Choosing To Stay Home

Work week by sex

Lisa Miller sticks up for feminist stay-at-home moms:

Feminism has never fully relieved women from feeling that the domestic domain is theirs to manage, no matter what else they’re juggling. There is a story, possibly apocryphal yet also believable, of an observer looking over Secretary of State Madeleine Albright’s shoulder during a Cabinet meeting in the late nineties. On the pad before her, the secretary had written not “paths to peace in the Middle East” but “buy cottage cheese.” (Albright declined to comment for this story, but while promoting a book in 2009, she told an audience that all her life she made it a point always to answer phone calls from her children, no matter what else she was doing. “Every woman’s middle name is guilt,” she said.)

Jessica Grose objects to the premise of Miller’s article and reframes the issue:

[W]hen you strip away the weird gender essentialism and the fact that the article is ginning up a trend where there is none, you do see the core of what the current “problem that has no name” is. It’s time. When you’re in a marriage where both people have not-extremely-lucrative careers and you throw a child into the mix, something, someone has to give. As Miller puts it, “When two people need to leave the house at 6 a.m., who gets the children ready for school? When two people have to work late, who will meet that inflexible day-care pickup time? And who, finally, has the energy for those constant transactions?” No wonder some families are deciding one parent will take on primary responsibility for the kids in this morass.

(Chart from Pew)