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In praise of all moms (an anti-guilt trip)

Dr. Laura thinks you should feel guilty for working. She's wrong.

by Traci Feit Love  |  43734 views  |  31 comments  |       Rate this now! 

"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.

About the Author

Traci Feit Love is a freelance writer and small business consultant. She blogs at The Breadwinner Mom (www.thebreadwinnermom.com)

Read more by Traci Feit Love




31 comments so far...

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    Flag as inappropriate Posted by llzzmm9 on 3rd September 2011

  • I agree wholeheartedly with your thoughts and also share the urge to say and write more "unprofessional" statements. I've worked full time for my child's entire life, and our life is better because of it. As the primary breadwinner, our family depends on my income. Yet I often take myself on these wild guilt trips that lead to nowhere. I also find Dr. Laura's educational credentials interesting. Thanks for the great article.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Liz Gloor on 23rd April 2010

  • So glad you brought my attention to this article; so disappointed that this attack on working mothers never seems to cease. As if we don't put ourselves on a big enough guilt trip already! Working is the best thing I can do for myself and my kids, and it definitely makes me a better mom.

    I remind myself, when people like Dr. Laura start stirring things up, that they take strong stands on issues so that people twill alk about them. I often wonder if she really believes everything she says. Instead of focusing on all the negative news out there, I do my best to be positive and celebrate working moms whenever I can, through my book, interviews and more. We have to stick together!

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Phaedra Cucina on 22nd June 2009

  • Dr. Laura is ridiculous. Women, especially mothers, deserve to be fulfilled in all aspects of our lives. If she wants to stay home, cook, clean, and be up to her elbows in shit-filled diapers, she can be my guest. I personally covet my shit-free hours at work and mind changing my kids alot less because of it...

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Kami Lewis Levin on 8th June 2009

  • DSMom - Thanks for your comment! Glad you liked the article. You sound like a wonderful mom - Happy Mother's Day!

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Traci Feit Love on 8th May 2009

  • This is a great article. Dr. Laura is rigid and unbending when it comes to her opinions about working moms. I would love to be able to stay home with my kids, but it just isn't feasible. I simply try to make the most of the time that I do have with them, and they are loving, well-adjusted kids. I am most proud of the fact that my kids demonstrate compassion and love, regardless of the fact that I work outside the home.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by DSMom on 6th May 2009

  • Omommy,
    Actuallly, when I was growing up, and my mother was most definitely NOT a SAHM, I was fully expected to entertain myself, even when she home after school (she taught HS). And when I went to school and came home, I was supposed to entertain myself. Course, I also grew up in a VERY rural area, so my imagination became ultra important. IMHO, so many kids lack the ability to do what I did because they don't have that chance to or the parents won't let them. It certainly wasn't my mother's job to keep me occupied, nor was it mine to keep my daughter occupied. Keep them safe, yes, but there's a line, imho.

    You're right - other countries are years ahead of the US with regards to parental leave and child care. The corporate business community just doesn't get it and as you said, the debate is so stupid, imho.

    Oh, and btw, has anyone bothered to take notice that during this recession that the main breadwinner in a growing number of families is the WOMAN? Thank God for working women, ladies. Without us, a lot of families would be in MAJOR MAJOR trouble.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by JKLD on 24th April 2009

  • When I was a kid "Stay at home moms" were called housewives, and were expected to cook, clean, do laundry etc. and didn't focus their entire lives on their kids. Often kids were expected to entertain themselves.

    In other countries parents get a full year parental leave (both) and affordable child care. Our country is still having the useless debate over whether woman "should" work. Guess what - we are. We have to.

    We could all move to Canada, or we can try to change things here.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by omommy on 24th April 2009

  • n_nicholle,
    While you are entitled to your opiinion, I dare say that the vast majority of us disagree with it. With all due respect, I'm the product of 2 working parents, as is my daughter. As I stated before, I come from a VERY long line of working women. And guess what, they were also mothers as well. I went back to work 4 months after my daugher was born. My mom (who was a teacher) went out right before I was born in Feb. and came back the next school year. Course, that was in '55 when wome who were preggers weren't supposed to work and the school system demanded they stop working after a certain point. Boy have we FINALLY grown out of that BS.

    The point is here that, quite frankly, "Dr." Laura is NO doctor and is, was, and always will be one of the biggest hypocrites put on this earth, imho. She's one of these "do as I say, not as I do" types. I have NO respect for her or her ilk. As for Colter, don't EVEN go there for that BS that she spews. Her comments re: the 9/11 widows turned my stomach, particularly since my best friend's parish church lost 25 in the Towers. She's another one who spews nothing but BS and hate. Sad thing is, people actually believe that crap.

    RecoveryCoach, you asked what triggers me about Laura - it's the hyprocrisy and her unrealistic views of a world that simply does not exist nor does she have ANY understanding of. Sorry, I have to live in the real world and quite frankly, I wouldn't live anywhere else, even with all the stress our family's under at the moment. I'd work even if I didn't have to. I'd feel like a total leech if I didn't.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by JKLD on 24th April 2009

  • I wonder if she means working moms like Sarah Palin...

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Jessica on 23rd April 2009

  • n_nicholle: are you being sarcastic? If not, you are an idiot (no offense, of course). Newsflash: Many/most of us moms that work HAVE TO. WE DON'T HAVE A CHOICE. As in, we can't afford bills, mortgage, health care, education, etc etc. without two working parents. Or, many of us are single moms -- divorced, widowed, cheated on, or no of our own free will -- and take care of our babies by working. THANK YOU to all the moms who posted who pointed this out. And yes, I FEEL GUILTY, even though I am providing for my family. I would LOVE to be with my child. I suffer emotionally, physically for it, but we do what we have to do for our families. The last thing I want to hear about is some hypocritical, affluent schmuck judge working moms (if that is what LS is doing in this book).

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Amber on 23rd April 2009

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