Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Day Fourteen - Mommy Wars

I hesitate to even bring this up, because it ususally sends women on either side into heated arguments, but I'm curious what other women (moms or not) think about this. I read an old article on MSN about the ongoing debate of whether moms should go back to work or stay home after baby. You can read the article here. I'll go ahead and tell you my opinion...
First off, some background. I'm a working mom. I had Wesley during Christmas break between my first and second semesters of undergraduate and went back to school (and started a part-time job) when he was four weeks old (my mom stayed with me for the first couple weeks back at school until he could go to daycare at six weeks). If I had more options, I wouldn't have chosen to do it the way I did. But, I didn't. I did the best with what I had. I don't feel like Wesley is permanently scarred from going to daycare full-time since he was a baby. But, with my next child, I want to be able to stay home with them at least part-time, probably while I work from home. Quitting my job is just not an option for us.
So, now you know where I come from. My opinion on this whole thing is that every woman (and her husband) should decide what's best for their family. If staying home, taking care of your child would drive you over the deep end (not that you don't love your child, but the day in, day out care of children and likely all of the household chores that would fall on you can get to you) and you are satisfied by staying in the work force, by all means, return to work and find capable, caring people to take care of your child while you're there. If you are financially able (all of the women this article is talking about are) and you WANT to be the one who cares for your child, by all means, quit your job and stay home to take care of him/her. I don't agree with Ms. Hirshman that the trend of women quitting jobs to take care of their kids in an injustice. She has the audacity to say, in effect, that most of these "priveleged educated women" have not chosen to stay home because they enjoy caring for their children. She implies that they have made that choice based on a lie they've been fed by society that to be good mothers, you have to stay home or because they have found fighting for a "new, more just society" to be too hard. She says herself that these are all well-educated, accomplished women. And, what I think she's saying is that staying home is a waste of their talents, that they have a responsibility, a duty to stay in the workforce and pull their own weight to make things more equitable for women. In her opinion (talking about elite women in high-paying jobs), "Staying home should not be considered a choice." Isn't that the same as the line they fed our mothers & grandmothers, that working outside the home was not an option? A woman's place was inside the home. Now, apparently, a woman's place is in the workforce.
I know this might rub a few people the wrong way, but I'm interested to hear what other women & men think. You don't have to, but if you don't mind, when you comment on this, would you tell me what choice you would make/have made for yourself.

1 comment:

April said...

I would love to stay home with my baby but it is not an option for me. I can't quit my job and I can't find any "work from home" jobs that suit me out there. I want to stay home mainly just for the bonding experience. I don't want to put my child in daycare when he is 6 weeks old, but what else can I do? If you have any suggestions let me know.