Time for Parenting...
...because raising children is a full-time job
Family Policy, Family Changes; If You've Raised Kids You Can Manage Anything; What Mothers Do; Endangered; Why Love Matters; A Mothers' Rule of Life; Seven Myths of Working Mothers; Choosing to be different; Baby Hunger; The Miseducation of Women; Seven Habits of Highly Effective Families; Broken Hearts; Mother Love; The Smart Woman's Guide to Staying at Home; Ghosts from the Nursery - Tracing the Roots of Violence; Work-Lifestyle Choices in the 21st Century - Preference Theory; The Social Baby; Expecting Adam; Good Food for Kids; Access to Maternity Information and Support; Single Parents in Focus; The London Baby Directory; Marriage-Lite: The Rise of Cohabitation and its Consequences; Anything School Can Do You Can Do Better
Seven Myths of Working Mothers
Why Children and (Most) Careers Just Don't Mix
By Suzanne Venker - Review by Jerica Griff
If separating is hard for you - set up opportunities to
practice separating. For example, arrange to drop your child off at someone's
house additional times each week until it becomes easier for you
When you pick your child up, don't be overly emotional. It's OK to act
glad to see her, but don't start crying and hugging her excessively -
to do so only shows your child how hard separation was for you.
No wonder children are growing to adulthood with serious misconceptions about commitment and attachment! The most important people in their lives, parents - and particularly mothers - are being taught that leaving their children should become easy and natural. In 7 Myths of Working Mothers, Suzanne Venker examines why increasing numbers of mothers are entering the workforce, and how this decision resonates in their children's lives.
If motherhood was understood by society to be a full-time job, Venker believes it would not be regarded as something to be done "on the side" of a career. She is quick to acknowledge, however, that accepting motherhood as a full-time position does not translate into 18 years out of the workforce; it only means creatively seeking ways to work around your children's schedule.
Many working mothers fail to realize that day care centers and nannies are raising their children, relegating the mothers themselves to the role of a babysitter. Feeding the children and putting them to sleep is a far cry from true motherhood. As Venker writes, "The real work of mothers is done when no one is around." She goes on to debunk seven fallacies that keep women away from their children.
The first deception Venker tackles is the idea that "Men have it all - why can't we?" Men don't have it all. Many dads miss out on a large portion of parenting - first steps, first words, soccer games, piano recitals, etc. - because their commitment to providing financially for the family means traveling, late nights at the office, and weekend functions.
Second, many women believe that staying at home full-time
means throwing their education and work experience out the window. Before
they ever have children, before they look into the eyes of their own flesh,
before they have spent even one hour watching this new life sleep, they
completely dismiss the idea of staying at home full-time. After all, they
have spent the majority of their developmental years preparing for careers.
Venker acknowledges that a mother's education is of great benefit to her
children, but only if the mother is present to impart that knowledge to
them. Statistics show that children of mothers with advanced degrees or
work experience have a great advantage over their peers. Instead of "wasting"
their education, many moms have found resourceful ways of pursuing other
Third, many believe that women who choose to stay home with their children must be wealthy. Venker contends, however, that except in single-mother households and other specific exceptions, the choice to put children first has nothing at all to do with economic status and everything to do with budgeting and self-discipline. In fact, most women's second income is almost entirely eaten up by commuting, childcare, eating out, work attire, dry cleaning and taxes.
Fourth, some women believe that their stress level in balancing
work and family could be lowered if only they had more support. The feminist
movement completely negates this excuse. There has never been an easier
time to be a working mom. Working mothers are often puzzled and surprised
by how well-behaved the children of full-time moms are, and they wonder
why their kids are having trouble in school. But, Venker argues, as with
anything else in life, one cannot expect the same outcome with an eighth
of the time investment. No company would allow an employee to hire someone
else to do
Fifth, many women claim that they are better moms because
they work. Venker counters with the argument that consistency is the most
controlling factor in the health and well-being of children. By being
removed from the home, working mothers often neglect kids' basic needs
(proper amounts of sleep, healthy diets, regular exercise, consistent
discipline, help with schoolwork, etc.) because they are unable to see
to those needs themselves. How is this being a better mom? Still, we wonder
why kids are falling asleep in school, overweight, or coming home with
less than flying colors on their
The sixth myth of working mothers is the claim, "My children just love day care." Psychiatrist John Bowlby disagrees: "A home must be very bad before it can be bettered by a good institution." Because children have a basic desire for the familiar, red flags should appear when children do not want to go home with their parents. As anyone who has worked with children can attest, the things children claim they want are not usually the best things for them, whether it be candy, staying up after bedtime, or playing video games all day.
The final deception of working mothers, according to Venker,
is the idea that women can "have it all planned out." Thus many
women plan their lives around their careers while postponing beginning
a family. They wrongly assume that fertility and children will fit as
easily into their planners and lifestyle as any other appointment. Venker
encourages young women instead to choose careers that are conducive to
motherhood, to live near parents or siblings who could help out with creative
work schedules, and to be financially responsible. Taking these steps
will make the transition to
It is distressing that the incredibly fulfilling, joyful
Jerica Griff, a Spring 2004 Witherspoon Fellow with the Family Research Council is currently interning with the Georgia Family Council. She is a recent graduate of Colorado State University with degrees in Business Administration/Marketing and Music.