Photo credit: @julesdwit.
A not-for-profit media organization supported by people like you.
Also, "Stay at Home Moms" tend to be young women living some kind of parasitic lifestyle in which they barter sex for ongoing economic support. This particular kind of bartering is apparently an acceptable and normative practice within our culture.
Brian:Do you thik you would have had the career in radio that you have now if you had left radio journalism for 8 years.
On moms - stay at home and or working: It's nice that these women have volunteered to continue the species, even if it's due to some kind of societal/biological pressure. Unfortunately,very few of these children that these women are sacrificing great chunks of their time for will reciprocate when the parent ages significantly, because as our society dictates that pregnancy and childbirth and child rearing are necessary rituals, in terms of societal status, it also dictates that the elderly are burdensome and should be left in an institution or with a hired caregiver.
I'm responding to the woman who called in and has a dyslexic child. I focused on this because I know Lynn, who responded above, who is a facilitator for learners with dyslexia.
For mothers (and fathers) with children who have learning disabilities, we cannot appreciate the amount of time and frustration a family experiences. It makes the "Ten-Year Nap" seem like a walk through a park (not to underestimate this either).
Please consider a discussion on dyslexia as a segment on your show. As an experienced facilitator with dyslexic children and adults, Lynn is the ideal candidate to speak on this topic. I cannot make a stronger recommendation for an upcoming segment.
I have no children, have no economic gain. However, I personally know too many individuals with dyslexia who can only gain a lifetime of invaluable learning techniques from a discussion on the topic. This can only improve their quality of life.
In response to the woman with a dyslexic child, and any parent who has a child struggling with learning in school, there is help. I work with children and adults with dyslexia to correct the negative symptoms using their natural creative talents. Most dyslexics are visual learners who need methods that honor their thinking style. I suggest you read the book, "The Gift of Dyslexia", by Ronald D. Davis, and/or log on to www.dyslexia.com for more information about this creative thinking/learning style and ways to correct the symptoms that make learning difficult.
I'm a semi-stay-at-home mom of a 13 year-old girl and have always bristled at the whole mommy wars thing, which always smacks to me of self-indulgence, narrow-mindedness and defensiveness. Life has many separate and distinctive parts and stages; no single one defines mothers or fathers. I have an MFA from NYU, live in a pleasant NJ suburb and work part time (for peanuts) at a local library (our family foregoes a lot to get by on basically one income--my husband's). I'm home most days for my girl from 3 to 6. I also write when I can (screenplays and a first novel), get occasional time to socialize with pals in town, attend to the dust bunnies and toilet scrubbing when I can, stay involved in my town's chapter of the League of Women Voters, try to cook every night, take in occasional tutoring work... Okay, how would one categorize me? If everyone is preoccupied with how dazzling and tidy their self-descriptions come off at parties or other gatherings, then this isn't a mommy war, it's a mommy sandbox squabble.
As is so often the case, you can find a great line from Ab Fab to describe this situation. The line is "Industry Fodder, darling!"
I don't work full-time and I have NO kids. I like to spend less and live more.
The fact that these women feel guilty about not working - says to me that they are hanging out with the wrong people.
Still, I'm misunderstood. It seems that modern society only loves philosophers and artists if they get a grant (a/k/a a job!)
I have been a stay at home for eleven years. Before that, I was an attorney for ten years. I have never felt my identity was "Nathaniel and Ethan's mom" or "an attorney." I have always felt that I am more than the labels and that I have interests outside those two careers. I feel badly for the caller who needed to go back to work so that she could identify herself as a worker.
My husband and I are enormously lucky and privileged to be able to work from home full time. Not only can both of us be there for our two kids (4 and 7, both in school), but it is good for our marriage. I feel that working from home makes me a better mother, but also because I am not stressing about homelife, it makes me a better worker.
I hear this debate constantly. I have an 11 mo. and have gone back to work, but many of my new mom friends have not gone back yet and there is an underlying competitive thing whenever we get together.
I'm a dad who works from a home office and tries to talk with my 13 and 17 year old daughters each day when they get home from school. It's very tough balancing work, family and teenage crises but I love it. My career choice led to a job as executive director of Dads & Daughters, a non-profit devoted to making the world safe and fair for our daughters. The issues you're talking about today are very important to me as a dad and I want to make common cause with women and other men who want to create my work-family balance in our stressed out contemporary culture.
I fully intend to read this if for no other reason than to make sure I am not making a prejudice judgement. As a divorced parent of two grown children who had the education and agency to work freelance while my children were growing up, I am turned off some what by the conversation. The dialogue is so succinctly classis. There are trainloads of women who would want to stay at home and cannot. There are women who’s household incomes leave them on the brink of poverty in order to be with their children. There are working class women who can’t be with their children because they are the caretakers of women who are wake from their long nap. They don’t feel fulfilled by their work.
If this book has no Socratic insight as to the class dynamic of the narrative then all I can say is BLAH. This is not an insightful discourse
I travel through the wealthy metro suburbs for my business and I always see stay at home moms picking their children up at the bus stop in their huge Suburbans, and it is not a source of anguish but rather, a source of great satisfaction but most especially a status symbol. It is a function and characteristic of today's society that the 'questions' of having children and how to raise them, is more about the parents and their self fulfillment, and less about the children themselves.
I have a response to the fellow whose marriage broke down because she refused to work. Understanding that I do not know that particular couple, I have seen at close hand similar disputes in my own family. I find that some women become incredibly self and child abosrbed, and cloak a whole host of selfish and arrogant behaviors with the notion of good motherhood.
Women through the ages have worked to support their families, on the farm, in factories, taking in laundry, etc. Refusing to work when a family faces harsh financial conditions is selfish and destructive to families, anti-feminists, and ought to be condemned as such.
My only problem with the title of the book is that with two kids (a 4 yo and a 1 yo) and a part time job, the idea of a 10 year nap is a little too delicious! I'd say that for many people the nap ends much sooner than at 10 years but that women aren't sure how to re-enter the workforce and with the price that many women have paid for "off ramping" from the workforce, it can be very tough. I was lucky to have found a good part time job in my field right in my neighborhood, which has kept my foot in my field and allowed me to remain sane - I always tell my co-workers that no matter how challenging a day I may be having at work, its like a vacation day compared sometimes to having two cranky kids stuck inside on a rainy day!
Come to the toney areas of NJ where nuevo-riche society women always seem to be suprised that my wife works and has a career. How about that?
It's not entirely an individual family choice of the current times -- between my husband and me he always preferred staying home with the kid, but he made more money and could get jobs more easily. But he also stayed home with our daughter for two years when she was little.
First 3-6 years most important -- they're pretty much programmed after that.
I agree with Ellen that it is more important to have time and attention for the middle school and high school kids. My kids are 8 and 11, two boys, I am 47. I work full time, I have had a 22 year career, but am looking to leave. Not only do I need the 3 - 6 time to walk with my boys home from school and really LISTEN, but I need the morning time to pay attention to them, rather than hustling to get out of the house so I can get to work. I have had great day and after school care, which have enriched my childrens life, teaching basic skills and values, but I want to be the one talking to my son about girls, drugs, sex - the complicated values beyond "don't hit".
MEG graduated from High School with my daughter and I knew her Mother.What she is talking about is not new. I can remember feeling the same way. When my children started going to school, I said is this all there is.Eileen Silberstein
Working or not working comes down to what make the parents happy, a happy, fulfilled parent is a good parent. A frustrated person does not make for a good parent.
I am a man my youngest daughter is 20. I sayed at home with her the first two years and it was the best thing for both of us. we have a special bond.
We have a 9 year old and an 8 year old. Now we have a 8 month old. I have been begging my wife, who has been home for 10 years, to switch roles. It is not going to happen. I feel like I am being cheated of this time at home with our new baby.
Like we care!!!! Everyone has problems!
Most people both have to work because they can't afford one to stay home!
My girlfriend was raised by nannies. Her parents work all those years. Now they have money and have a great relationship with their kids. And yes she did try drugs and alcohol but she works and is very on top of her life. Why do mothers think they have to be all the time around their children? Another example is Germany, people there send their children since they are born to day care. That helps babies among other things to socialize.
For me, it's not just 3 to 6. I have 2 school age children, and I'm extremely involved in their school.I'm feverishly working on putting together their school yearbook right now!I volunteer in their elementary school in many ways. I am grateful (as are their teachers) that I get to go on field trips and help in the classroom in many ways. I help in science lab, computer lab, library class, writing workshops, and other school activities.With school budgets being cut all the time, schools actually need the help of involved parents. It also helps to create a real community to have parents involved in their kids' school lives.
Once again, another great point about saying kids with learning disabilities are productive etc.
Given that I know 2 men of my generation (x) who plan on being "stay-at-home Dad's," it will be intersting to hear how this debate might evolve.I, as the mate of one of those men, am happy that I will not have to leave my career behind, because I love what I do. As a kid, I did not daydream about being a mommy, but daydreamed of being known for my own accomplishments. Until men get involved in caregiving, I don't expect that more choice will be available to women in terms of parenting/work.
Why is this all about mothers, women? what about men who want a chance to be productive professionally but also have a role in their children's lives?
Why do you feel this discussion is specific to mothers? what about fathers-we go through the same dilemma
Well, I think if all you have is a job, then that might be true... but for women with careers or who want careers, they probably want to be defined as something more than just being Billy's mom. Women may want to be doing something for themselves rather than being solely there for the service of a child. It's dependent on a person's priorities I suppose. I would not say though that if a woman can afford to stay home that she should. Why not have the man stay home then if there's potentially enough money being made from one of them?
It is okay to stay at home to nurture the child. Why is a job considered more valuable?
The real issue should be one of affordability. If the mother is able to afford to stay at home, more power to her.
Email addresses are required but never displayed.
Brian Lehrer leads the conversation about what matters most now in local and national politics, our own communities and our lives.
Subscribe on iTunes
WNYC 93.9 FM and AM 820 are New York's flagship public radio
stations, broadcasting the finest programs from NPR, PRI and American Public Media, as well as a wide range of award-winning local
programming. WNYC is a division of
New York Public Radio.