Motherism: The Missing Side
by Brig Bagley
25 April 2014
A recent article explains a new term for discrimination against stay-at-home mothers. The primary source of discrimination is from working mothers. The premise is that mothers who stay at home, with children or not, are wasting their time and potential by not completing an education or moving on with a career.
There are a few points to make on the subject. The first is that it is most certainly important that a parent be home for children as much as possible. Some circumstances do not permit that, but the more time a child has with a parent, the more stable the relationships in the family will be. Whether a nanny needs to be hired for the day, or a previously stay-at-home parent picks up work once all the kids are in school, there are ways for it to work.
The next point is that the article focuses on women and completely brushes over men. True, traditionally men are the workers and not the "mothers", but it is widely acceptable for a father to stay home instead. Are they also victims of motherism? Have they wasted their potential? The comments of the article (very Mormon indeed) often repeat the "important and sacred role" of mothers. It is important to raise children and spend time with them, but that is not gender specific. Mothers are not more capable to raise children inherently than men. Although men cannot nurse, they can bottle, hold, rock, clean, change diapers, sing, clean, or cook like any other. Gay couple or not, a man is just as worthy to stay at home as a woman for the children.
Are stay-at-home parents really wasting their potential? Maybe. If they pick up raising children full-time before completing a college degree, it's likely they won't ever complete it. Every person should receive a college degree. Accidents happen where children come before parents are ready. If that happens, priorities need to shift so that both parents finish school before going to work, in addition to caring for the child. No one knows what the future holds, and if a stay-at-home parent loses their spouse for any reason, caring for children and working will be next to impossible without a degree.
Is it right to scoff at a stay-at-home parent? No. But the stay-at-home parent should be responsible to contribute to the world after children have left the home. The best way to do that is to get your education before taking up kids.