sitting on the edge of the sandbox, biting my tongue

December 12, 2010

That’s What my Mother Said

Filed under: relationships, society — Tags: , , — edge of the sandbox @ 5:18 am

Via Instapundint:

[C]ombining a high-powered career and motherhood and doing both well is impossible. It’s time we stopped feeding girls the fairy tale that they can do it all — and I agree.

But, more than that, I think most women — if given a truly free choice — would choose to stay at home and look after their children in their infancy.

The trouble is that most families rely on the salaries of both parents, so it’s not really an option.

It goes without saying, although it sometimes seems we are expressly forbidden to say it, that having a rich husband would provide that option.

That’s more or less what my mother said.  Being a product of the Soviet Union, she had no hang ups about feminism, and no hang ups about wealth.  To Russian women of her generation the idea of being a housewife was both radical and practical.

So I went out and married a musician.  Mind you, I married a musician who also had a viable career.  Now I’m a stay at home mom, still a feminist, and very, very busy.  Unlike the women whom Frances Childs describes, the women who married men an income bracket or two above my husband, I don’t have the time for hair appointments.  I hardly find time to see my dentist.  I can only wish we had house help, but, being a wimpy mom, I call my mother whenever things get out of hand.

Never had to do those, though.

There is no cognitive dissonance between being a feminist and marrying a man able to support his family, I think.  We don’t check our feminist credentials at Labor and Delivery Department of the local hospital.  One can be both a mother and a feminist; after all, mothers have their say in our society.  Moreover, after spending several years tending to a young family, many women re-enter the workforce.  Man and women change careers mid-life, so why not view motherhood as a career detour?

With that in mind, though, there should be no “equal pay for equal work” whining for women like me.  If I were to return to work immediately after my first child was born, most of my income would go to taxes and childcare.  If financially this move made little sense, emotionally and intellectually it made even less sense.  As exasperating as motherhood can be, this is hands down the most satisfying stage of my life so far.  While I am plotting my return to work in the near future, I realize that my career will unlikely to recoup after the years I spent with my babies, and that even after I will return to work full time, I will still have to prioritize my family.

That’s all right, though.  There are give and takes in life.



  1. No time for hair appointments, barely for the dentist. Yeah that sounds familiar.

    I completely agree about the fact that feminism does not contradict staying at home. It’s my choice. Aren’t feminists all about women having choices?

    I don’t like the implication in that article that only those married to “rich” husbands can stay home. So many like me don’t have wealthy spouses, just reliable.

    Lots of folks I interact with think that they can’t stay at home, but really I think they are afraid of giving up the additional security and disposable income.

    It is a scary thing; I quit work when the first was born and thus halved our income.

    But hey. Bottom line is, somebody’s gotta look after the crumb catchers. They are my crumb catchers, so I’m gonna be the one lookin after em.


    Comment by nooneofanyimport — December 13, 2010 @ 2:36 am

    • A better way to put it: Women who marry rich don’t have to sacrifice much in order to have children. There is nothing particularly un-feminist about it; it’s just how they built their family lives. On the other hand, there is more to being a father then providing for a [young] family, and there is certainly more to being a husband.

      Comment by edgeofthesandbox — December 13, 2010 @ 8:05 pm

  2. I also don’t buy the implication that you need to marry rich to stay home. On the other hand, it would be nice…
    I also didn’t like her talking about divorces. I don’t think a divorce is ever that easy.

    Comment by edgeofthesandbox — December 13, 2010 @ 7:12 am

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