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Love Your Stay-At-Home Mama

Matt Walsh is sick and tired of his female acquaintances condescending to his wife, a stay-at-home mom, as if she were sitting around eating bonbons and watching the Oprah Network. Excerpt:

Look, I don’t cast aspersions on women who work outside of the home. I understand that many of them are forced into it because they are single mothers, or because one income simply isn’t enough to meet the financial needs of their family. Or they just choose to work because that’s what they want to do. Fine. I also understand that most “professional” women aren’t rude, pompous and smug, like the two I met recently.

But I don’t want to sing Kumbaya right now. I want to kick our backwards, materialistic society in the shins and say, “GET YOUR FREAKING HEAD ON STRAIGHT, SOCIETY.”

This conversation shouldn’t be necessary. I shouldn’t need to explain why it’s insane for anyone — particularly other women — to have such contempt and hostility for “stay at home” mothers. Are we really so shallow? Are we really so confused? Are we really the first culture in the history of mankind to fail to grasp the glory and seriousness of motherhood? The pagans deified Maternity and turned it into a goddess. We’ve gone the other direction; we treat it like a disease or an obstacle.

The people who completely immerse themselves in the tiring, thankless, profoundly important job of raising children ought to be put on a pedestal. We ought to revere them and admire them like we admire rocket scientists and war heroes. These women are doing something beautiful and complicated and challenging and terrifying and painful and joyous and essential. Whatever they are doing, they ARE doing something, and our civilization DEPENDS on them doing it well. Who else can say such a thing? What other job carries with it such consequences?

Boy, does this resonate. Most days my wife, who homeschools our three kids and takes them to most of their doctor’s appointments, sports lessons, classes outside the home, and everything else, as well as managing the family calendar and doing the laundry, is so tired some days from running around that she can hardly see straight. Not just one day, but many days. I was telling a friend the other day that if homeschooling the kids was my responsibility alone, I’d last maybe two days. I’m not putting myself down. I am the breadwinning member of the team. Neither one of us could make the family’s mission succeed without the other. But I am under no illusions which one of us has the harder job. Or the more thankless one.

I’m the one who publishes books and articles and gets to go places to talk about my work, and have people tell me what a fine person I am to write these things. She’s the one who gets to take squabbling kids to Old Navy to buy pants, and put up with teary meltdowns because someone doesn’t want to learn fractions, get the kids and the dog groomed regularly, and a thousand other things that more or less suck. But she does it because she believes — because we believe — that this is the right thing for our family. That the sacrifices are worth it. We are privileged to have this choice, and we know it. But that doesn’t make what my children’s stay-at-home mother does any easier.

You couldn’t pay me to do her job. You couldn’t pay her to do it either.

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. He has written and edited for the New York Post, The Dallas Morning News, National Review, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Washington Times, and the Baton Rouge Advocate. Rod’s commentary has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, the Weekly Standard, Beliefnet, and Real Simple, among other publications, and he has appeared on NPR, ABC News, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and the BBC. He lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with his wife Julie and their three children. He has also written four books, The Little Way of Ruthie Leming, Crunchy Cons, How Dante Can Save Your Life, and The Benedict Option.

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