The Feminine Mistake???

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In this week’s (April 9) issue of People magazine, there is an article about a new book entitled The Feminine Mistake by Leslie Bennetts. It was listed as a “Critic’s Choice”. Here’s the blurb from the article:

“In this provocative examination of the economic pitfalls facing stay-at-home moms, Bennetts warns career women against “opting out” of their careers to to bring up baby (ie. raise their children rather than putting them in daycare). Haunted by the financial straights that faced her grandmother, whose husband left her for his mistress, and her mother, who returned to work after Bennett’s father lost his job, the author never considered quitting her job as a journalist after having two kids. But she has become increasingly concerned by a trend among educated women to resign from paid work and rely on men to support them. In an era of divorce, vanishing pensions and longer life spans, it’s “too risky” she writes, “to count on anyone else to support you over the long haul.”

New divorce laws have made lifetime alimony rare. Women trying to work again after years away find their skills are sorely out of date. Those who worry about kids whose moms work have the real danger inverted: A “more realistic fear,” one expert says, “is what happens if the husband dies, leaves you or loses his job, and you have no earning power.” The book’s cover, showing a house of cards, is a spot-on metaphor for Bennetts’ contention that taking the mommy track is risky business. This sobering read is her clarion call for those considering it to think twice.”

People asked the author Why did you write the book? “Staying home with your kids is always being discussed as a lifestyle choice, but it has huge financial ramifications. I’ve seen the wreckage – why isn’t anybody warning young women? We need a Paul Revere!”

Those of you’ve who’ve read the blog for a while may realize that I’m sort of an “anti-feminist.” Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for equal pay and the right to vote and own land and all that. But, women LOST a lot with the “women’s liberation movement”. We lost the respect people used to show to women who stayed home and cared for their children. We started sticking kids in daycare, we started putting elderly family members in nursing homes, we started seeing the divorce rate climb as men felt they were competing with their wives and it demasculated men as their position as the provider for the family was diminished. Women gave men the very clear message that “WE DON’T NEED YOU” and they responded with divorce. If someone showed me that they didn’t need me, I wouldn’t stick around either.

So, I personally blame radical feminists, at least in part, for the demise of the American Family. I think it’s women like Mrs. Bennetts that the divorce rates are so high. Here are my thoughts, specifically about this article:

A “mistake” to stay home with your babies and trust that your husband will take care of you and your children? If I were a husband and my wife wrote this book, I certainly wouldn’t feel like a hero. No wonder she’s worried that he’s going to find a honey and desert them.

Keeping your spouse happy and investing time and effort into keeping a marriage good and solid can prevent your spouse from leaving you; life insurance can prevent financial ruin in the event of your husband’s death; good financial planning can prevent a financial disaster in the event that your husband loses his job. These are all lame excuses not to put your faith in and trust your personal well being to a MAN. If you aren’t willing to do that – how can you mary and make babies with him???

So, that’s my two cents. I applaud women who choose to leave a career they’ve worked hard to build, and paid who knows how much to get an education, to stay home and care for their children. I think those women are heroes for their families – not financial dummies.

And, for the record, I didn’t stay home with my daughter. I was a single parent until she was 8 and how I WISHED I could have stayed home with her. It wasn’t an option for me. I have a very good job and make, in my opinion, extremely good money. However, if we could afford it and I got pregnant now, I’d quit my job in about 1 second flat. No second thoughts. It doesn’t matter that I (currently) make more money than Hubby. If we could find a financial way to work it out for me not to have to work outside the home – I’d do it. Yes – I would risk my future financial well being and place it in the hands of my husband. I would GLADLY do this. Of COURSE I trust him to take care of me and provide for me and our family. I married him didn’t I???

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3 responses »

  1. As you know I have struggled with this very issue! I do work due to debt (which I resent the most). If more people could be educated at a younger age about money management none of this would be an issue, or at least the argument this author makes would be a mute point

    I agree with Tatr, it’s about trust. Yes, some people do get burned, but I choose not to live my life always trying to protect myself from everything that could go wrong – how is that a way to live. Besides no matter how “prepared” you think you are, something else can still happen.

    Giving to your home life is extremely rewarding. There’s no guarantees in the career world either. There are people who’ve committed their whole lives to their jobs only to be “let go” due to budget cuts or whatever. The author should’ve married her job, because that’s what she’s devoting her time to – not her life/husband/family. Yes, you can juggle both, but to not be at home ONLY to protect yourself is very selfish and shows a lot of issues with not being able to trust anyone. Giving of yourself is always a gamble, but does not mean we have to be dumb about it. I do agree you should prepare for what you would need to do in case things don’t work out or something tragic happens (i.e., insurance, savings,etc), but it’s not DUMB to commit yourself to being at home and you shouldn’t fear it to the point you won’t do anything that could leave you vulnerable.

    I’m also not a feminist (present day definition). I love being a woman and being treated like one. I find it amazing that a woman would actually be insulted by a man opening a door for her or offering to hold something. It’s disgusting what the modern day feminists have done!

  2. I stayed home with my kids til my youngest was in grade 2 – then I got a job as a cashier in a grocery store working right across from the school they went to. Sure it meant we lost financially for a while – but we CHOSE to do that when we CHOSE to have kids. And I trusted my husband to do the right thing if we ever split – which we did for a year and which he did during that time. To say it’s a mistake to stay at home and raise your kids is so very wrong. I wouldn’t have traded those years for anything.
    What a sad woman she is.

  3. I wondered awhile about posting to this. I’m a stay at home mom now,I have been since we had our son 5yrs ago, almost 6yrs. It’s a struggle in some ways. We don’t have the latest gadgets, my kids don’t wear GAP clothes, but they are feed, have new clothes when needed, have more toys than Carter had little pills, and are happy. That’s the main thing. If you have to work, then so be, some do, my mom did, but she still made sure I was happy in a natural way, not with material things but with the knowledge she’d be with me if she could be.

    I was asked recently, which I’m making a post on my blog about, what dream I lost to be a SAHM. I had to say, none. I’ve never dreamed of being anything else. I thought about doing something, teaching or something, until I could be a SAHM. But never really aspired to be anything else.I am who I am, which is my kids mom, hubby’s wife, my mom’s daughter, and me. Simple as that. I don’t plan for when hubby leaves me, because the only way he will is if it’s not his choice. He knows little about what money we have, I handle all that. He makes it, I spend it(paying bills, putting it up or whatever). He has his money to live on and we have most everything we want. Are there things we dream of owning, sure, but if we really wanted them, we’d get them. As it is, we have what we need, most of what we want, and we are happy. Does that make me a sellout. Probably. Does it make me weak? Have you ever tended to two kids under 5 sick, with a hubby sick, a housefull of reptiles and a yard full of dogs and a mom with a bad back in need of surgery and still find time to do for myself? I’d say no, I’m not weak. I’m just living my dream. If it’s a mistake, then so be it, I’ll gladly pay for it. Some mistakes are the best thing to ever happen to us.

    WendyK

    *sorry for going on and on*

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