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Having reviewed the literature, I can say what counts most is quality time: reasonably consistent, loving, limit-setting but not punitive parenting, even if it begins after the workday. And even if a child accrues a small net advantage from having a stay-at-home mom, that advantage is usually more than outweighed by the great pressure added to the husband’s life and the lifestyle decrement that comes from the lack of a second income. Having to provide all the family income also precludes men from considering rewarding but not lucrative careers such as teaching, and most jobs in non-profits, the arts, journalism, etc.
Taking care of the kids and home is a full-time job. These women stretch homemaking into a full-time job with activities far less beneficial than a second income to the family and certainly to her husband’s health and quality of life: preparing home-cooked dinners most nights, sitting with other moms watching a playgroup when a babysitter could do that.
Being a homemaker is at least as stressful as being in the work world. These women point to their having to deal with a frequently crying baby or claim that being at home is a three-ring circus. But fact is, much of the stay-at-home mom’s day is spent on low-stress tasks such as supermarket shopping, playing with the baby, making dinner, and chatting with friends while baby is napping. That life is much less stressful than most out-of-home jobs, which are filled with unpredictable commutes, ever increasing workloads because of the relentless downsizing, bosses with unrealistic expectations, co-workers who don’t pull their weight, and tough tasks, which if not completed satisfactorily can result in criticism or even firing.
I don’t have your earning power. Dr. Warren Farrell’s authoritative research debunks feminist organizations’ specious statistic that women earn 79 cents on the dollar. When controlled for hours on the job, performance evaluations, and years of experience, women earn $1.01 for every dollar men earn.
The reason women have fewer years of experience is that they disproportionately elect to stay home with their children, or even if they work “full-time,” they work far fewer hours than their male counterparts so they can spend more time with their kids or on their avocations. Many more women than men — full-time workers and not — ensure they have time for yoga, get-togethers with friends, art class, volunteer work, and visits to the day spa. Since 2000, despite the economic downturn, the number of spa visits nationwide, the vast majority of whom are made by women, has doubled!
MOST OF THE MEN I work with haven’t even really stopped to think about what their wives have done to them. They accept their plight of having to work, work, work at jobs they don’t like, ever pushing for promotions, without really questioning it. Men have been preprogrammed to be the hunter, the provider, to keep their nose to the grindstone no matter what. Many wives only encourage it. Just today, a client who earns more than $200,000 a year as a not-partner attorney at a major firm, said that if he doesn’t push right now to make partner, “my wife will kill me.”
But when I ask male clients to step back and think about it, so many of them acknowledge that their wives have tried — usually successfully — to subtly or not so subtly coerce them into being the primary or sole breadwinner, the beast of burden. Those women use the above arguments plus manipulative techniques such as crying, guilt-tripping, screaming, and forever promising to look for work but making feeble efforts.
Meanwhile, many men live stressed-out lives: work 10 plus hours, commute home, and drop into the couch exhausted. Their reward: an early grave. Despite an epidemic of obesity among women, there are five widows for every widower. Yet all we hear about is another fundraiser for breast cancer.
Men need to think about whether they feel they’re shouldering an unfair amount of the stress, and if so, speak up authoritatively, and resist coercion. More men should consider whether they might be wiser to work part-time and do a larger share of the child-rearing and domestic duties.
More women need to hold up their economic end of the marital partnership and stop complaining about gender unfairness in the workplace. It’s simply not true.
(I changed a few irrelevant details about my clients to protect their anonymity.)
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?
H/T to National Review Online