The conservative call-in radio show host (and her kid’s mom!), Dr. Laura Schlessinger, has written a book that lays out her life’s philosophy — or at least the philosophy she’s pounded listeners over the head with since her show first aired 600 years ago.
“In Praise of Stay-at-Home Moms,” the introduction of which is excerpted here in the Wall Street Journal, appears to be one unwittingly fortunate woman’s hearty pat on her own back for raising her child as she saw fit and admonishing those who didn’t follow the same script.
In a nutshell, Dr. Laura thinks children should not be put in daycare and parents should not get divorced. Period. It’s not that moms shouldn’t work, she argues. It’s just that moms shouldn’t be away from their kids. (Which gets a little complicated for the widowed forklift operator with a 9-month-old in her lap!)
From the introduction:
My husband and I came to the practical conclusion that I needed to
go back to radio work to be our family’s primary financial support,
while he would manage my career, the home, and our finances.
Nonetheless, I refused to take any job which would require me to be out
of the home every day while our son was home or awake! I would take
care of him all day and then go to work on radio, leaving the home at
9:00 PM after putting him to bed. Eventually, when he started
kindergarten, I landed a daytime shift while he was in school.
In order to do the writing and necessary research, I would get up at
5:00 AM and work a few hours before I woke him up to get ready for
school. I always worked my career around my family, never the other way
She takes on her critics, who call her a hypocrite for having a career when she tells other women not to. She also responds to women who say they simply don’t have the kind of flexibility in their work that she had. What makes her different — and, let’s face it, perfect! — she explains, is that she never waivered from the following tenets (and you shouldn’t as well):
It is so very doable if you are:
– committed to the priority of raising your children yourself;
– part of a marriage, which obviously provides two parents;
– willing to sacrifice some opportunities for the sake of family;
– willing to “do without” many things — but not family time and attention; and
– not willing to compromise your conviction, no matter how pressed you get by circumstances or naysayers.
Actually, it’s not bad advice. And I don’t see where it requires being a SAHM/a radio DJ/unwilling to put kids in daycare to meet these goals.
I think that’s what really gets on my nerves and is actually destructive: Dr. Laura found a way of being a mother — a working mother with a flexible workplace (how about a book “In Praise of the Office Secretary Who was No Doubt Stuck Watching Dr. Laura’s Son While She was Working”) — that fit her life, personality and goals. And her philosophy as a mother. It’s easy to write a book praising yourself, especially when you’re looking back. We should all hope the choices we made work out and are deemed praise-worthy, if not by Dr. Laura, or a book publisher, then at least ourselves.
What I always think about the SAHM/working mom debate is that (1) the labels are way too simple — I’m sort of a SAHM yet also a working mother with childcare and (2) every mom/family is different. Our kids will be who they are, and, yes, that will have to do in large part with how we raised them, including being half-way up their asses from daybreak to sundown, absent from day break to sundown nearly 24/7, or some other work/home combination. Like us, our kids will all have their own history — they’re own story — based on their family life, what their parents did with them and for them. And good thing, too. Otherwise, it’s all a little Stepford … right?
Family circumstances influence how kids are raised; parents’
personalities matter; there’s more to parenting than face time. As long as our kids are safe, fed and educated, why nitpick at the particulars? Why focus on just one thing?
What do you think? Nothing matters more than weekday lunches with Mom? Or did Dr. Laura change your life?