Women Staying Home and Other Great Pandemic Side Effects - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Women Staying Home and Other Great Pandemic Side Effects
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A friend of mine owns a cleaning business staffed with 10 women. During the pandemic, work came to a screeching halt. As things opened back up and her clients got vaccinated, the rush was on. Everyone needed their homes and offices cleaned again. The problem? Six of the women had decided not to go back to work. Their families reassessed their priorities and realized that mom staying home made a positive difference. The money wasn’t worth it.

This phenomenon is happening all across America, and that’s a good thing. And yet liberal media outlets frame this story as a bad thing. For instance, Politico said the pandemic dealt a “resounding blow” to women’s workforce participation. The Politico article describes one woman’s decision-making process over whether or not she should go back to work:

But mostly she values the extra time at home, the holidays she no longer has to work through and the fact that she no longer feels she’s racing through her life on auto-pilot, tied up not just with “the job and the kids but the scheduling of doctor’s appointments, and the cooking and the cleaning.” She and her husband have decided they can make it work on one income, and the setup also feels, at least for now, like it’s best for their family.

“The longer I’m out of it, the more I’m just kind of like, well, should I go back?” Barrick said. “The longer time goes by, the more ambivalent I get.”

The ambivalence is understandable. Having children at home is a finite time period. It is hectic, rushed, and sometimes breakdown-inducing — and that’s without working outside the home.

Staying at home to bring along the next generation in a less-stressed, more supported environment is a positive.

Granted, it’s not for everybody. Some women feel energized by work and come home fresher and more focused. A majority of women working full-time would happily leave the workforce if they could afford to, however. To put it another way: Most women who work while children are at home do so because they have to, not because they want to. The pandemic revealed something some women did not expect. Their families could afford Mom staying home and decided to make it happen.

COVID has realigned many people’s priorities. Thousands of families have moved, for example. We’ll know more in a year or so, but the home sales data indicates vast migrations from state to state, from city to suburb, from coast to coast. People are moving places that align with them politically. They’re moving to places that are beautiful because they’re working from home.

People are deciding to keep their COVID lifestyles. During the pandemic, while white-collar workers worked from home, families could be seen out during the middle of the day taking bike rides, playing catch, and walking the dog.

Working people stopped their business travel. Ninety-five percent of it was unnecessary. Workers know this now and are refusing to engage in the nonsense. Why fly across the country when a video call will do? Why spend the money on hotels and plane flights unless absolutely necessary?

The frenzied pace was out of control. Most of it was wasted energy. And so, many working mothers are letting the insanity go. Conservatives should celebrate this development. Why? Because having moms back in the home would help address some seriously concerning social issues:

  1. America faces a fertility crisis. Fertility is dropping. American women need to get married younger and start their families younger. Women are waiting longer to have babies. Men need to get more exercise, eat better, and increase sperm counts.
  2. America faces a birthrate crisis. The Year of COVID demolished reproduction. Instead of a baby boomlet, Americans were at home, afraid, and apparently not canoodling. There are fewer children due to economic concerns and general stress. Public policy needs to support having and caring for children. More on that in a minute.
  3. America faces an education crisis. Wonder why teachers and school systems can get away with academic murder? No one is watching the henhouse, and things are getting cuckoo. Moms who are at the school, volunteering, available to help with homework, and generally involved know what’s going on. They have leverage. Moms who work outside the home are harried and hurried. Educational supervision is difficult.

Ivanka Trump, Marco Rubio, and many Democrats, including President Biden, are pushing for more early childhood education, more “high-quality daycare” and ways to support working women. But American women overwhelmingly would like to stay home with their children or at least have that choice. Wouldn’t it be better to support mothering? How about letting the funding follow the child? If a mom stays home and takes care of her baby, she has support. If a mom chooses to go back to work, she has the same resources.

America needs more babies, and to do that potential mothers and families need more support. Rubio is rightly worried about subsidizing single mothers, but we already do that. We should be encouraging marriage and stable families and supporting mothers with children.

Unfortunately, there are few public policies that help families by supporting children. America needs more babies and needs more moms at home to be with them.

Melissa Mackenzie
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Melissa Mackenzie is Publisher of The American Spectator. Melissa commentates for the BBC and has appeared on Fox. Her work has been featured at The Guardian, PJ Media, and was a front page contributor to RedState. Melissa commutes from Houston, Texas to Alexandria, VA. She lives in Houston with her two sons, one daughter, and two diva rescue cats. You can follow Ms. Mackenzie on Twitter: @MelissaTweets.
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