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In Praise of Stay-At-Home Moms
Mom with a View

In Praise of Stay-At-Home Moms

Sometimes the obvious needs to be stated.

by

There is a new book out entitled "In Praise of Stay-At-Home Moms." I'm intrigued by the concept. We've become a society where the obvious needs to be stated, and then proven through expensive studies. (Did you know that men and women are different?)

Of course stay-at-home moms deserve praise. Most mothers (and fathers too, for that matter) deserve praise.

Unfortunately, at least since the advent of Betty Friedan and The Feminine Mystique, mothers who stay home have been demeaned and devalued.

They are considered to be either ill-informed (at best), and incapable of even being informed (at worst), uneducated, incompetent, foolish and at the very least, the spoiled rich. Otherwise why would anyone make such a choice? When women with MBA's leave their jobs to stay home with their children, it becomes a major NY Times article.

We need to praise stay-at-home moms because it's not an easy choice; it's a choice that society in general looks down on. A women without a least one graduate degree and an upwardly mobile career path just isn't worth talking to. Everyone has a riff on that classic cocktail party scene. "What do you do?" "I'm home raising my children." "Excuse me, I need to mingle."

We need to praise stay-at-home moms because no one else does

We need to praise stay-at-home moms because no one else does. Their kids certainly don't. And sometimes their husbands are also unsure, negatively influenced by the noise of the world around them.

We need to praise stay-at-home moms because it's a lonely job. The kids are cute but the need for adult company is strong and frequently unsatisfied. To accept the loneliness in order to give your children stability and security is a brave decision. I used to receive a lot of praise for having a houseful of Shabbos guests when I had many small children underfoot. They didn't realize that it was a totally selfish act. By the end of the week I was in desperate need of the conversation and companionship of adults!

We need to praise stay-at-home moms because it's not an easy job. It's physically draining -- you need to operate at high energy with little sleep. You get dirty, your kids get dirty, your house gets dirty...and your children don't stop moving.

We need to praise stay-at-home moms because they are constantly working on their character. The opportunities for lack of patience, frustration and losing your temper are frequent, perhaps every few minutes. (Although some careers may pose similar challenges, if they're as frequent as in the care of small children, it's probably time to look for a new job!)

We need to praise stay-at-home moms because they are creating the future. They are aware of what's at stake and are willing to make the necessary sacrifices.

In fact the only thing that detracts from the praise of stay-at-home moms is the fact that amidst all the effort and hard work, there is a lot of pleasure available.

Through the blur of mess and exhaustion, there is the joy of watching your children explore the world -- a flower, a birdie, a new friend. There is the thrill of their first step and their further adventures of discovery. There is the excitement of their first word and the thoughts and sentences that follow. There is the gratification in watching their character develop -- in seeing them share with others, play with others, and even comfort others. If you pay attention, those pleasures never cease.

Everyone needs praise. But perhaps stay-at-home moms just need to change their focus. We need to focus on the benefits and not the challenges and frustrations, not the lack of external validation (I know, not an easy task). We get to watch our children's eyes light up when they see us, we get to hold their little hands as we play at the park with them, pushing them on the swings and catching them at the end of the slide. And we get those hugs and kisses and "I love you mommy" at the end of the day. Who needs cocktail parties anyway?

Published: July 25, 2009


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Visitor Comments: 36

(34) Odeleya Kacobs, March 18, 2012 4:11 AM

IN PRAISE OF STAY AT HOME MOMS

From a torah perspective Hashem entrusted the Jewish woman nurture the offspring for 9 months of pregnancy. A mother has a great responsibility and and is able to give so much love and dedication and chinch to her child in a way that no one else can do.The bond between mother and child is so strong that the nina yetera,the extra sense that a mother has can guide the mother to do what her child needs for spiritual ,physical and emotional growth.ESPECIALLY DURING THE FIRST 3 YEARS OF LIFE WHERE THE BRAIN GROWS SO RAPIDLY AS WELL AS THE BODY OF A CHILD. Being a stay at home mo enables to give the child SO MUCH OF WHAT HE?SHE NEEDS . I was a stay at home mom and it was not easy financially but we did all we can and gave up on many things in order for me to stay home raising our children. It is the most important position that a mother can have and it is 24/7 schedule. You do not get a second chance to do this right. It is VERY REWARDING when the kids are grown up

(33) Anonymous, October 13, 2009 9:09 AM

Finances

Hello everyone, If a woman with small children works outside the home, this incurs additional expenses: 1) daycare 2) work wardrobe 3) transportation to work/owning a second car (according to Chris Balish, car ownership over five years is about double the purchase price) 4) eating out (lunches at work, or being too tired to make dinner) 5) small indulgences from simply being "out on the town" more often-- more opportunities to shop 6) taxes (a second income is sometimes taxed more heavily than the first) If a mother stays home, she can save money in these ways: 1) making & mending clothes 2) growing vegetables in a garden 3) planning & budgeting low-cost dinners & lunches 4) fewer trips, reduced transportation costs 5) homeschooling instead of daycare I think it is important to actually write down precisely where the second income is going. Some working mothers have done this and found that their income was eaten up in work-related expenses, even to the point of being a negative number. Until a couple has actually "crunched the numbers," it is impossible to say for sure whether her second income is actually helping. I think if a mother truly wants to stay home, she can make it happen. It's possible to live very simply-- eat lots of rice and beans, for example. Perhaps I'm naive, but I don't want anyone to give up just because she hasn't yet found a way to "come home." Thanks!

(32) Miriam Adahan, August 12, 2009 8:06 PM

THANK YOU!

B"H The obvious is that children need moms - and dads too. Thank you for giving stay-at-home moms the recognition and praise they so sorely need.

(31) Carol, August 2, 2009 8:41 PM

missing the point

The article isn't knocking moms who work. Society does look down at stay-at-home moms and the article is just stating that stay-at-home moms deserve respect just as much as other moms. I was a stay-at-home mom and attended parties and some women made me feel like I was a told idiot for staying home with my children. So I am pleased with the article. I know these are hard times and some moms do have no choice. But no one should look down on stay-at-home moms. I praise Hashem that I was able and happy to be at home with my children. We also have to look at our priorities. How many things are more important than our children.

(30) shayna poupko, August 2, 2009 6:21 AM

memory bank

Many of the comments have brought out valid points. Not every mother works to be out of the home and not every at home mom is devoted to her children. Underlying our choices should be the knowledge that what we invest in our children, whether we are working or stay-at-home mothers, is what we get (plus the interest and dividends) in future years. Children will repeat most often what they themselves have experienced and squirreled away in their memory bank. Devotion and caring will carry a child along way in life and will usually be past on to the future generations. The relationships we have with our adult children is firmly rooted in what we planted as they matured from infancy onward. There are working moms whose entire headset is geared to their children whether they are on the spot or doing it by proxy and their children feel that love and concern. Yet, the parent who does not spend time with their children, whether by choice or by circumstance, is deprived of one of life's most rewarding and building experiences. May we have the wisdom to make the correct life choices and the strength to carry them through.

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