Throughout America, there’s an alarming increase of attitudes and opinions belittling motherhood. Here are a few examples.
During the previous presidential campaign season, Democratic National Committee political consultant Hilary Rosen stated that Ann Romney had “never worked a day in her life.” This caused a national backlash to which Mrs. Romney responded, “I made a choice to stay home and raise five boys. Believe me, it was hard work.”
Another example comes from an article published by Keli Goff in The Guardian titled ” Female Ivy League graduates have a duty to stay in the workforce. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be a full-time mother, but you don’t need an elite degree to do it. ” Goff argues that women who plan on being stay-at-home moms or only work in a limited capacity should not be allowed to attend top universities. She states that” I am not someone who believes that every woman should be made to feel as though they must choose between being committed to their children or committed to the sisterhood of women’s advancement. But I do consider any Harvard Law School degree obtained by a woman who then chooses not to use it in any sort of professional capacity throughout most of her life a wasted opportunity. That degree could have gone to a woman who does want to spend her entire life using it to advance the cause of women – or others in need of advancement – not simply advancing the lives of her own family at home, which is a noble cause, but not one requiring an elite degree.”
Apparently children aren’t among those “in need of advancement” and education isn’t needed for parenting. Seemingly, although children are the future, raising them isn’t contributing to society.
Anne-Marie Maginnis, a Princeton graduate and stay-at-home mom, intelligently wrote a scathing response to Goff’s article in Verily Magazine. Maginnis wrote, “This type of thinking is regressive for women for many reasons. First, while I agree that ‘to whom much is given, much is expected in return,’ to state that ‘advancing the lives of her own family at home . . . does not require an elite degree’ completely overlooks the value of that degree to the woman herself. If a woman at home doesn’t need an elite degree, as Goff argues, one wonders, does she need a college degree? A high-school degree? At what point is a woman not worth educating at all?
This perspective completely disregards the inherent worthiness of educating a human mind to know the world, to think independently, to judge accurately, and to live confidently. For these reasons alone, an elite education should be available to the best and brightest minds. To concede Goff’s point would be to reverse hundreds of years of progress in women’s rights.” Maginnis went on to say that many educated women contribute increased time volunteering and writing while staying at home and then resume their place in the workforce after raising children.
Remarks such as those from Hilary Rosen and Keli Goff are infuriating and offensive. Not only are they incredibly disrespectful to women and children, but also display an utter misunderstanding of women’s rights and progress. It’s appalling that anyone, especially a woman, would state that motherhood is not work or mothers aren’t worth educating. To discount the value of motherhood is to discount the value of children, the value of families, and the value of human life. If so many ivy-league educated women are in fact choosing to stay at home and raise children as Keli Goff states, perhaps their highly-intelligent minds actually understand a few things about life that Goff obviously doesn’t. Thank God for women like Anne-Marie Maginnis who defend motherhood from the closed-minded attacks of so-called “feminists.”
Since becoming a father not too long ago, here are a few things I’ve learned about motherhood from observing my wonderful wife and daughter.
1. Motherhood is hard! It is a full-time job that never ends. It requires all the physical, mental, and emotional strength and energy one can muster. I’ve seen my wife exhausted with dark bags under her eyes from caring for our baby. It is definitely hard and challenging work!
2. Children don’t just raise themselves. They don’t just instill themselves with values and morals. They don’t develop their minds or learn to work hard on their own. Children require attention, discipline, and teaching. Their development requires effort, wisdom, innovation, and intelligence. My wife’s education and intellectual level undoubtedly help us better raise our daughter. I’m thankful that my wife obtained a good college education. Study after study show that the mother’s education level is one of the biggest contributing factors into the future education level of the child. The brighter and more educated the mother, the better!
3. Women have an innate ability to bear and raise children! The physical aspect is obvious. To parents around the world, the emotional aspect is obvious as well. Women are endowed with an extra measure of patience, love, and other parental attributes necessary to raise small children. I often wonder how my wife so calmly deals with the challenges of parenting. If women stopped acting as mothers, many families and societies would quickly fall into distress, at least mine would.
4. Children are worth it! They are living, breathing souls and completely undeveloped, entrusted into the hands of mothers and fathers to raise. A woman who chooses to stay at home to raise a child is investing her time, talents, and energy into only a few beings. Why? Because raising a well-developed and contributing member of society requires a large investment upfront. Just as all great leaders understand that their people are their greatest resource and that the best investment is in human capital, wise and diligent parents understand that their children are their family and community’s greatest investment. Children are worth the devotion that good parenting requires. They deserve the best care we can provide, even if that care is coming from a highly capable woman.
The role of a mother is indispensable. If a highly educated woman devoted herself solely to worldly advancement as Goff recommends, her children (if she had time to have any) would most assuredly be neglected.
So please Hilary Rosen and Keli Goff, do not tell me that my wife doesn’t work or that she isn’t worth her education because of her choice to stay home and raise our child, or allude that my child isn’t worth the time, talents, and energy of my educated wife. Because my wife does work hard and my child is worth it!
Some mothers work out of necessity, and there’s no shame in that. Other mothers work by choice, and that is exactly what women’s rights are all about–preserving choice, not bashing and discrediting one of the most popular chosen roles of women around the world. All women deserve the right to obtain the best education possible and then choose, free of criticism, to work, raise children, or both!