Working Mothers Are Just Materialistic, Right?

69

mom cookingIt's the year 2011. You know that, I know that, but apparently Paul Smith, a rabid, old-school traditionalist who also happens to be County Commissioner in Frederick, Maryland, hasn’t seen a calendar — or taken a whiff of the real world — in quite some time. His political platform is informed by his passionate Mormon beliefs, which is fine as wine when he’s not pushing the tenets of his faith on other folks.

But we practice the separation of church and state here, and Smith's 1950s nostalgia has inspired him to slash half of the funding to the Head Start program in Frederick County, located about 45 minutes outside of Washington, D.C. Why? Well, in a nutshell, he believes modern-day women are too busy chasing the almighty dollar in order to keep up with the Joneses and are just unwilling to make the financial sacrifices necessary to stay home with our children.

In other words, you ought to be ashamed, you money-grubbing materialistic mom, you.

When given the opportunity to clear the air -- because Smith's ramblings had everyone from the Washington Post to radio shows giving him interview time -- the 60-year-old attorney and politician didn’t disappoint journalists hoping this wasn’t just an isolated instance of Foot in Mouth Disease. He not only stood by his initial opinion, but elaborated on it for good measure.

Then Smith’s sidekick, Terry, his wife of 37 years and mother of his 12 (no, that is not a typo, and yes, I said 12) children, chimed into the argument with what I can only suppose is her version of a witticism: “You didn’t have to move into a mansion after you got married,” she said.

Somebody is cutting these folks’ oxygen off while they’re sleeping. Why would she assume that working mothers are slaving to support the lavish life in mansions? Or that we’re even all married? Does she get out of the house, like, ever? Well hell, never mind. With 12 kids to take care of at home, my guess would be that she didn't and maybe still doesn’t.

The real danger in the Smith brand of thinking is, of course, the $2.3 million he’s suggested cutting from the budget for Head Start, which provides child care and education to some 300 toddlers in his constituency. However, the supposition that working mothers are making the incredibly difficult decision to leave their babies each and every morning to trudge to jobs that some enjoy, but more than likely only tolerate, because they’re on some gluttonous money chase is just ridiculous.

I don’t know any mom who prefers to drop her child off to daycare or a babysitter rather than stay home with them (except on the days when the little one tosses their bowl of Cheerios across the room or deliberately pees in her big girl panties or cries for 15 minutes straight in the car because she wouldn’t let them have a Popsicle at 7 in the morning). Ninety-nine percent of the mothers I know who peel out of bed and get ready for another day of the 9-to-5 do it for totally unselfish reasons. They do it for their kids.

Under Smith’s delusional “Leave It to Beaver program, we probably should be homeschooling our children, and if that’s what’s worked for him and his brood, that’s fantastic. But making blanket, across-the-board statements that the rest of us who aren’t following that route are somehow shortchanging our families is, in a PG term, a crock of horse crap.

In the real world -- clearly not Paul and Terry Smith’s world, but in the real world -- private school costs money. Music lessons and martial arts and ballet classes cost money. College tuition will definitely cost money. And even if you forgo all of those “luxuries” and give them just the basic essentials of life, children are still expensive little cash sponges who require food, clothing, and shelter, and those cost money too that, more often than not with today’s prices, needs to be provided by two working parents.

Unless you’re like me, the drudge of the earth, the sullied single parent heathen who’s probably already shamed to hell in Smith’s eyes anyway.

Are working moms corrupting the natural order of things by not staying home with their children?

 

Image via stevendepolo/Flickr


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nonmember avatar Anon

If a working mom can actually bring home more than $100 after paying daycare, putting gas in her car, and every other expense, good for her. If not, far too much money is being wasted and someone is being paid to raise her kids. As for this idiot in Maryland, I'm not giving him any more of my time than I did on reading his whack job ideas just now.

jacob... jacobsproudmom

sometimes that little bit extra mney that a working mom brings home even after all the necessary expenses does help out.

a working mom does not always pay someone. there are afterschool programs for free offered by the schools so the money shes working hard for is going for her kid/s.

a single parent is hard work and even with a couple everything is ridiculously pricey.

so i disagree for many more reasons but will stop to keep it rated G.

jacob... jacobsproudmom

sometimes that little bit extra mney that a working mom brings home even after all the necessary expenses does help out.

a working mom does not always pay someone. there are afterschool programs for free offered by the schools so the money shes working hard for is going for her kid/s.

a single parent is hard work and even with a couple everything is ridiculously pricey.

so i disagree for many more reasons but will stop to keep it rated G.

Rayne... RayneofTerror

i am a SAHM  and i think that man is full of beans. working mothers have it rough and people forget that while we are so and sos husband and this kids mother we were <insert name here> first and have a right to continue being us. seriously, the only thing i can think is he is a nincompoop

Proud... ProudSingleMum

HA. Yeah, me and my money grubbing...how dare I pay for heat, electric, water, food....those useless frivolities! Commissioner Big Bucks would probably faint if he saw what I do with the money I have coming in!

nonmember avatar nan

RE Anons' post:
"If a working mom can actually bring home more than $100 after paying daycare, putting gas in her car, and every other expense, good for her."

I know a couple of single moms who pay not only for those things you list but also housing,(you know they actually manage to buy homes themselves) utilities, food, clothing, toys, and various activities for their kids. Just because you couldn't do it doesn't mean it can't be done.

TMK919 TMK919

I am lucky enough to stay at home with my baby, but will go back to work if needed. In this economy I know plenty of women who had to go back to work, they didnt want to but HAD to!

nonmember avatar ashley

nan, seriously, i have worked 3 different jobs making over $15 an hour, and with housing, bills, food, and daycare, not to mention gas and clothes for my children, i was lucky not to be negative in the bank account. if it wasnt for my husbands job we wouldnt have made it. yes, in some places women can get high paying jobs, but that isn't everywhere! i have tons of experience and a college degree, and still decided that after the expenses of me working, and daycare, it actually cost me money to do it. so before you post something like that you might want to stop and think. dont put someone else down because they cant do what people you know do, thats just stupid and whats wrong with people today!

reniecpa reniecpa

I'm a single (divorced) mom of 2 elementary school age children.  I earn a good salary as a CPA working in private industry, and also get child support like clockwork.  However, I struggle every month.  I live in a modest 50 yr old brick house in a "nice" neighborhood so my kids can attend the best public school in the area. It's not a mansion, people.  I drive a Toyota Prius.  Not some fancy luxury car. I sell & buy a ton of clothing for myself and my kids on Ebay to save money.Bottom line is....kids cost money.  Whether you are a married or single working mom, I think we all do it for necessity.  There are probably some out there who wouldn't HAVE to work but choose to do so to afford the extras, and you know what I say to that?  More power to you! If your job enables your family to take nice vacations, send your kids to private school, etc. then how is that a bad thing???  In my case, I work because it's just me and it's my job to keep my kids fed, clothed & sheltered.  How DARE this ignorant man spout off about something he obviously knows nothing about.  It's scary that there are people with this mentality in 2011.  Scary and sad.


 ps...I grew up in a Mormon family and sadly, what he says is definitely in line with what they preach.  Needless to say, I left the church when I was in college.

Liviann Liviann

What an ass. If it weren't for my full-time, $15/hr job we wouldn't have a roof over our head.

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