In the modern world, there are so many different kinds of family arrangements.
Although classical gender roles are still an ingrained part of our culture, modern living has added a lot more variety and flexibility into our home life. In the past, it was thought that men would be the ones who would do most of the work while women would stay at home and take care of children and the home. Today, there are plenty of women who choose not to have children and pursue careers, or women who have children and still pursue careers as well.
Still, some of these old traditions and stereotypes can be hard to break.
This was made all too clear by a photo which spread around Facebook recently.
The photo originated from a Facebook page called The Transformed Wife, a Christian-oriented parenting and family page which posts memes, quotes and photos about a traditional lifestyle. The controversy began when the page posted a photo of a flow chart, the top of it headed “Should Mothers Have Careers?” The image broke down two different paths that a potential mother could take, one where she stayed home entirely and the other where she went to work as well.
Needless to say, the conclusions that the chart drew were fairly one-sided.
The argument of the flow chart was that mothers should definitely not have careers, because a mother’s main responsibility it to tend to children and home.
As the flow chart showed, the “career” side argued that those women would be “away from home hours every day,” causing women to “[come] home exhausted.” Beyond that, it argued that the food the family ate would probably be “fast food or microwaved,” weekends would be dedicated to “cleaning house and shopping.” To cap it all off, it argued that those women would be “too tired for intimacy with [their husbands.”
Although there may be some sliver of truth to some of the points, the real controversy came when compared to the other side of the chart.
The other side of the chart argued almost exclusively in the positive for mothers only staying home.
Instead of going to work, the at-home mother would “[rest] while her children nap” and would have time to make dinners that are “from scratch, nutritious and delicious.” Beyond that, they would also have plenty of time to play with their children and teach them “about Jesus all day long.” At the end of it, it was also said that these moms could spend “weekends at the beach/park” and be “intimate with [their husbands] frequently.”
The conclusions under both sides of the chart are what drew the most criticism.
If it wasn’t clear what the agenda of the chart was, the bottom spelled it out clearly.
According to the post, women with careers would draw the following conclusion:
“Her life is falling apart. She doesn’t feel like she’s a good wife or mother.”
On the other hand, mothers who only stayed at home ended up on the opposite side of the spectrum:
“Her life is fulfilling. Her husband and children rise up and call her blessed!”
Needless to say, this chart vastly simplifies a complex and nuanced topic.
To argue that all women who have careers are necessarily bad mothers is not only inaccurate, it’s extremely insulting to working mothers. On the other hand, the chart is also equally if not more limiting to women who only stay at home with their children. While many women may get a lot of satisfaction from tending to a home and taking care of children exclusively, all women are different and many mothers likely want time to define themselves apart from their families.
Unfortunately, in the mind of this blogger, it seems that the complex reality of this situation simply doesn’t exist.
Although working mothers certainly face some challenges that stay-at-home moms don’t, the same is true the other way around!
The idea that a family’s entire life will be in order simply by making the woman stay at home is frankly a ridiculous thing to assert (and completely fails to take into account the emotional toll of only spending time with children and then forcing yourself to be available for “intimacy”). For their part, commenters online have flooded the post with all kinds of dissenting opinions saying why the post is inaccurate or insulting:
Although the post hit on a problem that is relatively universal, it came across in a very simplified way—but what do readers think?
Family life is too complex to be summed in a basic two-lane flow chart, that much is obvious. Still, some readers may think that a more traditional lifestyle may have benefits that a modern one doesn’t. Similarly, mothers with careers may feel that they are instilling positive attitudes of individuality and hard work in their children. What do you think? How could this argument have been made better? Which parts are true and which aren’t?
Tell us your thoughts in the comments below!
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