Seven Myths of Working Mothers

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Registered: 03-31-2009
Seven Myths of Working Mothers
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Tue, 04-07-2009 - 11:55am

Seven Myths of Working Mothers


Why Children and (Most) Careers Just Don't Mix


By Suzanne Venker - Review by Jerica Griff


If separating is hard for you - set up opportunities to practice separating. For example, arrange to drop your child off at someone's house additional times each week until it becomes easier for youŠ When you pick your child up, don't be overly emotional. It's OK to act glad to see her, but don't start crying and hugging her excessively - to do so only shows your child how hard separation was for you.
- E. Christophersen, Ph.D. in "Preventing Separation Anxiety"


No wonder children are growing to adulthood with serious misconceptions about commitment and attachment! The most important people in their lives, parents - and particularly mothers - are being taught that leaving their children should become easy and natural. In 7 Myths of Working Mothers, Suzanne Venker examines why increasing numbers of mothers are entering the workforce, and how this decision resonates in their children's lives.


If motherhood was understood by society to be a full-time job, Venker believes it would not be regarded as something to be done "on the side" of a career. She is quick to acknowledge, however, that accepting motherhood as a full-time position does not translate into 18 years out of the workforce; it only means creatively seeking ways to work around your children's schedule.


Many working mothers fail to realize that day care centers and nannies are raising their children, relegating the mothers themselves to the role of a babysitter. Feeding the children and putting them to sleep is a far cry from true motherhood. As Venker writes, "The real work of mothers is done when no one is around." She goes on to debunk seven fallacies that keep women away from their children.


The first deception Venker tackles is the idea that "Men have it all - why can't we?" Men don't have it all. Many dads miss out on a large portion of parenting - first steps, first words, soccer games, piano recitals, etc. - because their commitment to providing financially for the family means traveling, late nights at the office, and weekend functions.


Second, many women believe that staying at home full-time means throwing their education and work experience out the window. Before they ever have children, before they look into the eyes of their own flesh, before they have spent even one hour watching this new life sleep, they completely dismiss the idea of staying at home full-time. After all, they have spent the majority of their developmental years preparing for careers. Venker acknowledges that a mother's education is of great benefit to her children, but only if the mother is present to impart that knowledge to them. Statistics show that children of mothers with advanced degrees or work experience have a great advantage over their peers. Instead of "wasting" their education, many moms have found resourceful ways of pursuing other
interests without compromising the health and well-being of their little ones.


Third, many believe that women who choose to stay home with their children must be wealthy. Venker contends, however, that except in single-mother households and other specific exceptions, the choice to put children first has nothing at all to do with economic status and everything to do with budgeting and self-discipline. In fact, most women's second income is almost entirely eaten up by commuting, childcare, eating out, work attire, dry cleaning and taxes.


Fourth, some women believe that their stress level in balancing work and family could be lowered if only they had more support. The feminist movement completely negates this excuse. There has never been an easier time to be a working mom. Working mothers are often puzzled and surprised by how well-behaved the children of full-time moms are, and they wonder why their kids are having trouble in school. But, Venker argues, as with anything else in life, one cannot expect the same outcome with an eighth of the time investment. No company would allow an employee to hire someone else to do
her own job, so how can a mother expect to hire someone else to raise her own offspring?


Fifth, many women claim that they are better moms because they work. Venker counters with the argument that consistency is the most controlling factor in the health and well-being of children. By being removed from the home, working mothers often neglect kids' basic needs (proper amounts of sleep, healthy diets, regular exercise, consistent discipline, help with schoolwork, etc.) because they are unable to see to those needs themselves. How is this being a better mom? Still, we wonder why kids are falling asleep in school, overweight, or coming home with less than flying colors on their
report card.


The sixth myth of working mothers is the claim, "My children just love day care." Psychiatrist John Bowlby disagrees: "A home must be very bad before it can be bettered by a good institution." Because children have a basic desire for the familiar, red flags should appear when children do not want to go home with their parents. As anyone who has worked with children can attest, the things children claim they want are not usually the best things for them, whether it be candy, staying up after bedtime, or playing video games all day.


The final deception of working mothers, according to Venker, is the idea that women can "have it all planned out." Thus many women plan their lives around their careers while postponing beginning a family. They wrongly assume that fertility and children will fit as easily into their planners and lifestyle as any other appointment. Venker encourages young women instead to choose careers that are conducive to motherhood, to live near parents or siblings who could help out with creative work schedules, and to be financially responsible. Taking these steps will make the transition to
motherhood smoother when the time arrives.


It is distressing that the incredibly fulfilling, joyful responsibility of
motherhood is often looked upon as a dull waste of an intelligent woman's time. Venker does an excellent job fighting back against society's prejudices. Her hope is that anyone reading 7 Myths of Working Mothers will encouraged by the mounting evidence that the best place for the next generation is right at home. Mothers who are the primary cultivators of knowledge for their children will no doubt reap extraordinary rewards.


Jerica Griff, a Spring 2004 Witherspoon Fellow with the Family Research Council is currently interning with the Georgia Family Council. She is a recent graduate of Colorado State University with degrees in Business Administration/Marketing and Music.


http://www.fulltimemothers.org/books/7_myths.htm

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iVillage Member
Registered: 11-08-2006
Tue, 04-07-2009 - 9:51pm

i see that this article came from a website called fulltime mothers dot org. I think they need to go back to their grade school math fact lessons. How is it that a 40 hour per week job is considered FT, BUT being under the same roof WITH your children for 128 hours per week (MORE than 3x that!) is not considered a full-time parent? That's so incredibly nonsensical!

since you dregged up this bit of dreck, I guess I'll just take a bit of a whack at it....

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wasn't ever hard. not ever.

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nope. never "left" my children. I've been their mother all along. they've lived in my house all along -- until the divorce when they get to spend every other weekend with their dad.

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creative scheduling is when you have to pick up three different kids at only slightly staggered times in different places and bring them to yet different places. Case in point -- tonight. Ds was working and needed to be picked up at 6:00. His dad picked him up. Dd had a poetry contest after school and needed to be picked up at the school at 7:00. Then she had to go to a chorus rehearsal for an upcoming community fundraiser (that started at 7:00). That necessitated me leaving home at 6:30 and putting dinner on the table by 6:00. Sd had to be at the same chorus rehearsal, but her dad dropped her off at 7:00. I stayed until 8:30 when rehearsal was over. Oh, and throughout all this the home-health aide hung with Alyssa and the cleaning lady finished her job (amazing how she can do that without any supervision from her "employers").

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stupidity. you can't "fail to realize" something that just isn't true.

<< consistency is the most controlling factor in the health and well-being of children -- because they are unable to see to those needs themselves. >>

actually for a child that goes to dc or has a nanny or regular babysitter, that IS consistency. I didn't need to see my children nap as long as I had a provider who was there to make sure they were safe. "I" was the one that hired (and fired as needed) those people.

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OBVIOUSLY, they've never had to pick up their precious children in the MIDDLE of some fun activity, LOL!!!!! Utterly stupid to consider it a "red flag" as it is very normal developmental behavior. Maybe the author of the article needs to go back to school and get more education about child-development.

<< is the idea that women can "have it all planned out." >>

i planned out as much as I could. Alyssa (my really special needs child) threw us a huge curve ball -- as did ds with his ADHD. NONE of which had anything to do with my plan to continue woh.

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Unfortunately, the author is sadly misinformed on so many fronts. My hope is that NO mothers buys into any of this garbage. I'd like to think that most women/mothers are smarter than this.

eileen

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-06-2009
Tue, 04-07-2009 - 9:54pm

There's a wonderful line in the stpehn sondheim show "Company" ( a show I've done twice, once in 1983 and once this past November -- glorious show) anyway a character says "life is a giving up to get" and I think that's how I feel -- no one can have it ALL but you give up things to get the things that are important to you -- whether it's giving up a career b/c being at home is important or giving up a big salary b/c flexibly hours in meanigful work is important -- or in my case giving up a clean house b/c um... well everythign's more important.

I know I can't have it all... honestl I don't WANT it all..but I like what I have and for me that's plenty. (I'd like not to take the pay cuts and furloughs I'm taking though..LOL )

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-22-2005
Tue, 04-07-2009 - 9:59pm
Something I heard once, and I agree with it, is "You can have it all. You just can't have it all at the exact same time."
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iVillage Member
Registered: 02-06-2009
Wed, 04-08-2009 - 5:43am


LOL! Great, I won't go back to work. We'll just

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-06-2009
Wed, 04-08-2009 - 5:46am


Good point, lol!


iVillage Member
Registered: 02-06-2009
Wed, 04-08-2009 - 5:58am

< I cherish my time with my children.

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-06-2009
Wed, 04-08-2009 - 6:00am

You can afford a housekeeper but you don't consider yourself wealthy?


iVillage Member
Registered: 02-04-2009
Wed, 04-08-2009 - 6:01am

You can afford TOAST?!? Your dh must be a bigwig executive type guy.

;)

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Kitty

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Kitty

"If you can't annoy somebody with what you write, I think there's little point in writing."-- Kingsley Amis, British novelist, 1971 t .

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-06-2009
Wed, 04-08-2009 - 6:03am

ROFLMAO!


Oh sure, toast every day. Of course he has to work a second job to pay for the tea ;oD


iVillage Member
Registered: 12-31-2008
Wed, 04-08-2009 - 6:17am

>>You can afford a housekeeper but you don't consider yourself wealthy?<<


I know many middle income families that hire housekeepers. In this area it will cost you about $20-25 an hour, maybe less depending on who you hire. Our neighbors own a rug cleaner/housekeeping service and they charge, maybe $10-12 an hour. I will generally see ppl hire someone for an hour to just get the basics done.

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