Jennifer at The Lactivist recently posted about a new book called The Feminine Mistake. You can watch an interview with the author here.
Time is limited, but I wanted to raise the following points in response to the author's argument that women should not stay at home to raise their children, because they will suffer financially if they ever try/need to reenter the workplace:
- Her assumption is that SAHMs operate under a Cinderella fantasy and that they had no idea that choosing to stay at home would limit their income potential. From the women I know--and myself too--we knew we'd be making economic tradeoffs. And we were more than okay with that! It's not something women go into with their eyes closed.
- The author's core beliefs and values center around a person's economic worth, income potential, and career. Given those set of assumptions, her arguments do have logical consistency. But for families who have rejected the idea that money and status are the key to fulfillment and happiness, her argument doesn't hold.
- Her alarmist and imperious approach (your husband WILL die, divorce you, or lose his job; day care is just as good as having a stay-at-home-parent because expert X says so; women who stay at home are just avoiding real life and taking the easy way out; women will wake up one day and be miserable and poor because they didn't go back to work right away).
- Her idealization of the glamorous, fulfilling, high-powered career. At the end of the day, a job is a job. It has good parts, okay parts, and lots of boring parts. I would hope that our core identities don't become that wrapped up in our paid employment. The author herself points out how unstable jobs are (speaking about husbands who lose their jobs); shouldn't we anchor our worth and identity in something more permanent?