Why I Changed My Mind About Being a Stay-at-Home Mom

 

Spoiler alert: I think mothers staying home with their kids is best.


Hold on! Having said that I have known many wonderful mothers, including my own, who worked outside the home. I understand all circumstances are different but do believe that staying home – is best.

I haven’t always felt this way; let me explain.

Becoming a stay-at-home mom was never on my radar as a youth; I wanted to be like Ally McBeal or Topanga and take on the world! (While of course – fulfilling my matronly obligation.) I just figured being a mom without an outside job was beneath me; I assumed I needed more.

I began my career working with kids right out of high school and for the next 14 years, that was my life. It didn’t take long to see that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

A child’s home life was reflected in almost everything I saw:

I worked with a fifth-grade boy who wouldn’t listen to me because I was a “white woman”, when talking to his dad about this behavior, I received the same exact disrespect. (Awwwwkward.) I saw a special needs kindergartner who couldn’t separate the fight scenes he saw on TV from reality and kept beating-up his classmates. (His method of choice; whacking kids in the face with a tree branch lightsaber.)

I observed sisters who interacted with each other, as one teacher observed, “like little animals”, and when we met their parents, sadly, it became obvious where they learned it. I watched a nine-year-old juggle living between his lawyer mom’s and professor dad’s homes; the poor guy was bright, but tired and disheveled, hardly able to tell you the day of the week let alone any academics from class.

I noticed most of the kids I worked with had working mothers. In fact, since 1975, the number of mothers with young children in the work field has almost doubled. In my college classes, I learned about brain development; how 80% of a child’s brain is developed by age three, 90% by the time they start kindergarten, and the more positive, stable and nurturing that child’s relationships are when they are young, the better off they are as adults.

Five years and one bachelor’s degree later I was in a new city; new school, new kids…same issues. By this point I was fully convinced, from firsthand experience, that families and the home environment were the biggest factors for a child’s success. I recognized how problems trickled into adulthood and society.

Eeeeven still – I had no plans to give up my career and raise children. Then that changed.

A leader from my church said something that didn’t sit well with me, it was about feminism. Now this was back when I heard “feminism” and naively thought of the Suffragists Movement and women entering the work field; not the abortion-loving, man-hating chicks you see today.

I digress.

So I heard this leader mention feminism in what I perceived as a negative light, and it bugged me; a lot.

How are women who want to provide for their families bad? What is so wrong with wanting to do the same thing as men?

I was seething. For days this boiled in my mind until I decided I had two choices; I could let it fester – or I could do as I had been counseled since childhood, which was search, ponder and pray. I chose the latter.

After weeks of doing this, I got my answer and I’ll never forget it. It was a Sunday afternoon as I was reading my scriptures, the thoughts came like the rays of a sunrise; first small and gradual, eventually flooding into every crevice of my mind.

My answer came in two parts:

1) God loves women. That was made very, very clear. He is pleased with our innate desires to do good and help others, He gave that to us. A mother who wants to provide for her family or supplement her husband’s income is not bad. A woman who wants to have a career and utilize the skills she’s fine-tuned is not bad. A mother who wants to help others through her job is not bad, in fact, these are noble. A nurse, teacher, hairstylist, these are noble professions motivated by honorable and selfless desires. As women we are amazingly gifted in serving wherever we can; we really are incredible!

So what’s the issue? The problem lies in this…

2) Mothers are entrusted with the nurturing and rearing of their children; this is no small task. Think of the concerns a mother grapples with:

Is my child getting the right amount of sleep, is it quality sleep? Is he eating enough, is he eating too much? Is she getting enough playtime, enough social time…what are these bumps on her legs? When should I potty train, HOW do I potty train, does she know not to talk to strangers? Did I yell too much today, is he gonna need therapy someday…did I check for ticks today? Does he know how to handle a bully, what if he is the bully? Preschool or no preschool, does he have all his shots, has my car-seat been checked by a certified car-seat inspector…holy crap is that a tick bite! What is she learning at school from her teachers, from her friends? Do her friends have smartphones – what is she seeing? Has she seen a pornographic image yet? Have I prepared her for that? Have we had the sex talk, how do we have the sex talk!? Did I miss soccer registration, is he doing enough extracurricular activities, is he doing too much? Did that tick have Lyme disease, is she on-level for reading, will she go to college? Am I preparing him spiritually, does he know how much I love him, will he ever know how to get the pee in the freakin’ toilet?! Does my child have Lyme disease?!

Was this list annoying?? Was it long and rambling? Are you tired just reading it or did you skip it altogether? Well, friends, this is just a drop in the bucket. Ask any mom; a teeny-tiny drop, into the anxiety-filled, sleep-deprived, million-miles-a-minute mind – of mothers. It is overwhelming. It is exhausting. It never stops.

And herein lies the conundrum of working outside the home; when anything distracts, divides, or displaces a mother’s attention and concern for her children, that is a problem. These distractions come in many forms: it can be a job, volunteer positions, social obligations, our phones, the gym, anything that takes away the most important thing from our children; us.

This answer made sense to me. I thought about my experiences with other people’s children, I thought about my future children. I reflected on my exhausting days as a teacher and how my patience was gone by the time I got home. Why would I want to add anything extra to my plate that would make me more tired and less attentive to my kids? If I didn’t have to, why would I entrust someone else to teach my children the values I so greatly desire them to have?

I was convinced. I was converted. I was changed.

And I haven’t looked back.

Don’t get me wrong, I am all for moms having their “me-time”. I have pried tiny hands off my body and lovingly shoved them into their room so I can have that “me time”; friends, hobbies, education, a shower, all great! Filling our cup is essential, but if our children get put on the back-burner as a result, that is an issue.

Also, I am not advocating for helicopter parenting.

Gross.

Nor am I absolving fathers from their responsibilities. They have an equally important role to play, but it’s different because they’re different; they’re not mom. My kids adore their dad; he plays, he protects, he provides, but when they’re sick, they want me. When they hurt, they cry for mom.

After I had my first baby and decided to quit my job, my experience echoed many others I’ve heard describe it; sacrifice. It was a sacrifice of money, of career progression, of interaction with other humans, but a most worthwhile one.

I have a new job now – I only get one shot – and I don’t intend to fail. Because no success will compensate for failure in my home.

What You Can Do

  • If and when you are expecting, research your options; staying home is more possible than you may think.
  • Pray for what is best for your family.
  • Reach out to mom groups in your area.
  • Talk to other, more experienced mothers for guidance.
  • Focus on the Family and Values Parenting are great Christian organizations with loads of information on parenting and family.
  • LifePetitions has an extensive list of petitions “serving the pro-family community”.

Crossposted here.

Published in Culture
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  1. RightAngles Member
    RightAngles
    @RightAngles

    KarenZiminski (View Comment):

    Judge Mental (View Comment):

    •  

    I sent my 5=year-old to Kindercare after school for a few months. He hated it. The kids would make up rhymes like “Kindercare, get away from here. Kindercare bus, get away from us.” I ended up a stay-at-home mom, very happy with how it turned out.

    The kids know that it means their mom has more important things to do than be with them.

    • #31
  2. RightAngles Member
    RightAngles
    @RightAngles

    Oh, and by the way, I’m sure you’ve all seen the commercials for Care.com, where you can hire a nanny to take care of your children? I was watching one of those true crime shows on cable, might have been on Investigation Discovery (ID), I forget, and it was a woman who had murdered someone. Her occupation was nanny at Care.com.

     

    • #32
  3. Manny Member
    Manny
    @Manny

    Well, my wife after fifteen plus (I forget exactly how many) years in the business world and moving up the corporate ladder decided to become a stay-at-home mom.  It really is the best family configuration, though I understand the need to be flexible.

    God loves women.

    Absolutely.

    • #33
  4. DrewInWisconsin, Influencer Member
    DrewInWisconsin, Influencer
    @DrewInWisconsin

    A relevant Tweet-thread:

    An excerpt:

    How is that our economic statistics suggest workers have been making slow but steady progress in recent decades, while popular perception is that their family finances are coming under increasingly untenable pressure? I’ve been working on this, here’s my answer:

    Punchline: Popular perception is correct. In 1985, the typical male worker could cover a family of four’s major expenditures (housing, health care, transportation, education) on 30 weeks of salary. By 2018 it took 53 weeks. Which is a problem, there being 52 weeks in a year.

    Why do our inflation-adjusted data say otherwise? Because inflation does not assess affordability. You don’t have to take my word for it. Here’s a neat study by Nobel laureate Robert Shiller making the point, as cited by Fed economist Michael Bryan.

    For example, our inflation-adjusted data say car prices have not increased since the mid-1990s. Obviously, that’s not remotely true. What economists are saying is that cars have gotten better so the higher sticker price doesn’t reflect inflation, it reflects higher quality.

    Fair enough. But, if you’re a family that needs to buy a minivan, while it’s nice that the 2018 Grand Caravan ($26,300 in 2018) has many features the 1996 Grand Caravan ($17,900 in 1996) did not, you still face the problem that you need an extra $8,500 to buy one.

    A key assumption of our inflation-adjusted analyses is that old products are still available. Don’t like / can’t afford the $26K 2018 Grand Caravan, go buy the $18K 1996 one instead. Except you can’t. Same problem is even more pernicious in areas like housing and health care.

    Another huge problem with health care, especially, is that everyone has to pay for shared risk. If a million-dollar miracle cure needed by 1 in 1,000 households drives up everyone’s insurance premium, that’s not inflationary. You now have access to the million-dollar cure.

    Again, fair enough. But we have to recognize that the median family must now pay more for health insurance and will not use the cure. Last 20 yrs, the typical family’s health care consumption has gone up $2K, but their premium has gone up $13K. No wonder they feel worse off.

    So, start putting these things together, and you find a situation where major costs facing families have skyrocketed unsustainably in ways our economics is incapable of acknowledging. Then we gloss over the underlying assumptions and say “inflation-adjusted wages look good.”

    When we say “inflation-adjusted wages look good,” we are actually saying “if you could take your wage back to 1970 and spend it, you’d be better off than you were at the time with a 1970 wage.” I mean, maybe that’s interesting. But it doesn’t describe lived experience.

    . . .

    • #34
  5. DrewInWisconsin, Influencer Member
    DrewInWisconsin, Influencer
    @DrewInWisconsin

    Continued from above:

    There are lots of good reasons to have our existing technical measures. Macroeconomists need them. But alongside them, we need a perspective that looks at the costs households actually face as compared to the wages that workers actually earn.

    I’ve created a measure I call the Cost-of-Thriving Index (COTI), comparing nominal costs to a family for housing, health care, transportation, and education with nominal weekly wage of median male worker. My new @ManhattanInst report details rationale, assumptions, sources.

    COTI shows that while the nominal median male wage rose from $443 to $1,026 from 1985 to 2018 (132%), the expected cost of his family’s major expenditures rose from $13,227 to $54,414 (311%). He used to need 30 weeks of work to cover those costs, now he needs 53.

    Some might say: that’s absurd, of course a family can’t cover an entire health insurance premium, a 3-bed house, and college for two kids on a single worker’s salary, that’s not how anyone lives. But COTI shows that in the past a family COULD do that. Just not anymore.

    Conservatives especially should be wary of taking comfort that massive government supports make up the gap. If you’re thinking, “well, but of course we subsidize health care and college heavily,” that’s not a defense of the status quo. It’s a blaring red siren.

    The point isn’t to validate some specific policy agenda, but to introduce a new set of facts that should help inform the starting point for our debates. How to get higher wages? How to get lower costs? Let’s at least acknowledge these are pressing and long-worsening problems.

    And this goes directly to Tucker Carlson’s complaints last year about the struggles of the middle class that the conservative “Expert Class” ignores. (The complaints that Conservatism, Inc. immediately dismissed as evidence that Carlson was becoming a leftist or something. But The Atlantic understood.)

    See: https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/01/tucker-carlson-was-right-about-working-class-family/579754/

    • #35
  6. Duane Oyen Member
    Duane Oyen
    @DuaneOyen

    Lileks sure screwed up, didn’t he?  No SAHM there, his daughter must be a mess.

    Everyone needs to make a choice based on her specific circumstances.  Sometimes dad is better with the kids.  Sometimes there is a favorable family calculus that works out well for Mom to work her career as well as being Mom.  

    We are, I think, too quick to prescribe for other people.

    • #36
  7. Hartmann von Aue Member
    Hartmann von Aue
    @HartmannvonAue

    RightAngles (View Comment):

    KarenZiminski (View Comment):

    Judge Mental (View Comment):

    •  

    I sent my 5=year-old to Kindercare after school for a few months. He hated it. The kids would make up rhymes like “Kindercare, get away from here. Kindercare bus, get away from us.” I ended up a stay-at-home mom, very happy with how it turned out.

    The kids know that it means their mom has more important things to do than be with them.

    It  certainly feels that way to them and that is certainly the message being conveyed. 

    • #37
  8. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    Duane Oyen (View Comment):

    Lileks sure screwed up, didn’t he? No SAHM there, his daughter must be a mess.

    Everyone needs to make a choice based on her specific circumstances. Sometimes dad is better with the kids. Sometimes there is a favorable family calculus that works out well for Mom to work her career as well as being Mom.

    We are, I think, too quick to prescribe for other people.

    No one is slamming Lileks. We’re trying to encourage young families to think hard about the feminist lies they’ve been told and consider making family a priority over career for one parent. Aren’t we allowed to talk about ideals?

    • #38
  9. Duane Oyen Member
    Duane Oyen
    @DuaneOyen

    Western Chauvinist (View Comment):

    Duane Oyen (View Comment):

    Lileks sure screwed up, didn’t he? No SAHM there, his daughter must be a mess.

    Everyone needs to make a choice based on her specific circumstances. Sometimes dad is better with the kids. Sometimes there is a favorable family calculus that works out well for Mom to work her career as well as being Mom.

    We are, I think, too quick to prescribe for other people.

    No one is slamming Lileks. We’re trying to encourage young families to think hard about the feminist lies they’ve been told and consider making family a priority over career for one parent. Aren’t we allowed to talk about ideals?

    Absolutely, as long as the discussion is not preachy against those whose experience is different.  For starters, I don’t see a lot about SAHDs, or about other extended family situations.  I tend to see a lot of kind of self-righteous prattle on these kinds of topics that invites a form of center-right virtue-signaling.  The key is that one parent has flexibility.  In our case, it happened that my wife wanted to stay with the kids until they were teens.  But someone else close to us has a husband with a more flexible schedule and retired parents nearby even though she works at a high-responsibility job that takes her out of the country at times.

    I think that our side comes off as a bit priggish at times about most of the social issues, demanding a range of choices that is less narrow than it needs to be.  That applies to abortion, raising kids, gay relationships, etc.  We can say these things in a way that is fundamentally congruent without the rigidity of expression.

    The tradition of a full-time SAHM really only applied a lot to the post WWII time of Beaver Cleaver’s parents- before that, the economy was more agricultural than industrial, etc., and the whole family pitched in, older kids helped to watch younger ones.  Look at the cities in the ’20’s, how many single mothers there were in the garment districts.

    • #39
  10. Boss Mongo Member
    Boss Mongo
    @BossMongo

    Duane Oyen (View Comment):
    I think that our side comes off as a bit priggish at times about most of the social issues, demanding a range of choices that is less narrow than it needs to be.

    Yeah.  When I downed my shot of Jameson’s, crushed my chaser PBR can against my skull into a nice, neat little disk, and bellowed, “Honey, I’ma leave my job and home-school the kids and be a stay-at-home Dad,” The Lovely and Talented Mrs. Mongo knew the appropriate response.

    If you concede that all humans when assessed by given criteria fall into a statistical bell curve, then I would submit that Lileks is an outlier.

    James Lileks is an exceptional human being.

    I think, on the main (see bell curve, again) most kids are better off if the mom stays at home.  That’s not being priggish; that’s being attuned to the human condition.

    Duane Oyen (View Comment):
    The tradition of a full-time SAHM really only applied a lot to the post WWII time of Beaver Cleaver’s parents- before that, the economy was more agricultural than industrial, etc., and the whole family pitched in, older kids helped to watch younger ones.

    Yes, and the mom ran the household (hmm, SAHM?) and–using your stipulation–directed the older kids in caring for the younger.  Until the older had grown enough to appropriately help Dad with the manual labor.  

    Meanwhile, the husbands were out doing the brute labor of yoking the oxen to the plow.  Not sure how this argument furthers the accusation of priggishness..

    • #40
  11. TBA Coolidge
    TBA
    @RobtGilsdorf

    Boss Mongo (View Comment):

    Duane Oyen (View Comment):
    I think that our side comes off as a bit priggish at times about most of the social issues, demanding a range of choices that is less narrow than it needs to be.

    Yeah. When I downed my shot of Jameson’s, crushed my chaser PBR can against my skull into a nice, neat little disk, and bellowed, “Honey, I’ma leave my job and home-school the kids and be a stay-at-home Dad,” The Lovely and Talented Mrs. Mongo knew the appropriate response.

    If you concede that all humans when assessed by given criteria fall into a statistical bell curve, then I would submit that Lileks is an outlier.

    James Lileks is an exceptional human being.

    I think, on the main (see bell curve, again) most kids are better off if the mom stays at home. That’s not being priggish; that’s being attuned to the human condition.

    Duane Oyen (View Comment):
    The tradition of a full-time SAHM really only applied a lot to the post WWII time of Beaver Cleaver’s parents- before that, the economy was more agricultural than industrial, etc., and the whole family pitched in, older kids helped to watch younger ones.

    Yes, and the mom ran the household (hmm, SAHM?) and–using your stipulation–directed the older kids in caring for the younger. Until the older had grown enough to appropriately help Dad with the manual labor.

    Meanwhile, the husbands were out doing the brute labor of yoking the oxen to the plow. Not sure how this argument furthers the accusation of priggishness..

    This is the bit about feminism (OK, one of the bits about feminism) that makes me crazy; it’s not enough to say, “some women can do some ‘man things’ as well or better than some men,” – a demonstrable fact. Instead, there are no man-things, there are no valid measures, there are no sexes. Whatever was going on before was stultifying, gyno-phobic, woman-hating, stultifying, evil, wrong, and probably ‘rape’ or something. 

    Well everything is better now that women can have it all. Well, except a husband. Or time with their children. We have come a long way indeed.

    I think women working if is just fine. It’s that we have to pretend that how things are now is in every way, shape, and form better. And that children are best served by being raised and acculturated by daycare and the public school system.

    • #41
  12. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    TBA (View Comment):

    This is the bit about feminism (OK, one of the bits about feminism) that makes me crazy; it’s not enough to say, “some women can do some ‘man things’ as well or better than some men,” – a demonstrable fact. Instead, there are no man-things, there are no valid measures, there are no sexes. Whatever was going on before was stultifying, gyno-phobic, woman-hating, stultifying, evil, wrong, and probably ‘rape’ or something. 

    Well everything is better now that women can have it all. Well, except a husband. Or time with their children. We have come a long way indeed.

    I think women working if is just fine. It’s that we have to pretend that how things are now is in every way, shape, and form better. And that children are best served by being raised and acculturated by daycare and the public school system.

    Just had to see this repeated!!

    The thing about women is — and being one of them with over 40 years maturity, I feel qualified to comment — it’s in our nature to tend the young and make a “nest,” as my mother would say. It’s my dedicated mission to raise and shape the young Chauvinists, to buy the provisions, prepare the meals, to keep the house tidy, and to chauffeur the dependents, both human and animal. I’m also the family historian. 

    Speaking of dependents, I am also dog-groomer, trainer, and keeper. I buy provisions for and tend to the backyard birds. I plan, plant, and tend a tour-worthy flower/herb/vegetable garden in our capricious climate and I have the engraved stepping stone to prove it! I’m the holiday decorator, baker, and gift purchasing agent. I dispense medications for people and animals and nurse the sick. In short, I am the essential civilizing force in my family’s life. 

    There’s nothing to say a working (outside the home) woman can’t do part or all of this, but it’s time we recognize it’s a lot to ask of one person! And if mom doesn’t do it all, someone’s going to have to do it or the very basis for civilized society falls into chaos, as we’re seeing. We’ve decided to outsource the work, but if we don’t recognize that as a luxury it may not be worth having, we’re fooling ourselves. 

    • #42
  13. TBA Coolidge
    TBA
    @RobtGilsdorf

    Western Chauvinist (View Comment):

    The thing about women is — and being one of them with over 40 years maturity, I feel qualified to comment — it’s in our nature to tend the young and make a “nest,” as my mother would say. It’s my dedicated mission to raise and shape the young Chauvinists, to buy the provisions, prepare the meals, to keep the house tidy, and to chauffeur the dependents, both human and animal. I’m also the family historian.

    Speaking of dependents, I am also dog-groomer, trainer, and keeper. I buy provisions for and tend to the backyard birds. I plan, plant, and tend a tour-worthy flower/herb/vegetable garden in our capricious climate and I have the engraved stepping stone to prove it! I’m the holiday decorator, baker, and gift purchasing agent. I dispense medications for people and animals and nurse the sick. In short, I am the essential civilizing force in my family’s life.

    There’s nothing to say a working (outside the home) woman can’t do part or all of this, but it’s time we recognize it’s a lot to ask of one person! And if mom doesn’t do it all, someone’s going to have to do it or the very basis for civilized society falls into chaos, as we’re seeing. We’ve decided to outsource the work, but if we don’t recognize that as a luxury it may not be worth having, we’re fooling ourselves.

    And this is the weird thing; being pro-woman seems to mean being pro-male roles. In a way, feminism has transitioned into a kind of masculism. 

    Again, I there is nothing wrong with femininesque males and masculinesque females – it’s always been a thing because we’re all humans doing things that need to be done or things that we want to do. 

    Culture used to push strongly against it. Then it quit pushing so hard against it. Then it said, ‘huh, I guess this is just a thing.’ Then it said, ‘you go girl!’ Culture now pushes for it on the assumption that it is a goal, that if we can just get more women doing ______, we will have reached statistical rightness. 

    Statistics can do a lot of damage because we use them for stories rather than letting them speak for themselves. 

    But it’s all part of progress. And progress means every color and gender has to show up in a statistic in proportion to population or something must be done. 

    • #43
  14. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    TBA (View Comment):

    Western Chauvinist (View Comment):

    The thing about women is — and being one of them with over 40 years maturity, I feel qualified to comment — it’s in our nature to tend the young and make a “nest,” as my mother would say. It’s my dedicated mission to raise and shape the young Chauvinists, to buy the provisions, prepare the meals, to keep the house tidy, and to chauffeur the dependents, both human and animal. I’m also the family historian.

    Speaking of dependents, I am also dog-groomer, trainer, and keeper. I buy provisions for and tend to the backyard birds. I plan, plant, and tend a tour-worthy flower/herb/vegetable garden in our capricious climate and I have the engraved stepping stone to prove it! I’m the holiday decorator, baker, and gift purchasing agent. I dispense medications for people and animals and nurse the sick. In short, I am the essential civilizing force in my family’s life.

    There’s nothing to say a working (outside the home) woman can’t do part or all of this, but it’s time we recognize it’s a lot to ask of one person! And if mom doesn’t do it all, someone’s going to have to do it or the very basis for civilized society falls into chaos, as we’re seeing. We’ve decided to outsource the work, but if we don’t recognize that as a luxury it may not be worth having, we’re fooling ourselves.

    And this is the weird thing; being pro-woman seems to mean being pro-male roles. In a way, feminism has transitioned into a kind of masculism.

    Again, I there is nothing wrong with femininesque males and masculinesque females – it’s always been a thing because we’re all humans doing things that need to be done or things that we want to do.

    Culture used to push strongly against it. Then it quit pushing so hard against it. Then it said, ‘huh, I guess this is just a thing.’ Then it said, ‘you go girl!’ Culture now pushes for it on the assumption that it is a goal, that if we can just get more women doing ______, we will have reached statistical rightness.

    Statistics can do a lot of damage because we use them for stories rather than letting them speak for themselves.

    But it’s all part of progress. And progress means every color and gender has to show up in a statistic in proportion to population or something must be done.

    It’s the great leveling. Prager has pointed out that, in Genesis, God goes about making (literally) distinctions: day from night, heavens from earth, land from sea, man from woman. The Left is all about erasing them. That’s why I say leftism is evil. 

    • #44
  15. Ajalon J. Stapley Inactive
    Ajalon J. Stapley
    @goanddo

    Gossamer Cat (View Comment):

    This was clearly a post from the heart. My mother stayed at home to raise four kids. She was a very smart woman and had she been born 30 years later, she might have chosen to work outside the home. But she said she never regretted it. When we were in grammar school, she used to produce the school newsletter. She told me as an adult that women seemed so stressed and unhappy now, but when she had interviewed several mothers for the school newspaper-all stay at home moms as was the norm at that time-they all said how happy they were. I do not have children and have devoted my life to my career. My mother was very proud of my professional accomplishments and I am as good a feminist as any when it comes to career opportunities for women. I am glad that woman have choices now and can be economically self sufficient, mothers or no. But I have shocked my friends by saying that if I had had children, I would have stayed at home with them if at all possible. Why? Because I appreciated all my mother did for me-all the care, all the rides, all the meals, all the attention. Because I loved walking in the door when I was a child and announcing “Mom, I’m home.” I would have done the same for my children in honor of my mother.

    @gossamercat, that was a beautiful tribute to your mother. I agree that woman having choices and being able to support themselves are positives, but in trying to have everything so many women miss out; it is the selfless service of raising these little humans that brings incomparable joy. I love that you honor your mother so much!

    • #45
  16. Ajalon J. Stapley Inactive
    Ajalon J. Stapley
    @goanddo

    OmegaPaladin (View Comment):

    Yet staying at home is a luxury that most families can scarcely afford. This goes into the fact that child-rearing is a massive money sink – God knows how much money I cost my folks all together.

    We need to ensure a level of prosperity and optimism to get people to drop the megabucks and endless time commitment of parenthood.

    @omegapaladin I understand what you are saying but I disagree. Having a single income will most likely be a sacrifice for any family, but I believe that kids need their mother more than they need stuff. I’m not saying families need to be impoverished to prove their love to their kids, children will always need food, clothing, etc. But from my observation so many people and families could do without a lot of stuff, and they would be just fine. I’ve been super frugal my whole life and have gone without so many things compared to those around me, and life is grand as ever. Keeping up with the Jones is motivation for a lot of two-income households I’ve seen.

    • #46
  17. Ajalon J. Stapley Inactive
    Ajalon J. Stapley
    @goanddo

    Hartmann von Aue (View Comment):

    I wanted to stand up and applaud when I finished reading this. If you have been speaking it aloud somewhere, I would have.

    About OmegaPaladin’s comment: Didn’t Marv Olasky do a book a few years ago about the switch from the concept of the “family wage” to the concept of the “individual wage” that took place in the 60s? If I recall correctly, his argument was that this switch contributed very strongly to both consumer price inflation and wage depression on the economic side and to family breakdown on the social side of the equation. Does anyone else remember this?

    I’m so glad you enjoyed it @hartmannvonaue!! Thank you.

    • #47
  18. Ajalon J. Stapley Inactive
    Ajalon J. Stapley
    @goanddo

    Western Chauvinist (View Comment):

    I had a primary care doc who retired after her kids reached teenage-hood, because they “need me more than ever.” It’s not just about tending to their food and sleep and schooling and spiritual formation when they’re young. It never ends. But, mostly, it’s about making a home. A rock from which to launch the adventures their dad’s encourage and model for them.

    Drew Klavan says when parents divorce, they blow up their kids’ planet (not that there aren’t necessary times to do that when the planet gets toxic.) Without a full-time at-home parent, the planet is less hospitable, although still habitable. Granted, not all circumstances allow for the ideal.

    I agree @westernchauvinist, family and home life has the greatest impact on a child’s success, as mentioned in my piece. It’s so seldom talked about, which is frustrating. Society tries to hard to solve problems and fill in gaps when the answer is really so simple and basic; we need stronger more stable homes for kids to have a shot at succeeding in this world. And moms (and dads) are vital.

    • #48
  19. Ajalon J. Stapley Inactive
    Ajalon J. Stapley
    @goanddo

    Full Size Tabby (View Comment):

    Another financial thought is that I am convinced that my income was larger than that of some of my peers because Mrs. Tabby was at home. I could volunteer for new or different assignments at work because we weren’t juggling who was going to be home for the plumber or the appliance repair person, or who was going to take the sick child to the doctor. Because could grab work opportunities others couldn’t, I received bigger and more frequent raises and promotions.

    I never thought of that angle @fullsizetabby, but it makes sense. Thanks for sharing.

    • #49
  20. Ajalon J. Stapley Inactive
    Ajalon J. Stapley
    @goanddo

    Boss Mongo (View Comment):

    Outstanding post. Thank you.

    The lovely and talented Mrs. Mongo was an Army nurse when I met her. She stopped working when we went through our breeding cycle. When the youngest entered school full time, she investigated the after-school options, and decided that the house and kids wouldn’t implode if she took up a day nursing job.

    There were more than a few job offers, all of which she spurned.

    “Hon, why are you turning down all these jobs?”

    “Because, I need something really special if I’m going to leave all this,” she said, gesturing to the play room with cheerios, legos, and Barbies strewn about on the floor.

    About three months later, she got a dream job on an open heart team. But she always appreciated her stay-at-home time.

    Thank you @bossmongo, so glad you enjoyed it. Your wife sounds like a stud!

    • #50
  21. Ajalon J. Stapley Inactive
    Ajalon J. Stapley
    @goanddo

    RightAngles (View Comment):

    In the 70s, the feminists brayed about giving women choices, then proceeded to denigrate and ridicule the choice of staying home to raise children. But the truth is that being there when your children come home from school is the most important and influential career in the world. Then they tried to tell us we could “have it all!” There was a feminist TV commercial where she was wearing a business suit and had a briefcase in one hand and a frying pan in the other, and was singing “I can bring home the bacon, and fry it up in a pan.” What a crock. It isn’t true. You cannot have it all. You have to make choices in life. If you try to do it all, you aren’t going to do any of it well.

    I was lucky in being able to work from home, and I realize not everyone can be in that situation. But if being at home can be at all possible, it should be the first choice. I feel sorry for all the young women coming up who buy into the feminist stuff. So many of them will wake up one day at age 45 sitting on a bar stool with purple hair, no husband, and no kids, and wondering what hit them.

    It’s true @rightangles, I think “trying to have it all” has increased women’s anxiety and depression and lowered overall happiness. (Just my opinion.) I think stay at home moms are effected by this also. Women struggle to find joy in their situation and not spread themselves too thin.

    • #51
  22. Ajalon J. Stapley Inactive
    Ajalon J. Stapley
    @goanddo

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):

    Ajalon J. Stapley: I observed sisters who interacted with each other, as one teacher observed, “like little animals”, and when we met their parents, sadly, it became obvious where they learned it. I watched a nine-year-old juggle living between his lawyer mom’s and professor dad’s homes; the poor guy was bright, but tired and disheveled, hardly able to tell you the day of the week let alone any academics from class.

    This is why we should have sex robots and genetic engineering.

    I can’t tell if you’re kidding @henrycastaigne.

    • #52
  23. TBA Coolidge
    TBA
    @RobtGilsdorf

    Ajalon J. Stapley (View Comment):

    OmegaPaladin (View Comment):

    Yet staying at home is a luxury that most families can scarcely afford. This goes into the fact that child-rearing is a massive money sink – God knows how much money I cost my folks all together.

    We need to ensure a level of prosperity and optimism to get people to drop the megabucks and endless time commitment of parenthood.

    @omegapaladin I understand what you are saying but I disagree. Having a single income will most likely be a sacrifice for any family, but I believe that kids need their mother more than they need stuff. I’m not saying families need to be impoverished to prove their love to their kids, children will always need food, clothing, etc. But from my observation so many people and families could do without a lot of stuff, and they would be just fine. I’ve been super frugal my whole life and have gone without so many things compared to those around me, and life is grand as ever. Keeping up with the Jones is motivation for a lot of two-income households I’ve seen.

    Frugality and ‘making do’ are commercial vices. 

    • #53
  24. Full Size Tabby Member
    Full Size Tabby
    @FullSizeTabby

    TBA (View Comment):

    And this is the weird thing; being pro-woman seems to mean being pro-male roles. In a way, feminism has transitioned into a kind of masculism. 

     

    I enjoy the way @andrewklavan says that much of feminism is about trying to get women to become second-rate men, rather than trying to get women to be the best women they can be. 

    • #54
  25. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    Ajalon J. Stapley (View Comment):
    It’s true @rightangles, I think “trying to have it all” has increased women’s anxiety and depression and lowered overall happiness. (Just my opinion.) I think stay at home moms are effected by this also. Women struggle to find joy in their situation and not spread themselves too thin.

    “Keeping up with the Joneses” materially is secondary to the honor and respect conferred to women who act more like men! The material comfort is icing.

    Let’s face it. We’re creatures of status. It’s a huge motivator for so many of the choices we make. We desire to “be as gods” — to be respected and revered. And our culture has devalued the traditional role of women to the point of erasing the feminine nearly entirely (the masculine, too, btw). Better to be an NFL special teams coach for the 49ers than a Work at Home Mom (let’s change the language, please).

    • #55
  26. RightAngles Member
    RightAngles
    @RightAngles

    Ajalon J. Stapley (View Comment):

    OmegaPaladin (View Comment):

    Yet staying at home is a luxury that most families can scarcely afford. This goes into the fact that child-rearing is a massive money sink – God knows how much money I cost my folks all together.

    We need to ensure a level of prosperity and optimism to get people to drop the megabucks and endless time commitment of parenthood.

    @omegapaladin I understand what you are saying but I disagree. Having a single income will most likely be a sacrifice for any family, but I believe that kids need their mother more than they need stuff. I’m not saying families need to be impoverished to prove their love to their kids, children will always need food, clothing, etc. But from my observation so many people and families could do without a lot of stuff, and they would be just fine. I’ve been super frugal my whole life and have gone without so many things compared to those around me, and life is grand as ever. Keeping up with the Jones is motivation for a lot of two-income households I’ve seen.

    I see it this way too. I grew up in a pretty prosperous suburb in a nice house etc, and my three sisters and I shared a bathroom and bedrooms. So did everyone we knew. But somewhere along the line, all of a sudden every child in a four-child family had to have his own room, and the house had to be 6,000 square feet in a gated community, and if you don’t have a pool people will talk. I blame the 80s and the surge of double incomes due to working moms. That’s when I started noticing it, anyway. We need to step back and ask ourselves, do we really need all the empty status symbols for a happy family life?

    But in addition to that, frankly if I were a man I’d be just as glad not to have so any women in the workforce when they cause the stupid mandatory sexual harassment courses and you can’t tell dirty jokes in the office anymore. I mean lighten up, people.

    • #56
  27. RightAngles Member
    RightAngles
    @RightAngles

    Ajalon J. Stapley (View Comment):

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):

    Ajalon J. Stapley: I observed sisters who interacted with each other, as one teacher observed, “like little animals”, and when we met their parents, sadly, it became obvious where they learned it. I watched a nine-year-old juggle living between his lawyer mom’s and professor dad’s homes; the poor guy was bright, but tired and disheveled, hardly able to tell you the day of the week let alone any academics from class.

    This is why we should have sex robots and genetic engineering.

    I can’t tell if you’re kidding @henrycastaigne.

    Our Henry is very strange but we love him anyway.

    • #57
  28. RightAngles Member
    RightAngles
    @RightAngles

    Ajalon J. Stapley (View Comment):

    RightAngles (View Comment):

    ….   I feel sorry for all the young women coming up who buy into the feminist stuff. So many of them will wake up one day at age 45 sitting on a bar stool with purple hair, no husband, and no kids, and wondering what hit them.

    It’s true @rightangles, I think “trying to have it all” has increased women’s anxiety and depression and lowered overall happiness. (Just my opinion.) I think stay at home moms are effected by this also. Women struggle to find joy in their situation and not spread themselves too thin.

    It really has, and it started almost immediately. I had a neighbor in about 1978 who was a young mom of two small children. We were having coffee with another friend one day when she suddenly got tears in her eyes and said why are Gloria Steinem and Betty Friedan (two names that were on everyone’s lips at that moment) acting like I’m a failure because I’m not a business executive? What am I supposed to do, I have two toddlers. I feel like everyone is looking down on me. Do you guys look down on me?”  I still think of her and feel terrible that she was made to feel that way. The feminists want to bleat about giving women choices, but only if your choice is to act like a man. And, as someone once said, if they want to act like men, why can’t it be nice men?

    • #58
  29. TBA Coolidge
    TBA
    @RobtGilsdorf

    RightAngles (View Comment):

    Ajalon J. Stapley (View Comment):

    RightAngles (View Comment):

    …. I feel sorry for all the young women coming up who buy into the feminist stuff. So many of them will wake up one day at age 45 sitting on a bar stool with purple hair, no husband, and no kids, and wondering what hit them.

    It’s true @rightangles, I think “trying to have it all” has increased women’s anxiety and depression and lowered overall happiness. (Just my opinion.) I think stay at home moms are effected by this also. Women struggle to find joy in their situation and not spread themselves too thin.

    It really has, and it started almost immediately. I had a neighbor in about 1978 who was a young mom of two small children. We were having coffee with another friend one day when she suddenly got tears in her eyes and said why are Gloria Steinem and Betty Friedan (two names that were on everyone’s lips at that moment) acting like I’m a failure because I’m not a business executive? What am I supposed to do, I have two toddlers. I feel like everyone is looking down on me. Do you guys look down on me?” I still think of her and feel terrible that she was made to feel that way. The feminists want to bleat about giving women choices, but only if your choice is to act like a man. And, as someone once said, if they want to act like men, why can’t it be nice men?

    It’s weird how people who are excited about making sure you have choices usually have the choice already picked out for you. 

    • #59
  30. Boss Mongo Member
    Boss Mongo
    @BossMongo

    RightAngles (View Comment):
    Our Henry is very strange but we love him anyway.

    Eh.  “Love” is kind of strong.  But he’s aw’ight.  Mostly.

    • #60
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