… to ensure happy families on earth and in heaven.
The importance of having mothers at home was recognized for thousands of years. It was just common sense. The fathers earned a living, while the mothers were home tending the home fires.
This was not seriously challenged until World War II, and in a major way, later, by feminism. (More on this later.)
It was not easy to pry the American woman out of her home. Her contributions (as nurse, teacher, cook, baker, cleaner, nurturer, etc.) had always been recognized as essential to the well-being and happiness of the family. However, the push for women to get the vote in the 1920s was used as a push to get women out of the home. If it wasn’t very successful then, its time arrived in the ‘40s when World War II called millions of American men to fight for their country. This must have been the moment the Left had been waiting for: a logical call for American women to replace their husbands in the factories for patriotic reasons.
“Rosie the Riveter” was the symbol. In posters and billboards everywhere, curls stuck out of her red kerchief while she took her husband’s place on the production line, making it clear she was a female “doing her part.” And the media loved it. Even when the war ended, they encouraged women to “seek fulfillment” in their lives, not so subtly suggesting that, of course, they couldn’t expect to find fulfillment as housewives. Thus, when the men came home from the war, some women weren’t in any hurry to return to the domestic scene, and many were persuaded that it was more exciting to work outside the home. It was only later that the women were bombarded with the idea that being a housewife was just a job – and that what she wanted was a CAREER. You had to have a career or you were a dull, boring person who didn’t have this exciting other dimension to you.
But overlooked in the scramble to get a job was the question of who would take her place at home? Who would take care of the children? In the beginning, grandma. However, the advent of the commercial daycare centers greatly reduced having to ask grandma to care for her grandchildren so mom could work outside the home.
(The other side of the coin was the devil’s other solution: to use birth control and have fewer children. This contributed to the birth rate being way down across the world.)
Even so, daycare was not the perfect solution, of course. Not only does daycare cost so much that it takes a serious bite out of the extra income that mom brings in, but it is notorious for passing on sickness from one child to another. The problems of the daycare centers have been widely documented. Some are sub-standard, unsanitary, poorly regulated, and run by incompetents, as well as those that are ably and reasonably proficient. There was (and is) a huge disparity between them.
But if the daycare centers provided the illusion that the little ones were adequately cared for, then that seemed to solve the major impediment to mom getting an outside job.
A second major reason that some women left their homes for the job market was the lure of a second paycheck. Where their parents’ and grandparents’ generations had been willing to wait for those extras like new carpeting, nicer homes, and new cars, most of today’s families were persuaded that they didn’t have to wait to have a boat or fancier vacations if the mother of the family was bringing in a paycheck too.
And as to this paycheck, women were told they should expect to earn the same as men. This brought things like the ERA (Equal Rights Amendment) into being, opening the door for multiple other items on the liberal/feminist agenda. (Side note for younger readers, perhaps: The ERA might have sounded like a fair and just amendment, but in reality, it would have caused great havoc with our society, negatively impacting American life in general, and the well-being of women in particular.)
Here are just a few of the ERA’s harmful consequences:
1. The ERA would be used to overturn all restrictions on abortion;
2. The ERA would be used to mandate taxpayer funding of elective Medicaid abortions;
3. The ERA would remove gender designations from bathrooms, locker rooms, jails, and hospital rooms;
4. The ERA would not give women any more rights than they currently have; and
5. The ERA would overturn laws and practices that benefit women because they would be viewed as showing preferential treatment to women.
➢ Workplace laws that provide special accommodations for expectant mothers;
➢ State labor laws and guidelines which benefit women who do heavy, manual labor;
➢ Social Security benefits for stay-at-home mothers based on their spouse’s income; and
➢ Exemption of women from the military draft and front-line combat.
Here is the ERA’s history in a nutshell:
The U.S. House of Representatives passed the ERA in 1972, but by law, it had to be ratified by ¾ of the states within seven years in order to be a part of the Constitution of our country. After untold Conservative efforts to educate people on the dangers of this amendment, the ERA failed to be ratified.
Unfortunately, the Left was able to get a three-year extension, which (thankfully) ended in 1982 without the required number of states ratifying it. (Also, five states that had approved it, rescinded their ratification after better understanding the dangers of the proposed amendment.)
Currently, there is a new push to entice additional states to ratify, with Nevada succumbing in 2017, Illinois in 2018, and Virginia in 2020.)
End of this brief history lesson.
Let’s get back to our look at women and how they were enticed out of their homes. What had been (disastrously) overlooked was how important the mother was to the family and how the family would suffer in her absence.
Yes, this article focuses on the absence of mothers in the home, but for just a moment let us digress and talk briefly about the absence of fathers in the home. This move was facilitated by a huge change that was thrust on the American ethos with the idea of “single mothers.” This was a new term that was introduced and repeated to legitimize the idea of women “voluntarily” raising their children by themselves. The gradual acceptance of the idea of “single mothers” contributed to the assault on marriage by the huge increase of couples temporarily living together without the benefit of marriage. The removal of the stigma attached to this sinful way of life accomplished the disastrous objective of making it so common that it spread far and wide.
What greatly contributed to the rise of “single mothers” was the destructive welfare system, which increased the monthly check for every baby she bore out of wedlock. It was a money-maker for some. (What does that teach the next generation?)
Another evil result of the absence of fathers in the home was that boys lacked a male role model, and thus, many tended to become feminized, (which may contribute to the confusion in so many young minds as to whether they should use the boys’ or the girls’ bathrooms, for example.)
Returning to our subject of women being absent from the home. Women moved from factory jobs into offices, stores, industries, etc. Home life suffered. Many tried to “do it all” but found it impossible, merely a step along the path toward frustration, exhaustion, and ulcers. Seemingly, common sense would tell you that working at an outside job for 40 hours a week is hardly compatible with a smoothly-running home where laundry is done in a timely manner, beds are changed regularly, nutritious meals are the norm; where children can be listened to, instructed, guided, monitored, etc.
(Note to widows or mothers involuntarily in circumstances where they are doing the job by themselves: You are not included in this disparagement. The valiant job you find yourselves required to do needs no explanation or justification.)
However, it might be instructive to consider some of the possible consequences of women taking jobs outside the home:
1. As mentioned above, the cost of hiring a sitter or paying for daycare is formidable. It swallows a big chunk of that extra paycheck;
2. There is little or no supervision of the children after school. This can’t be a good thing. The children become part of that sad world of Latchkey Children coming home to an empty house;
3. Second car expenses must be figured into any financial cost;
4. More money spent on more clothes for the women;
5. Rushed meals, in many cases more expensive meals, thrown-together with increased fast food elements and convenience foods; not particularly healthy meals;
6. The time crunch leaves little or no time for problem-solving family discussions around the dinner table (where problems often are first recognized and resolved);
7. Guilt at spending less and less time with the children. (There’s always so much to do she doesn’t have time to sit and find out how things are going in their lives, at school, in the neighborhood, etc.) This is also where some strange idea that the student picked up might come to light and be explored, explained, and debunked, if necessary.
8. It often precipitates arguments about whose job it is to (fill in the blank here, e.g., empty the dishwasher, throw the next load in, make the lunches);
9. Frequently can’t scrutinize the children’s friends;
10. Often hasn’t the time to follow up on whether homework is finished or chores completed;
11. Discipline usually suffers;
12. No time for a kneel-down family rosary; and
13. Impossible to monitor children’s time with entertainment, as well as a tendency toward laxity in using entertainment such as TV, video games, social media, or electronic devices.
Now, if you are a traditional Catholic home-schooling family, you may be way ahead of the game because you may not have to worry about most, if not all, of those 13 problem areas listed above. For example, you may not have a TV. And the home-schooling family tends to have a closer eye on who their children are playing with.
And the children don’t need latchkeys, and a rosary always begins the class day, etc. But let’s get real, right? Can being a stay-at-home mother guarantee life will be a bed of roses? Frankly, no. But learning what works (and what doesn’t) goes a long way toward making your load easier. And having the mother in the home is a huge step toward successfully raising and educating your family.
Now it is not pandering to women to point out how indispensable they are in the family. When I hear someone speak condescendingly about women wasting their time (and talents) changing diapers, and making snarky remarks about the “little woman” baking her chocolate chip cookies, I want to sit her down and explain the facts of domestic life to her. (Because it’s almost always “working women” – often guilt-filled – who attempt to disparage the stay-at-home mom.) I want to point out to her that it isn’t vacuuming the house, shopping for groceries, doing the laundry, etc. that make that mother’s job important, essential as those things are. It’s being there:
· to comfort a child with a skinned knee;
· holding her daughter’s hand when she gets her first shot;
· listening to her son’s grievance against the neighbor kid;
· taking him to the orthodontist;
· instructing her daughter how to write a thank you note to her grandmother;
· listening to her spelling-words;
· teaching her son his Mass server’s Confiteor;
· helping her daughter on her first sewing project;
· guiding her son’s preparation for the SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test);
· etc., etc.
And that doesn’t even include the obvious things like: making a child’s special birthday dinner, taking the dog to the vet; and two of the most important things: – recognizing that that kid from the end of the block is up to no good, and guiding her son away from him; and also, welcoming home at the end of the day the father of the family.
To sum up, the mother’s job is one of the most important jobs in the world: to create a happy, God-centered family, to make a home that is a good place to be.