Last week Jezebel ran an article titled, “Quitting Your Job to Be a Full-Time Mom is Probably a Bad Idea.” Even though I’m single and not a mother I’ve been writing responses to articles like this for over 14 years. Time and time again feminists/women on the Left tell women that they have choices, but they get angry when women don’t choose their idea of a fulfilling life.
Like many other articles about the follies of staying home, this one ignores all the intangible benefits for children and parents and focuses on money and career advancement. From the article:
“Opting out,” heralded as revolutionary only a decade ago, looks downright foolish in retrospect. First, because quitting your job to take care of the kids because you wanna relies on two completely unreliable entities — a high-earning spouse and the economy — in order to be anything but a risky venture at best, and a spectacular failure at worst. If, say, the money earning spouse dies or runs away with a 19-year-old French au pair, the opter is forced to replace the earnings or pursue spousal alimony, thus remaining dependent on the earning spouse. The one with the money isn’t similarly screwed by losing the opting out spouse; they can simply use the money they’re continuing to earn to hire a person to perform many of the duties that the stay-at-home spouse performed. (Sure, a nanny isn’t the same as a mom, but plenty of kids who had nannies grow up to refrain from pleasuring themselves in their neighbors’ gardens or serial killing; it’s much easier to raise children with the aid of the nanny than it is to live comfortably without the aid of income.)
In the entire article there’s nothing about making sacrifices because a parent wants to have greater participation in their child’s life. Parents make sacrifices because they think the rewards of one parent being at home are more important. They drive their car(s) a few years longer. They eat out less. They vacation cheaper or forgo vacation and opt for a few extra trips to a local zoo or park instead. In all of these articles the focus is on money, career and what is lost. They never focus on what is gained.
I decided to ask a stay-at-home parent about this article. He’s a dad, so the pressures of working for the good of the sisterhood are removed. From my friend, Haven (follow him at @Twin_Travel):
I must say that I cannot relate to parents leaving high paying, power jobs to be stay at home parents. However, my hard-working, middle-class friends and family members who have actually gone from a two-income family to a one-income family PLANNED years in advance for their children. I know several couples who scrimped and sacrificed before their children were born. Whoever was quitting to be a stay at home parent worked for either one or two years before quitting and the couple saved every penny that person made while using the other spouse’s income as the sole income. They went down to 1 vehicle, very few vacations were taken, there were no self-indulgences (golfing/sporting events, spa days, senseless trips to the beauty salon, etc), and they lived on a budget. They saved money from the other spouse was used for the household’s (mostly the baby’s ) future needs.
Despite Jezebel’s warnings about staying home for a few years, I think Haven’s approach is much more realistic to how more families weigh the decision of getting by on one income. Sure not all children are planned, but the decision on how they’ll be raised in their early years aren’t as impulsive as this article makes it seem. While Jezebel and other women on the Left insist that women stay in the workforce (let the State worry about the needs of your kids!), they don’t miss a beat in blaming the “corporate culture” for putting stress on women. From the article, “But once they become mothers, corporate culture pushes them to leave the workforce and then punishes them for doing so.”
So, evil corporations are so exasperated by these career women who work long, hard hours (for less money if you believe the feminist myth!) that they don’t want them back?
At a time when women have more choices than ever before, those on the Left will continue to sell the message that women (and other groups) are second-class citizens. These people are so invested in keeping women away from their born (and unborn) children.