I offer this post in the spirit of Quick-Takes. Just some random observations that float around in my head where I don't really have more than a sentence or two to say about it.
1) Mothers who are employed feel like their motherhood is attacked by the assumptions of society, i.e. if you really cared about your children, you wouldn't be working. Mothers who are not employed feel like their adulthood is attacked by assumptions of society, i.e. if you had something substantial to offer, you would really have a job. No one wins but the Mommy War runs hot.
2) I think the rise in homeschooling is directly-related to the rise in labor saving devices. Here is my theory: We, as a society, decided that children needed more education than their parents could provide while they scratched out a subsistence living off the land so grade schools were invented. With industrialization, men left the home for jobs, but women still had plenty to keep them busy all day long. Labor saving devices for the home were invented and women had less and less to do. As these devices became prevalent in most homes, women got bored and lonely because the chores no longer were a full day's work and the children were gone all day. Rather than remember why we sent the children off to school in the first place and rejoice that we actually have time to educate our children now, we declared, as a society, that women really ought to get jobs too. After several decades of this paradigm with all the fallout the family experiences from it, many are now reassessing and deciding to homeschool instead.
So that's it for today. What do you think? Yes, no, crazy?
I find that the assumption that women will work is greater than the assumption that if you cared about your children, you wouldn't work. Only in crunchy granola, Catholic, and mother-in-law contexts is a woman *really* supposed to be staying home. Or yuppie. I forgot yuppie. But that's because not working proves how much money your husband makes. Those sub-cultures exist, while the rest of society really does say, "Work, and never mind the kids. We have a village for that."
Mmmm, I don't think it's necessarily true that the chores weren't a full day's work. Rather I think the expectations for how much stuff you were supposed to own & care for went up.
I live in an area with a pretty large stay-at-home population so there is definitely a distinction here between mothers who are able to do all the things which are always scheduled during working hours and the rest of us at work. It is assumed you are at home until you have to explain for the umpteenth time that you aren't.
The closest I ever came to wanting to claw someone's eyes out is when a woman at a Girl Scout meeting whom I had just met said to me in a super-sweet condescending voice, "Well I don't work. I can pick your kids up from school and bring them to the meeting to help you." It's hard to convey tone here, but it was totally a power move on her part. You know, if I couldn't be my children's mother, she could play the part. I wasn't even asking for help with transportation because, hello?, Dave can bring them. She brought it up all on her own.
I definitely agree the expectations went up so maybe I should amend to say the amount of work needed to survive at a basic level no longer consumed the whole day. At that point you are looking at filling your day with make-work (dusting six hours a week) and hobby crafts which isn't to say that some people don't enjoy these things or that they aren't valuable, but that the number of people who would want to do that is less when there are other options. I don't want to say that homeschooling is like a hobby because that's not what I really mean, but that our modern conveniences allow space for homeschooling in a way that didn't exist before recently.
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