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Those of you who are familiar with the Canadian news webpage www.canoe.ca, or subscribe to the Winnipeg Sun, may have noticed this week's column by a young lady named Lydia Lovric, dated March 14, 2005. It's entitled, Women choosing home over work. In it, she stressed that the contemporary married mother is opting to keep her family priorites in check, rather than focus on her career, in hopes of keeping a stable marriage and family.

Not that I have a problem with this. I have nothing against stay-at-home parents; someone has to be there to keep the preschoolers out of trouble. Though it's not always easy, just ask the parents featured on that Fox reality series, Nanny 911. But in some of her recent columns, Lovric has been preaching the importance of mothers staying at home like it's the Good Word, and she's been mentioning surveys and statistics that back up her point.

In the column I brought up earlier, Lovric mentions a survey from a magazine called New Woman, in which more than two-thirds of women polled said the man should be the breadwinner in the family, and 70% said they were disinterested in working as hard as their mothers did outside the home. She is stressing the old cliche to women: "Money can't buy happiness." She is quoted as saying, "The past few decades have taught us that no matter how hard we try, we simply can not have it all. We can't be wildly successful in the business world and also be a fantastic wife and mother." She even proceeds to name some famous female careerists who are divorced, such as politicans Kim Campbell and Sheila Copps, journalist Barbara Walters, novelist Margaret Atwood, and businesswomen Martha Stewart and (a woman I've never heard of) Belinda Stronach.

About the fact that women "can't have it all," I have three theories:

1) Ever since women first went to work in the 70's, they have been struggling for equality in the workforce, specifically, equal pay and respect to men. After thirty years, however, women are still being paid less than men, they are still forced to pick up after their male co-workers without so much as a "thank you," and sexual harassment in the workplace has not be curbed. I would not be surprised if this were the truth. It seems as if the female sex has finally surrendered and fled back to their cubby little homes. As a young man who believes in equality of the sexes, (I believe that a dating couple should take turns paying on dates!) I find this very disappointing.

2) Women today simply don't have the energy or money to balance work and home lives. This would explain why they don't want to work hard as their mother's generation. They've watched their mothers come home exhausted after a stressful work day, too tired to even eat dinner, never mind cook it. Even today, young working mothers are still coming home tired and cranky after an eight-hour workday. Add to that the stress of dealing with a rambunctious toddler, and they want a date with a pillow by 9:00 PM. A less stressful life of homemaking will make them more energetic and happy, making them better mothers, they claim. Even worse, dual incomes are being spent on daycare and frivolous things that don't involve paying the bills and mortgage, or buying groceries (though I would argue that a 2,000-sqaure foot home would be required for a family of four or more, and everyone needs a two-week trip out of the country every now and then.)

3) Today's babysitters and at-home caretakers can no longer be relied on to care for impressionable children in their mother's absence. This doesn't apply to everyone in this profession, but there are some to bring this point up. If you turn on any daytime talk show (specifically Maury Povich's show) dealing with "caught on tape" stories, you will most likely see videotape of a nanny who should be imprisoned, abusing young children to the point where they don't want their mothers to leave them. Watching a child being yelled at, beaten, spanked unnecessarily, dragged across the room like a rag doll, even shaken, would drive any married couple to decide who should stay at home for the kids. Back in 1997, the murder of a four-year-old child by an incompetent nanny in the United Kingdom (the names escape me) sparked debate about whether working moms should stay at home.

From all this persepctive, I can understand why a working mother would want to reduce her status to that of a Stepford wife.

And yet, I can still remember when men who even BEGGED their wives to stay at home, cook, clean and do the laundry, were seen as sexist, chauvinistic, even controlling. No doubt there are women who still think this way. Again, I would not be surprised.

But let's revisit the statistic involving the men: more than two-thirds of women think the man should be the main provider in the family. That's easy for them to say, but survey these same women, and ask them which profession they'd like their husband to have. I have a message for them: you'd better marry someone of sound mind and body!

Speaking as a young man whose lived with cerebral palsy all his life, I feel that Lydia Lovric is putting pressure on me to do something I can't do to provide for a wife and child. And with my CP, there isn't a whole heck of a lot I can do as far as a career is concerned. My physical restraints do not allow me to join the police force, fire department or military, nor do they allow me to do such trades as welding, advanced carpentry, and so on.

I also have some mental restraints that would keep me from being successful in corporate business. I would be getting fired from jobs constantly, largely due to inability to meet deadlines for assignments (yes, I'm that slow,) and making inadequate business decisions. If I took an accounting job, I would be fired for submitting inefficent, error-filled data, and continually fixing errors illegally (i.e.: with white-out.) Yes, I would be making THAT many errors. Ironically, none of this would be blamed on poor attitude, as I would not be this kind of person in any office.

In fact, I think I would last only two months in the world of business, even with a diploma - if I'm lucky. As for a career in law and medicine, forget that! I wouldn't even survive four years of law school, or eight of medical school. I'd be lucky to get through the first TERM!

In a perfect world, I would be welcomed into these professions without prejudice, despite my limitations. But alas, this is far from being a perfect world.

I like computers, but not even graduating from computer college would give me the energy or patience to create fancy web pages for clients. Worse, if I had to sit in front of the computer for eight hours a day, six days a week, I'd probably be cranky and irritable enough to not want to look at a computer for a long time. I like to get up every now and then for exercise to stay in shape. In fact, if I went to work for a computer company that didn't have this benefit, I'd probably weigh 300 pounds in 10 years. I may even die of a heart attack or cancer before I retire.

So in that retrospective, I would like to marry a professional careerist, who would be willing to go back to work even after giving birth. In fact, I would think I would make a great stay-at-home father, providing I wouldn't risk a back spasm every time I picked up my toddler. Which brings me to the point of this piece - we as a society need more stay-at-home fathers.

If more fathers stayed at home while their wives went to work, their children would be more productive, happier, and more willing to do well at school, providing they helped more with homework. Study after study has proven that children are less likely to commit crimes, drink, do drugs, and have underage sex if the father is active in their lives and day-to-day activities. Having dads entertain the kids would be a fabulous idea. And wouldn't it be wonderful if the men did more of the cooking, cleaning, shopping and laundry service? Bachelors especially need to learn these skills in order to survive on their own.

I realize that in my last opinion column, "'Blame the Parents,' the Pop Star Said," I stressed that parents should spend more time with their children in order to teach them wrong from right. But, nowhere did I say that it should be chiefly the mother's job. Clearly, fathers need to get involved in this task a little more. But how can they if they're working in a downtown office seventy hours a week (as probably expected) to feed their family? It's impossible. Obviously, the 1950's way of living that is being embraced again needs to be reversed.

Back in the day, a working mother was actually seen as a good role model for her children, and it taught little girls that they could be more than just housewives whose sole purpose is to coddle kids and sexually satisfy their husbands. Further, two parents working outside the home taught children how to be independent. Now, with mothers choosing to stay home and raise the kids, when would be a good time to teach the little ones independence? When they get to high school? I fear these children will be clingy and dependent until then. They'll be demanding all the mother's attention, which would lead to every parent's worst nightmare - spoiled children! Maybe the wise, kind and caring stay-at-home father will prevent this travesty.

So, yeah, I think stay-at-home father/novelist would be the perfect job for me. Imagine, an office right across from the baby's room. I think I could handle it, despite my limitations and lack of a driver's license. I can always take a bus to get from my house to the store. Sadly, I'm afraid these dreams will never be realized if all the women in the world take interest in reviving the caveman era.

Besides, if more women continue to work outside the home, maybe ABC will finally cancel that overrated morning crapfest for women, better known as The View. I fear the increase of stay-at-home mothers will keep this show on the airwaves until the judgement day. Now that's a nightmare worse than spoiled children!


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Comments

The following comments are for "Should June Cleaver Be A Man?"
by davewriter

Always ask what works
I have found that every situation I have run in to with couples and working and raising the kid(s), each is different and has different needs to make it a successful relationship story. I said relationships because I firmly believe that men and woman need to have healthy relationships with those they love to feel successful, money or no money. All else becomes secondary to having a healthy relationship, especially after you know what one is. If you and your future wife have a great relationship, the odds are that what ever decision is made about careers will be easier. If the first try at a way of life does not work, you and that woman can healthily try a new way together. The deeper problems of society are all about poor relationships.

Marriages do not fail because a woman works, they fail because two people do not work at their marriage. The two people forget their original list of priorities where staying married was at the top of the list. If you state your “terms” to a potential mate, she will or she will not accept you. Either way it is her loss, a man who knows exactly what his terms are, is a gift.

Thanks for taking the time to write about such an interesting subject, and one that will be talked about until the world is perfect, forever.

Christian Albert

( Posted by: ChristianAlbert [Member] On: March 19, 2005 )





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