Recently, Barack Obama caused an uproar among stay-at-home mothers in the US by making the following statement:
“Sometimes, someone, usually Mom, leaves the workplace to stay home with the kids, which then leaves her earning a lower wage for the rest of her life as a result,” he said. “That’s not a choice we want Americans to make.”
He then goes on to advocate affordable government pre-schools for millions of American children.
Where we are as mothers
Reading these articles:
has made me think about where we are as mothers in this supposedly modern and enlightened age.
Feminism was meant to give us options
Feminism was meant to give women options and to allow us to choose how we wanted to lead our lives. Those who wanted to excel in the workplace, did not have to be housewives, but could follow their ambition while still having families.
However, society has made it increasingly difficult to live on one income, so those who would love to stay at home with their children, don’t really have options anymore.
Mothering has lost its value
It seems the once important role of mothering has lost its value. Only working women are valued, a viewpoint which also comes to the fore in Obama’s speech. Family values have taken a backseat in our consumerist society.
Some superwomen manage to achieve at work while still balancing a family life. However, you want to have a panic attack when you read what they get up to during a normal day. As a mere mortal, I just wouldn’t be able to keep up with them. I can only imagine the long term cost to their physical and mental health.
One American working mother’s hectic schedule went viral when she just couldn’t keep up any longer and sent a departing memo to her law firm. Can’t say I blame her, as she had to survive on about two hours sleep a night.
This article states that women struggle as the modern workplace is still pretty much based on a 1950’s model. It is assumed that workers can do their jobs without distractions as there is “a wife” at home to organise their households and children.
Family an afterthought
Almost as an “afterthought” you try to fit in time with your family. We get to them after we finish our “important” work. It seems that at the moment women can’t have it all, at least not at the same time. It is therefore unfair to judge women who actually can afford to stay at home to look after their children.