The Barriers to Familywork Part 2


Barrier#3 Our  American culture promotes out sourcing everything.

With women returning to the work force after World War II, suddenly there were two incomes and no more time to do the things a stay-at-home mother did . Our time has become a valuable commodity. You could now pay someone to clean your house, do your yard and wash your car. With this change from the one-income household in our culture, parents were too tired for the second shift– work that’s waiting for them when they got home. I know–we ate off of paper plates the year after my daughter was born because I was teaching school full-time. I came home bone tired. It’s why it’s hard to gather the initiative and will to work with your children. However, when I read in Newsweek magazine that parents in DC were paying 50.00 an hour for a “professional” to teach their child to ride a bike I thought I had heard it all. If we have someone else doing our cleaning, our lawn care, mending our clothes, fixing our food, then our children grow up thinking all of that happens magically. It also takes so much money to pay others to do things we can do ourselves.

Barrier#4: “Women must be liberated from these onerous family tasks so that they might be free to work for money.”


Professor Kathleen Slaugh  Bahr, who made me aware of the power of Familywork from my latest posts on her essay in BYU magazine said:

“I grew up in a little town in northern Utah, the oldest daughter in a family of thirteen children…My mother did not leave home to earn money. She spent her day caring for the children and for our home, and helping neighbors when needed…Caring for our large family kept all of us busy most of the time. Mother was the overseer of the inside work, and Dad the outside, but I also remember seeing my father sweep floors, wash dishes and cook meals when his help was needed. My mother taught each of us—the boys and girls—to cook, clean and sew. It was important to her that we learn to do things for ourselves and each other.”

“When I went to Michigan State University to do graduate work, I learned that not everyone considered this pattern of family life ideal. At the university, almost everything I read, and much of what I heard, belittled Familywork. In class lectures, in professional journals, and in the talk of liberated graduate students, I was told that Familywork, including nursing babies, cooking, cleaning — all the ordinary, everyday work of caring for a family-­was a waste of an intelligent woman’s time. A woman might choose to be a mother and care for her family as a sideline, but the message was clear: the work that really mattered was paid work done away from home. Historians reminded us students that men had long been liberated from farm and family work; now women were also to be liberated. One professor taught that assigning the tasks of nurturing children primarily to women was the root of women’s oppression. Articles in the professional journals argued that women who nurtured their own children and received no pay were really no different from servants or slaves. They were slaves to their husbands and to their children. I was told that women must be liberated from these onerous family tasks so that they might be free to work for money.” (Work In the Home : Building Enduring Relationships.)

This is an issue that  is not going away.  On the Fox news website, this week,  it published this article by Suzzanne Venker on March 24, 2017:

Ms. Venkler said:

“In 1976, the French feminist icon Simone de Beauvoir said, “No woman should be authorized to stay home to raise her children. Women should not have that choice, because if there is such a choice, too many women will make that one.”

“That’s who thought of when I heard about the column Sarrah Le Marquand, editor-in-chief of Stellar, Australia’s “most read” magazine, wrote for the Daily Telegraph, in which she claims it should be illegal for mothers of school-aged children to stay home.

Yes, illegal. “Rather than wail about the supposed liberation in a woman’s right to choose to shun paid employment, we should make it a legal requirement that all parents of children of school-age or older are gainfully employed.”’ Here is the link to the article.

I am also including a comment in the comments section  when I read this article for the second time on Meridian Magazine’s  website:

“Family decisions need to be left with the family. That includes whether there is a stay-at-home mom OR a stay-at-home dad. As our church leaders have said, many mothers work due to financial necessity in a variety of circumstances. We need to not judge other family arrangements from the outside.”

I am not judging family arrangements. I am saying that we have to take a hard look when both parents are working at how that can affect our young children. It’s also hard being a single mother and managing finances.  How do you balance the cultural pressure to have material things against managing your finances and making sure your children are being parented by one of you?



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