Wading into the working moms argument is a lot like trying to use the backs of aligators for a bridge. It’s not really a place those of us who read the current literature and statistics want to go because some thn skinned woman is going to turn around and snap if the truth hurts.
Megyn Kelly of Fox News, followed by Greta Van Sustern, got her panties in a wad over remarks by colleague Lou Dobbs and Red State’s Erick Erickson to the effect that historically, society benefits from mothers staying home with their children to raise them.
Apparently, this is offensive to working moms everywhere.
(That the Marines in Afghanistan are slowly losing their hot meals due to the sequester and the gradual pullout should be offensive to all Americans, let alone the Marines. You don’t hear them complaining. Or these working moms reporting on it.)
Mr. Dobbs and Mr. Erickson, unfortunately for these ladies, are reporting the latest data that indeed does say that children raised in households where the mother stays at home with them in their younger years do better and are better adjusted (especially when Mom is disciplined enough to get the kids on a schedule). There are several studies, not just one from the 60’s that Ms. Kelly cites as authoritative on which parent staying home, if any, not being a factor. There are also studies that say the lack of a positive role model, ideally a parent, of either sex, can lead to problems in social development. Adults who were raised in households with a homosexual couple as “parents” report that not having a matched set to observe and learn from, put them at a disadvantage in picking up non-verbal communication and cues – and that begins in developing years, when moms could be at home.
Well, it’s not politically correct, but the raw data shows that more households with children with single women as the head live under the poverty line than any other category (I compile data from the US Census Bureau as part of my job. I vouch this is the case.) Juvenile delinquents and criminals come from single parent households where the single parent is a mother who works more than any other. There could be any number of reasons why this is the case, but at the end of a work day, people who work are tired, and I’ve seen kids get away with a lot more than we ever did just because their parents don’t want to deal with them. (Yes, my mother stayed at home until my youngest sibling was in first grade, and that one still resents that the rest of us had a stay at home mom for a lot longer.)
Making general statements based on fact is not meant to be offensive or as an attack on anyone’s toughness or bona fides of being able to juggle work and parenthood. They are just facts. As a positive societal trend, the natural order of things is what we know as traditional gender roles. (Maybe, just maybe, there is a reason those roles became the norm.) Household circumstances are different for everyone – and I know women with children who work outside the home in order to be able to afford lavish vacations and new cars as opposed to private school tuition and orthodontia, which is motivation for some of the others – as are the reasons for having a paying job. There is no right or wrong there unless children are being neglected in favor of greater creature comforts.
It is curious that “thinking, fair” women would blow a gasket over this. (Well, as a female, it’s actually to be expected. A lot of females react without thinking.)
The people who truly should be offended are the stay at home moms. “Working women” have been forever putting them down saying, “Well, you don’t work.” Really? When I was a kid, the stay at home moms were the ones who were the scout leaders, the sports coaches, the room mothers, the field trip chaperones, the ladies who made the banners for the altar at church (okay, that was mostly mine), the volunteer gym teachers – the stuff that “working moms” didn’t have time for and took full advantage of. One of my best friend’s mother ALWAYS had her door open when our own stay at home moms could not meet us for one reason or another. In my parish as a kid, there were a number of families with five or more, and we’d all get home and our moms were sitting in the living room with six laundry baskets folding clothes. Seriously. Being a stay at home mom is actually a lot of work – and the house was always picked up, and the beds were made, and dinner was not from a box, and the weekends were not spent doing housework because that was the only time to do it.
My friends my own age with families joke about that now, that the house gets cleaned at holidays and when they are expecting company. Sad that this is a fruit of women’s lib. Sad, but true.
Tradition, that which was developed because it worked well, has been thrown aside even though it still works the best. Why? Because men who try to relate the facts and the women who prove them right don’t want to be snapped at.