Clicking on banner ads enables JWR to constantly improve
Jewish World Review March 28, 2000/ 21 Adar II, 5760

Kathleen Parker

Kathleen Parker
JWR's Pundits
World Editorial
Cartoon Showcase

Mallard Fillmore

Michael Barone
Mona Charen
Linda Chavez
David Corn
Ann Coulter
Greg Crosby
Larry Elder
Don Feder
Suzanne Fields
Paul Greenberg
Bob Greene
Betsy Hart
Nat Hentoff
David Horowitz
Arianna Huffington
Marianne Jennings
Michael Kelly
Mort Kondracke
Ch. Krauthammer
Lawrence Kudlow
Dr. Laura
John Leo
David Limbaugh
Michelle Malkin
Jackie Mason
Chris Matthews
Michael Medved
Wes Pruden
Debbie Schlussel
Sam Schulman
Roger Simon
Tony Snow
Thomas Sowell
Cal Thomas
Jonathan S. Tobin
Ben Wattenberg
George Will
Bruce Williams
Walter Williams
Mort Zuckerman

Consumer Reports



Stay-home parents know
that their kids need them --
NO ONE UNDERSTANDS the malaise of the unappreciated stay-at-home mom like a stay-at-home dad.

Yes, the world boasts a few full-time dads. Hmmmm, does that make working parents ‘‘part-time'' moms and dads? Just a thought. And, yes, equality hecklers, it's OK if mom works and dad stays home with the kids, but one neurosis at a time.

Reaction to a recent column about ‘‘Karen,'' a 20-year-old college student/nanny who wants to be a mom rather than a career girl, was swift, predictable and just a tad ornery at times. Mention today that a young woman wants to be a full-time mother and you may as well suggest that she wants to be a hooker. No, a hooker has more credibility. At least she has a ‘‘career.''

For reporting that Karen feels embarrassed and ashamed for wanting to be just a mom, I was given credit for the high divorce rate, dysfunctional families, women on Prozac, women on welfare, erectile dysfunction and deadbeat dads. No word yet on homosexuality, but the day's still young.

Of course, I also heard from lots of stay-home mothers, including some former careerists — doctors, lawyers, professors, journalists — who traded briefcases for bottle bags upon realizing that you don't have to do everything at once.

But my favorite letter came from Scott Rolf, a stay-home dad who suffers the same moments of self-doubt as Karen. Not because he thinks he's wrong to want to be a full-time parent but because society frowns his way.

His letter underscores the real reason some women (and some men) increasingly choose to be stay-home parents: The children need them.

Karen wants to be a full-time mother not because she wants to be ‘‘kept'' by someone else, as one reader suggested, but because she sees a lot of lonely children whose parents are rarely around.

Scott wants to be a full-time dad because he and his wife want a parent at home for their three children. Like many, they arrived at this choice through circumstance but now can't imagine life any other way.

A senior computer-applications developer earning about $60,000 annually, Scott suddenly found his job threatened by company layoffs. At the same time, his wife's career was taking off. With some minor lifestyle adjustments, taking into account previous costs for child care and taxes, the Rolfs figured they could get by on one income.

Scott reports some of the pluses of his new life: more home-cooked meals, a cleaner house, control over personal time and weekends, time for a teenage daughter to take a nap after school if she wants, more involvement in church and schools, and he's home when one of the children is sick.

The minuses seem like every stay-home mom's lament: not enough adult conversation, bad hours, no days off and that troublesome question: ‘‘What do you do?''

Scott says, "It's hard to say ‘I'm a stay-home Dad.' If I get called Mr. Mom one more time, I'm going to scream.''

The purpose of telling Scott's and Karen's stories is not to inflict guilt on working parents nor even to point out feminism's flaws, though the diminution of mother's role is one. Rather it is to reconfirm the fact of society's gradual, if subliminal, undermining of the parenting role, beginning with our denigration of women who choose to stay home for their children.

Clearly, young women and men still need an education, still need a job plan, still need to be capable of performing and working outside of the home. But just as clearly, we need a cultural sea change by which full-time parenting is viewed as a job, if not a career, as important as any other.

JWR contributor Kathleen Parker can be reached by clicking here.


03/24/00: No 'Great Expectations' when schools shun the classics
03/21/00: It's common sense to restrict Internet usage in libraries
03/17/00: You want to be just a mom? For shame!
03/14/00: Colonoscopy: Important, but bad TV
03/10/00: I made a mistake about trigger-locks
03/08/00: After this school shooting, no easy target for our contempt
03/03/00: Car crash helps bridge our divide
02/28/00: Nasty politics? Americans like it down, dirty
02/14/00: College testing via Lego-building -- yeah, right
02/02/00: Bubba should spare us phony love theatrics
01/26/00: What sets off Those Who Speak for Women
01/13/00: Fools in love: Premarital counseling could help school kids
01/11/00: Who funds these studies!?
12/29/99: Grandparents' rights impinge on family autonomy
12/13/99: When did fathers become fair game?
12/09/99: Don't be stupid about at-risk kids
12/07/99: Pokemon is no substitute for a father
12/02/99: Blaming the victim --- men
11/30/99: Baby-killer's story has less-than-Precious ending
11/23/99: Pendulum swings back toward discipline, responsibility
11/18/99: Put the babies first in this mighty mess
11/11/99: Skip the applause for this baby news
11/09/99: Gore could benefit from a secret in Wolf's clothing
11/03/99: Who needs 'birds and bees' when we have MTV?
11/01/99: Women Can't Hear What Men Don't Say
10/26/99: Children's needs must take priority in divorce system
10/19/99: The deadbeat dad is less a scoundrel than an object of pity
10/15/99: Bullying boys ... and girls
10/12/99: Divorced dads ready to wage a revolution
10/04/99: A father's best gift? His presence
09/30/99: Sorry, guys, Faludi is no friend of yours
09/28/99: Science's new findings: Scary future for families
09/23/99: The great blurring of need and want
09/21/99:Focus on more than baby's first 3 years
09/16/99: Commentary from kids sheds no light on day-care debate
09/14/99: Fathers' group seeks to right inequities
09/09/99: Son now has a license to grow up
09/07/99: A slap in the face of domestic violence
09/01/99: No, ma'am: Legislation on manners misses the mark
08/26/99: For better boys, try a little tenderness
08/24/99:The ABC's of campaign questions
08/19/99: Male 'sluts'
08/11/99: Language doesn't excuse bad behavior
08/09/99: When justice delayed is still justice
08/03/99: Unemployment? Not in this profession
07/30/99: It's not about race -- it's about crack babies
07/22/99: Tragedy tells us what's important
07/19/99: Study denouncing fathers sends danger signals
07/15/99:'Happy marriage' belongs in the Dictionary of Oxymorons next to 'deliciously low-fat.'
07/11/99: 'Brother Man': An American demagogue in Paris
07/08/99: Only parents can fix broken families
07/06/99: America is home, sweet home
07/01/99: Tales out of Yuppiedom
06/28/99: Men aren't the only abusers
06/23/99: Is the entire country guzzling LSD punch?
06/20/99: The voice remains -- as always -- there beside me 06/16/99:Stating the obvious, a new growth industry
06/14/99: Calling for a cease-fire in the gender war
06/10/99: We owe children an apology

©1999, Tribune Media Services