I took a lot a lot of shit in the in eighties for being a stay-at-home mom. See, my husband decided he liked to party more than parent and he left. I had a high school diploma, two toddlers, and no job skills beyond minimum wage.
I had choices:
- Give my kids up. Send them to live with relatives in the small, bigoted town where I'd had a miserable childhood.
- Give them up to the state where who knows what would happen to them.
- Work two or three jobs and never see the kids, leaving them to babysitters to raise.
- Go on Welfare and raise my kids.
I took a lot of shit because I chose to stay home with my kids. I enrolled them in HeadStart and I volunteered for the center. I took them to the library two or three times a week for story time activities. We participated in city-sponsored recreation center classes in music, art, gymnastics, and theater. We adopted a stray dog and she became a loved member of the family and a great protector. The other kids in the neighborhood came over to play in our backyard because we had an old swing set. We ate meals together.We made cookies and had backyard birthday parties. We went to AlAnon and Alatot programs to try to make sense of what had happened to us and to move on.
I took a lot of shit because I did not work outside the home and I lived on the "taxpayer dime." It did not matter that we all wore hand-me-downs or went without a phone or a car or both at various times. It didn't matter that we lived in a part of the city that was right under at the end of an airport runway and that windows rattled every time a plane flew over. It didn't matter that gunfire and crackheads were part of everyday life.
I took a lot of shit as a stay at home mom who bought birthday cakes with food stamps twice a year. Yes, I knew the storyline of an afternoon soap opera and I was a lazy housekeeper preferring to read a novel rather than do the dishes or cut the grass. A friend and I swapped babysitting so we could do adult things like go to GED classes or go on a date.
It didn't matter that my kids worked through the hurt of having a parent abandon them. It didn't matter that they became top students at schools that were outside our neighborhood and had high expectations of the students. Maybe because my kids had a stay at home mom, they were able to read and write when they went to kindergarten and they didn't have behavior issues to block their abilities to learn or disrupt class.
The single stay at home mom was labeled the biggest detriment to American society and success. We were raising thugs and the next generation of Welfare recipients- not future academics, workers, or leaders. Fuck you, America of the Eighties because both my kids work and pay taxes today as do I.
So while you're busy defending the stay at home moms, don't just defend the wealthy ones. Defend the ones who were faced with far tougher choices than to work outside the home or not. The myth of the Welfare Mom whose career plan is to have a baby every few years so she can stay home and get fat on a government check is just bullshit. Sure, I know everyone knows SOMEONE who is an irresponsible baby factory, but really, it was never an industry. If it were, the Duggars and other religious groups cornered the market years ago and don't shy from government assistance in raising their litters. And when you're disparaging those few, remember the fathers who walked out on their responsibilities and the government that doesn't go after them for restitution.
While you're busy defending stay at home moms, don't forget the ones who are one of two mommies. The women who stay at home to raise children because their same sex partners are able to earn enough to support them all. Even the stay at home moms who are dads should be recognized for getting off the career path to provide family stability. Wealth is wealth, correct? Or is it only good when a male is bringing home the money?
And keep in mind the differences in experiences between the stay at home parents who have resources and those who don't. If you can hire a babysitter and go out with friends during the day, you're much better off than the mom who has two kids in a grocery cart and has to take the city bus back home. Raising kids is not so different from working for an employer, but it can be as different as working for a Fortune 500 company and working the counter at Subway. We all know which job has nicer working conditions.
If you can't praise every parent who made the choice to stay home, then shut the fuck up about one who got all pissy because someone misspoke and said she'd never worked a day in her life. By her own husband's definition, she hasn't experienced that "dignity of work" he believes poor women should have to experience. His wife and his campaign should really be upset with him for that, but I think they've all figured out what an asshole he is.
(When I was writing this, my attention was directed to an article in the Huffington Post which quotes Mitt the Shit Romney as saying in January that poor women should, "have the dignity of work" and leave their kids to others to raise. He was even willing to spend more government money on childcare so these women would get out of the house and find that "dignity." Apparently, moms who have the cash get to make a choice. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/15/mitt-romney-mothers-welfare-moms_n_1426113.html?ref=mostpopular)