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PopsApril 17, 2017
I have this much to say about women in the workplace: they're probably just as irrelevant as we men are, meaning that in a few years after retirement, nobody will know or care what we did in the workplace. But what a mother does in the home with her children will last forever. So how is it that there is so much push-back on the idea of stay-at-home mothers? If you, as a mother, want to do something really important, stay at home with your children instead of getting a job to help pay for a McMansion. (Of course there are exceptions, but I don't see a McMansion as a reasonable claim for exemption...) I'm not being frivolous here - my wife and I made a conscious decision to live in a modest home in a modest neighborhood so she could stay at home with the children, whilst in the "upper class" neighborhoods in our stake a lot of the faithful mothers have outside jobs so they can make their house payments, and even so our stake ends up being a net consumer of fast offering funds. I don't think this is how Zion is supposed to work. (...to say nothing of how astonishingly important it is for women to bring children into the world so a few more of Heavenly Father's children can have their chance at mortality...)
wendiewillApril 12, 2017
I agree that motherhood should be celebrated and supported. It is one important piece in a grand plan that is the raising of a productive, happy child. I agree that the world has downplayed the importance of mothers and that sometimes women's rights proponents lose sight of the total picture. What I can't stand is this way overused statement of "at-home mom". It's dividing and almost immediately judgmental. If you're a mom, you're a mom - whether you're in the home every waking moment or out of the home most of the day. The family typically reunites every evening in the home. Does that not make us all (moms and dads) at-home parents? Have you noticed that we nearly never call men "working dads" or "at home" dads? After age 5, most kids are gone from the home around 7 hours a day. And yet, still, in our Mormon culture we hold "at home" moms in more esteem than those who have jobs - whether they are part of full time. Somehow having a job makes us lesser? It's just not right. I would totally agree, as a mom that works a full time job, that I have less time during the daylight hours to plan activities or ponder upon my children's future and spiritual welfare. But when I shift my focus to my family after hours, we have a rich experience that is nurturing, uplifting, and spiritual feeding for my children, my spouse, and myself. If you're argument is to say we should find more ways to support women in their desire to be good mothers, I totally agree. That, to me, is defending motherhood. If you're saying that only at-home mothers are worthy of esteem and defense, I think you've missed the mark and devalued a vast group of women who yearn for nothing more than the very best for their families.
A ThoughtApril 12, 2017
@Skipper, I think you took some statements and gave them implications that they didn't have on their own. Specifically you took this quote: "Mothers and grandmothers are powerful. They form our characters, set the example for happy living, heal our hearts, point the way to happiness and truth, and nurture our identities. All greatness stems back to the hand that formed and taught the great person." And said that it implied things about daycare and schooling, but literally nothing there mentions mothers only having that powerful impact when they are in the home with the children. In fact, most people don't live with their grandmothers so mentioning them especially takes out any implication that that influence can only be felt from a stay at home position. The author said herself that she is also a working mother. I feel like any implication that she laid blame on mothers that work is inside your head.
LaurieApril 12, 2017
A very well written article. The importance of motherhood is sadly diminishing. I was happy to make a difference in the lives of my sons and all of the foster children I cared for. There isn't another job in the work that I would trade my experiences for.
SkipperApril 12, 2017
I am happy this author has found joy in motherhood. However, this article is littered with dangerous statements. For example, "Mothers and grandmothers are powerful. They form our characters, set the example for happy living, heal our hearts, point the way to happiness and truth, and nurture our identities. All greatness stems back to the hand that formed and taught the great person." Yes, that's great...but this implies that mothers who are sending children to childcare or to school are NOT setting an example of happy living, are leaving broken hearted children in their wake, are not pointing the way to THE AUTHOR'S version of happiness, and are ultimately not nurturing good identities. And let's look at that last statement of the quote..."All greatness stems back to the hand that formed and taught that great person." Again, implying that only a mother can provide this for a child. That is a harmful narrative for so many women. Women who love their careers are not doing damage to their kids or to society. Articles like this fuel guilt and shame for so many women who don't have a choice in the matter, as well as those who choose work over full-time motherhood.
SherryApril 12, 2017
While I agree that motherhood has value it can in the church be used to include or exclude non mothers. Plenty of non selfish reasons women cannot be biological mothers. Motherhood distances us from others when talks and events focus mostly on motherhood and not on more general womanhood. . Really, no one but you care to hear about your children and by flashing photos of your children at public events does leave a negative impression about motherhood in general. Probably because motherhood is considered a private pasttime as opposed to more public persona of the workforce. TMI
StephanieApril 12, 2017
Of course your experience is your own, but I disagree with some of your assertions. I don't agree that equal rights for women is the same thing as attacking motherhood. If anything, equal rights for women help mothers (and fathers) be the kind of parents they would like to be--especially moms who are empowered to make real choices that work for them and their families. Women can be constrained by cultural pressures (like this article), lack of education, lack of family-friendly employment options, and financial instability or dependence. Many, many women at some point in their lives will need (or want) to provide financially for themselves and/or their families. Shouldn't they be prepared and encouraged to find well-compensated work that they enjoy without piling on guilt? Your article also seems to promote the idea that all of a woman's interests (paid or unpaid) should revolve around motherhood in some way. That just doesn't work for me. No one would give my husband the same advice or insinuate that he is ignoring his truest nature by working or playing in non-fatherhood-adjacent ways.
JulianneApril 12, 2017
I want to address this line: "As the president of the Worldwide Organization for Women, I see claims that some countries are doing better because statistics show they have a higher percentage of women working, while the United States is not doing as well because so many women are stay-at-home mothers." I have worked at various UN agencies for 10 years - I'm an expert in gender and women's health. No one is saying this. In fact it's the opposite - the problem with the US is the fact that women are working themselves to the bone, stretched thin between working with pitiful maternity leaves and paying exorbitant childcare fees. Whereas Northern European countries excel at part-time work schedules, long family leave, and childcare subsidies so parents don't have to work so much, can enjoy a full year at home with a new baby, and not struggle to pay basic childcare. No one is saying that the problem in the US is "too many stay at home moms!" Because statistically speaking, that's not the problem. More mothers work longer hours in the US than most wealthy countries, because they are so unsupported by corporate and public policies. If you want to talk about attacks on mothers, I guess you could start there. Please see this excellent research on this issue - "The negative effects of parenthood on happiness were entirely explained by the presence or absence of social policies allowing parents to better combine paid work with family obligations." https://contemporaryfamilies.org/brief-parenting-happiness/
robin litster johnsonApril 12, 2017
great article! one of the best books i've read along these lines, published many years ago and was out of print, but may be back in print again, is "what's a smart woman like you doing at home?" by linda burton, janet dittmer, cheri loveless.
Gaye BreillattApril 12, 2017
Being a mother is the hardest work in the world, but the most rewarding. I am grateful that my husband and I chose from the very beginning that I would be in the home with the children and he would earn the money to support us. We spent many years in school so this was possible, living way beneath the poverty line What a blessing that decision was and how grateful for we are for our family. Absolutely nothing in the world more important!!!
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