Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Stay at home mothering is the way forward

All said and done, the best thing a human being can have is to be brought up in a home with a father who provides and protects and a mother who beautifies and nurtures.
This, amongst other needs such as a spiritual belief system and the perception of validation by the people around him or her is an important ingredient for a fulfilled and happy life.

However, as we all know, it is not that simple. Life can get very complicated especially where it ought to be simple.
Most men provide in some form or another. If they are not providing for a family of their own (and I include here adopted children, not just biological), they are providing for someone else's in the context of cuckoldry, weird cultural traditions and taxation.
It is becoming more and more common nowadays however to come across men who simply refuse to work, or if they do, simply refuse to share their resources with anyone else. The causes of this is multifactorial: painful divorce battles siring deep resentment, lifelong bachelorhood, immaturity of mind, to name but a few.
The purpose of this post is not to point fingers, but to elucidate where a solution might be found.

Continuing on the theme of 'the teacher appears when the student is ready', another surprising (to me) trend of recent years is the number of young women (mostly newly married with babies/young children, but increasingly also single with or without children) who are leaving the workforce in droves in pursuit of a better quality of life for themselves and their children, or in the case of those not yet (or ever to be) parents, for themselves.
Why surprising? Well, around 40 years ago, women were told they could 'have it all'. They swallowed the dogma, and have been trying to prove it ever since. What started out as an attempt (hmm, was it ever as innocent as all that?) to better the lives of 'downtrodden' women ended up as a cynically contrived effort to take Mother out of the home thereby destroying the Family, which happens to be the bedrock of society.
It is pleasantly surprising (to me) that many women of today, who instead of finding an improvement of their mothers' lives over their grandmothers', saw a decline and took note. And acted on their God-given intuition which told them that they had been sold a turkey and it wasn't Christmas.

I have had a successful career for many years. It has brought me many rewards, including one of the needs mentioned above: a spiritual awareness. I often wondered if, when the time was right, I could make the transition to become the kind of wife and mother I would need to be, to give my future children the best thing as I see it, as defined above?
Or would I cling to the (self-directed) rewards of my career and in so doing destroy my God-appointed destiny to live life as a woman with all that this entails? And run the risk of becoming another 'man-substitute' who will work till she drops, and in some form or another pay for other people's children?

Apparently, I was not the only one thinking such thoughts. The happiest women I know are the ones who 'threw in the towel' as far as careers were concerned, in favour of pursuits more 'natural' to their being. The timing of this 'detour' does not seem to be the deciding factor on where one ends up on the 'happiness spectrum', but my guess would be that if it happened at a time before a woman's fertility window had closed, and therefore gave her the chance of achieving all that is attainable in the realm of womanhood, the chances of and the degree of satisfaction would be maximised. Just a guess.

I recently decided to look up a friend I had not seen for over a decade. When I knew her, she was aiming high in a high-flying career. She had recently gotten married. Twelve years later and several children later, she is a Stay At Home Mother (SAHM) and very happy, albeit no doubt stressed. Note I did not say she was now no longer (gainfully) employed. She is in fact working harder than when I knew her over ten years ago. Not only do her children and husband take up much of her time, she is also in a profession which is perfectly in sync with her child-oriented responsibilities.

I have no doubt that she went through the cognitive dissonance stage where the inner conflict (career vs family) was killing her very soul. Unlike so many women, she (eventually) yielded to the greater good and gave up the personal/financial/psychological/social/mental rewards her work brought her in favour of what would be best for her family and herself as a unit. Personally, I am meeting women like this almost everyday of my life nowadays.
When the student is ready...

In contrast, the 'what not to do' models are omnipresent in my field of vision too. The seriously messed up and selfishly stubborn women (and interestingly, these are the very ones who could afford to do the right thing by their husbands and children, because they are not hard-up single mothers with no choice in the matter) who doggedly carry on working in insane conditions even when it is beyond clear to everyone concerned that this situation is not working for, well...everyone concerned. Why? Because they need to feel that they are contributing something to the world other than the ability to push out babies.
Yes. Need. We didn't just swallow the hype, we actually believed it.
What a shame.
How tragic for our society that young women do not know that their greatest work is that in the home. I include myself in this category bar the last few months.

If there is one thing I have learned in the last few months, it is this: Men are simple, and reactionary.

If most women would stay at home to care for their husbands and children, most men would go out and work. Because that is how Nature designed things.
Of course, to avoid disappointment and a failed relationship, most women who would want to stay at home to care for potential husbands and potential children would select a man who already knows how to and does go out and work.
And then most children would get the 'best thing in life' as I described it above.
Which really is a need.

If it were not a need, we would not be seeing the rise in feral kids quite to the same degree as we do.

It really could be that simple.


Gwen said...

My family learned this early. My grandmother worked all her life, starting back in the 30s when a working mother was uncommon. My mother has a multitude of stories about Bad Things that happened because she and her sister were always alone. Because of this, my mother was always determined to stay at home and taught her daughters the importance of having a readily accessible mother.

Unfortunately, my grandparent's choices left scars in their family that have crossed the generations. There were any number of things that my mother was never taught (her mother was, understandably, too tired) that she had to try to learn on her own as an adult, with little success.

Mom was never taught those skills, so she wasn't able to teach those skills to her children. My sisters and I have improved on our mother's abilities, but we still have deficits that we are constantly trying to make up for. I have high hopes that our children will be able to run their homes as well as my great-grandmother ran hers, but we'll have to wait and see.

So. Three generations effected by one generation's decision. Possibly four if my daughters and nieces can't manage to make up for the remaining deficiencies their mothers' have.

I have told this story to my daughters, and emphasized to them how important it is for children to have a full-time parent. It doesn't mean that person has to be helpless - I work from home. My career is barely simmering right now because my main energies go into my family, but if something were to happen to my husband I could turn things up to a boil very quickly and easily step into the breadwinner role.

Very, very anti-feminist, I know ;) - but then I've always thought that feminism was supposed to empower women to make choices - and this is my choice.

Spacetraveller said...


It is especially rewarding for me to hear from a mother on this post.
Thanks for your story!

As you might have gleaned from the post or the blog in general, I am not a mother.
But I have seen (like you) what can happen...

I know it is not easy choosing what you have chosen.
Respect from me to you for doing it.
Your daughters and nieces are extremely lucky.