The latest group of Americans to be trashed by their president is stay-at-home mothers. President Obama recently claimed during a speech in Rhode Island that America doesn’t want stay-at-home mothers. His knock on this group is not surprising. After all, being a liberal, self-centeredness is in the president’s DNA. Hence, Barack Obama cannot fathom a woman sacrificing her career—either temporarily or permanently—to care for her children. What is ironic in Obama’s statement about stay-at-home mothers is that there would be a lot more of them if the economy was in better shape. Many women who would prefer to stay at home and care for their children have been forced to go to work to help make ends because Obama’s economic policies have failed to sufficiently improve the economy. .
What is even more ironic about the president’s comments concerning stay-at-home mothers is that he apparently forgot that his own wife is one. Of course, there is always a chance that his statement was a Freudian slip and that the president secretly wishes Michelle would get a job, but I won’t go there. His statement just shows how out of touch the president is. Barack Obama has become so insulated from life outside the D.C. beltway that he doesn’t even know what is going on in the real world most Americans live in (as opposed to the fantasyland he and his fellow liberals inhabit). The number of stay-at-home mothers is on the rise in spite of the fact that many former members of this group have had to go to work to prop up the family finances because of Obama’s failed economic policies.
Being a stay-at-home mother is a career just like any other career except that it is centered in the home. In fact, it is one of the toughest careers a mother can pursue; which might explain why so many women have chosen careers outside the home—they are easier. Like all career fields, being a stay-at-home mother requires special skills, but in this case they are skills that are not taught in high school or college. Raising children and keeping a home is something you learn how to do while doing it. It happens in real time and is like trying to change a flat tire on a bicycle while still pedaling it. It takes a special person to be a stay-at-home mother.
Contrary to popular perception, being a stay-at-home mother generates income for the family. How? It’s simple. Every dollar the family does not have to spend because both parents are working can be counted as income—income generated by the stay-at-home mother. Think about the costs incurred when both parents work outside the home. There is the high cost of day care, the extra gasoline at $2.75 per gallon and up, and the cost of take-out meals when compared with the home-cooked variety to name just a few of the costs. If you have trouble accepting that money saved is money earned, consider this: If I relieve you of just one line item in your monthly budget that is the same as contributing an equal amount of money to your paycheck. In fact, in this statist economy where taxes are so high, cutting expenses probably has a greater impact on the family budget than increased income.
If Barack Obama were paying attention rather than pandering to working women for their votes, here are some things he would (and should) know:
- After three decades of decline, the percentage of stay-at-home mothers is on the rise. The volume of stay-at-home mothers is now 29 percent. This figure is up from 23 percent in 1999. What is even more interesting is that the number of working women who claim they would like to stay at home is also increasing. As was stated earlier, many of the women who are working today are doing so not to pursue careers but out of economic necessity. If women in this group could stay home with their kids, they would. What is especially difficult for President Obama and his fellow liberals is that there have been numerous high-profile women who have opted to leave highly successful careers outside the home so they could devote all of their energy to raising their children. A few of these have even written books about the issue and why they chose children and home over their careers outside the home. The comments of professional women who are opting for full-time motherhood are all similar to those made by Marilyn Montgomery in an interview for ABC News (“Professional Moms Quit Work for Motherhood,” http://abcnews.go.com, March 15, 2014). Montgomery said: “When I was working and taking care of one child, I was in an amazing race, running from daycare to work…” But before her second child was born, the advertising and public relations professional realized she wouldn’t be able to give both her family and her job a 100 percent effort, so she chose her family. Concerning her choice, Montgomery said: “I couldn’t be happier. I have adjusted so much that I’ve decided never to go back to work again. I love being with my children.” What is even more important is that I suspect her children love being with her too.
- Although 71 percent of mothers still work outside the home (if you include part-time work in the percentage), a full 60 percent of Americans claim that children are better off when a parent stays home and tends to family matters. I would imagine that if the pollsters asked the children for their opinions—which nobody ever does—this number would be a good deal higher. I was raised by a single mother from fourth grade on and can state from first-hand experience that things were much better for me and my brothers when our family was intact and our mother was able to stay home.
- Stay-at-home mothers spend more time with their children than do those who work outside the home. No surprise here. There are only 24 hours in a day whether you work at home or outside the home. Mothers who are with their kids all day before they start school and are with them before and after school once they do start naturally give them more time than mothers who are gone all day and sometimes nights working outside the home. Cell phones, email, and texting help mothers stay in touch with their children, but cell phones and computers are hardly substitutes for one-on-one, face-to-face interaction. A mother cannot hug a hurting or frightened child over the Internet. What is especially important about this finding is that researchers know that the more time children spend actively engaged face-to-face with loving, caring parents, the better they do in school and, in turn, in life.
Here is the bottom line for Barack Obama and other liberals who like to knock stay-at-home mothers, liberals like Hillary Clinton for example: Yes, mothers and fathers can turn their children over to day care workers, school teachers, and sports coaches, and yes, they can enroll them in an almost endless variety of activities to occupy them in the after school hours. But I can state unequivocally from personal experience that day care workers, teachers, coaches, and after school activities do not come close to giving kids what a loving mother who is right there when you need her can give them. If you don’t believe me, ask your kids.