According to feminist author Jill Filipovic, stay-at-home-moms are responsible for producing and encouraging the very worst of men. They’re also a drag on society and doing more harm than good to themselves, too.
In a series of tweets earlier this week, the controversial writer wrote:
“More mothers at home makes for worse, more sexist men who see women as mommies and helpmeets. Men with stay-at-home wives are more sexist than men with working wives; they don’t assess women’s workplace contributions [fairly]; and they are less likely to hire and promote women.”
Ms. Filipovic, is very wrong, of course, and wildly so. It’s reckless and foolish to make negative and insulting assertions about whole groups of people without providing any evidence to back up such claims. Incidentally, she was responding to an essay by Matt Bruenig in The New York Times, in which he suggests the federal government should pay parents who stay home with their children.
So, in this instance, we have one bad idea being countered by another.
My own wife, Jean, made the decision over twenty-years ago to forgo a career in science in order to devote her full-time energies to raising our first son, Trent. Troy came soon afterward. She would tell you it was the best decision she ever made. Our boys are now thriving young men.
It’s a fact that not everyone has the luxury of making this choice. Jean and I are grateful we were able to do it. It required sacrifice and doing without certain things from time to time.
Living through the last two decades as a family, you’ll never convince me that anybody works harder than a mother. Parenting is a joy-filled experience, of course, but it also requires a tremendous amount of effort. The legendary writer, John Steinbeck, once put it quite succinctly. “It takes courage,” he wrote, “to raise children.”
Ms. Filipovic also claims in her social media broadside that full-time mothers are “psychologically and emotionally worse off than working mothers by just about every measure.” She says they are also more likely to be depressed and experience “anxiety” and “anger.”
“They are much more likely than working mothers to say that they are struggling, and less likely to say that they are thriving,” Filipovic added.
Unlike her first, baseless charge that mothers who stay home with their young boys somehow produce sexist sons, there is some evidence that moms in this category face unique challenges their counterparts who work outside the home do not.
Admittedly, it can be isolating and difficult to raise children. With no adults to talk with and rebellious and cantankerous toddlers challenging you around the clock, it’s not unusual for nerves to be frayed and emotions to be uneven. Motherhood does take its toll.
But at the very heart of Ms. Filipovic’s claim and charge is the assertion that personal happiness – not the wellbeing of a child – is what’s most important. It’s “me-focused.” The ongoing war on children regularly plays up the adult to the detriment of the innocent child. For example, abortion is the ultimate selfish act. Rather than make an adoption plan, which would be in the best interest of the child, the baby is aborted. Selfish interests trump a sacrificial spirit.
Ms. Filipovic and others who subscribe to this philosophy are also ignoring the other side of the social science. While mothers who stay home with their children may struggle, the deleterious effects are temporary. The science also finds that while moms may face unique challenges, the children actually do better when mom stays home.
I would like to ask: Are there any children or adults out there who regret their mom staying home with them? I highly doubt it.
Mothers who stay-at-home with their children deserve our praise, support and encouragement. They’re uniquely gifted and they’re raising the next generation. Sorry, Ms. Filipovic, but instead of attacking them, you should be applauding them.