been thinking a lot recently about what I want to do with the
rest of my life. I'm at an age where everything seems to
take on far too much meaning. A promotion at work could be
the beginning of a career, not just a job. A first date
could turn into a relationship could turn into a lifelong
commitment. The townhouse I'm looking at buying could be
the place where I live--alone with six cats--for the rest of my
Okay, maybe I'm overreacting a little. But I can't be the
only one thinking, "Is this all there is?" If
you listen to popular media these days, I am living the ideal
life. I am a young, single, professional woman in a big
city full of other young, single professionals. I have no
commitments, no ties, and no responsibilities other than getting
to work on time and paying the rent. Just add a ridiculous
looking flower on my sweater and a much more interesting sex
life, and I might as well be Sarah Jessica Parker on Sex and the
Society is telling me that life is good. My aspirations
should be no higher than obtaining the newest Manolo Blahnik
heels and a Prada handbag. Get these material things, the
world says, and happiness will be yours.
I took them at their word…I went to Saks, handed over my
credit card, and practically bought the place out. I've
been living a fairly selfish, materialistic life for some time
now, and you know what? I really don't feel any better.
In fact, my killer shoes are killing my feet, and my designer
wallet sure doesn't have much cash left in it.
If society says I've reached the zenith of this life, and I
personally feel like something is missing, then what is wrong
with me? Can't I just enjoy my freedom and my VISA card
without overanalyzing the situation?
Of course I can't. What I want, and what I think most
women want but are too afraid to say it, is a family of my
own--a family where I am the adult and someone else gets to be
the child for a change. For as much as I've enjoyed and
continue to enjoy my time as a spoiled brat, I believe I have
something much more to offer the world than my take-home salary.
I want to-dare I say it?-get married and have children.
And when my babies are born, I want to leave my sixth-floor
office and stay home with them until they're grown.
When was the last time you heard an educated, enlightened young
woman say something like that (aloud)? 1955, right?
Wrong. Wannabe housewives are far more prevalent than HBO
would have us think. The problem is that feminist groups
like NOW and popular culture have for so long battered the image
of the homemaker that she now stands as an object of ridicule,
rather than the symbol of dedication she should be. Women
are ashamed to admit that they want to stay home with their
kids, because staying home is a sign of weakness, incompetence,
or even laziness in today's world.
Now more than ever, I believe we need to challenge those ideas.
Mothers who actually mother their children are too few, but
there are many who do persevere in the face of disrespect and
derision. They do so at great financial and social
expense. Many of these women lose touch with their 'work
friends' and business contacts. They make do for an entire
family with only one salary, which is both more difficult and
more honorable than living a materialistic and spoiled lifestyle
while trying to instill values in young children.
Not all women should stay home with their kids. In a
perfect world, they would, but we have come to a point in time
where women can make their own decisions for better or worse.
However, no woman who chooses to stay home with her babies
should ever be an object of contempt or scorn. Women who
are truly for 'women's liberation' should wholeheartedly support
any decision a woman makes, as long as it is her own, right?
In the face of mounting evidence that children who are raised at
home have better mental and emotional development than children
raised by nannies or in daycare centers, we must all be
supportive of women who sacrifice the financial stability and
social acceptance of the workplace to go home and be with their
For those of you who are considering at-home motherhood (even if
you are too afraid to admit it), I encourage you to visit the
following websites to learn more about moms who stay home and
the kids they benefit. Actually, I encourage everyone to
visit these sites. These are just a few of the many sites
that contain a wealth of information about the wonderful effect
mothers have on our world.
www.mah.org (Mothers at Home)
www.mommytips.com (tips and
support for moms who stay home)
(online network of work-athome and stay-at-home moms)
Price of Motherhood: Why the Most Important Job in the World Is
Still the Least Valued
by Ann Crittenden
History of the Wife
by Marilyn Yalom
Woman Blues: Why Americans Can't Think Straight About Gender and
by Benjamin Demott
Way : Young Women Remake the Sexual Revolution
by Paula Kamen
the Web for: