I didn’t want to write this blog post. I tried not to write it.
I tried to ignore the latest feminist rant article about how stay-at-home-moms are undoing decades of progressive women. But this most recent article by Amy Glass got to me more than most. Her title, “I Look Down on Young Women with Husbands and Kids and I’m Not Sorry” is just the beginning of what is the most ignorant and hateful take I have ever heard on motherhood.
She writes, “I hear women talk about how ‘hard’ it is to raise kids and manage a household all the time. I never hear men talk about this. It’s because women secretly like to talk about how hard managing a household is so they don’t have to explain their lack of real accomplishments. Men don’t care to ‘manage a household.’ They aren’t conditioned to think stupid things like that are ‘important.’
Glass’ arguments are so blind that they border on ridiculous. So my first inclination was to ignore it and not waste my time writing about it. But her words stuck with me and I couldn’t get them out from under my skin. The reason was that her words did more than attack motherhood – they devalued it. And that’s a road a dangerous road to go down.
“Women will be equal with men when we stop demanding that it be considered equally important to do housework and real work. They are not equal. Doing laundry will never be as important as being a doctor or an engineer or building a business,” she writes.
I’d like to know who in the world is making the argument that laundry is as important as being a doctor. Anyone? I worked as an award-winning journalist before having children. I have a master’s degree from the top university in my field. I would have been nuts to give that up to be a taxi-driver or a dishwasher or a short-order cook. I didn’t. I gave it up to be a mother.
Yes, some of my day is spent on laundry and housework, but most is filled with mothering. Mothering is my full-time job, and I take it very seriously. I’m not babysitting or taking care of my children all day; I am raising them.
Raising good, honest, loving, confident human beings is harder than any job Glass has now or will ever have. I would love to see her attempt the tightrope of true mothering, which involves building self-esteem while encouraging humility, teaching a child to listen while finding her own voice, striking a balance between independence and obedience, and building faith alongside critical thinking.
It’s a 24-hour a day, 7-day-a-week responsibility of pushing without forcing, reining in without discouraging and loving without smothering.
So no, this life I’ve chosen is not the “path of least resistance” as Glass so rudely put it. In fact, I’ve walked in her shoes. I’ve had the writing career and I can tell you that no day on the job was harder (or more important) than the one at home raising human beings.
And at the end of the day, there are no accolades from the world or even from the children we mother. But we do it anyway, even in the face of ignorant women like Glass who boil our efforts down to laundry and housework.
Motherhood is simply something women like her couldn’t even begin to understand But until we see all moms – working and stay-at-homes – as mothers instead of caregivers, we will never get the respect we deserve. Anyone can be a mom, but not everyone can mother in the way that this society desperately needs. We need better mothers. And mocking and belittling the choice to be that kind of deliberate mother is nothing short of devastating.
I hope we can be better than that. I also hope that Glass proves herself wrong one day. I hope she has children and realizes what she has been missing in her life, and then wonders how she ever existed without it. In that moment, maybe her hatred and feminist mumbo-jumbo will fall away and she will see that being a mother doesn’t make her or me or anyone else less important or less empowered; It makes us infinitely more than we could ever be alone.
What do you think of Glass’ analysis of motherhood?