Catastrophic Societal Problem: Moms Who Want to Stay Home!

As we near Mother’s Day, I’ve been stewing on an article that annoyed me, “Why Women Are Leaving the Workforce.”  The author (Liz Peek) cites evidence of women quitting their jobs in order to stay home with children.  This isn’t just a phenomenon of women working for minimum wage for whom childcare is unaffordable; it is true of well-educated women who are capable of tremendous earning power, many of whom have been trained at premier educational institutions.

The author laments, “What’s going on here? With all the focus on equal pay for equal work, and with opportunities continuing to expand for female employees, the exodus of women from our labor pool is surprising. And, possibly, a tad inconvenient for those charging that businesses still discriminate against women.”

Oh the humanity!  These women would rather stay home and rear their children than pull in a six figure corporate salary!  Wait…what’s the problem?  How upside down must your thinking be to see in this some sort of negative?  It is one of the only trends developing in our culture that makes me want to cheer.

I don’t see the problem.  But some do apparently – economists and feminists.  “Economists consider the defections costly for the country; we need highly talented and trained workers. For feminists, the drop-out trend undermines their argument that women – even our most accomplished and best educated – are victims of discrimination.”

First: economists.  We need highly talented and trained workers?  How about highly talented and trained mothers? What ultimately is more vital to our civilization’s long-term health and function, what woman X (the variable “X” seems appropriate) does in the boardroom, or the manner in which she shapes the next generation of humans?  Why is her “work” more important than “staying home”?  And why isn’t “staying home” considered to be “work”?  The whole thing is silly.  Speaking as a father of four whose Master-degreed wife “stays home” rather than “working” (I hope my wife doesn’t read this sentence!), I find it offensive.   As a Christian I find it disturbing.  What job can possibly be as important (and significant, and satisfying) as raising children?  Nothing can have a greater long-term significance.

Second: feminists.  What I’ve just written above would greatly grate on those feminists disturbed by the trend.  That’s because they really believe that a woman should choose “work” over “home.”  They are being somehow less faithful as women by staying home to mother their children rather than working outside the home.  But, “At some point, those frustrated by C-suite male dominance may have to face reality: Many women enjoy life beyond the office.”  Thank God for that!

This should not be taken as some sort of swipe at those moms who do choose to work outside the home.  More power to you!  But it is a plea for us to bring back into focus the vital nature of the work of moms.  These ladies deserve our support and appreciation.  They should be lauded, not lamented.