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  1. Mercurial
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    Mercurial Contributing Member Contributor

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    Dr Laura Schlessinger -- In Praise of Stay-at-Home Moms: Opinions on the Mommy Wars?

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Mercurial, Apr 12, 2009.

    I didnt put this in the Book Discussion Forum because I'm using her publicity from her book that came out this week as a platform from which to spark discussion of the topic as a whole, not just the book. :)

    Dr Laura Schlessinger (who likes to go by the nickname "Mother Laura" often these days) is a businesswoman extraordinaire; she hosts a popular radio show of which she plays an adviser and therapist and is the bestselling author of fifteen books for both adults and children.
    (Surprising I hadnt heard of this woman earlier. I'm sure many of you are familiar with her?)

    With her latest book (which, no, I havent read --yet; I'm paying a visit to the bookstore to pick up two books of which this is one), she obviously praises stay-at-home moms and stresses the importance that women shouldnt be in the working world when they have children and husbands who need them.

    Though I havent yet read her book, I have heard her preface (as read by Merideth Viera on the Today Show) which states, "I would never dream of telling a woman that she is needed more by her family than anywhere else on the planet because I wouldnt want her to suffer any guilt or loss if she chose to be in a full-time career."

    "You can do both as long as your not wearing yourself out so that you tend not to be able to enjoy being a mom and enjoy being a wife and your husband's girlfriend," Schlessinger has said in several interviews (Today Show and Sean Hannity's television show on FOX, for example).

    Schlessinger's opinion is clear: Women should stay at home with their children; their needs and wants take backseat to their children's.
    And, although it pains me to put Schlessinger in an even remotely positive light, I have to be fair: She is not saying that women who have a husband and offspring cant work; she's saying that the desire to have a job must revolve around the children; the job and anytime the mother is out of the house is when the child is either sleeping or out of the house as well.

    Although I cannot find the clip, Kathie Lee and Hoda Kotb did a segment with Schlessinger later in the same day and painted a situation in which a family is without a father figure to provide income while the mother stays at home; what should families do? I'm paraphrasing here, but she said that if a woman made that poor choice (completely obliterating the idea that the father figure may be serving in the armed forces or deceased, for example) Schlessinger has said that if there is no father figure in the picture, it is still wrong for the mother to go to work. Instead, these women should move back in with their parents to provide a stable familial environment for the children.

    I provided my opinion in my blog (in which I restate some of this same post, sprinkled with my own comments and then provide my own story and opinion which is not included in this post).
    You should also check out my blog because it provides more information on Schlessinger such as the nature of her Ph.D (here's a hint: It's nowhere related to gender roles or women's studies) and reflections on her home life with her son, as well as more of her opinion on the idea of staying at home.

    I'd love to hear your opinion on Dr Schlessinger's stance and the Mommy Wars in general.

    Should women with husbands and children stay at home to nuture the family and keep the house in tip-top shape, or should they enjoy as much opportunity in the working world as their male counterparts?

    For more information on Dr Laura, check out her Web site. Said book is also available in stores now.
     
  2. LordKyleOfEarth
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    LordKyleOfEarth Contributing Member Contributor

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    [​IMG]

    ;)
     
  3. lordofhats
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    lordofhats Contributing Member

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    Children are a complicated responsibility. Though because of my upbringing I doubt I'll be drawn to the "working woman" type I don't think women are the only ones who should sacrifice to take care of the kids. Both parents play a vital role in the healthy upbringing of their children, and both must make sacrifices to give them what they need. Children are huge responsibilities, and once you've taken the step to bring one into the world you've forfeited the right to do whatever you want. New life is precious, and much must be sacrificed to maintain it and nurture it to adulthood of it's own where it will have the same choice.

    If you can't handle the risk that your hopes and dreams might not be fulfilled, don't take that step. Parenthood is a full time job for the mom and the dad. I think there is a benefit to one working parent and one stay at home parent, and like I said, my upbringing has made me believe in the traditional family dynamic. Mothers make the home, the father makes the bread. Is that the only way? No. I've seen the stay at home dad dynamic work out just as well as the stay at home mom, and the both parents work I've seen work too. The traditional way just the way I know and the one I'm probably most comfortable with, and I'm sure there are many people out there with the same outlook. I'm not the type to enjoy drastic change and thus the traditional way of doing things often appeals to me on many levels.

    As a final comment; it's not necessarily how much time you have with your kids. It's how you use the time you have. I'll tell ya'll how it turns out when and if I ever marry :p *shrugs goes out for a smoothie*
     
  4. Henry The Purple
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    Henry The Purple Active Member

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    There is no universal answer. Each woman should do what she feels is in her best interests...if she has kids, it's up to her how she wants to raise them. I should think most women enjoy motherhood. At least, I hope so! :p
     
  5. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    speaking as a mother of 7, who was a stay-at-home mom, and for too long, a working single mother of 5, i have to say being at-home full time is really the only way you can raise your kids the way they need to be raised...

    and, as i learned sadly too late, your children must always come first... not equally as important as a husband or 'the marriage' but before all else... for the why, that i learned only after it was too late to repair the damage not doing so can cause, read this: http://saysmom.com/maia/content.asp?Writing=77
     
  6. Henry The Purple
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    Henry The Purple Active Member

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    I think this essay is a little harsh. It basically waves its finger at the sexual development of humans instead of acknowledging the human species as an object of evolution...humans arent a primitive species anymore, and sexual love is a perfectly acceptable form of love. Its different from the love between friends, and its different from the love experienced between parent and child, but its still a form of love nontheless.

    But I do agree with you that when in a relationship, or even when single, the needs of the child must come before the needs of the parent, and I think this is even possible if the mother is working (although it does hugely depend on the situation and what age the child is).
     
  7. Shadow Dragon
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    Shadow Dragon Contributing Member Contributor

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    As long as the kids are being cared for, it's a mother's role to do what she damn well pleases to do. Besides, working dads bond with thier kids, so why is a working mother neglecting her kids for having a job?
     
  8. Agreen
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    Agreen Faceless Man Contributor

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    When I was growing up, both my parents worked full time. I never felt neglected or that I never saw my parents. It worked perfectly fine. I've had friends raised by a stay-at-home mom, and that worked just great for them. My point being, and why I profoundly disagree with Dr. Laura's ilk is their desire to impose their own ideals onto the public at large. Each family faces its own situation and has its own needs- in many instances it is simply not economically feasible for one parent to stay at home. Should these individuals have a dated social norm held up against them as a means of inspiring guilt? Moreover, who's right is it to sit in judgment and state 'this is the way it must be' and condemn anyone who doesn't follow?
     
  9. SonnehLee
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    SonnehLee Contributing Member Contributor

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    This is probably my opinion on most matters, but, I think that it honestly depends on the family. And that this is something the mothers and fathers need to decide what is best for their household and their kids.
     
  10. zorell
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    zorell Contributing Member

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    mammamaia, I have a lot of respect for you, but that statement makes it waver so much.

    As to the question at hand stay at home moms aren't the best moms the way that working moms aren't the worst. I am being raised by a single mother who works three jobs because she is putting her children and OTHER PEOPLES'S children FIRST. I honestly don't understand how people can imply that a good mother should put her children above all yet be at home at all times to raise them. The two will realistcly contradict each other at some point in time. To put it bluntly, no my mother doens't want to raise us by herself, but she's not going to choose a partner simply for that fact. I would like to believe that I'm a damned good person raised only by her mother with minimal help from the paternal gentic donator some might refer to as a "father."

    People don't give enough respect to the single mother or the home-maker. Also, in my personal opinion, it doesn't really matter what you think is best before you go into a situation, before you know what cards you will be dealt. You take the cards you're dealt and you make the best of the situation. So, it's very unfortunate when the little girl who planned to grow old with that special someone actually grows up to raise her chlid(ren) alone because the father(s) couldn't or wouldn't step up to the plate and actually nurture the seeds they sowed.

    My two, quite perturbed, cents.
     
  11. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Notice

    As with every thread dealing with controversial subjects, this one will be closely watched. As long as everyone remains respectful toward everyone else's beliefs, the thread may continue.

    FAIR WARNING! In the past, we have simply closed the thread when it gets too heated. This time, whoever takes it to the point that requires it to be closed will also be subject to an infraction.

    We have had a very poor track record with contraversial threads in the past, and this is why we will follow a zero-tolerance policy on this one.

    So please keep the tone respectful at all times.
     
  12. Eoz Eanj
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    Eoz Eanj Contributing Member Contributor

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    My Mum has been a stay at home Mother since I was 13. Has anything changed? Nope.

    It's nonsensical to think that just because a Mother or Father works that suddenly their ability to parent a child 'properly’, whatever that means, is affected.

    There's a multitude of facets that contribute to the way a child 'turns out'.

    Time is one of them, however I believe it's more, how time is used, rather than how much time is available
     
    1 person likes this.
  13. marina
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    marina Contributing Member Contributor

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    A crappy mother who's always home is still a crappy mother.

    I think if you have a single mom who's working hard to take care of the family, comes home and is tired, but still shows love and gives attention as much as she can, that's the mother who is truly doing parenting right. Her kids will see that and feel that their mother loves them--and that they are lovable.

    In the end, it's really about parenting and not about not being gone from home for 8 or whatever hours each day.
     
  14. hiddennovelist
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    hiddennovelist Contributing Member Contributor

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    I couldn't agree more. I know a lot of people who look down on women who have kids and choose to work rather than stay at home all day, and I don't understand why. What matters most, in my opinion, is that kids are being taken care of. If I knew a mother who chose to work (didn't NEED to, CHOSE to) even though it was detrimental to their children, then maybe I would have something to say about it. But if you are in a position where working is possible or necessary and your kids are still taken care of, go for it. A woman shouldn't have to feel guilty for working when her children are well cared for and not being hurt by it.
     
  15. Torana
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    Torana Contributing Member Contributor

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    I am not against mother's going into the workforce and wish I was able to go back to work myself so I was able to better provide for my family in the last two years. But my daughters health issues prevented me from doing so. Granted, I would have only worked 2 days a week.

    But one thing I do feel strongly about is:

    The first 4 years of a child's life, they are still learning the most important life leasons, they are learning about differences between male and female, right and wrong, etc, so we as parents should be there in those years to make sure 'we' are the ones who are teaching these important life lessons to them. These years you may as well say are their imprinting years, these years are so important to their physical and mental development. Why would you want to miss out on that?

    Sure, go to work a few days a week, or a few days a fortnight. Once they are in full-time school, work every day. But always make sure you have plenty of time for your children because it is 'you' that has the biggest impact on who they will become later on in life. They learn the most from their parents, if you are never there as they are growing up, they won't be there when their children are growing up. If you don't have an open relationship with your children, they won't with theirs. What you do with your children really is going to impact them for the rest of their lives.

    The most important things when it comes to parenting, whether you're a stay-at-home mother or a working mother, are to always have time for your children, no matter what, and always tell them that you love them. That is all they really want in life, is to have a mother (and father of course) that loves them and has time for them. If you can do that, then you win the mother of the year award in your childrens eyes.
     
  16. lessa
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    lessa Contributing Member

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    I was a stay at home mom. I loved it.
    My mother worked 24/7 as we owned the taxi business in town and she drove during
    the day and my father and her took the calls at night after my father got home from his
    door to door salesman job.
    My parents were happy with this arrangement.
    Don and I were happy with ours.
    Being at home kept my youngest son from special ed being classed as slightly retarded.
    I was able to teach him to read as he was dyslexic, something the school was not able to understand or teach.
    I worked with him at home and at school but if I had a paying job I would not have had the time to help him and he would not have become the english teacher and writer that you know. He would have been that dumb kid who never amounted to anything much.
    Working mothers (I hate that term since I worked and was a mom just not a paid mom)
    give up things like mothers day teas at school, baking cookies from scratch for after school snacks, and being able to stop what ever they are doing to sit down and hear what the child or children are doing during the day.
    Stay at home mom's give up the big holidays to Disney World, Florida the big RV's for trips across country. They also miss the prestige of bringing home a pay cheque and adding to the family money supply.
    I loved being at home for my entire family not just my children.
    My dil asked me when she went back to work after their first son was born if I thought she was a terrible mother to do this.
    I said I figured she would be a terrible mom if she didn't.
    She needs the challenge of her job to keep her sane. If she had to stay at home with 3 children she would be very discontented and that is not good for her children.
    If your personality needs adult companionship or challenge then don't be a stay at home mom especially if you don't have a support system. It just won't work well.
    If your personality is the type that you can be happy playing snakes and ladders 5 million times a week then go for it.
    If the parents are happy usually the children will be and they are what counts after all.
    Be there for them love them and respect them no matter if you are employed or stay at home.
     
  17. Brightsmiles
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    Brightsmiles Senior Member

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    there is one thing i would like to point out. being a stay at home mother does not mean your needs come last. i'm sick of ppl sticking us SAHM's (stay at home mothers) into the stereo typical 50's woman box. no thankyou. there's a saying that goes along the lines of "if mamma aint happy, then nobody's happy" whether that mother works outside or inside the home, i think its pretty true.

    funnily enough, no where in the words 'stay at home mother' have i ever found the words 'house keeper, cook, laundromat, fantasy fulfiller...' (you get the idea) i'm a stay at home mother and raising my two kids is my full time work. after my husband clocks off and gets home, my job is still going, so he helps out with other things. if i've had an easy day, then sure, i'll do these things, but its not an expectation, which seems to be what a lot of ppl think.

    yes there are women who are expected to do all these things, whether by others or by themselves, but once again, thats a personal decision as to what their limits and boundries are.

    in the end this is a personal choice that has many variables, and so long as all parties are happy, than the chosen answer is the right one. just as every woman has a right to choose a life in the workforce and have it respected, so should be the choice to stay at home, for women AND men!
     
  18. NaCl
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    NaCl Contributing Member Contributor

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    Life provides four possibilities: 1) it is economically possible for a mother to stay at home and she wants to, 2) it is not economically possible for a mother to stay home even though she wants to, 3) it is economically possible to stay home but she chooses to work, and, last but not least, 4) the woman is forced to stay home despite the family desperately needing the money.

    I'd like to think every woman was free to make the choice outlined in #1 and #3. Truth is, many women are forced by financial necessity to work when they don't want to, or they may be forced to stay home despite economic hardship due to health, a chronically sick child, a demanding husband, religious beliefs, etc.

    The quality of a child's experience with a stay-at-home mother will depend on the attitude and state-of-mind of the mother. If she's sweating the utility bill or trying to make a sack of potatoes last a whole week, then the kids may be exposed to depression and anxiety. It's much better is she goes to work to alleviate the stress.

    I know from personal experience. My father was run over when I was 16 and I was the oldest of 5 kids. Times got very tight as we tried to live on a small disability payment while dad slowly recovered. Mom was always wringing her hands and I caught her crying a few times. When I asked what she was crying about, she expressed her concern for the children -- eating potatoes, government surplus cheese and other cheap food fro days on end. When the soles fell off my only pair of school shoes, I didn't tell her. I just skipped school and forged "sick notes" from my "parents". My formerly happy stay-at-home mom was finally forced to work in a shoe factory in Whitman, Massachusetts, and I scraped chemical sludge out of electroplating vats late at night to help with the family finances. Despite the sacrifices, our family pulled together and the older kids learned to help with the younger kids. Between mom and me, we could actually afford ice cream once in a while. Everyone was much happier despite missing the stay-at-home "mommy".

    Those who would pressure women to become stay-at-home mothers are just as wrong as those who insist that every woman should seek full time employment in order to be fulfilled. I believe every woman should do what is best for her and her family. Work, stay at home, it doesn't matter what a woman chooses as long as it is best for HER situation.
    BTW - my father did get back on his feet after nearly two years. Mom went back to being a stay-at-home mom. And we all had a great deal more respect for her as both a woman, and as a parent, for the sacrifice and hard work she endured on our behalf during dad's illness.
     
  19. Dalouise
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    Dalouise Contributing Member

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    I couldn't agree more. It is nobody else's business IMO.
     
  20. Torana
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    Torana Contributing Member Contributor

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    NaCl, I agree with what you have said.

    When I was growing up, my mother began going to work as I began pre-primary. But she then had to quit as my father ended up with a major back injury and she had to stay home and take care of him. He was never able to return to the workforce, my mother wasn't either. She became his carer. So she was a stay-at-home mother and carer for our father. She had it very hard, we all did. I was coming up for 6 years old, so it was extremely hard when you saw daddy crying because he was in sheer agony and mommy crying because she couldn't help him or pay the bills. Wasn't a very fun time, but we got by.

    With myself, I had no choice but to stay home and take care of my children because of my daughter falling so ill all the time and staying ill for months on end. No employer would have kept me on when I would have to take weeks off work to stay in hospital or at home with her and then have me back again, only to be off work again in a couple of weeks. So I was stuck on government benefits and struggling major time once I moved out of my parents house.

    We would have enough money to pay the bills and get food, but not enough food to last the whole two weeks if I ate every day. Half the time I was just having pasta with a bit of salt on it to give it some flavour, or I'd go without meals, just to make sure that the food would last and they had more than they needed to eat. My children went without plenty before I left their father, so I wasn't about to see them go without again and I never will.

    The hardest part was trying not to let the kids know the stress I was under, though most of the time, my son knew and would do his best to help me out when and where he could. There wasn't much he could do being a 4 year old, but he did help out quite a lot.

    If I could have gone to work for those months, it would have been a lot easier for us that is for sure and I would not regret going to work either.
     
  21. princess_six
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    princess_six New Member

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    Personally, I believe both of the parents should take part in the raising of children. Husbands can be house husbands, wives can be house wives, both can work, both can stay home (work from home?). I think, at the end of the day, it is a choice the couple has to make together. Personally, I would like to adopt children once I am financially stable (so in my mid to late 30s, I think). I don't necessarily need to get married, but I would have to work. Either I would hire a nanny and spend time at weekends with my child, or have my husband/wife stay home with the kids. Staying home with kids-no offense-seems like a complete waste of *my* potential, not to mention I would be BORED STIFF and probably kill the poor thing. >.>

    As to Dr Schlessinger, I feel like if I met her I would want to smack her upside the head for assuming men couldn't take on family responsibility just as well as the woman. Personally, I find men much more maternal than myself (this may be because I am such a man :p).
     
  22. lessa
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    lessa Contributing Member

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    Both parents need to raise one child or more.
    My husband is absolutely horrible with babies.
    So when the boys could walk and talk so he understood them.
    That is when dad kicked in. He taught them
    fishing canoeing, camping hiking. All the male stuff.
    He also taught it all to me at the same time.
    I was small town girl gone outdoorsman after we met.
    One day after he was working out of town for 8 days and home for 6
    he figured he should up my life insurance in case something happened
    and he needed to hire care for the two boys.
    He sat down and figured out that if I was being paid for all the jobs I did
    it would cost $200,000 a year. That was 30 years ago.

    I was lucky I always had the option of staying at home as Don brought home
    great money and I am not a shopaholic.
    There was always enough for fun stuff on top of the necessities.
    We went on camping trips and canoed as long as weather held out.
    Family time was our fun time.
    We had computers and internet as far back as 25 years ago and that was great
    for the boys and for myself.
    Living in a remote community with few of the big city advantages the internet
    kept us in touch with the mainstream world.
    Staying at home did not deprive my children financially but they learned to appreciate
    the work involved in getting the toys they wanted that friends had.
     
  23. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I grew up with a working single (divorced) mother in the 1950's - a much less tolerant time in that regard. These days I would probably be called a latchkey kid. After school, I'd play outside for a while in my more or less safe neighborhood before dinner. Although my mother was at work, other watchful parents kept tabs on everyone.

    There were also the three years when I was in grades 1-3 when my mother was remarried. He was a teacher, my mother was still a social worker. I played outside even when HE was at home, before my mother finished work. It was better to spend as little time as possible around him.

    When my mother was getting her Masters degree in Syracuse University, I spent my sixth grade year in a bad part of the city. I went inside immediately after school each day and locked the door, and spent my free time reading and building models.

    So what did all that mean in my upbringing? I learned to be very independent and self-sufficient. No doubt there were drawbacks as well, but I like the way I turned out, and I don't feel particularly deprived.
     
  24. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think the problem is, often being a stay at home mum is seen as being at best boring and at worst drudgery. I chose to look after my kids until they were school age (5) and only went back to work because my husband went bankrupt. Personally, I think under 4s need a carer who loves them, not just a professional, and that the job is usually best done by a mum. But not all mums are up to it, for lots of reasons, and some other carers can be great. It depends, everyone decides for themselves.

    I had a lot of fun with my kids and found it a very rewarding experience, but because of my limited social circle I felt isolated sometimes and since I'd worked before and married late, I did miss work a bit.

    Now I work full time I look back on my time at home with nostalgia and wish the years hadn't sped by so fast!
     
  25. Mercurial
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    Mercurial Contributing Member Contributor

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    I've always believed stay-at-home moms to be just as hardworking as working mothers, and, as NaCl pointed out, if a mother wants to stay at home and can afford it, why not? I have the same respect for my mom as I did when she had a full-time job, when she had no job and stayed home to take care of me and my aging grandfather, and I still respect her now that she works part time.

    What baffles and perturbs me about Dr Laura is how stoic she is in her belief that all women should stay home whether they want to or not, whether they can afford it or not, because a woman's priority is to first care for her children, second care for her husband (she often describes this as "being your husband's girlfriend," and even though I know what she means, that phrase sends me around the bend; if she has a Ph.D. in whatever, she should be able to form a less condescending phrase getting the same point across), and third care for her household.

    I think it's fine and dandy if that's her perrogative, but I dont think she has any right to draw a line where she sees fit with little (and that's giving her the benefit of the doubt) expertise on the matter, publicize it and then criticize those who dont agree with her! It just frustrates me. :rolleyes:

    I cant remember who said it --I think several of you touched on this, actually, but the point is not whether the mother stays home or not, it is instead her attitude regardless of her working situation.
     

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