Here’s something from down under. An Australian columnist, Sarrah Le Marquand, wrote in The Daily Telegraph that she thinks it should be illegal to be a stay-at-home-mom. The sound of that should surely get feminists happy; who have long viewed stay-at-home mothers with disgust as a group that has betrayed the sisterhood for (gasp!) wanting to raise their children to the best of their ability. First of all, it’s really nobody’s business how you raise your family, but this is what Marquand wrote based on a report by the Organization for Economic Cooperation Development that stated that stay-at-home mothers “would be better off putting their skills to use in paid employment.”
First, a few facts. Anyone who has a child — and this goes for both mothers and fathers — knows that everything else in life becomes a distant second to that child’s welfare, happiness and wellbeing. So this is not a discussion about the importance of parenting — that is beyond dispute.
And yes, the role played by parents in the early months and years following the birth of a child is vital and irreplaceable. It also stands to reason that for many (but certainly not all) families, it is the mother who opts to take time off work during this period to solely focus on caring for her baby.
Once again, there is nothing wrong with this. In fact, that time at home should be a privilege afforded to more new mums, which is why a few years back I was a lone voice in supporting [former prime minister] Tony Abbott’s grossly misunderstood and thus ill-fated paid parental leave scheme, which proposed all female employees receive their normal salary for six months.
Again, that’s fine. Only a crazy person would disagree with any of these points.
Only when the female half of the population is expected to hold down a job and earn money to pay the bills in the same way that men are routinely expected to do will we see things change for the better for either gender.
Only when it becomes the norm for all families to have both parents in paid employment, and sharing the stress of the work-home juggle, will we finally have a serious conversation about how to achieve a more balanced modern workplace.
Only when the tiresome and completely unfounded claim that “feminism is about choice” is dead and buried (it’s not about choice, it’s about equality) will we consign restrictive gender stereotypes to history.
So long as we as a nation cling to the lie that only a stay-at-home mum is best placed to assume the responsibilities of caregiver then working fathers will continue to feel insecure about stepping off the corporate treadmill to spend more time with their children.
It’s not good enough — and only when we evenly divide the responsibility for workplace participation between the two genders will we truly see a more equitable division between men and women in all parts of Australian life.
Again, this is her opinion. There’s nothing wrong with that, but where this all goes off the deep end is where she think because of this—it should be illegal to be a stay-at-home mother. In Australia, that might fly. In the United States, that would be considered grossly unconstitutional, and therefore, would never happen here Nevertheless, it speaks to one of the many criticisms of feminism (and progressivism as well) that you have this gross condescension interwoven in the messaging of what issue the sisterhood should tackle next.
‘Who the hell are you to tell me how we should raise our kids?’ is probably one opinion that is brought up in some women’s minds, especially those who opt to be stay-at-home mothers. Overall, parenting isn’t a one-size fit all model. My brother and sister both love my nieces and nephews, but it goes without saying that both households are different and in good ways. The point is we’re not living in Stepford; every family has different situations.
Most households in the U.S. are dual income. Women are becoming increasingly financially independent. They now have the option to work, stay-at-home with the kids, or do a hybrid of both (work after having kids, take a break, and then go back to work). That’s great. No one should be against this new era. Some women choose to keep their careers. Fine. Some women want to be full-time mothers. That’s also fine. It’s called freedom—and that’s not increased by government mandates that ban certain types of parenting. This call for blanket bans on a way that millions of mothers raise their families is ridiculous. We can have debates on what its best—families have them every day. But at the end of the day, it’s really no one’s business how folks run their households. And there shouldn’t be any laws banning how your neighbors raise their kids because they're not falling in line with a feminist initiative. That’s just...fascist, right?