"TO ELISABETH BADINTER, educated women who become stay-at-home moms have lost their minds."
I'm going to hi-light a few points that stood out to me:
- The current push towards naturalism (breastfeeding, cloth diapering, making food, etc) has made mothers into animals
- Parents are less happy when they stay home and spend time with their children because they are filled with anxiety and guilt that they aren't spending enough time with them
- The majority of women in Western countries want to have economic independence
- Women who have degrees and then quit their jobs have an "absence of vision" she finds to be "infantile"
- It's good for children to learn how to survive without their mothers; she's worried about the long-term effects of a mother and child bonding too much
- Exclusively breastfeeding for 6 months or more negatively impacts the relationship between a husband and wife
- And finally her last quote "Don't ever give up your economic independence. Don't give up your job. You must be able to survive without a man. Because if you no longer get along with your partner or he treats you badly and you don't have the means to leave him, you're enslaved."
I, however, do not agree.
My desire to breastfeed and cloth diaper has not made me into an "animal." Quite the contrary, they were decisions made by a fiscally responsible human being. I made these decision because they save our family money. That money then goes into IRAs, college funds, retirements planning and other funds (vacations, etc) so that we don't have to stress about finances now or in the future.
Being a stay-at-home-mom means I spend A LOT of time with my kids. Sometimes, I am on the phone chatting with my mom while the kids play. Other times, while the kids eat or watch a movie, I cruise around the internet catching up on news. I don't feel guilty. I can look at my kids and see that they are happy, healthy little boys who love that they get to see me all the time. I could care less what anyone else thinks about my parenting choices because I do what's best for our family. This anxiety and guilt she talks about affects people who probably worry too much what other people think about them. If you do what's best for your family...what does anyone else's opinion matter?
She spends a lot of time talking about economic independence. I am married. As a married woman, even when I was working, the money we made was OURS..not mine/his...it was OURS and still is OURS. We have one shared bank account. When either of us needs/wants something..we buy it. So to me...my husband and I, our family, has economic independence. We make and manage our money in a way that allows us to meet our needs and a few wants..as well as plan for the future...sounds good to me!
Women who have degrees and quit their jobs to stay home have an "absence of vision." Quite the contrary. I know (having been raised by a stay-at-home-mother) the value of a child having a parent home full time. I was that child. One of 5 actually. You have a sense of security because you know someone will always be there. There is always a parent there in case a child is sick -- nobody is having to take off work, use a vacation day or lose pay to stay home with that child. When something was going on during the school day, I knew that at least my mom was going to be able to come and watch my play, my speech, etc. Absence of vision? No way. I am looking far into my children's future and can see the benefits of being a stay-at-home-mom and how it will positively influence their lives for years to come. And seeing my children healthy and happy makes me happy and healthy because they are the fruits of my labor.
It's good for children to learn to live without their mothers. What a sad statement. Nursing my children..letting my littlest sleep beside me in bed because it makes night time nursing easier...these are not things that will last forever. Case in point: My 2 year old sleeps in his own room...and he prefers that. It didn't start that way. But in just 2 short years..that's been the progression. And to think that in just 2 more years, my babies will both be in their own rooms, needing me less, makes me a little sad. I never had to live without my mother. EVER. And what has it done to me? Well...I was a well-respected teacher when I made the decision to be a stay-at-home-mom. I am in a healthy and loving marriage. I have a strong faith in God. I am a sarcastic, sometimes sweet, fun loving woman who enjoys somewhat off-kilter humor. I talk to my mom daily to gossip, get advice, chit chat..in fact I would say she is one of my best friends. Is this the long term effects Ms. Badinter is worried about? Hmmm...
Long term breastfeeding certainly can have a negative impact on a husband/wife relationship...if they don't communicate their needs and desires. I am one of those women who does love breastfeeding. I know not everyone is like that but I am. And I have communicated that with my husband. He supports me 100% (and he's certainly not complaining about my bigger boobs). Has it impacted our sex life? Well..in the beginning, I would wear sexy bras to bed so he didn't get a milk shower when we were being intimate. But now that that isn't a problem anymore...I can't say that it has had any other impact. If our sex life isn't as vibrant as it used to be..it is not because of breastfeeding..it's because he's working...I'm working...and sometimes we're just tired. But we talk about this stuff. When we feel like our sex life hasn't been given enough attention, we talk about it and we make a better effort. Because we believe sex is important to a healthy marriage. Breastfeeding or co-sleeping doesn't have to have a negative impact on your physical relationship. You just have to be willing to talk about things and "think outside the bedroom" haha..
Now the last point..about needing to be able to live without a man and you have to have a job so you won't be enslaved should you end up with a crappy partner. There's just so much I could say here...I'll just say this..if you start a family and end up finding out you have a crappy partner...there are so many assistance programs and avenues to pursue so that you can take care of your family on your own.
So, if you're still reading this, first off, thanks! Secondly, I should say shame on Ms. Badinter, someone who truly supported women would say that women have the right to do whatever they want without the fear of judgement from society. Instead, she's casting her judgement on women who choose to stay home telling them how ill-conceived and detrimental their decisions will be. In a world where someone is always attacking the working-outside-the-home mom, the working-inside-the-home mom, the mom who breastfeeds, the mom who formula feeds, the mom who uses throw away diapers, the mom who uses reusable diapers, the mom who wears her baby, the mom who uses a stroller, the mom who makes baby food, the mom who buys baby food, the single mom, the married mom.....do we really need another person out there trying to make mothers feel bad?
Enough is enough. Do what is best for you and your family. Screw society and expectations. If you and your family are happy, then NOTHING else matters. Period.
Thanks, have a great day!