Chapter 5: When Mothers Work

March 6, 2012 | Stephanie

There’s an old adage that says “When mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” Chapter 5 of The Flip Side of Feminism shows that this is more true than modern women would like to admit, thanks to the feminist lies regarding young children and a mother’s responsibility to care for them. Mrs. Venker and Schlafly begin the chapter with a caveat, pointing out that not all children of mothers who work outside the home are doomed. They go on to delineate between the various types of working mothers, focusing on mothers who choose to work full-time and place their children in all-day group care.

In the past, Americans understood that children had needs and parents were the best ones to meet them. Then feminists came into the picture and began to tell women that careers not children should be their focus. The result has been childhood emotional problems, school bullying, child anxiety and sleep disorders, and most of all, no parental discipline. Society is much different than it used to be, but children aren’t; they still need a lot of attention, primarily from their parents, not a daycare worker.

Instead of trying to multitask by working and raising kids, a myth feminists have been peddling for decades, women would be better served by following a sequencing plan, or having it all, but not all at once. By recognizing that life comes in stages and that they will probably want to step out of the workforce for 10 or more years while their children are young, women can find satisfaction in all life’s stages.

My grandmother is a perfect example of sequencing. She received her teaching degree from the University of Arizona in the late ’40s and married my grandfather, the school football star. He found his way to farming and they raised six children together in the small agricultural town of Maricopa. They were both active in the community, helping to found the library and build the community pool. My grandmother taught off and on at the local school, but as her children graduated and went off to the U of A, she went back to teaching full time. She graduated with her master’s degree in education when she was in her 40s or 50s and went on teach kindergarten and first grade for many years. She is now in her 80s and is retired from teaching, but is busy volunteering with the Salvation Army, the Friends of the Library, and seeing her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren when they come to visit. Now that is a life well lived.

Modern women on the other hand seek careers regardless of their instincts. It has reeked havoc on them. Women either burden themselves trying to work full-time and raise kids or feel demoralized because of their choice to stay home and focus on the work there. In other words, they can’t win for losing.

Modern women ought to heed Mrs. Brown’s wisdom in the 1944 film National Velvet (one of my childhood favorites). She tells her daughter, Velvet:

There’s a time for everything – all in proper order, and in proper time.

Using that rubric, women can listen to the demands of their conscience and their children and know that in time they can return to the workforce should they so desire.

As the mother of little ones and an aspiring writer and author, I plan on implementing a sequencing plan and will be encouraging all the college and young career women I know to do the same, making their career choices with the knowledge that they’ll probably want to step out of full-time work to raise their kids. Children are a priceless treasure and their little years are so few. Taking time to nurture and enjoy them is never something I’ve heard anyone regret. For those who don’t forsee having children, it’s important to encourage those who do and validate their decision to stay home and raise their kids to be strong, brave, and good. What a good way to build a brighter future!

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