Thursday, December 17, 2009

Not-so Praise of In Praise of Stay-at-Home Moms

At Lauren's urging, I picked up Dr. Laura's In Praise of Stay-at-Home Moms from the library. I have a hate-hate relationship with Dr. Laura, after reading a few pages of The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands (it must be the "husbands need sex but don't want it unless you are dolled up enough to be desirable and so you can't blame them if they have an affair if you become too frumpy)

I told her I would read it with the mindset that it wasn't Dr. Laura. I tried to keep an open mind throughout.

Sorry, Lauren.

Throughout my reading, I was pretty convinced that SAHMs are superior to daycare. But that was kind of a given to me. I already got the whole mommy-love > others-love. I can also see how some SAHMs need that kind of validation in their lives, and so like the book because it makes them feel better about themselves.

That was her point, right? So what exactly bothered me?

1 - She has no provision for daddy-love. She makes it a husband works/wife nurtures dichotomy. It's become clear to me through my interactions with some families (including my own, meaning my mom/dad and Tim/me) that daddies can nurture (minus breastfeeding) just as great as mommies.

2 - She dwells on the giving your husband sex thing in this book as well. Because if you don't give them enough sex, then you have no right to ask them to do housework. Because it's not their house too? Bleh. She also wrote a sentence about how some women use the excuse of "molestation" (her quotes, not mine) to not have sex and this isn't a valid reason? She completely dismisses that trauma that A LOT of women go through... and I can understand how sex can be less than desirable at times or feel weird. It definitely shouldn't, by any means, since Heavenly Father intended for it to be the most spiritual and beautiful act between a husband and wife. But our world has also perverted it, and I think men (and women) should be sensitive to the feelings of their wives (or husbands) should there have been sexual abuse in the past. And it shouldn't be put in quotations like it's a made-up thing.

3 - She makes men seem like IDIOTS! Women who like her... do you really think your husband sucks that bad? For example, should you need to convince your husband of the need for you to stay at home, rub his shoulders a little bit and tell him that's what life will feel like if you're allowed to create a haven by being at home. Otherwise, he won't listen to you? She encourages women to manipulate their husbands, as if they aren't rational beings or something. I'm sorry, but Tim doesn't need a neck rub to listen to me.

4 - She contradicts herself numerous times! Especially in the way she discusses her own life. She wasn't a stay-at-home mom but completely villifies working mothers. She says that SHE could do it because she put her family first-- like other women are not capable of such a feat.


When women are not in the workplace, we lose their perspective. When women aren't in Congress, for example, who would be offering the mother's perspective in the laws of our country? Do you really want only men's voices heard in the world as they were for hundreds of years? We NEED women, clearly, in the decision making bodies of humanity. They make up half of the world, they are important and not just to the family. Not to say we don't need them at home, too. But herein lies the dilemma of our generation: merging work and family. So, after dismissing Dr. Laura, I offer up another voice of quasi-authority: read Joan Williams' Unbending Gender: Why Family and Work Conflict and What to Do About It. You don't have to sacrifice your children and husband to have a career in the formal sector should you so choose. That's all I'm saying...


  1. love the post...i agree with you. We need women in the work place and men can be great at rasing children! Moms and Dads are a team and should be a team in rasing children. And the sex thing wow i should not have to give him sex for him to clean, he should clean because he wants to be an equal partner in the relationship.

  2. Yes, Jessica. We are a team. Nathan stays at home with baby while I work and when I get a full time job, he will be here with her. He is not a "babysitter"...he is her FATHER...the other (just as important) parent.

  3. And to quote the Proclamation to the World:
    "By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners."

    Although the proclamation does agree we are equal partners, it does stress that mothers are here to nurture, while fathers should try and provide. I suppose I should read this more thoroughly!

    The Proclamation does say that certain "circumstances may necessitate individual adaptation." I might not work in the long term for forever, but while I NEED to, I will. And Nathan is FINE being with baby.

    I think you and Tim also will find what is best for your family. You know better what Atticus needs than Dr. Laura.

  4. Oh... the Proclamation. How people have tried to use thee against me in many an argument! Tim and I have discussed this at length in regards to our future family life. We came to the understanding that responsibility in this sense means "if it's not done then it's on your shoulders" kind of thing. In other words, if I'm working and our children are not being nurtured and brought up right, then Heavenly Father will hold me responsible. If we are destitute and unprovided for, Tim will be responsible. It doesn't mean we have to exclusively perform those tasks, but they are our responsibility to oversee and make sure they are accomplished. We plan on alternating working/staying-home so we can both know our children equally and provide just the same (unless of course, I really want to stay home, or Tim really wants to work, then we will take on these roles).

    And AMEN Jessica!

  5. For what it's worth, from a man's point of view, do what God tells you...certainly not Dr. Laura. I am a devout Christian. I read the Bible. I don't really know what Dr. Laura writes. If she's putting that garbage out, she's nuts. I do plenty of house-work because we have 3 boys and I know what my wife goes through all day long. It's important to me that the work gets done, so I make sure I do as much as I can to make it happen.
    If you seek God's will for your lives, you will do well. My wife stays at home because she wants to and practically, because I have more earning power than she does.
    Again, seek God's will for your lives.

  6. I seem to have a prejudice against SAHMs. I need to get over it. I don't know if I could ever be one because I don't like children that much! And I want to help many people in their lives, not just a few.

    I'M VERY CONFLICTED ABOUT THIS. I want to be a good mother (if I ever get married), but I also want to have a great career and have independence. I'M VERY CONFLICTED.