It Is Disappointing When Mothers Are Devalued For Staying At Home To Raise Their Children Purdue Argument Essay

1670 words - 7 pages

Fellhoelter 1
Bonnie Fellhoelter
Paola Brown
English 102
17 March 2008
Argument Paper
“Are you hot?
Are you cold?
Are you wearing that?
Where’s your books and your lunch and your homework at?
Grab your coat and your gloves and your scarf and hat.
Don’t forget; you got to feed the cat!” (1)
Anita Renfroe wrote these catchy words for the song “Momisms”, sung to the
familiar tune of the William Tell Overture. Her words best describe a typical day of
mayhem through the eyes of a mother. Mothers who stay at home know that at times,
their lives can be discombobulating. Despite the chaos, stay-at-home mothers get the
tremendous responsibility of only having one chance of raising their children in such a
way that makes a difference in their children’s lives and in society.
Throughout history, society has looked upon the male as the breadwinner: the one
expected to work and support the family. The mother has been viewed as the nurturer:
the one to stay home and raise the children. During the 1960’s, women wanted more
rights, power, and the ability to get higher paying jobs. Women were given this right so
they expressed this new found freedom by going to work outside of the home. As
women sought employment, their children were left to the care of babysitters and day
care workers. Because society has redefined the role of a mother to be one who is an
important element in the workforce, the loss of the mother in the home has led to the
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decline of the family unit, and thus, to society. This forfeiture has created a generation
for whom social morals and values are not as important as they once were. Perhaps this
is due to a working mother being absent from the home where she is unable to personally
instill these ethical standards in her children, thus leaving her children to receive their
value system from strangers. “Society truly does begin at home”, asserts Sibyl Niemann,
so, in order to return to a culture with better morals and values, the importance of the role
of the stay at home mother should be restored. (2) In this way, stay at home mothers can
improve society.
It is disappointing when mothers are devalued for staying at home to raise their
children. Richard Lowry states, “There is something valuable in a mother’s caring for
her own child.” (4) In general, no one can take care of your child in the same way his or
her mother would. A mother’s care is usually superior to daycare since she naturally
wants what is best for her child. “According to a non-partisan Public Agenda survey in
2000, roughly 80 percent of parents with children five and younger say a stay-at-home
parent is best able to give children the “affection and attention they need.”” (qtd. in
Lowry 4)
A mother’s individual care can also curb the aggression that is evident in day
care centers. “A study done by the National Institute of Child Health and Human
Development (NICHD), reports that, kids in non-maternal care tend to be associated with
qualities such as “gets in lots of fights,” “cruelty,” “explosive behavior,” “talking too
much,” “argues a lot,” and “demands a lot of attention.”” (qtd. in Lowry 1) Teachers who
work in a preschool environment, like my daughter, are frustrated with how badly the
children usually behave. Workers in day care are governed by strict rules which prevent
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disciplining children the way one can do at home. This causes a disregard and loss of
respect for others because many children grow up thinking they can do what they want.
Today, many of the younger generation act like they are owed something. In the
workplace, it is shocking to see the way they treat others with their degrading manners
and think there is nothing wrong with their behavior. They also tend to have lazy work
ethics and “cop an attitude” when asked to do anything extra. This makes it difficult for
many employers to find hard working and respectful employees.
It is important to note that not all children in daycare grow up to be aggressive
and unproductive adults. Even though many women in the work force find raising
children to be a very difficult task which leaves them feeling lonely and bored, they do a
fine job of balancing their jobs with raising successful children. These women enjoy
being able to show their children the advantages of working outside of the home. They
are able to “teach their children how to be independent, inquisitive, and ambitious”, as
well as “learn the value of personal fulfillment and goal setting.” (Karaim 1) Reed
Karaim also proclaims that, “successful working mothers give their children one of the
best gifts any parent can: the example of a life lived to its potential.” (3) I think that all
of these examples are helpful in raising successful children, however, I believe a stay at
home mom can also teach these same qualities in the home. I know this to be true
because I was fortunate to remain at home and raise my children. I was the one who was
the nurturer and demonstrated love and compassion to my children by hugging, cuddling,
and kissing them. I was personally involved in teaching them throughout all the stages of
development and shared in the joy of my children’s accomplishments. There is
something special about hearing your child’s first word and watching them take their first
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step as they giggle with glee. I was able to mold my children’s character by instilling
good values and morals that taught them to be independent and set goals for themselves,
such as being on time for work and appointments. These attributes have helped to
contribute to society in a positive way and leave me feeling as if I have done a good job.
Despite the seemingly successful results of a stay at home mom’s efforts, “our
culture no longer values the household supported by a sole breadwinner.” (Niemann 3)
This is demonstrated by the many women who currently do work outside of the home
because they feel the need to contribute to their families’ well being. According to
Niemann, “everything—from buying a house to applying for a college loan for one’s son
or daughter—seems structured around the two income family.” (3) A household that has
a dual income helps “boost many families into middle class.”, says Karaim. (2) This
allows their children to experience the comforts, options for education and opportunities
that they might otherwise not have had.
As tempting as this extra income may be, couples should be careful that this does
not impact their relationship as husband and wife. When spouses compete for power in
the workforce and then return home too tired to deal with the many needs of their
children, the harmony of the family unit can suffer. This is because husbands often feel
threatened by the success of their wives. Steven Rhoads claims that “men are more likely
to divorce women who are ambitious.” (5) Lowry explains that “just the specter of
divorce creates a kind of intra-marital arms race. The wife works to hedge against getting
abandoned, but her very act of working, research shows, makes it more likely that the
marriage will fail—a dismaying downward spiral.” (3) Since divorces negatively impact
society, we should refocus on preserving marriage and on strengthening the family unit.
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When men and women are happy and comfortable in their roles as the father-
breadwinner, and mother-caregiver, marriages can thrive.
Women who do remain at home should not hide behind their children or husbands
but instead should be proud of their role. They should be vocal about how productive
they are with their children and family. This allows working women and men to see and
appreciate the importance of the role of a stay at home mom. Perhaps they will see for
themselves the advantages of remaining at home and raising their children. According to
Lowry, “most women would like to stay home and care for their children, but society
pressures them into believing that a career is more important than family.” (1) Unless
some changes are made, the family unit will continue to decline. Less time spent with
children building character increases the risk for disregarding and disrespecting others.
The current attitudes of “you owe me”, “I deserve it”, as well as “it is all about me” will
probably continue to get worse.
Even though being a stay-at-home mom may have periods of loneliness, boredom,
frustration, and feelings of futility, the rewards of being personally involved with raising
one’s own children greatly outweigh the negatives. One of the greatest accomplishments
in life is being a stay-at-home mom where one can teach and model good behavior and
moral fortitude. By emulating these morals and values, children enter into adulthood
with the necessary tools needed to produce a successful society. As tough as this unpaid
task may be, this self-sacrifice of staying at home to raise ones’ children can be the most
society enhancing job a woman can do.
Works Cited
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Renfroe, Anita. “Momisms.” 2007
Niemann, Sibyl. “Women Should be Encouraged to be Stay-at-Home Mothers.”
Opposing Viewpoints: Male/Female Roles. Ed. Auriana Ojeda. San Diego:
Greenhaven Press, 2005. Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center. Gale.
Maricopa County Community College. 26 February 2008
.
Lowry, Richard. “Working Mothers Are Harming the Family.” Opposing Viewpoints:
The Family. Ed. Auriana Ojeda. San Diego: Greenhaven Press 2003. Opposing
Viewpoints Resource Center. Gale. Maricopa County Community College. 28
February 2008 .
Karaim, Reed. “Women Should Not Be Encouraged to Be Stay-at-Home Mothers.”
Opposing Viewpoints: Male/Female Roles. Ed. Auriana Ojeda. San Diego:
Greenhaven Press, 2005. Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center. Gale.
Maricopa County Community College. 28 February 2008
.
Rhoads, Steven E. “Traditional Marriage Roles Would Improve Male/Female
Relations.” Opposing Viewpoints: Male/Female Roles. Ed. Auriana Ojeda.
San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 2005. Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center.
Gale. Maricopa County Community College. 28 February 2008
.

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