I recently picked up a book in the bookstore called “The Feminine Mistake” by Leslie Bennetts. I didn’t get a chance to read all of it, but it brought up some very interesting ideas. Basically the premise of the book is that women should be wary of staying at home to take care of the children because in doing so they become economically dependent on the husband. This makes the woman economically vulnerable if the husband loses his job, divorces the woman, or passes away. Also, giving up a job to stay at home with the kids also means that the woman is giving up a part of herself. This is on the premise that jobs give people a sense of competency and being able to function in society.
I may not be describing this well, but there is also a summary of the book by the author here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/leslie-bennetts/the-feminine-mistake_b_44690.html
(Actually, it’s more of a defense of the book, since it has gotten a lot of negative publicity, but it still contains the major themes of the book.)
I agree wholeheartedly with the message of the book. I don’t want to be economically dependent on my husband, and I want to be able to pursue my own interests as a career. At the same time, I am a woman, and I would like to raise my future children. That is, I’d like to be significant in their lives and not just someone they see after 5 or 6 every day. I feel that raising children is also an important job, and one that I might like to do myself. Since I’d like to have a number of kids, maybe 3, taking time off to raise them all to, say, age 4, would be damaging to my career, so it does seem to me like I have to make a choice between career and family. (Vera Rubin raised six kids and still made a name for herself as an astronomer, but I have no idea how to accomplish something like that.)
So I guess what I’m saying is that I am utterly confused about this issue and I was curious what the intelligent people of this board have to say about it. Should one parent stay at home to raise the children, since this is an important task, or is it the responsibility of both parents to work, in order to develop personally via their careers and be financially solvent?
(This topic seemed like it might be Great Debates material, but I could see it going to IMHO as well. I’ll just start it off in GD anyway and cross my fingers.)