Our president offended millions of women all over America the other day. In an effort to further equality for women, he noted that mom is usually the one who leaves the workplace to stay at home with the kids. “And that’s not a choice we want Americans to make,” he stated. (Read all his remarks here.)
He justifies his statement by pointing out that staying home with the kids leaves mom earning a lower wage for the rest of her life. And he assumes that the only reason she would even consider staying home with her children rather than getting back to work is because she can’t find a good preschool.
To remedy the problem of moms having to stay home with young children, the government aims to provide high-quality preschools for us. Because according to the president, sending mom to work, and sending the kids to day care is “good for the children” and “good for the family.”
I’m not so much offended as I am infuriated at his statement because he is perpetuating the lie that staying home with children is of little value. The atmosphere of our culture tells us that children are a burden, thus doing all the mundane work of caring for them is kind of like a dishwasher’s job. Someone’s got to do it, but the most intelligent and gifted among us rise to greater things.
But women need to know that their job of training and taking care of their child is the most important job in the world. No preschool teacher can replace the impact you are going to make on your child’s life.
Let me tell you something. The first handful of years of your child’s life are foundational for cultivating the soil from which your child’s character grows. The time to begin teaching self-discipline, respect, diligence, generosity–all the tokens of a healthy economy–is from the very beginning of a child’s life. You will make a difference in America. And it will be measured by the adults that your children grow to be.
So if you can, stay home with your kids. Be relieved from the pressure to “get a career, get a career, get a career.” Pouring your time, energy, and talents into your children is the most profitable, most worthwhile, most rewarding thing you can do with your time. No higher wage can hold a candle to the value of being with your children during the little years. Having mom available at home is what is good for children and good for the family.