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‘Feminists’ Are Quitting Their Jobs To Stay Home

From New York Magazine:

The Retro Wife – Feminists who say they’re having it all—by choosing to stay home.

By Lisa Miller | March 17, 2013

When Kelly Makino was a little girl, she loved to go orienteering—to explore the wilderness near her rural Pennsylvania home, finding her way back with a compass and a map—and the future she imagined for herself was equally adventuresome. Until she was about 16, she wanted to be a CIA operative, a spy, she says, “like La Femme Nikita.” She put herself through college at Georgia State working in bars and slinging burgers, planning that with her degree in social work, she would move abroad, to India or Africa, to do humanitarian work for a couple of years. Her husband would be nerdy-hip, and they’d settle down someplace like Williamsburg [NYC]; when she eventually had children, she would continue working full time, like her mother did, moving up the nonprofit ladder to finally “run a United Way chapter or be the CEO.”

Now Kelly is 33, and if dreams were winds, you might say that hers have shifted. She believes that every household needs one primary caretaker, that women are, broadly speaking, better at that job than men, and that no amount of professional success could possibly console her if she felt her two young children—­Connor, 5, and Lillie, 4—were not being looked after the right way.

The maternal instinct is a real thing, Kelly argues: Girls play with dolls from childhood, so “women are raised from the get-go to raise children successfully. When we are moms, we have a better toolbox.” Women, she believes, are conditioned to be more patient with children, to be better multitaskers, to be more tolerant of the quotidian grind of playdates and temper tantrums; “women,” she says, “keep it together better than guys do.” So last summer, when her husband, Alvin, a management consultant, took a new position requiring more travel, she made a decision. They would live off his low-six-figure income, and she would quit her job running a program for at-risk kids in a public school to stay home full time…

Kelly calls herself “a flaming liberal” and a feminist, too. “I want my daughter to be able to do anything she wants,” she says. “But I also want to say, ‘Have a career that you can walk away from at the drop of a hat.’ ” And she is not alone. Far from the Bible Belt’s conservative territories, in blue-state cities and suburbs, young, educated, married mothers find themselves not uninterested in the metaconversation about “having it all” but untouched by it. They are too busy mining their grandmothers’ old-fashioned lives for values they can appropriate like heirlooms, then wear proudly as their own.

Feminism has fizzled, its promise only half-fulfilled. This is the revelation of the moment, hashed and rehashed on blogs and talk shows, a cause of grief for some, fury for others. American women are better educated than they’ve ever been, better educated now than men, but they get distracted during their prime earning years by the urge to procreate. As they mature, they earn less than men and are granted fewer responsibilities at work. Fifty years after the publication of The Feminine Mystique, women represent only a tiny fraction of corporate and government leaders, and they still earn only 77 cents on the male dollar.

None of this is true. In fact, whatever income disparity exists (and it isn’t what they claim) is due to the very thing this article is reporting. Women regularly chuck their jobs to have and raise kids. — But you can’t expect writers like the author of this piece to see the light all at once.

What to do? One solution is to deny the need for broader solutions or for any kind of sisterly help. It’s every woman for herself, and may the best one win. “I don’t, I think, have, sort of, the militant drive and, sort of, the chip on the shoulder that sometimes comes with that,” said Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer in an interview with PBS, in which she declined to label herself a “feminist.” “I think it’s too bad, but I do think that feminism has become in many ways a more negative word.” …

Facebook money but the salary of a social worker? Or what if her husband works 80 hours a week, and her kid is acting out at school, and she’s sick of the perpetual disarray in the closets and the endless battles over who’s going to buy the milk and oversee the homework? Maybe most important, what if a woman doesn’t have [this level of] ambition but a more modest amount that neither drives nor defines her?

Reading The Feminine Mystique now, one is struck by the white-hot flame of Betty Friedan’s professional hunger, which made her into a prophet and a pioneer. But it blinded her as well: She presumed that all her suburban-housewife sisters felt as imprisoned as she did and that the gratification she found in her work was attainable for all. That was never true, of course; the revolution that Friedan helped to spark both liberated women and allowed countless numbers of them to experience financial pressure and the profound dissatisfactions of the workaday grind. More women than ever earn some or all of the money their family lives on. But today, in the tumultuous 21st-century economy, depending on a career as a path to self-actualization can seem like a sucker’s bet.

Meanwhile, what was once feminist blasphemy is now conventional wisdom: Generally speaking, mothers instinctively want to devote themselves to home more than fathers do…

If feminism is not only about creating an equitable society but also a means to fulfillment for individual women, and if the rewards of working are insufficient and uncertain, while the tug of motherhood is inexorable, then a new calculus can take hold: For some women, the solution to resolving the long-running tensions between work and life is not more parent-friendly offices or savvier career moves but the full embrace of domesticity.

“The feminist revolution started in the workplace, and now it’s happening at home,” says Makino. “I feel like in today’s society, women who don’t work are bucking the convention we were raised with … Why can’t we just be girls? Why do we have to be boys and girls at the same time?” She and the legions like her offer a silent rejoinder to Sandberg’s manifesto, raising the possibility that the best way for some mothers (and their loved ones) to have a happy life is to make home their highest achievement…

“What these women feel is that the trade-offs now between working and not working are becoming more and more unsustainable,” says Stacy Morrison, editor-in-chief of BlogHer, a network of 3,000 blogs for and by women. “The conversation we hear over and over again is this: ‘The sense of calm and control that we feel over our lives is so much better than what is currently on offer in our culture.’ And they’re not wrong.” The number of stay-at-home mothers rose incrementally between 2010 and 2011, for the first time since the downturn of 2008. While staying home with children remains largely a privilege of the affluent (the greatest number of America’s SAHMs live in families with incomes of $100,000 a year or more), some of the biggest increases have been among younger mothers, ages 25 to 35, and those whose family incomes range from $75,000 to $100,000 a year.

This is not the retreat from high-­pressure workplaces of a previous generation but rather a more active awakening to the virtues of the way things used to be…

Kelly [the example we started with at the top] loved her old profession and does not want to be painted as betraying the goals of feminism. She prefers to see herself as reaching beyond conventional ideas about what women should do. “I feel like we are evolving into something that is not defined by those who came before us,” she says. By making domesticity her career, she and the other stay-at-home mothers she knows are standing up for values, such as patience, and kindness, and respectful attention to the needs of others, that have little currency in the world of work. Professional status is not the only sign of importance, she says, and financial independence is not the only measure of success.

I press her on this point. What if Alvin dies or leaves her? What if, as her children grow up, she finds herself resenting the fact that all the public accolades accrue to her husband? Kelly wrestles with these questions all the time, but for now she’s convinced she’s chosen the right path. “I know this investment in my family will be paid back when the time is right.” When her kids don’t need her anymore, she’ll figure out what she wants to pursue next. Someday, she’s sure, she’ll have the chance to “play leapfrog” with Alvin; she’ll wind up with a brilliant career, or be a writer, or go back to school. “You have to live in the now. I will deal with later when later comes. I’ll find a way,” she says. “Who knows? Maybe I will be home for ever and ever. Maybe I will have the best-kept lawn on the block for the rest of my life.”

So it turns out, they want a lot of the same things women have always wanted throughout the ages. A husband, a home and children. — What blasphemy!

But, apparently, you can’t fight Mother Nature.

This article was posted by Steve Gilbert on Wednesday, March 20th, 2013. Comments are currently closed.

12 Responses to “‘Feminists’ Are Quitting Their Jobs To Stay Home”

  1. Oh goody. Instead of the MILF next door, now it’ll be the whiny ex-Exec feminist.

    I forecast busy-bodies galore in HOAs.

  2. Rusty Shackleford

    I was wondering when it would come about that the feminazis would claim that biological normalcy would become a bulwark of proud feminism.

    Human beings are really strange creatures. After all the fuss, whining, screaming, bra-burning, demanding, bitching and moaning, only to come back to square one to find out that tens of thousands of years of DNA-mandated behavior is, in fact, normal after all.

    BUT—with the subtext that “I’m doing it by CHOICE….not because some MAN demands it of me.” Which, of course, was the man’s argument all along. In fact, there wasn’t much in the US in terms of men “shutting women out” at all. There was no great protest by men to stop (women’s) colleges from offering classes on leadership, or from MIT admitting women in the first place. Fact is, most women just didn’t have an interest in pursuing technical degrees or becoming CEO’s of anything.

    So now that the cover has been removed and, lo and behold (*gasp*) that men and women really are different, both physically and mentally, that someone decides to make headlines trumpeting that they’re gonna be a “stay at home” mom. Housewife was the tradtional, “sexist” term, though I remember lots of gameshows in the 60′s, 70′s and even the 80′s where the woman contestant said “housewife” proudly.

    And…my mom was and she did a damned good job, I think. Dad was working and bringing home the bacon and aligning his boys to be of good character. Mom was there to do first aid, taxi my brother and me to sports practice, attend the PTA, and take care of the home. Tell me that isn’t a HUGE responsibility.

    So now the national socialists want to claim that as some newly-discovered element in the periodic table of life? Sorry…I’m raising a giant BS-flag here. Nothing new. Been that way for several millenia now. No amount of political behavior is going to change it…and I said so 40 years ago when I was just a kid.

  3. canary

    The First Lady Michelle started this trend. No work and all play.

  4. “I want my daughter to be able to do anything she wants,” she says. “But I also want to say, ‘Have a career that you can walk away from at the drop of a hat.’

    -=Like abortion=- It’s only a MAN’S responsibility if the woman wants it. If she doesn’t, she can walk away from it at a drop of a hat.
    Um, that’s not feminism, that CHILDISHNESS! Adults (men) have responsibilities they CAN’T walk away from at the drop of a hat. Apparently, women are not adults, –which most men would give me a nod and wink.

    ….women represent only a tiny fraction of corporate and government leaders, and they still earn only 77 cents on the male dollar.

    The BIGGEST LIE OF FEMINISM. They run out of the suburbs, and find that they are not as successful as men, then they make up excuses. What world do these people live in? What nutball corporation would be STUPID enough to open themselves to the salivating lawyers waiting to claim gender discrimination in pay?
    WOMEN DON’T MAKE THE SAME AS MEN for a few very obvious reasons.
    1. They don’t have seniority.
    2. They don’t have the same JOB.
    3. They don’t work for exactly the same company.
    4. Companies don’t want to hire women who are just going to abandon them ‘at the drop of a hat.’
    In the feminist mind, a man who has been working for 30 years, should make the same pay as a woman who just got hired the day before. Seriously, question them about it sometime.

    …in the tumultuous 21st-century economy, depending on a career as a path to self-actualization can seem like a sucker’s bet.

    REALLY!–Ya think? Once again, what Conservatives know NOW, liberals (the intelligent people) take a few decades, ruined lives/families, or billions of dollars to figure out on their own. It’s feminism now, eventually they will come to terms with their disastrous WELFARE policies, and after a few decades of broken minds, homes, families, it will be introspection on HOMOSEXUALITY.
    Liberals always have to go all the way around the block, just to cross the street.
    The Devil’s Theory “Psst! –you can ‘have it all’ by having a family, working like crazy, being a wife, and a mother, and a CEO…….it will just cost your your sanity, job, husband, and family.”

    So after decades of this pointless experimentation, arguing, ruining children’s lives, families, attempting to smash that glass ceiling, women have finally come to a conclusion:
    ~Finding a job and working is ok, but you should have the option to run back under your husband’s non-stop, pack-mule-like socialism whenever you want.
    ~Staying home is ok, if you want to, but there are risks for doing either.
    ~Saying you are a feminist is ok, unless you really aren’t one, but just like the idea of being called one, unless the term has negative connotations, then you should just keep it to yourself.
    ~Essentially women should always have OPTIONS and men should always have RESPONSIBILITIES.

    Lastly, when are straight women going to finally figure out that feminism was mainly invented as a trap by lesbians to have a full buffet of available entrees to choose from?
    The same trick gay men are using to gain access to the Boy Scouts? Come on! Figure it out already!

  5. canary

    Mithrandir ” Adults (men) have responsibilities they CAN’T walk away from at the drop of a hat. Apparently, women are not adults, –which most men would give me a nod and wink.”

    Your post is very insulting to women and moms. I’m not sure you noticed that she is women and pointing out the importance of the role of a mother being more important as raising her children and not day cares. Many families give up expensive cars, or big houses, put material things above their children, allowing day care, strangers and public schools (who do day care now)
    to raise their children with other children that might be a bad influence.

    Mithrandir, the woman above mentioned she is married with children and she is putting her family first.

    To say men can’t walk away is not reality, but they can walk away and leave the woman to raise and support the man’s children.

    Sooo many men do not pay child-support and it’s a long sometimes futile ending for a woman to get child support from their father. This becomes a financial strain and burden society. Women that do work deal with enormous day care.

    This is my take on the men or women (to be fair) who do pay child support, but are often behind or late don’t see the gravity of the situation.

    The parent who has custody, or the parent raising the children, can not be late feeding their children. The parent can’t say, sorry kids I can’t feed you for two weeks.

    If the single mom’s (parent’s) child is sick, they can’t tell them sorry but it will be a few weeks til I can take you to the doctor.

    So, while I believe your statement in the line men”CAN’T” walk away at the drop of the hat, to me says you are a good parent that would never do that to your wife and children; walk away from providing for your family, but it’s the norm today that so many mothers are raising their children without help from their fathers. Because, these men know that whatever it takes, the mother will
    somehow find away to provide shelter, food, clothing, etc. for their children; out of motherly love for their children and also not to end up in jail for child neglect or have her children taken away for neglect.

    I think what this mother is saying is that if she quits her job in order to provide a better childhood for their children, would only be if the father is in a position to afford to pay.

    Because I would say their are more mothers out there that CAN’T walk away from raising their children compared to men who walk away from their parental responsibilities.

    When the mother is granted custody in a divorce, her life get’s more difficult even if she’s getting child-support (unless of course she’s getting a good sum of child-support).

    The men who don’t get full custody, can get off work and have a life. Not spend their entire evening feeding, cleaning, bathing, doing home-work, etc. etc. They can’t go out without paying a babysitter, and then there is the issue to spend their time with their children they see little of as they are working and doing chores.

    • Rusty Shackleford

      Sooo many men do not pay child-support and it’s a long sometimes futile ending for a woman to get child support from their father. This becomes a financial strain and burden society. Women that do work deal with enormous day care.

      This is my take on the men or women (to be fair) who do pay child support, but are often behind or late don’t see the gravity of the situation.

      You’re so full of it, you stink.

      You know NOTHING about how the child support system works.

      I paid it for 20 years to the state of Arizona, to a woman who went off her birth control and didn’t tell me. Who tried to sue me for child support from California while I was currently paying it from Arizona already and, when Arizona figured I had enough money in my savings account, they came and took it.

      All “legal”, mind you.

      No, she did not get awarded additional child support from me due to her selfish money-grab attempt from CA.

      All too often, a woman EXPECTS that the man provide. And here’s how it works. The state has a chart. They add up the former married couple’s income. Then, they consult another chart and determine what percentage of the total amount each person pays…then they look at another chart to determine the amount of “child support due” based on the former couple’s total income.

      Then, because dad has been kicked out of his own home, the judge then takes that percentage out of the former husband’s paycheck. The nanny-state also determines that the mom “pays” X-amount based on all the numbers. But the mom, see got custody, the house and receives the child support check.

      In my case, the judge also decided that I’d get to use the child every other year as a deduction on my taxes. Turns out, every year I filed my taxes with the deduction on it, they were rejected for re-do because that twit had already claimed the deduction. When I complained, I got lots of shoulder-shrugging. In other words, I’d have to hire an attorney to get what was fairly decided as MINE.

      And….in the working economy….you have no idea how this all works. I had no control over the amount, payment or when or how I was to pay the child support. It came out of my paycheck automatically…a garnishment. No…I never tried to run from it…never indicated I wasn’t good for the amount. The state of Arizona simply eliminates the voluntary nature of it by sending a court order to the employer. The payer has no say…NONE.

      Thus, when the child protective services people who process the checks from my employer to them, noted that my company had filed for reorganization (bankruptcy), they assumed the checks were no good and threw them out. (This is how healthcare will be managed, by the way, by cubicle monkeys with minimal training and limited scope of understanding).

      The ex called me and complained.

      I said, “I have my pay stub right here…the child support is being taken out. You know as well as I do that I have no control over it.”

      Cops came and visited me for non-payment of child support. I had to go to court. I had to pay for court costs….because the %$@& state was throwing the checks away. But, see, the same entity (the STATE) “had to abide by the law and apprehend the payer” for non-payment, even though I HAD NO CONTROL OVER THE DISBURSEMENT, AMOUNT OR METHOD of how it was to be paid. It was all controlled by the state, not by me in any way, shape or form.

      You need to stop the whining about how women are “victims”. The courts side with women, the cops side with women and the state sides with women. The vast majority of child support payers are MEN, even if the mothers had jobs that far out-earned the fathers. Mostly, this is a completely overlooked liberal paradigm that ALL women seem to have no problem with.

      Sure, they’re conservative until the marriage blows up….then they are raging lunatic victims having “given that man the best years of my life” blah, blah freakin’ BLAH.

      And when the woman decides she wants to go play and she’s done with “that man”…she gets all the gravy and sympathy.

      Don’t tell me all these effin’ sob stories. You do NOT have a grasp on reality.

    • canary

      Rusty Shackleford: “You’re so full of it, you stink. You know NOTHING about how the child support system works. ”

      Rusty, you stink. I am soooo sorry you had to pay even a penny for your child.

      I sure as hell do know how child support works and am sure I know a lot more women than you do that don’t see a penny of child support and most let their deadbeat fathers see the child, and don’t even tell the child their father doesn’t gives them a penny as to not make the child feel unloved.

      More men need to abort their sperm makers.

  6. captstubby

    like all fathers paying child support ,
    everyone ask’s,
    “why can’t i just send the check to the mother and my kid, instead of the state middle man?”
    my brother had a similar clusterf..k.

    • canary

      Captstubby, I never knew there was a state where it’s mandatory they oversee child-support payments, though states do have different laws.

      Which state has the judge order the state to overseer child-support payments ordering the mother or father who has to pay child support.?

      Who can afford an attorney to keep going to a judge trying to get child-support.

      I suppose those that can’t afford an attorney might be able to seek child services, but if a parent goes on welfare the state will pursue the parent to pay child support.

      My state is I guess you would call an equality state? Shared custody is the norm anymore unless one of the parents does not want it and prefers to pay more child support to compensate day care and medical expenses.

      A real stickler is no one can be forced out of the home until the divorce is over, such a miserable situation. At the time of the divorce If the couple can’t agree on a matter, they are forced to sell the home. period.

      And it is very common in my state for fathers to get main custody of the children.

      So we have real equality where I’m at, but a man or woman trying to get the other to pay child-support can cost a fortune or take years.

      I say the winner either way is the parent that is blessed to be with their child and care for that child.

  7. JohnMG

    …..”Women, she believes, are conditioned to be more patient with children, to be better multitaskers……”

    Izzat so? Then why can’t they have a headache and sex at the same time?

    This twit is all of 33 years old. She has two kids, probably in, or about to enter elementary school, and her brain obviously hasn’t matured much beyond that of her progeny. She has finally had to admit that she is programmed biologically to the ‘nurture’ aspect of the human condition. But to hear her speak, she has all the answers–even to questions she hasn’t heard yet. Idiot!

    I’m over twice her age, and I pity her for her naivety. In her mind she is giving something up while her “nerdy-hip” husband goes on his merry way unaffected. What a dope! In reality they’re both making sacrifices for the family they opted to create. It’s your JOB, stupid. Just DO IT, and STFU instead of waiting for someone to pin a medal on you for doing something you should be doing out a sense of obligation.

    It’s called responsibility, and back in the day, EVERYBODY understood that.

  8. captstubby

    I never knew there was a state where it’s mandatory they oversee child-support payments, though states do have different laws.

    Welcome……to the Illinois State Disbursement Unit (ILSDU) web site.
    http://www.ilsdu.com/

    The ILSDU is the payments processing center for all Illinois child support payments. This unit processes the payments and issues checks or direct deposits to the receiving families.

    Custodial Mothers and Fathers
    and Their Child Support: 2009
    Consumer Income
    Issued December 2011
    U.S. Department of Commerce
    Economics and Statistics Administration
    U.S. CENSUS BUREAU

    “About 1 in 6 custodial parents were fathers (17.8 percent).”

    a few other state of Illinois laws.

    Illinois Support Enforcement Measures
    If a non-custodial parent does not pay child support, he or she is subject to enforcement measures in accordance with Federal and Illinois child support law to collect regular and past-due payments.

    •Intercepts of federal and state tax refunds
    •Intercepts of other state and federal payments, including Illinois lottery winnings
    •Suspension or revocation of Illinois professional license or occupational certificate
    •Denial or suspension of United States passport
    •Inclusion of child support debt in the non-custodial parent’s credit report
    •Seize assets of non-custodial parents in repayment of child support debt
    •State or federal criminal prosecution for non-payment

    Who Can Enforce Court Ordered Child Support in Illinois?
    The Illinois Child Support Enforcement is the state-run child support enforcement office for Illinois. The State of Illiois is required by federal law to provide services through Child Support Enforcement (CSE) and is funded by the federal government and the State of Illinois.

    and last,
    ” you have an order to pay child support and are behind on payments, don’t expect to get a fishing license in Illinois. The state denies the privilege to any parent who owes back child support.

    they play hardball in illinois.
    .

    • canary

      I think this law applies to someone not paying child support.

      “If a non-custodial parent does not pay child support, he or she is subject to enforcement measures in accordance with Federal and Illinois child support law to collect regular and past-due payments.” – …..

      “The key is •State or federal criminal prosecution for non-payment” -

      I don’t believe this mandates the state to handle every divorce of it’s citizens and monitor all support. It appears to enforce a mother or father who is not paying child-support.

      Personally, alarms went off in my head after Obama first took office and was doing all those be a father commercials (how discriminating was that not to mention mothers, as many mothers neglect and abandon their children) wanting LAWS to ENFORCE Fathers to visit their children!

      Some children are better off not being visited by a parent.

      For example. Just think if Obama had obeyed his birth father’s repeated letters requesting that he move to Kenya where he belonged with his father. He would have even more exposure to violent thugs, drugs and drunkenness, and Muslim Hindu culture, than he already was exposed to from a young boy well past into his adulthood.

      What’s important is for parents to keep records to prove they paid. Also, there are situations where a parent paying child-support ends up raising the child without getting a proper judgement, and a spiteful evil parent can still go after them for child-support. They need to make that an easier process and keep that from happening. I heard that one a long time ago. Perhaps it’s changed to stop such a situation.




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