Thoughts to Ponder are my musings regarding community, things of the Spirit, and living as a Christ-follower. I don't offer the words of a professional or an expert; just a fellow traveler and explorer. Please don't take my musings more serious than I do. I've discovered a long time ago that I do not hold the keys of knowledge or wisdom. If I did, I misplaced them somewhere...typical.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Working Moms and Moms Working

The following quote comes from The New York Post "NYP@Work" on May 6, 2007:

"... being home alone with an infant after working my entire life was a big shock. I worried I'd be isolated - and I was. The kinds of women I meshed with were intellectual and driven. With the stay-at-home moms I met, every conversation was about babies, so it felt like there was no future for me as a person, only as a mom." -Diane Mehta, The Mother Load

The above article wasn't a bad article. In fact, it was quite good on several fronts. I certainly do not intend to denounce "working mothers" in this post! Mom staying at home while dad went to work was something of an anomaly in history anyway. My wife is finishing a degree in management with intentions to find a job: I certainly have no complaints about moms in the work force. I especially hope she becomes successful and out earns me!

But the statement: "it felt like there was no future for me as a person, only as a mom" (emphasis mine) breaks my heart. It is as if "job" equals "personhood" while "mom" equals "less-than-a-person." There was also the less than subtle put-down: "The kinds of women I meshed with were intellectual and driven (my emphasis). With stay-at-home moms I met, every conversation was about babies..."

Granted she qualified the comment with the phrase "I met." However, the impression given was that moms involved in the away-from-home-workforce were more intellectual than moms who stayed at home. I'm not certain if this is plain old snobbery or a very limited experience on Ms. Mehta's part.

I had actually believed the old stereotype that "moms don't really work" or the idea "homemaking is not a vocation" had finally died. Evidently in New York the myth is alive and doing well.

My wife, Terri can't imagine such an attitude. She's often told me, "I love being a stay-at-home-mom! I can do things for my children other moms can't do! I have been able to serve people in our church and community by being a stay-at-home mother. I couldn't have helped others out if I had been in a 9-to-5 job or in the corporate world."

Do yourself a favor and don't even suggest "homemaking" is less than personhood in her presence. (Have you ever seen an enraged mother lioness sans cage or protective cover?) In fact, she might suggest it's the corporate world which sucks the humanity right out of you. Compassion? Serving and loving? Caring more for individuals than for the bottom line? Are these the typical characteristics of the successful business executive?

Have you caught me in an inconsistency here?

I'm using a stereotype, too.

Doesn't feel very good, does it?

I only hope we can see the best in both the working mother who works outside of the home and the working mother who elects to work at home.

God bless those ladies who love the life of the boardroom, who love the 9-to-5 and who find meaning in a profession and a vocation "out there"! I especially appreciate them for the huge burden they shoulder. There are too many fathers who encourage moms to go for that professional career--and still expect them to do the lioness' share of work at home!

Single moms, especially, deserve to receive a double honor for their hard and thankless work.

God bless the women who have chosen Homemaker as their vocation: the women who can't imagine what appeal there is to working outside of the home. They work as hard as any CEO or CFO! Many of them run a house as efficient as a Fortune 500 company (certainly more efficient than the Federal government)!

Both groups love their kids. Both groups love their husbands. Both groups love their vocations. And we need both kinds of moms in the world. Who but a mother knows how to get things done quickly and efficiently in the office? Who but a mom knows how to deal with infantile behavior? Who but a mom can actually recognize it and name the behavior--even if it wears the face of a 30-year-old supervisor?

These moms in the work-force can inspire their sisters who stay at home. They make it possible for all moms to receive more respect from the simplistic folk who tend to forget their value as professionals.

The moms who stay at home can inspire those who leave every morning for the daily commute. They can make the "corporate moms" feel good that somewhere other women are dedicating themselves to serving the home. Perhaps they can say a prayer of thanks their mothers stayed at home. They have a vocation, too.

All say with their actions: You can't take us for granted! We are people! Whether we stay at home or clock in at the office, we are here. We influence children, we make executive decisions, we balance check books and corporate accounts. As moms in the home or away from the home we are still moms. We still are the hub of our families! Don't you dare forget it!

This Sunday is Mothers' Day. I salute all you who wear the mantle of mom! You work hard! You deserve more than just one day a year to honor you! God bless you! And...Thank you!

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