Sunday, July 11, 2010

Here we are again: being a stay-at-home mom is the new black

The Times in the UK had this really barfy article in their Magazine section this week (link, although it requires a subscription/purchase) about young "Generation Y" stay-at-home moms, the tagline was "Young. Smart. Stay-at-home. The Generation Y mothers." It had this fashion shoot with these hot 20-somethings and their kids, and interviews where they all shared how they never really wanted a job, anyway, and how you should raise your children yourself and not farm them off to others and blah blah blah. Seriously shoe-puking.

Quotes like this were highlighted: "I like the role of the Fifties housewife. These days everyone's in such a rush to cram everything into their lives." All patriarchy-reinforcing perspective bull-shyster and no balance. The whole thing reminded me of Zuska's awesome paragraph-sentence-post, which, while it was about STEM careers more specifically, perfectly captures the feel of these tired, constantly recycled double-speaks designed to keep our opinions herded towards knowing our place.

I'm all for women having the choice to do whatever they feel is right for themselves, including sticking with the work of raising kids and running a household and not other outside work (if they are privileged enough to not need to do so). But what a sanctimonious piece of crap. None of the women interviewed particularly liked their jobs in the first place. How does that provide a constructive perspective on these difficult choices? Not to mention what it inherently says about women who decide not to have children at all. What a waste of time and printspace. Or, maybe not, if your goal is to keep us on the same-old-same-old track.

7 comments:

Micro Dr. O said...

Ugh...I'm going to have to purchase this one to check it out myself. What a load of crap though. I've linked this from my blog; not cool at all!

Dr.Girlfriend said...

With the raising costs of childcare, having a stay-at-home parent can make more fiscal sense than a second income that barely covers the costs. It can work either way, and what is best for one family is not necessarily best for another.

What icks me is how stay-at-home Mom's are back in favor, yet stay-at-home Dads are still scorned as being layabouts living off of their women's income. Double standards!

Jade Ed said...

My man is a stay-at-home dad...except... we don't have any kids. He takes care of himself. It's a full time job.

Arlenna said...

Indeed, GOOD childcare is extremely expensive--frankly, we need my income to help pay for the magical unicorn land of on-campus daycare that takes care of my daughter. It may be cheaper for me to stay home and take care of her, however, we also need for me to be able to do the things I love: run my lab, guide my science and mentor my students. It would be extremely unfair for my daughter to have to be raised by a mother who gave up a deeply important part of herself, and thus was not whole.

I am totally supportive of women who choose to stay at home because it is best for them and their families. It was the sanctimonious, patriarchical tone of the article that implicitly (and explicitly in some of the interviews) sent the message that "it's where we belong, after all" that was so maddening.

Cloud said...

Yuck. Just, yuck.

I have friends and family who are stay at home moms. They like it, and more power to them.

But it is not for everyone. It most certainly isn't for me.

What kills me about this sort of article is the implicit assumption that there is one right way to do the whole motherhood thing. What works for me... works for me. It says nothing whatsoever about what will work for someone else.

Also, I am just DONE with the idea that someone else is raising my kids. The day care workers do an excellent job. But they are not raising my kids. My husband and I are raising our kids.

I won't go buy this to read it myself, though, because I won't reward such garbage with my money.

LabMom said...

I am a member of a large mommies group who have online forums. One of the discussions there was about "If you are a SAHM, what kind of degree do you have and is it "wasted"?"

Never read so much self back-patting and "I use my BS/MS/MD/phD to raise my kid. Of course it isn't wasted."

Umm. yeah. Sure.

I don't know how they are using it, because I certainly can't figure out how to use mine. Wiping tushies doesn't really require a degree.

Plus anyone who tries to sell me on the fact that "housework is fulfilling" is blowing smoke up my ass.

chall said...

I would like to see an article about the same women say 10 years rfgom now when maybe half of them are in divorce or realising that the system today (as it was b ack then too) sucks to be a stay at home mother when it comes to money (at retirement for example) or power over money (since your hubby takes it all in).

I wouldn't be half as mad if it had any mentioning about "dads and their role in the family ot the children" and "stay at home PARENTS/grandparents". Alas, as always it is tuck with "mothers are the only ones who are good for the child".....

Ah well, maybe I am just gen x bitter?! ;)