"Dr. Laura" is at it again. In her latest book, In Praise of Stay-at-Home Moms (which could actually be called "A Criticism of Working Moms"), she complains that working moms just don't feel guilty enough about leaving their kids with paid childcare providers (you can check out an excerpt here).
"There used to be a guilt factor about parenting your own kids versus paying someone else to. Guilt is not the motivator it used to be, as folks have shifted from 'should' to 'feel like/or not.' These days, the 'feely' answer usually wins out."
I will spare you all of my thoughts about Dr. Laura (since it would take you all day to read them) and just directly address her statement about guilt.
In Dr. Laura's perfect world, mothers would feel too guilty to work outside the home. They would feel so guilty about leaving their kids with a childcare provider that they would instead become stay-at-home moms and "benefit from the joy of motherhood." That's right -- she thinks that moms who want to work, but instead stay home out of guilt, would actually be joyful about their situation.
I'm trying very hard here to remain professional and not say something childish (such as, for example, "Dr. Laura is an idiot"). So how can I put this? Dr. Laura fails to understand that not everyone shares her view of the world, and that she does not have the moral high ground simply because she claims to. Oh, and she's wrong.
I believe that children benefit from having parents who find fulfillment in what they do -- whether they work full-time, stay home full-time, or work out some other arrangement. A miserable stay-at-home mom isn't doing anyone any good. Nor is a working mom who feels horribly guilty about her choice (if she actually has a choice) to work outside the home.
I suggest that when a mom is feeling guilty about something she's not doing (staying home, for example), she consider thinking about what she is doing (providing for her family). Why shouldn't that mom feel proud of herself for what she's giving to her family?
No mother can be all things to her kids -- so why not take pride in what we are able to do?
When it comes to praising moms, as Dr. Laura claims to be doing, let's give praise where it's due: not only to stay-at-home moms, but to all moms doing their best to raise happy, healthy children.
What do you think? What are you most proud of as a mother?
P.S. "Dr." Laura's PhD is in physiology (not psychology or psychiatry or anything that relates to giving the type of advice she offers). Not sure how that's relevant to this particular post, but thought you should know.