Posted by: Laura Berry | July 15, 2010

Working Moms

A couple years ago, ABC’s “Good Morning America” program set out to explore the question, “Are stay-at-home moms a threat to civilization?” The program contended that women who stay home to take care of children are tying themselves down to a life no educated or competent person should desire. This program is typical, sadly, of a widespread attitude today. Many feminists quite seriously deny that motherhood could ever be worthwhile, especially not with so many “higher careers” available outside the home.

Whether you’re a man or a woman, what career could be better than parenthood?

Even the noblest of careers, like being a priest or a doctor or a missionary or any kind of HERO you can think of … what is more fulfilling and more joyous than being a parent?

I consider myself a feminist. Following in the tradition of Susan B. Anthony, I am pro-life and pro-woman. I believe in a woman’s right to vote. That is important. But women’s true rights in no way conflict with the even more important right of a person to live. I am a Feminist for Life, and proud of it.

As a feminist, I agree that if a woman wants to work, she should be able to, by all means. No career should be barred to anyone because of gender discrimination. So please don’t get the wrong idea and think I’m saying that all women should cook, clean and have babies and that that’s all we’re made for. That’s certainly not true.

What I AM saying is that being a mother is nothing to scoff at. And if women are lucky enough to have the economic freedom to stay home with their children instead of working, ah then! That is quite beautiful indeed. The children will benefit from the loving attention of their mother and the mother will, I hope, delight in the company of her children (stressful as it undoubtedly is at times).

Many paths exist in life that are good and fulfilling and worthy uses of our time, energy and skills. But what could be better than parenthood?

Cardinal Mindszenty, a Hungarian hero who suffered a living martyrdom at the hands of the communists, put it quite beautifully. He wrote:

“The most important person on earth is a mother. She cannot claim the honor of having built Notre Dame Cathedral. She need not. She has built something more magnificent than any cathedral — a dwelling for an immortal soul, the tiny perfection of her baby’s body … The angels have not been blessed with such a grace. They cannot share in God’s creative miracle to bring new saints to heaven. Only a human mother can.  Mothers are closer to God the Creator than any other creature; God joins forces with mothers in performing this act of creation … What on God’s good earth is more glorious than this: to be a mother?”

Of course, not everyone is blessed with a financial situation that makes it possible for mom — or dad — to stay home with the kids instead of working. My cousins grew up staying with Gramma and Grampa from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. every week day because both of their parents had to work. But the family was lucky that the grandparents lived so nearby that they didn’t have to pay for a babysitter or daycare service! Sometimes one spouse works days, and the other works all night, but that must be so difficult!

I heard about a family where the husband worked full-time and the wife got little jobs on the side, like freelance writing for a magazine and hosting Pampered Chef parties. The husband paid most of the bills, but the wife paid for all the groceries!

Our society and economy make it necessary for both spouses to work most of the time, because too many of our companies do not pay their employees a FAMILY LIVING WAGE, as set out in Catholic social teaching.

I don’t know about you, but working 37.5 hours a week to write newspaper articles that I know are going to end up in the dog’s crate or the bird cage or just out in the recycling pile a week later is NOT as fulfilling as being a parent …


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