Q&A Friday #94: What About Stay-At-Home-Moms?

Question: “When my wife and I decided to start a family, we had many long talks about how important it was that she, as the mother, be able to stay home and dedicate herself to raising the baby. When we discussed the possibility of me staying home, we kind of just laughed about it. Both of us believed (and still believe) that there is inherent value in a child being raised at home by its mother. I always considered this to be a staple of conservative values.

Question: Was I wrong?” — President_Friedman

Answer: Back in March, I posted the transcript of an impromptu debate I had with Allison Sommer about this topic. Here’s part of what I said,

I see being a stay at home mom as an honorable profession, one that is as good as pretty much any other. It’s not everybody’s cup of tea, but I think it’s a great choice for the women who want and are able to do it.

…There are probably more women who succeeded in that “career choice” than any other world wide and in the US, over any period in history. That doesn’t mean the other ones are bad, or that stay-at-home-mom is the best for everyone, but it works out very well for a lot of women.

That sums up my view on the subject fairly well, but let me add a little more depth.

I will strongly defend the right of a woman to be a stay-at-home-mom and think it’s just as much of a valid career choice as any other. In fact, if I were married and had the money, my preference would be for my wife to stay home and take care of the kids — and I do think that having a stay-at-home-mom is probably better for the kids.

That being said, I also support women with kids who want to work and don’t think they’re worse mothers than the stay-at-home-moms.

People and families are diverse. Some women are just not going to be happy staying at home with the kids. Some women may want to stay at home with the kids, but aren’t able to afford to do so. So, it’s a choice that depends quite heavily on the situation in the particular family.

That’s a bit of a fluffy answer, but I consider that question to be too broad to fit into any sort of iron clad set of rules.

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