I read an article today on NYMag.com called “The Retro Wife.”
The gist of it is that it’s “cool” again to be a stay at home mother. And on that point, I understand. Since the 1970’s, women have been force-fed the concept of “having it all” or “doing it all,” and my assumption is that this article was trying to point out that it’s not necessarily having it all, but having the choice, that defines feminism. But this article does a fantastically terrible job of trying to prove that point. Here are some quotes from the article that made my blood boil.
“Women are raised from the get-go to raise children successfully. When we are moms, we have a better toolbox.”
False. And I think you probably pissed off a lot of dads with that statement. We might want to stay at home at a higher percentage compared to men, and one might argue that we can be more sensitive to children, but that in no way means we’re better at it.
“The subversion of her personal drive pays them back in ways Kelly believes are priceless; she is now able to be there for her kids no matter what, cooking healthy meals, taking them hiking and to museums, helping patiently with homework, and devoting herself to teaching the life lessons—on littering, on manners, on good habits—that she believes every child should know.”
Why can’t women who work teach their children manners or cook them healthy meals? Does the fact that I work mean my help with homework is somehow impatient? It’s frustrating to read between the lines at the implication that working moms don’t have time for their children. I always thought the hierarchy of priorities for a woman (who wasn’t religious) was: self, husband, children, work. Just because work is a 40-hour a week commitment doesn’t mean it takes priority over the 168-hour a week commitment of children.
“Alvin benefits no less from his wife’s domestic reign. ‘I love him so much, I just want to spoil him,’ she says.”
RIGHT, because if I had something else taking up a portion of my day there would be NO WAY I could provide emotionally and otherwise for my husband. BTW, I fully support the spoiling of BOTH partners.
“I want my daughter to be able to do anything she wants,” she says. “But I also want to say, ‘Have a career that you can walk away from at the drop of a hat.’”
Ohmygodwhy. Why is a career a throwaway piece of someone’s life? Why can’t a career – while less important than a family – still be a defining piece of a person?
Buried in the article is this: “For some women, the solution to resolving the long-running tensions between work and life is not more parent-friendly offices or savvier career moves but the full embrace of domesticity.” And with that, I completely agree. Let’s stop competing and trying to prove which way is better, and focus on the choices that make our families the best they can be.