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s r a W y m lli e r i m C o r M mbe A e h T U298L ARH

Table of Contents Background (3) Definitions (4) More Background (5) The Stay at Home Mom (7) The Working Mom (9) Conclusion (15) Works Cited (17)

Background For a time, the ideal mother was thought of as a stay-at-home mom that was constantly taking care of the home, the husband, and the children. As time has progressed, the women’s rights movement as well as women involvement in the work force of World War two gave women support and allowed them to enter the work force without much opposition (Hall). The women’s rights movement made it easier for women to leave the home and work, but it also caused some to criticize stay-at-home moms for not wanting to work (Hall). This controversy has been present since the 1960s and 1970s, and although women have been more graciously accepted into the work force than they were in the 1950s.

Definitions “Gender is used to describe those characteristics of women and men, which are socially constructed� (World Health Organization, 2002, p.4). Gendered work and family roles of men and women are constructed by these ideals of gender and heteronormativity. Both sexes are socially constructed to be dif ferent in behavior, attitudes, and emotions. Body image is a person’s emotions towards the aesthetics of his or her own body, which can be greatly attributed to societies view of normalness and heteronormativity of gender. Social Status is described as how one individual saw his or her own personal position or rank within society (Mindi)

If gender, the images of ourselves, and our perceived social status tell us who we are supposed to be, doesn’t it tell us what we should be doing?   NO.   Gender does not need to tell us who we are OR what we should do with our lives. A woman, or a man, for that matter, can do what she or he wants. But, alas, this is where The Mommy Wars started.

y and ver , s e li i m fa alities in ome mothers. u q e s d h ar stay-atat rapid iety tow e c n r o e e r s w d in il y t h c if an t was a sh f the home. M roduced tations were se p e r , e g h n t u , d yo 50’s f ide o pe c In the 19 en worked outs usbands, marrie Gender role ex of as the time o ers, or n me n . h oug ht n t a few wom nded on their h in h s i t w s d d s a io er h le bre s depe . This p are the ted muc d a n n c e a Women nd value u h m a d e o e r ” , o w l e f a r h e n e b ic h tio nd nd w day in w ght of as “tradi e r i od , a o rates, a t p f e o im s t e ili his ho u d. during t nal family.” Fam are no longer t change e , io v k t i r a d o h a w y r t il nt s fam the “ oth pare hin the t b i h w c i   h in w n? hi s m e a t s e o d t mes to o c t i n e But w ha h y   o m .” W certaint m n r u e r p o u , S e he g“ bivalenc om” is t ecomin m m b a t d l u o a o r o b u g “ lt ll a lot of cu t means to be a here is rs are a t a a r s W e v in y e a t m n i n e t about The Mom our society co images of wha om . W h s m g g in n r i b k , r it d wo e, oo rong , which this cas om or a s t motherh h of the two st n m n I e e . y m m t t o e whic y-at-h t anxi al indic to towards hether it is a sta y, it brings abou develop cultur o make t t o n e ers. In decid h societ s us to e t best: w e r o w s u t u m o a a ” h c in e et siv nc e usion he choic seen as “inten st intense care t k ambivale Cognitive conf c a t t e o oa nts. ant to b g the m e tend t w in w s iv t r g a e argume h s h t t a n e a ns th mo o be see t t n simply m ncertainty. Bo a w rs that u f mothe her children. mitigate s, both types o to ord w r e h t o

The “Traditional� outlook on parenting is to be the stay at home mother.

e ite th p s e D me. “ ly o h t e a ge work t has larg The ima d i a p c ). of un n, this fa (Klenner y t i r e jo ” e ma ong wom n‘s work h t r e m fo sible activity a arily wom n o p et es im g to n are r bor mark mains pr i t n the n a i l e e s r m n a e . l o s r io m e ide, w crease in usework ome mo renc ious posit plans” e w f d e l r r h o n p le g Wo ous i anged. H a stay-atrent resti family ro tay home d e p f n f i s e d s h e ly trem ed unc have choose le m to fit in y should s n l w id l e n i i t m a s wo l es “ rem oman is p the that the l d a e n m h a e t f k n a a at me sting that n jobs th om’s thin of a w h rote t w d l o e m e e u e g e g g u g   aldfo utside of . en ar hoice, su eater val ay at hom e W b e s n r t ) o It ha ational c ( H a ll nd Ja working ace g gument, s right. l a e f p , i l n d p s s a ’ is occu arket an n this ar y thinks i -Jui H hile she of a child n e m o t W labor ). Based hat socie unn, mother (w ly stages re may be ween six G s y k w b roo of a n the ear that the work bet an B (Ash se that is e e c n n g ts o u ean bse wn i J a o s gges o went t others be h e t s u beca s h i t s l e t a s b h t a lt pmen he idea th d this can dy, “resu mother w whose m o   l e v u a en de gt , an he st t having h i ld r t c Child supportin harmful m e o h ms to e bou ut t r ta fr e b a o e a e b n p c d s i a a a t t e l p c a h u me n blem g unusua ome) alyzing t g o h r r a p e h e n t ly in rs, th ugh a articular r someth e o h r t h o p T . m /o ort it king thing nths and e” (Hall). r p e o p m u w o s t o s m gains tudies to ine m at this ti a n d d e n s t s a ym e n e bia nd some o b l p o t a em seem ollowing s e i f d u f   gh st amount o u o h t Al large a e v ha

The Working Mom

The common idea of the working mother is the woman who can do it all.

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Mommy to-do list •

Get up


Wake up the husband

Wake up the kids

Make breakfast

Make sure the kids get in the shower

Make lunches

Make sure the kids get out of the shower

Get the kids on the bus

Drive the little ones to day care

Get to work…

They can wake up, get the kids to school, go to work, come home, make dinner, keep the house clean, get the kids to soccer practice, and still have time to spend some quality time with the husband or bake a batch of cookies for the next PTA bake sale.   But is this really possible?

As I had stated before, housework remains in the hands of the women. “The gender role theory views gender roles as the reason for the division of household labor” (Klenner). According to this theory, women handle more of the housework to preserve their gender identity. In the same way, men in couple households with female breadwinners protect their gender role identity by not performing household activities considered women‘s work after recognizing their loss of the ability to bring home the bacon, traditionally considered the man‘s role (Klenner). They aim to compensate for the loss of the traditional role in the earning of income, feeling as though that is a “man’s job.”   Due to this information, we can see that perhaps these women do not want to “do it all,” but they feel as though they have to.

“They're women for whom work is not a "lifestyle choice" but a necessity-a financial one, gauchely enough, and not an emotional one. Why do they work? To keep the electricity on. Such women would include, oh, single-mother waitresses, hotel maids, factory workers, grocery-store cashiers, manicurists, even countless lowlevel white-collar functionaries, from bank clerks to receptionists to data processors, Imagine a nanny wondering about her lifestyle choice: Why have I always had this burning dream to spend sixty hours a week taking care of other people's children?� (Loh)

This is where we start to see the issue get messy. Loh also quotes another paper, “Stay-at-home mom Catherine Clifford finds it difficult to retain her equanimity with ‘the mom who groused jealously that she couldn't afford not to work, then grabbed her Kate Spade bag and headed off in her new Mercedes SUV.’”   This type of sarcastic pity towards “the other side” makes it obvious that this argument will continue for quite a long time.   There are studies that prove that there is no harm in being a working mother. Thomas M. Vander, argue that he and his colleagues have found “no negative influence on the social, emotional, and behavioral functioning of her [the working mother’s] children” (Hall).   He states that with the “breakdown of informal neighborhood controls leave children at a greater risk for being socialized in intimate delinquent peer groups” (Hall). He means that women that have to work because of their economic situation may also be forced to put their children into different potentially harmful situations.

Conclusion Loh asks us: But what are these wars really about? It seems as though the argument disregards the economic struggle that drives this issue. Loh tells us that the Mommy Wars are not about "lifestyle" or "values,� but about the social costs arising from decades of stagnating or declining wages and growing income inequality. Some on either side of the argument still believe that the Mommy Wars are based on the idea that every family has the opportunity to choose whether or not the mother is the breadwinner of the family, and they also can choose whether or not both parents should work. Although this may be still true for the better-off, this choice is denied to most American families. They have had to send two people into the workforce whether they wanted to or not (Loh). There are thousands of reasons that a mother would choose to stay at home with her children, and there are another set of thousands of reasons that a woman may choose to work.

Personally, I hope that I come into the financial situation that allows me to stay home with my children and watch them grow up. Perhaps this is because I do not have any particular dreams about being a businesswoman, or having any big fancy job, for that matter. My own mother stayed at home with my sister and me for our entire childhoods, and I hope to do the same.   That being said, my very own sister plans to work as long as she can. I would never tell her that she did not have any right to do what she wants with her life. Just as every woman should not be able to tell any other woman how she should be a mother. There is not one perfect way to mother, no matter how many sides to the “Mommy Wars” that there are, and no matter how long the battle continues. Motherhood isn’t going to easy, and just as everyone says, it does not come with a manual.

Works Cited Ashby, Julie S, Ingrid Schoon, Career success: The role of teenage career aspirations, ambition value and gender in predicting adult social status and earnings, Journal of Vocational Behavior, Volume 77, Issue 3, December 2010, Pages 350-360, ISSN 0001-8791, ( Dionne Jr., E. J. "'Mommy Wars' & Money Worries." Commonweal 139.10 (2012): 6. Academic Search Premier. Web. 14 Nov. 2013. Hall, D. M. (2013). Taking Sides: Clashing views in family and personal relationships. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill. Hesse-Biber, S. & Carger, G. L. (2000). Working women in America: Split dreams. New York: Oxford University Press.

Works Cited Klenner, Christina. "What Explains a Modified Division of Household Labor in Female Breadwinner Couples?" Work and Family Researchers Network. Work and Family Researchers Network, 2012. Web. 14 Nov. 2013. <>. Loh, Sandra Tsing. "Rhymes With Rich." Atlantic Monthly (10727825) 297.4 (2006): 110-121. Academic Search Premier. Web. 14 Nov. 2013. Mindi N. Thompson, Jason J. Dahling, Perceived social status and learning experiences in Social Cognitive Career Theory, Journal of Vocational Behavior, Volume 80, Issue 2, April 2012, Pages 351-361, ISSN 0001-8791, ( World Health Organization. (2002). Integrating gender perspectives into the work of Switzerland: Author.


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