- Family and Parenting
Working Mom's Vs At Home Moms
Warning: This is another one of
those brutally honest Hubs.
Society and societal pressure play an important part in how we view the acceptability of behavior. An example of society changing would be the attitudes that people have toward tattoos. Forty years ago seeing a woman with a tattoo was unheard of, today it is accepted. The changes in societal attitudes have affected many other things as well, such as how we view the roll of mothers. Again forty years ago many of the mothers were stay at home moms. At that point women were in the work place but, they were normally single or without children (there were exceptions).
Today it often takes two parents working just to make ends meat. More often than not two people are working for things such as houses, cars, and vacations. This shift in priorities has carried with it the idea that children do not need a parent in the home to take care of them. Day cares are a part of every day lives. Parents line up their cars with little Billy and Suzy in tow, leaving them with people they hardly know for nine to ten hours a day.
The battle between stay at home moms and working moms has spurred animosity from both sides. Few people have actually brought in science and psychology to back their side of the argument. The impassioned pleas of both sides have become nothing more than a hair pulling contest in which both sides loose (ouch). I propose that we actually use science and psychology to understand the bigger picture of this issue.
Harry Harlow performed what is now debated as one of the cruelest experiments in psychology history. He used Rhesus Monkeys (one of the closest biologically to humans) and separated the babies from their mothers giving them only a feeding apparatus. Eventually Harlow tried to reintroduce the monkeys to a group. These baby monkeys were so socially distraught that they exhibited behaviors such as hiding, rocking back and forth, screaming in terror, and attacking the other monkeys (Harlow, 1957). These monkeys were socially inept and experienced such anxiety that they could never be reintegrated with the group. Most of the monkeys had to be caged separately for the rest of their lives.
It may seem like an extreme analogy however, consider for a moment the infant who is left at day care for nine hours a day. Nine hours where that baby is not loved, and does not have its parent. The reality is that day care workers are prohibited from hugging children (for obvious reasons). These day care workers are not much better than the feeding apparatus given to the Rhesus monkeys.
In psychology, child development is viewed in stages and although the ideas vary, most psychologists agree that the first five years of a child’s life are crucial. During the first five years a child develops social skills, learns to walk, talk and learns behavior patterns. Harlow’s experiment shows that children also learn compassion and how to love. If a Rhesus monkey cannot develop without a mother, what makes humans think they can develop without a mother?
The argument about a mothers roll is a mute point. Children need their mothers. Women will say they have a right to have a career, to that I say “then don’t have children”. Having children is not like buying a car, it’s not an accessory of life. Children are people and they require proper care to become good people. It is selfish to leave children simply on the guise of being a businesswoman. Once a woman has a child she relinquishes the right to be a career person. The decision to keep a child is the decision to raise that child properly, not abandon that child to strangers.
Everyday divorces bring the burden of support to the door step of newly single mothers. This situation creates a paradigm in which women are lucky to keep a roof over the heads of their children. Obviously these mothers have no other choice but, to work. There are situations of poverty that force a woman to work. However, if a woman can stay home with her children and chooses not to, she is doing a disservice to those children.
The idea to have a child should not be taken lightly. Women have many opportunities in this world. I want to make it clear that I am not against women in the workplace. I am against mother’s choosing to leave their children behind in pursuit of personal ambitions. To my way of thinking this is a selfish practice. There will be those who disagree, to them I say back it up with a study that shows a baby develops better without their mother. I can tell you now that study does not exist and never will.
Parenting is a great responsibility. The most important thing we ever do is raise our children. When you look back on life if you have failed in the workplace, few people will remember. If you fail as a parent no one will ever forget.
Harlow, H. (1957) (http://www.muskingum.edu/~psych/psycweb/history/harlow.htm