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April 28, 2007


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Hear ye, hear ye.

This is probably the best entry I've read in the never-ending Hirschman debate.

Wow. Just, wow. Great post.

oh, wow, thanks for this. will be back later - I want to ask something about daycare - but had to thank you for this meaty piece to chew on.

Oh, I am so glad you are blogging. We need a voice like yours.

You seriously need to send this around to publishers. It is superbly written and dead-on.

Thank you for the artfully written rebuttal. It was encouraging and uplifting to read this affirmation of full-time motherhood. I've found that while it isn't entirely thankless work, it is often under-appreciated.

I've noticed that often because "woman's work" is unpaid, it is regarded as having no value. And when we DO pay someone to accomplish these daily tasks for us, we pay them as little as possible. Because a job is repetitive, it is menial, and therefore worthless. Kathleen Norris wrote an interesting short work about this called "The Quotidian Mysteries: Laundry, Liturgy and "Women's Work"" where she addresses this cultural phenomenon. I haven't read it all the way through yet, though. The laundry tends to get in the way.

This is a lovely post; polarizing never helps anything, does it? because life is more complicated than simple. There are so many systemic contributors to the devaluing of caring for others -- and it isn't only children, look at how our elders are cared for! For me, the goal of feminism, and all other movements that question popular culture, is to foster a world where people have real choices about how to live their lives. The "market economy" is what I sometimes think is the real enemy, as it serves primarily those who are young, healthy, attractive, and interested in money so far as I can see!!

Ok, back - and can I just agree with Amanda? I never see such thoughtful and thought-provoking essays in the print media.
You mention daycare in passing, and in a way it's not really crucial to your main point; but I was wondering if you would explain more what are the problems you see. Exhausted, frustrated and mediocre cargivers are probably the norm, but I've also seen other cases - people who genuinely had a love and passion and talent for engaging toddlers, with experience (born of years and of seeing many different kids) that honestly did not compare to mine or to other mothers I see around me. Not all daycares are crowded, and life in a large family also entails hubbub and some negotiating for attention and space. I guess I'm wondering if you see daycares as problematic in and of themselves, in all scenarios, or if you think that in practice, most of them do not provide the best environment for a toddler.
Full discosure: My toddler goes to a multi-age daycare a few days a week. I think it's very good for him - he loves it, learns to be gentle around babies and respectful of the older kids and adults - and I adore the admire the nursery teachers. But of course, I'm also invested in thinking so, and aware that ideally he would be there for less hours every week. I have no problem with hearing others say that they think it's a bad choice.

Here via Arwen. This is a wonderfully written and much-needed post. When God blesses me with children (finally-- please, could it happen soon???), I plan to stay at home with them. I've had friends recoil at the news, insisting that I'll be "wasting" my law degree and every shred of intelligence I posses. I wish more people would understand the positive reasons so many women are choosing full-time childrearing. You explain them beautifully. Well done!

This was a timely post for me. I have a nice situation where I have decided to limit my work-week to 32 hours and have a parent home every day when the little ones are finished with school. The struggle right now for me is that the intellectual challenges of work are more interesting than play with my children, and the stress at work has become more present than it was just a couple of years ago. I find it very difficult to separate my work/home life and this is making the precarious balance I'm seeking even harder to find.

The pressures in our life to keep me at work are based on my great health benefits, the fact that I earn 2/3 of the household income (which is mid-level at best) and the very exciting career I have built over 25 years. I don't think I could walk away, but I sure would like to have my cake and eat it, too. At the office and at home. Just not possible.

Very well written!!! So well spoken for a stay-at-home-mother:-) I agree whole heartedly and am so glad to have stumbled across your post here. WONDERFUL! Thanks Mrs. Broccoli Guy for the tip.

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I read this on Sunday (thanks Arwen for the link) and then had to link it myself on my blog yesterday. This is a masterpiece of an article, I totally agree you should get it published... in the NY Times preferably!!!
Being a stay at home mom requires so much thought, flexibility, creativitiy... in other words brain power... poor Linda Hirshman clearly has no clue what she is talking about.

Yes, yes, yes. Thank you!

Thanks so much for this!

echoing what the others have said - well articulated and clearly stated.
I remember that when I was a FT working mom (40 hours in the office plus several small children) how frustrating the work at home seemed compared to the simplicity of finishing a task and having it off the desk, period! And how much I appreciated that my dear sister was running a day care where my children would be loved as family - because they were family! (and yes, I paid her the same fee as the other moms)

sounds like ms. hirshman is trying to fill up her God-shaped void with mammon, like so many humans throughout history have tried and failed to do. what irritates me the most about her 'philosophy' (i use the term loosely) and so many others in her camp is the disgust and downright anger that when given the *choice* to stay home and do the work of parenting versus working outside the home and paying someone else to do, that some actually and thoughtfully choose A. some choose B, and many choose a combo of A and B. why do so many people continue to operate with a "one size fits all" mentality? also, i heard on the news this morning that including overtime, stay at home parents would earn about $137,000 in todays market. i'd like to sign up for that paycheck, please!

thanks for your thoughts on toddlers and group-childcare, we have been trying to find a balance between my 21 month old daughters need for some social interaction (and my alone time) and her need for my advocacy during those times. she is a bit shy and not yet able to stand her ground against the other kids who push past her, but does enjoy being in a room with other kids and playing. we've put off putting her in a nursery-type program by herself til at least the fall. i'm sure fantastic day care options are available, but i don't know where and i don't know how we could afford them at this point. round here you get put on a very long waiting list for those options.


This is a fantastic post. Couldn't have said it better myself.

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