having no extra money left over , the choice was easy — my wife stayed home. Periodically, my wife would want to get job outside of the home, just to spend time with some adults. At the very idea of it, our children would either start crying or start screaming. My wife stayed home until my children were in high school. Our children have similar values to ours ( somewhat different ) but are committed Christians. In some ways, I am grateful that my wife would have been unable to make enough money to make staying at home a real financial loss. The decision would have been much harder, and I do not know that we would have been as wise or as faithful.

    • #5
    • January 15, 2020, at 6:05 PM PST
    • 5 likes
  6. Doug Watt Moderator

    Unfortunately Ms. Warren has revealed what Hillary Clinton really meant when she said it takes a village to raise a child. Children are career wreckers, planet wreckers, and what Hillary, and Ms. Warren really believe is this:

    • #6
    • January 15, 2020, at 6:35 PM PST
    • 4 likes
  7. Jessi Bridges Contributor
    Jessi Bridges

    OmegaPaladin (View Comment):
    I think that we do not value human life that highly overall.

    I think that is definitely at the root of it all. 

    • #7
    • January 15, 2020, at 8:41 PM PST
    • 4 likes
  8. Jessi Bridges Contributor
    Jessi Bridges

    Doug Watt (View Comment):
    Unfortunately Ms. Warren has revealed what Hillary Clinton really meant when she said it takes a village to raise a child.

    Exactly. I saw a post going around on FB last month that said something like, “Christmas is over. Imma need the schools to come and take their children back.” For decades we’ve gladly handed over our children to “the village” aka the state. And then parents act surprised when the state acts like our children actually do belong to them.

    • #8
    • January 15, 2020, at 8:44 PM PST
    • 1 like
  9. Jessi Bridges Contributor
    Jessi Bridges

    Drusus (View Comment):
    Very few professions have a high degree of intrinsic value – most just pay the bills.

    I could not agree more. Which makes it all the more unfortunate when a mother chooses to abdicate her gifted role to nurture her own children, simply for a paycheck. It’s just not worth it.

    • #9
    • January 15, 2020, at 8:47 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  10. Jessi Bridges Contributor
    Jessi Bridges

    E. Kent Golding (View Comment):
    my wife’s career choices would pay for childcare, nothing above it.

    This is honestly one element to this that just baffles me. That alone seems like enough for a woman to recognize it’s not worth it. I know this isn’t true in all cases- some women make above and beyond childcare costs. But it really should be a consideration. I think we’re just so conditioned to believe that both husband and wife, father and mother, are obligated to work.

    • #10
    • January 15, 2020, at 8:49 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  11. Fake John/Jane Galt Coolidge

    White women should pursue a career. Especially a high level one that gives them independence from men and destroy the patriarchy. Children should be avoided at all costs with abortion being the preferred method.
    Now the population needs to increase for taxation and voting purposes so replacement children should be created by non white minorities when possible with superior immigrant blood lines being preferred. Social programs need to be provided to support this endeavor with single mother households being preferred and financed. 

    • #11
    • January 15, 2020, at 10:19 PM PST
    • 1 like
  12. James Lileks Contributor

    I was a stay-at-home dad; happiest years of my life. Why anyone thinks anything that happens at an office is more fundamentally rewarding is beyond me. 

    • #12
    • January 15, 2020, at 10:20 PM PST
    • 10 likes
  13. Columbo Member

    DonG (skeptic) (View Comment):

    Jessi Bridges:

    Caring for your own children at home? Bondage.

    Caring for someone else’s children at work? Freedom.

    I did get vibe from Warren that she was pursuing a two-tier system where the world consisted of nannies and those that hire nannies. In the Warren world, government funds the parenting from cradle to grave.

    Indeed. ‘The life of Julia’ and all.

    • #13
    • January 16, 2020, at 4:57 AM PST
    • 1 like
  14. Stad Thatcher

    Jessi Bridges: We live in a culture where motherhood alone isn’t treated as a respectable enough career in and of itself.

    The good news is those who disagree with this statement are the ones having children. The “motherhood deniers” are going to vanish due to self-extinction . . .

    • #14
    • January 16, 2020, at 6:12 AM PST
    • 1 like
  15. The Dowager Jojo Inactive

    WillowSpring (View Comment):

    I think this is in the same line as “It takes a village”. Unfortunately, the village will raise the child to the village’s values, not yours.

    I am going to stick up for “it takes a village” here. You do need a village with your values to raise a child with your values. Parents cannot do it alone. Their children are influenced by their village and they must be able to function in their village.

    The post seems to be about the fact that our “village” places little value on children and less on motherhood and fatherhood. Which is tragically dehumanizing. 

    • #15
    • January 16, 2020, at 6:17 AM PST
    • Like
  16. Full Size Tabby Member

    As the trope goes, how many dying words are along the lines of, “I wish I spent more time on my profession” and how many funeral eulogies focus on professional accomplishments? Yes, a few do. But far more often dying words include regrets that more time wasn’t spent on family. And most funeral eulogies talk about people relationships, especially children. 

    I’m a guy, and believe that guys are hardwired to be more interested in work than women are. But one of the saddest days of my life was when my then 5 year old son gave me a pottery ladybug he had made “so I wouldn’t forget him because I worked so much.” I thought I was giving him plenty of attention, but he told me I wasn’t. Changes were made to my work schedule. 

    • #16
    • January 16, 2020, at 7:32 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  17. Midget Faded Rattlesnake Contributor

    Jessi Bridges (View Comment):

    Drusus (View Comment):
    Very few professions have a high degree of intrinsic value – most just pay the bills.

    I could not agree more. Which makes it all the more unfortunate when a mother chooses to abdicate her gifted role to nurture her own children, simply for a paycheck. It’s just not worth it.

    You assume every mother has this gifted role. Why?

    Why cannot women differ in their mothering skills, just as they differ in any other skill?

    • #17
    • January 16, 2020, at 11:39 AM PST
    • Like
  18. The Dowager Jojo Inactive

    Midget Faded Rattlesnake (View Comment):

    Jessi Bridges (View Comment):

    Drusus (View Comment):
    Very few professions have a high degree of intrinsic value – most just pay the bills.

    I could not agree more. Which makes it all the more unfortunate when a mother chooses to abdicate her gifted role to nurture her own children, simply for a paycheck. It’s just not worth it.

    You assume every mother has this gifted role. Why?

    Why cannot women differ in their mothering skills, just as they differ in any other skill?

    Perhaps she meant that the role is a gift, as opposed to a burden.

    • #18
    • January 16, 2020, at 12:49 PM PST
    • 1 like
  19. Randy Weivoda Moderator
    Randy Weivoda Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Full Size Tabby (View Comment):
    As the trope goes, how many dying words are along the lines of, “I wish I spent more time on my profession”

    If this were a Member Feed-only post, I might give a counter example.

    • #19
    • January 16, 2020, at 1:29 PM PST
    • 1 like
  20. Midget Faded Rattlesnake Contributor

    The Dowager Jojo (View Comment):

    Midget Faded Rattlesnake (View Comment):

    Jessi Bridges (View Comment):

    Drusus (View Comment):
    Very few professions have a high degree of intrinsic value – most just pay the bills.

    I could not agree more. Which makes it all the more unfortunate when a mother chooses to abdicate her gifted role to nurture her own children, simply for a paycheck. It’s just not worth it.

    You assume every mother has this gifted role. Why?

    Why cannot women differ in their mothering skills, just as they differ in any other skill?

    Perhaps she meant that the role is a gift, as opposed to a burden.

    Oh, OK. Often what “gifted” means is “gifted by talent”, and it’s true that there’s nothing in the OP suggesting that some women may simply be untalented at mothering, or at least at certain aspects of it. Or less talented at mothering than they are at something else.

    • #20
    • January 16, 2020, at 1:58 PM PST
    • Like
  21. Jessi Bridges Contributor
    Jessi Bridges

    The Dowager Jojo (View Comment):

    Midget Faded Rattlesnake (View Comment):

    Jessi Bridges (View Comment):

    Drusus (View Comment):
    Very few professions have a high degree of intrinsic value – most just pay the bills.

    I could not agree more. Which makes it all the more unfortunate when a mother chooses to abdicate her gifted role to nurture her own children, simply for a paycheck. It’s just not worth it.

    You assume every mother has this gifted role. Why?

    Why cannot women differ in their mothering skills, just as they differ in any other skill?

    Perhaps she meant that the role is a gift, as opposed to a burden.

    This is exactly what I meant.

    • #21
    • January 16, 2020, at 2:58 PM PST
    • Like
  22. Full Size Tabby Member

    Randy Weivoda (View Comment):

    Full Size Tabby (View Comment):
    As the trope goes, how many dying words are along the lines of, “I wish I spent more time on my profession”

    If this were a Member Feed-only post, I might give a counter example.

    Oh I’m sure they exist. And some businesses exist because someone prioritized work over family, and the world may even be overall better off because that person did so. But those instances seem to be in the minority. 

    • #22
    • January 17, 2020, at 5:51 AM PST
    • Like
  23. Midget Faded Rattlesnake Contributor

    Jessi Bridges (View Comment):

    E. Kent Golding (View Comment):
    my wife’s career choices would pay for childcare, nothing above it.

    This is honestly one element to this that just baffles me. That alone seems like enough for a woman to recognize it’s not worth it.

    Perhaps it baffles you because you are a omicompetent mother, but not everyone is.

    Sometimes, moms realize their children fall developmentally behind by spending all their time with mommy, making the money for childcare worth spending: not all paid-for childcare is less competent than all moms.

    If you believe motherhood is a demanding job — and don’t you? — then wouldn’t it follow it may be more demanding than other things mom could be doing with their time? Is it not possible that some moms reduce their risk of crashing-and-burning by having a respite from childcare where they can do something they’re actually competent at, for a change, even if it results in no net income?

    “I realized my child was not developing on track at home, and that I myself was struggling to give him all the discipline he needed without losing it and becoming abusive, so I went back to work, and now everyone’s happier,” is the kind of scenario it’s verrrry awkward for a mom to admit to, but it’s something that occasionally happens.

    If we’re going to trust moms more, we might start by trusting them to know themselves, including their limitations, better than we do.

    • #23
    • January 17, 2020, at 7:27 AM PST
    • 1 like
  24. Stina Member

    Midget Faded Rattlesnake (View Comment):

    Jessi Bridges (View Comment):

    Drusus (View Comment):
    Very few professions have a high degree of intrinsic value – most just pay the bills.

    I could not agree more. Which makes it all the more unfortunate when a mother chooses to abdicate her gifted role to nurture her own children, simply for a paycheck. It’s just not worth it.

    You assume every mother has this gifted role. Why?

    Why cannot women differ in their mothering skills, just as they differ in any other skill?

    I don’t understand why you think you AREN’T gifted.

    “Gifted” Moms are not perfect beings. We struggle. We just don’t air that out for every Jane in the schoolyard.

    My house is a wreck. I just finished packing our Christmas decorations – a first for me. Usually they aren’t packed until Valentine’s Day. When #2 was born, they weren’t put away until July!

    I barely cook. We eat pizza far too often. My garbage in the bathrooms must go out… there are flies. I miraculously have our laundry under control after months of living out of wadded up laundry baskets.

    I barely read to them (but I do when I can). My youngest I rarely talk to… he only started talking at 3. Talking to my oldest was better, but baby talk? Please. I talked to him about politics and weird stuff that crossed my mind. None of my kids learned music from me until this year – I’ve been doing this for almost 11 years.

    But my kids love me. And I’m good at certain things. I can sew, even if I can’t clean or cook. I can do math, even if I have no idea how to teach them to write. I take them places like the zoo and the aquarium even if I don’t take them on walks or to the park.

    We all do what we can with our own strengths and God forgive the overwhelming weaknesses.

    You aren’t perfect and feel like a crap mom. So do I. But I see how much my kids love me and I know I’m doing enough.

    • #24
    • January 17, 2020, at 7:30 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  25. Randy Weivoda Moderator
    Randy Weivoda Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    I finished watching the debate last night. The message from the candidates is, “Daycare is far too expensive. And the federal government needs to make sure that daycare workers get paid much more than they do now.” Who on Earth buys this message? How can people believe we need to make something more expensive, then it will be cheaper? I don’t recall anyone saying that daycare workers need to be unionized but I’m sure that’s part of the program, too.

    I certainly got the sense that Elizabeth Warren thinks that raising your own children is an indignity that no one should have to suffer through. 

    Midget Faded Rattlesnake (View Comment):
    If we’re going to trust moms more, we might start by trusting them to know themselves, including their limitations, better than we do.

    Yes. Whether Mom stays home, Dad stays home, or they think daycare works best for their family, it’s not my call. It may be against what some people think is the “natural order” but I’ve seen couples where the father is more nurturing than the mother.

    • #25
    • January 17, 2020, at 8:18 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  26. Full Size Tabby Member

    Randy Weivoda (View Comment):
    I finished watching the debate last night. The message from the candidates is, “Daycare is far too expensive. And the federal government needs to make sure that daycare workers get paid much more than they do now.” Who on Earth buys this message? How can people believe we need to make something more expensive, then it will be cheaper?

    OPM (Other People’s Money). Of course someone else (the rich guy over there who’s also going to pay for your medical care, and your retirement, and yours or your kid’s college, and . . ., and . . ., etc.) will pay for daycare that is more costly to provide but cheaper to the user. 

    • #26
    • January 17, 2020, at 9:19 AM PST
    • 1 like
  27. Midget Faded Rattlesnake Contributor

    Stina (View Comment):

    We all do what we can with our own strengths and God forgive the overwhelming weaknesses.

    I hope God does. But God — we hope — is also more forgiving than conservative ideology. The tribal demands of being anti-left in the Mommy Wars often strike me as exceeding God’s demands.

    You aren’t perfect and feel like a crap mom. So do I. But I see how much my kids love me and I know I’m doing enough.

    Maybe it’s a difference in family cultures, but I just didn’t grow up with the expectation that parents proved their worth as parents by how much their kids loved them. Instead, parents proved their worth by how much the kids were flourishing, even if it meant being kind of hated by their kids. Our family culture wasn’t intensive enough to be full-on Tiger Mom, but authoritarian in a way I struggle to emulate — where being too loved by your own kids is treated with suspicion as not being strict enough with them. I can’t attribute all of this to a concerted effort to avoid being “the weeny lefty parents”, but some of it was.

    • #27
    • January 18, 2020, at 9:17 AM PST
    • Like
  28. Jessi Bridges Contributor
    Jessi Bridges

    Midget Faded Rattlesnake (View Comment):
    Perhaps it baffles you because you are a omicompetent mother, but not everyone is.

    Well, I assure you that I am absolutely not. I fail every single day. But I refuse to make excuses in order to abdicate the job given to me to raise the children that have been given to me. Is it hard? Yes. Immensely harder than I ever imagined. But that doesn’t mean I hand it to someone else.

    Midget Faded Rattlesnake (View Comment):
    Is it not possible that some moms reduce their risk of crashing-and-burning by having a respite from childcare where they can do something they’re actually competent at, for a change, even if it results in no net income?

    What I think would be more beneficial to both moms and children is not to encourage mothers to separate from their children, resulting in those children spending the majority of their waking hours with someone other than their mother, but rather to encourage moms to learn better ways to cope with the challenges of parenting, to learn how to be more competent at mothering. They should be investing more in their mothering rather than parting with it. It’s a short season that children are small and home. Moms are tough and can learn to adapt and give of themselves for those few years for the betterment of themselves, their children, and society as a whole.

    • #28
    • January 20, 2020, at 2:22 PM PST
    • 1 like