I responded as neutrally as I could in the comments section of that post, because I think that a lot of it was just simply misdirected (i.e. that I do all the housework or that I order and prioritize my status as a wife and mother) but I've been thinking about it all day, and I have more to say. I apologize in advance if this is a bit of a ramble, but I hope y'all will take just a few minutes to read it--it's from the heart.
Linda Hirshman wrote a book in 2006 called Get to Work: A Manifesto for Women of the World that is essentially summed up by the comment from "Concerned Feminist" above--that women who choose to stay at home rather than work are making equality more difficult for everyone else. Hirshman has also said that she doesn't buy into anecdotes from stay-at-home mothers and homemakers that it's the most fulfilling thing they could imagine doing, saying, "I would like to see a description of their daily lives that substantiates that position...One of the things I've done working on my book is to read a lot of the diaries online, and their description of their lives does not sound particularly interesting or fulfilling for a complicated person, for a complicated, educated person."
Now, I disagree with Hirshman for a plethora of reasons, the least of which being the air of entitlement and class-ism that she seems to espouse (i.e. those of us with educations shouldn't stay at home, but it's okay for us to pay the poor uneducated people to raise our children, because those people aren't very important or smart anyway), but this is nothing new--we all hear similar (albeit less judgmental) sentiments from both sides of the coin often, don't we? Stay-at-home moms tell their mom friends who work outside the home, "I just couldn't imagine letting anyone else raise my children." On the other hand, moms who work outside the home tell their stay-at-home mom friends, "I just don't know what you do with yourself all day while your son is at school! I'd be so bored!"
I get that we've already made the decision that we think is best for our family, and so it's hard to imagine doing anything to the contrary. But as in anything, there is no universal best--there's no "best" pair of jeans, no "best" meal, no "best" way to parent, no "best" decision in terms of staying home or continuing to work--there's only the right decision for us and for our families. What works for me might not work for you, but that doesn't mean that what I've chosen is wrong either.
I've been blogging since 2004, and during that time, I've had the privilege of getting to know some incredible and amazing men and women online.
I've gotten to know Molly, who has two beautiful boys and works out of the home full time. Guess what? She's doing the right thing, and she's a great mom.
I've gotten to know Leah, who also has two beautiful boys, and works out of the home right now in order that she'll be able to stay at home with her boys in the long-term. Guess what? She's doing the right thing, and she's a great mom.
I've gotten to know Emily, who has one little guy, and works part-time. Guess what? She's doing the right thing, and she's a great mom.
I've gotten to know Katie, who has a sweet little girl, and works part-time(?) from home. Guess what? She's doing the right thing, and she's a great mom.
And then there's me, who has a degree, used to work full-time, and now I'm staying home with Lizzy, and doing photography on the side. Guess what? I'm doing the right thing, and I'm a great mom too.
We're all doing the right thing, because we're all making the best decisions that we can for our families with the resources we have available to work with. I know, it sounds corny, but it's true. Whether we work full-time, part-time, out-of-the-home, in the home, or even consider staying-at-home work at all, we're doing what we think is right for our families, right now. Period. That's the best any of us can do.
Let's knock off pretending like we know how to best run each others lives, and focus on running our own, eh?