I’ve recently been in a few places where they have asked what my wife does for an occupation. Ever since we had our first child, she has stayed home and raised our family, and so my answer is, she works at home– and works harder than I do!
Society has tried to tell women two things over the past generation:
- You both have to work if you want to make ends meet
- You’re not a complete woman/mother if you work from home– anyone can do that.
A woman must work in order to “make ends meet”.
One of the interesting things in my area of the country is how many houses are either really cheaply priced or priced “out of this world.” We’re having a hard time finding what we are looking for in a decent price range, and the houses that we do want are just out of our reach. We wonder how anyone can afford a house like that, but then we realize that it is because of the two income families around us.
You see, we’ve become a culture that whines that we have to work because we spend too much on things to get us what we think we deserve. We’re not really needing the woman’s income to meet needs, we “need” the woman’s income to support our lifestyle choices:
We like our huge, expensive flat screen televisions. And we like having a television in just about every room in the house. And we like having our cable or satellite connected to it, [never mind] that we cough up seventy dollars a month for a zillion channels that we usually don’t watch. A generation ago there was one TV. With an antenna.
We like every person in the house who is old [enough] to drive to have their own cars. A generation ago there was one car, maybe two, per household. And when Johnny or Susie were fortunate enough to get their own car it was usually not just off the showroom floor. Not now. Look around. In front of most homes with driving age kids there are three, four cars. Take the bus? That’s social suicide these days, so we gotta get them a car.
We like our cell phones, too. Everybody in the house has to have one. How many phones do you have in your house? At least three, I’ll bet. A cell phone for you and your wife and the home phone and if you have kids, well, more.
We like our laptops and home computers, too. They’ve become a modern necessity. How many do you have in your house?
We like little Johnny and Susie to participate in everything from dance to baseball and it’s all expensive.
We like our riding lawnmowers and our Home Depot charge accounts. We like having a wallet full of credit cards that are [unbelievably] easy to get. These days the credit card companies will practically tackle you on the streets and make you take one. A generation ago you actually had to have good credit to get one.
We both have to work because we are the most spoiled generation in history. We literally live lifestyles that the kings and queens of old would be envious of. And we like it like that. I do, anyway.
You see, we don’t really need these things– we want them. We think that everything that our parents worked many years for we need to have today– right now. We believe that somehow we’re not giving our children the best if they don’t have lessons and games for just about everything.
From the cradle to when they leave the house (and sometimes after) we have begun to feel that we have to provide for them– and we teach our children that they can truly have anything they want– and then we wonder why they are spoiled, or why they have trouble managing finances. Sacrifice, saving, living within your means– these are all things that we no longer teach.
You’re not a true woman unless you’re an Alpha Mom.
In Britain, Lauren Booth talks about the growing backlash against Alpha Women. What is an Alpha Woman?
Held up as an aspirational role model for the rest of us, she never has a hair out of place and can be spotted tapping urgently into her Blackberry on the school run.
This sort of woman treats parenthood as a project to be managed down to the last second.
Fiercely organised, she’s likely to be highpowered and well-educated. Aren’t you feeling inferior already?
But there’s more to an Alpha mum than that.
She treats her home life as an extension of her corporate one: family time is merely another slot in the bulging diary.
Her children are seamlessly ferried between extra curricular activities with little to no time to spare for relaxation or, God forbid, just thinking.
Doing nothing is not an option for these youngsters.
For too long this pernicious style of over-parenting has been held up as a barometer of maternal success.
And I’m sure we all know these kinds of mothers– that seem to have their kids involved in everything. But what does this teach the children? That they have to have an organized activity in order to have a good time? That someone will always be there to schedule what they will do? These moms would have their children believe that they are nothing more than commodities to managed. Those of you that work probably know the blessing of a boss that lets you be creative and explore– but what if you did not have that chance? What if everything you did was always told to you by someone else? Where would you find the creativity?
You wonder why children are different today that they were in previous generations? Look at how this generation is being raised! They are either programmed to “not waste a minute” or they’re given no parental oversight at all. They are left to their own devices, or their choices are eliminated. Both of these are recipes for destruction.
Pity the Alpha mums, because there’s a serious question these women need to ask themselves.
Are those extra hours at work really essential to pay for the preprep school fees, tutors or all those extra curricular classes?
Is it really necessary to spend time meticulously planning the family’s diary a month in advance so not a moment is wasted?
Shouldn’t the Alpha mums admit that the life they have constructed is not for the children’s sake at all.
Isn’t it all really done because they actually rather dislike spending time with their family?