Offensive to working moms? or not?

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Offensive to working moms? or not?

This is kind of a soft debate. Not really sure if it can really be debated well. This blog post is making the rounds on facebook and a lot of working mothers have taken offense to it. What do you think? If you were a working mom, particularly one who chooses to work and is not forced to work...would it have bothered you?

Do you feel like he was critical of working moms or not? Overtly or covertly?

?You?re a stay-at-home mom? What do you DO all day?? | The Matt Walsh Blog

It?s happened twice in a week, and they were both women. Anyone ought to have more class than this, but women ? especially women ? should damn well know better.

Last week, I was at the pharmacy and a friendly lady approached me.

?Matt! How are those little ones doing??

?Great! They?re doing very well, thanks for asking.?

?Good to hear. How ?bout your wife? Is she back at work yet??

?Well she?s working hard at home, taking care of the kids. But she?s not going back into the workforce, if that?s what you mean.?

?Oh fun! That must be nice!?

?Fun? It?s a lot of hard work. Rewarding, yes. Fun? Not always.?

This one wasn?t in-your-face. It was only quietly presumptuous and subversively condescending.

The next incident occurred today at the coffee shop. It started in similar fashion; a friendly exchange about how things are coming along with the babies. The conversation quickly derailed when the woman hit me with this:

?So is your wife staying at home permanently??

?Permanently? Well, for the foreseeable future she will be raising the kids full time, yes.?

?Yeah, mine is 14 now. But I?ve had a career the whole time as well. I can?t imagine being a stay at home mom. I would get so antsy. [Giggles] What does she DO all day??

?Oh, just absolutely everything. What do you do all day??

??Me? Ha! I WORK!?

?My wife never stops working. Meanwhile, it?s the middle of the afternoon and we?re both at a coffee shop. I?m sure my wife would love to have time to sit down and drink a coffee. It?s nice to get a break, isn?t it??

The conversation ended less amicably than it began.

Look, I don?t cast aspersions on women who work outside of the home. I understand that many of them are forced into it because they are single mothers, or because one income simply isn?t enough to meet the financial needs of their family. Or they just choose to work because that?s what they want to do. Fine. I also understand that most ?professional? women aren?t rude, pompous and smug, like the two I met recently.

But I don?t want to sing Kumbaya right now. I want to kick our backwards, materialistic society in the shins and say, ?GET YOUR FREAKING HEAD ON STRAIGHT, SOCIETY.?

This conversation shouldn?t be necessary. I shouldn?t need to explain why it?s insane for anyone ? particularly other women ? to have such contempt and hostility for ?stay at home? mothers. Are we really so shallow? Are we really so confused? Are we really the first culture in the history of mankind to fail to grasp the glory and seriousness of motherhood? The pagans deified Maternity and turned it into a goddess. We?ve gone the other direction; we treat it like a disease or an obstacle.

The people who completely immerse themselves in the tiring, thankless, profoundly important job of raising children ought to be put on a pedestal. We ought to revere them and admire them like we admire rocket scientists and war heroes. These women are doing something beautiful and complicated and challenging and terrifying and painful and joyous and essential. Whatever they are doing, they ARE doing something, and our civilization DEPENDS on them doing it well. Who else can say such a thing? What other job carries with it such consequences?

It?s true ? being a mom isn?t a ?job.? A job is something you do for part of the day and then stop doing. You get a paycheck. You have unions and benefits and break rooms. I?ve had many jobs; it?s nothing spectacular or mystical. I don?t quite understand why we?ve elevated ?the workforce? to this hallowed status. Where do we get our idea of it? The Communist Manifesto? Having a job is necessary for some ? it is for me ? but it isn?t liberating or empowering. Whatever your job is ? you are expendable. You are a number. You are a calculation. You are a servant. You can be replaced, and you will be replaced eventually. Am I being harsh? No, I?m being someone who has a job. I?m being real.

If your mother quit her role as mother, entire lives would be turned upside down; society would suffer greatly. The ripples of that tragedy would be felt for generations. If she quit her job as a computer analyst, she?d be replaced in four days and nobody would care. Same goes for you and me. We have freedom and power in the home, not the office. But we are zombies, so we can not see that.

Yes, my wife is JUST a mother. JUST. She JUST brings forth life into the universe, and she JUST shapes and molds and raises those lives. She JUST manages, directs and maintains the workings of the household, while caring for children who JUST rely on her for everything. She JUST teaches our twins how to be human beings, and, as they grow, she will JUST train them in all things, from morals, to manners, to the ABC?s, to hygiene, etc. She is JUST my spiritual foundation and the rock on which our family is built. She is JUST everything to everyone. And society would JUST fall apart at the seams if she, and her fellow moms, failed in any of the tasks I outlined.

Yes, she is just a mother. Which is sort of like looking at the sky and saying, ?hey, it?s just the sun.?

Of course not all women can be at home full time. It?s one thing to acknowledge that; it?s quite another to paint it as the ideal. To call it the ideal, is to claim that children IDEALLY would spend LESS time around their mothers. This is madness. Pure madness. It isn?t ideal, and it isn?t neutral. The more time a mother can spend raising her kids, the better. The better for them, the better for their souls, the better for the community, the better for humanity. Period.

Finally, it?s probably true that stay at home moms have some down time. People who work outside the home have down time, too. In fact, there are many, many jobs that consist primarily of down time, with little spurts of menial activity strewn throughout. In any case, I?m not looking to get into a fight about who is ?busier.? We seem to value our time so little, that we find our worth based on how little of it we have. In other words, we?ve idolized ?being busy,? and confused it with being ?important.? You can be busy but unimportant, just as you can be important but not busy. I don?t know who is busiest, and I don?t care. It doesn?t matter. I think it?s safe to say that none of us are as busy as we think we are; and however busy we actually are, it?s more than we need to be.

We get a lot of things wrong in our culture. But, when all is said and done, and our civilization crumbles into ashes, we are going to most regret the way we treated mothers and children.

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I think it is ham-fisted and paternalistic to say the least. And I am a Stay-at-home-mom. I blog, as many of you already know and I call myself "the housewife," as a badge of honor because I am not 'just' anything. Neither is anyone else. Or maybe at least anyone who I find interesting. Smile

We figured out that in our particular family-corporation that this was the best tactic. And hell-no I do not want to be put on a pedestal for it. Feminism 101 will point out the massive danger in that precarious perch. As a humanist, I tend to take a more nuanced stand and not put any person on a pedestal; man, woman or child. It's kind of a ****ty thing to do = put them in a corner of the ring that they then have to defend. Boo- hiss--.

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I think it's great that he appreciates what his wife is doing and values it as highly as he does. What I don't like is the (barely concealed) assumption that women who work only do so because they have to for economic reasons and that the BEST way to raise children is for the mom to be home. How about for the dad to be home? How about for the parents to demonstrate that they're living happy fulfilled lives? There are many options and I don't think one is "the best", so I don't like anyone else's assumptions that they DO think so, especially when he's talking about something his wife is doing and not something he's doing.

I agree that stay-at-home parents (not just moms) sometimes have the annoyance of people thinking they're sitting around all day. When kids are older, sure, there's more free time, but when they're babies, toddlers, little? Omg.

Anyway..there is a nice sentiment in there, which is to truly value what a mother does. That part is quite lovely. The rest just feels like judgment and it also feels sexist as there is no talk of stay-at home dads. I know a few. They're pretty awesome.

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not sure I homeschool so for me.. yes WHEN I am home I work :). Many "stay at home moms" do not Mother.. when at home.. they send the majority if not all their children off to school for the majority of some of the days (non-summer). I also can/garden/clean and cook, and do not hire outside help and deal with chronic illness.. and have a husband that works 4 on 4 off.. so one could say he doesn't work "fully time"? though he does have a "full time" job he doesn't work 9-5 like a "typical" job.. he is gone from midnight till anywhere from 10am till 5pm depending on the tanker loads (drives double long tanker delivery fuel trucks.

Not sure that adds anything to the not really offensive argument.. lol. I am off to make 10 loaves of sourdough bread, make apple butter, help my youngest type up his report on Frank Lloyd Wright (complete with References and annotation), along with all the regular homeschooling, housework and regular home duties.
Have a great day.. heres to hoping my headache stays low today.

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I am surprised that working moms are offended, I read it and liked it.

I have been a stay at home mom, a full time working mom (Dh was home during that time) and a part time working mom. The only time I ever felt like people looked down on me was when I was stay at home. As seen here on this board some people believe that moms that stay home are not contributing to the family or society. I think this dad was put in a place where he felt the need to defend his wife from people assuming she is doing nothing.

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"Rivergallery" wrote:

Many "stay at home moms" do not Mother.. when at home.. they send the majority if not all their children off to school for the majority of some of the days (non-summer).

So the only legitimate mothering is done by homeschooling moms? Interesting. That leaves all dads out in the cold unless they get a free pass for being men.

I didn't realize that all the moms who send their kids to school aren't actually mothering their children. Wow.

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Sorry...part of it is offensive. It's true you only have 1 biological mom, but others shape and mold the lives of young people. They aren't expendable.

How about the fact that there are many biological fathers who up and quit their job as Dad or never take it on in the first place? There are many, many factors that have caued society to feel the effects he equates to women quitting their role as mothers.

Also, I think asking if his wife is staying home permanently is a fair question. The same question is asked when someone becomes ill or has another life-changing event where they take an extended leave of absence.

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Just another knee jerk reaction... Knee jerk reactions normally don't make sense. So no, I'm not offended because I know better,

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Meh. I saw that on FB the other day and it did remind me of a statement that someone made when T was a baby that made me cry: why do people have children if they don't plan on raising them? Meaning of course that us WOH moms don't raise our kids. Drat those new mom hormones and that new mom guilt. These days I'm much thicker skinned on that whole topic because I realize that I'm happy, my kids are happy, my husband is happy, and if we're all happy and healthy, what's the point in feeling bad? So no, I'm not offended. I think "hamfisted" is a perfect way to describe that essay, but whatevs.

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I think people do look down at SAHM. And they look down at WOHM. It's stupid.

I work at home and I raise my kids. I am home Saturdays and Sundays. Daddy is home Sunday, Monday and Tuesday and the grandmas have them the other 3 days. It's a huge help to have them and they do help with them. It's awesome for them to have their quality time with their dad and their grandmas. I like to look at it that we're kicking it like the olden days where the grandparents lent a hand in the child rearing only they don't live here Smile :).

Be happy with your choices or with your circumstance. Enjoy the time with your kids. That's it. That's all we need to worry about.

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"Jessica80" wrote:

I think people do look down at SAHM. And they look down at WOHM.

Yep, the game is fixed so there is no point in playing. Wink

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"freddieflounder101" wrote:

So the only legitimate mothering is done by homeschooling moms? Interesting. That leaves all dads out in the cold unless they get a free pass for being men.

I didn't realize that all the moms who send their kids to school aren't actually mothering their children. Wow.

How many of you that ps your kiddos have breathed a sigh of relief when they go back... it is the fact that while they are at school you are not in the act of mothering while they are at school.. while they are at camp or out of the house on a play date etc.. you get a break from the act. It doesn't mean you are LESS of a mother.. it means you are giving some of the responsibility to someone else.. that is why we VET babysitters, preschools.. that is why we have meetings with teachers, IEPs, school counselors, principals etc etc.

It is HOW we can be mom's and clean the house while they are at public school, be mom's and work... but we are not in the act of MOTHERING if we are not with the children. Just like you are not working if you are not working... you might be thinking about work.. or planing something in your head about work.. but you are not at work.. Just like if you are not with your children you might be thinking about them.. planning a birthday party for them in your head, or worrying about a loose tooth or how to discipline them better or how to talk to their teacher about xyz etc etc but you are not in the ACT of MOTHERING if you are not with them. Not sure that explains it any better at all.

I have done all three. Been a working mom full time.. stay at home mom full time, and working out of the home mom.. But I haven't sent my kids to public school...

DO you not see a difference in your MOTHERING commitment between Summer and fall/winter for those that stay home and public school your children?

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Being a mom is about making decisions about what is good for your kids and what isn't...what is okay for your kids or what is harmful. If a mom decides sending their child to public school is beneficial to them...that is being a mother. Being a mother doesn't mean you have to be with them 24/7....unless you think that is the only way they will turn out okay. (fortunately i do not think that!)

If a child goes to school or daycare or spends time playing at peoples houses or wherever else....and they turn out to not understand the basics of functioning in this world or society or of being a good person, who ultimately gets blamed? The parents. Deciding when it is okay to be away from their parents and who they are with and waht they are doing when they are away is part of parenting

This idea that you are not parenting unless you are in direct contact with your kids is kind of ridiculous , as is the notion that a parent can't accomplish what they need to as a parent unless they are with them all the time. And if the latter is not implied, then there is no point in making such inflammatory comments about a mom not mothering her children, nor bragging about being home all the time and never leaving them.

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DO you not see a difference in your MOTHERING commitment between Summer and fall/winter for those that stay home and public school your children?

commitment? No my commitment is the same to my kids, whether they are with me or not.

Whats the point in making the distinction that you can't do the physical childcare when you aren't in the same location as they are. Why would you even bother to point out that parents are not changing diapers, chasing after the kids or whatever else when they are away from them. That part is obvious...so obvious that i would think you must have more of a reason in pointing that out that I'm missing or you're not fessing up to.

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Yeah, I don't really get that you're only being a mother when you're physically with your children. Doesn't make sense. That's babysitting, not mothering.

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Rivergallery,

What about when your DH is working long hours? Are you not a wife then?

It's silly to say one is not mothering if her children are at school. I am still doing things for my kids even when they are not home.

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Ooops, double post.

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"zombies" wrote:

Rivergallery,

What about when your DH is working long hours? Are you not a wife then?

It's silly to say one is not mothering if her children are at school. I am still doing things for my kids even when they are not home.

Of course there is a difference.. ask any wife whose husband is diployed they do not have "wifely duties" they do Father duties as well.. not sure you all missed the facebook blow ups in September when so many of your friends and mine were excited to FINALLY have a break from their children.

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Right now, my oldest goes to PS due to needing their special ed program. I miss her terribly when she's gone. It's so awesome for her though. It's not a break...it's needed therapy for her.

Maybe it's because I have a full time job on top of my full time job as a mom that I don't feel like it's a break. Most of my friends are sad to see their kids go to school so, no I didn't see it all over FB about how everyone was excited for the break. Maybe because we all have littles and not middle schools or high schoolers.

When my husband goes to work I'm still his wife. When my kids go to school and I go to work they are still my kids. I'm planning things that I need and want to do with them as their mother. Planning is still working as a mom.

When I go to work, I have active work where I'm assisting my associates and compiling reports etc. I have passive work where I'm planning out what the next few days are going to be like. It's still work. Same for parenting.

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"Rivergallery" wrote:

Of course there is a difference.. ask any wife whose husband is diployed they do not have "wifely duties" they do Father duties as well.. not sure you all missed the facebook blow ups in September when so many of your friends and mine were excited to FINALLY have a break from their children.

Okay now I"m confused...don't really know what you're saying. Does "wifely duties" just mean sex? (I don't consider that a "duty".) I think for women whose husbands are deployed they are probably still doing lots of wife-things...sending packages to husbands, helping keep things going at home, maintaining relationships with in-laws and friends, etc. A lot of being a mother and a wife and a father and a husband is planning, thinking, feeling, etc...not just physically monitoring the presence of someone.

I don't know about facebook blowups, not really sure what you are referring to. Something specific?

I find that that the lines get very blurred. When I am at work (well, when I WAS..oops..) I was often taking care of things for the kids at the same time. When I am at home, I was often still doing things for work, planning in my head for things that had to be taken care of the next day or thinking through ideas and problems to be solved.

I still think you are confusing babysitting with mothering. My brother has teenagers and he is still "fathering" even when they are out and about...especially when he's waiting up for them to get home!

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My mom says you never stop being a mom and trying to do what is best for your child.

By the sound of the description of mothering, most Dads just sound like placeholders (unless they SAH).

To me, sending your kids to school as part of them growing up and no different than them moving out when they are adults.

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This does offend me slightly, yes. Going to work is not a break imo. You don't get to 'switch off' like you would be able to at home if someone took your kid for an hour. Even then, you'd still be doing chores so I guess being a Mum, you never really get a break!

People who say that WOH Mums are bad parents because they're not there, well you could flip the coin and say that SAH Mums are teaching their kids that going out to work is not important. Either way, whatever you do there is always going to be someone out there judging what you choose to do.

Also, I know there are parents out there who do choose not to work because they know it's easier to fleece the Government of benefits. They have kids but let them do as they please - these are the type of people who give SAH a bad rep.

xx

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"Rivergallery" wrote:

How many of you that ps your kiddos have breathed a sigh of relief when they go back... it is the fact that while they are at school you are not in the act of mothering while they are at school.. while they are at camp or out of the house on a play date etc.. you get a break from the act. It doesn't mean you are LESS of a mother.. it means you are giving some of the responsibility to someone else.. that is why we VET babysitters, preschools.. that is why we have meetings with teachers, IEPs, school counselors, principals etc etc.

It is HOW we can be mom's and clean the house while they are at public school, be mom's and work... but we are not in the act of MOTHERING if we are not with the children. Just like you are not working if you are not working... you might be thinking about work.. or planing something in your head about work.. but you are not at work.. Just like if you are not with your children you might be thinking about them.. planning a birthday party for them in your head, or worrying about a loose tooth or how to discipline them better or how to talk to their teacher about xyz etc etc but you are not in the ACT of MOTHERING if you are not with them. Not sure that explains it any better at all.

I have done all three. Been a working mom full time.. stay at home mom full time, and working out of the home mom.. But I haven't sent my kids to public school...

DO you not see a difference in your MOTHERING commitment between Summer and fall/winter for those that stay home and public school your children?

I am a stay at home mom, and from your definition I still spend a good portion of my day not mothering. I do the dishes, come on here, take the kids to playgroup so I can sit back and drink coffee with the other moms. And conversely, I watch a little girl most days. Between 9 and 5 she is with us being cared for by me, but I am certainly not 'mothering' her during that time. If something happens that concerns me with her I do not stress about it, call DH and research how to go about changing things like I would my own kids. I make a mental note to tell her own mother about it at the end of the day, and will discuss and implement any plan she comes up with. This girl has no problem telling who her mom is, and treats us very differently.

I actually think it is really funny that when I tell people I am a stay at home mom they will ask things like what I do all day (which doesnt offend me. I have no idea what most people actually do all day at their job), and yet when I say I do some daycare, I suddenly become this saint who must be so OMG busy! Ummm, I do the same things, just with more kids in tow. In fact, I do slightly less because I dont like to take daycare kids to stores, so I dont run errands when they are with me.

As for Public School, and other activities my kids do without me, I feel there is immense value in them beyond getting my kids out of my hair, and find it offensive that you would say a SAH parent would send their kid to school so they can clean the house.
I do find this article slightly offensive to working mothers, cause it assumes a need to work, and I know lots of people who choose to work because it makes them happy, and enables them to do more quality things with the family, like vacations and other pay as you go activities. We all make our choices as parents and individuals, and we have to balance out our needs with those of our families. The only wrong answer is one that neglects our children, and going to work does not do that.

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Like many others, I don't totally understand the definition of "mothering" that is being presented here. I think the way that Rivergallery is using it is to mean when you are physically there in front of your kids interacting with them. This seems like a confusingly narrow definition of mothering though. For example, what if I am in the house with them, but they are asleep in their beds and I am folding their laundry and packing their lunches? Is that mothering? Or what if I'm at work, but I'm talking to their pediatrician or teacher or daycare lady over the phone? What if DH and I are alone together and hashing out our plans for them (example: discussing discipline or planning a birthday party for them, it whatever.) I would consider all of those part of my job of parenting. Maybe parenting is different than mothering?

It strikes me too that the gender inequality in parenting is staggering. Imagine a dad that goes to work every day to bring in money to support his kids. But before he goes to work, he gets them up every morning, makes sure that they are dressed in clean weather appropriate clothes, fed, have their lunch and homework in their backpacks, and takes them to school. Even while he is at work he takes time off to take them to doctors appointments, dentist appointments, and to attend school functions. He picks them up at night after work, and cooks for them, bathes them, reads to them, talks to them about their day, helps them with their homework, sings to them before bed. After they go to bed, he packs their lunches, does some of their laundry, and picks up the house they all live in. As needed he researches schools to make sure his kids are attending good ones, vets daycare providers and babysitters, plans play dates and birthday parties. When he can on the weekends he takes them to the zoo, the museum, the aquarium, the park. They are the first thing he thinks of when he wakes up in the morning, and the last thing he thinks of before he falls asleep at night. Do you think anyone would question whether he was a good parent, let alone imply he's not parenting at all?

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I have as a SAHM felt judged for being so many times. I also have seen a lot of judging of working mothers. The best situation IMO is where your kids are happy and healthy and you are happy and healthy. There are some people that would not do well being with their kids all of the time. There is nothing wrong with that at all.

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I have to say that some of the hardest "mothering" I do is sending them to school. I know they need school, I know they are growing so much while there, but I really wish most days that I didnt have to share them.

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We have just started letting my son go to the local store by himself sometimes. So when he walks out of the house and I'm watching from the window, and then he goes beyond my sight line, I'm not mothering him anymore? Just wondering. Smile

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I feel like I have had many sides of this.

With DS I was a working mom who had to work and wanted to stay at home. On maternity leave, I got a small taste of being a SAHM, which I did love, but in the end I was wanting to go back to work.

I tend to only feel judged by those on the other side sometimes and this blog did offend me the same way I think its offensive for there to be only one or two right ways. As if one decision is holier than the other.

I miss my babies all day long at work and honestly I never stop parenting them at work and my day doesn't end till 11 pm at night and starts right back up at 5 am. I do all the same things I did when I was home for those 3 months. One wasn't harder than the other, but they were different. The down times were different and the scheduling was different. MOthering is simply difficult and from what I can tell it isn't going to stop.

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In our home there isn't really a distinction between "mothering" and "fathering." We are both full-time, actively involved parents, but by RiverGallery's definition, my husband would be the better mother simply because he's at home with them a lot more than I am. :rolleyes: And no, I do NOT breathe a sigh of relief when my daughter goes back to school after summer break. That's because I do NOT abdicate my job as her parent when school starts. Actually, the job of parenting is far harder to do when I have to consider her teacher's needs in addition to my own wants. I want to call her in sick to go camping, but I don't do that when it's a testing week, and I want to get the cheaper, earlier-in-the-day swim lessons, but I don't think her teacher would appreciate her leaving at 1pm every Wednesday. And there would be absolute hell to pay if her teacher tried to take on some of *my* parental responsibilities like spiritual education, buying a pet, paying an allowance, or administering punishment for anything beyond the most minor offenses.

As to the OP, ITA with Kyla who said she found this article slightly offensive to working mothers, because it seems to assume a need to work, not a choice to work. I've had this discussion with Attachment Parenting-minded moms who *need* to work but feel they shouldn't because "it's not AP." AP is about balance, balancing your families needs and wants, balancing your own needs and wants, and if WOH is the right answer for your family, finding the *right* caretaker for your child so that you can feel good about your decision to return to work. Because going back to work does NOT mean you aren't mothering.

ClairesMommy's picture
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IMO this guy says SAHMs should be "put on a pedestal" to justify his patriarchal attitude.

Alissa_Sal's picture
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Yeah, I noticed that too Stacey, like the ONLY valid reason a woman would ever work is because her family needs the income. It's true that my family needs the income, but I also like and want to work. I don't think I would be a full time SAHM even if we had the resources for that. I used to feel kind of guilty about that, but I don't anymore. Like I said before, we're all happy and healthy (balanced even Lol so I'm not sure who I'm supposed to be appologizing to. Wink