They number in the millions and they are incredibly important to families and to our society, yet they are under-appreciated, little respected, and even controversial.
Who are they?
They are the stay-at-home moms.
These are women who know in their hearts that staying home to raise their children is the right choice for the whole family. Some do it from the outset of their marriages, while others make the difficult transition from career-driven women to homemakers. Either way, it is a choice that is incredibly rich and rewarding, not to mention challenging.
Now Dr. Laura, building on principles developed during her long career as a licensed marriage and family therapist, provides a wealth of advice and support, as well as compassion and inspiration, to women as they navigate the wonders and struggles of being stay-at-home moms.
- to hold your head high and deal with naysayers;
- to see the benefits of being home not only for your children but also for your marriage;
- to understand the changes you see in yourself;
- to realize that the sacrifices you endure now will make for lasting bonds and a stronger family, in addition to a more cohesive community.
Having been a work-outside-the-home mom longer than I've been a stay-at-home mom, I can relate to both sides of this "issue".
While she claims to "come to praise at-home moms, not to bury full-time working moms", Dr. Laura's position is clear: stay at home moms are better. And, throughout the book, she does just that, praise stay-at-home moms. I did feel that she was hard on working moms and has the assumption that every woman who works has made the choice to work, and that if they just made more sacrifices it would be better. Sometimes that just isn't possible and working is necessary for some. And mothers who work from necessity do what they can to minimize the negative impacts on their children.
Dr. Laura talks about her own decision to stay home with her son, although she worked part-time and was able to manage it so that she and her husband took care of their son, rather than daycare. She's pretty harsh on daycare situations, which really bothered me. Perhaps an institutionalized childcare setting isn't ideal, and yes, parental influence should be the most important. However, her opinions on daycare situations were very generalized, in that all daycare is bad. I have to disagree. Do I wish I could have been with my children every moment of their infancy? Yes. Are they deficient in some way because I wasn't? No. They are happy, intelligent, well-adjusted children. Their in-home daycare provider was a blessing to us and is still a very dear friend.
As far as society goes, the influence of an involved, attentive parent is important. Having moral values influenced and reinforced at home is necessary. Can those things be done with working parents? Absolutely. Are working mothers the ideal? That depends on your personal situation and opinion. I did appreciate the praise and the pat on the back that Dr. Laura give SAHMs. Staying at home isn't easy, and often, it requires sacrifices of time and money, but I am very grateful that I am able to be home now.
I think that this is a terrific book. I think that SAHMs should read it, and I think their husbands should read it too. I also think it's a perfect book for women who stay at home, but feel inadequate and defensive about it. There are anecdotes and listener experiences and straight-forward Dr. Laura advice and opinions. I understand her purpose for the book and I applaud it.
Thanks to my local library for having a copy I could borrow. You can purchase your own copy of this book here.
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