I blindly grew up and into my 30s assuming the standard-issue feminist party line:
Women's work is uncompensated and undervalued. When women become stay-at-home mothers, that benefits men's careers, and when the marriage ends, she should be compensated for that lost earning potential. Both partners' lifestyles should be the same when the marriage ends!
Then, I watched my friend get divorced, and face alimony.
He had a high-earning career, and after spending her 20s in low-paid retail jobs, his wife stayed home full-time until the kids were in high school, then worked part-time retail, tried to start a couple of craft businesses that went nowhere, and then started sleeping with her massage therapist.
When they divorced, this couple stayed on mostly friendly terms and would get together with the kids, who were by then in college.
His career continued on while she struggled bitterly. Since they broke up in the middle of the housing and stock market bust, there weren't many assets to divide.
The kids were out of the house, so there was no child support. When they split, he had been laid off and was unemployed, so there was no alimony.
She went from a very comfortable life as a suburban housewife, to struggling very hard to get by, living in a shared apartment.
At the time, I was incredulous about this. He should support her, I screamed in my head. Her lifestyle is so compromised compared with his.
Today, I recognize alimony as a dated, sexist construct that has grown out of its intended purpose, and only holds women and gender equality back.
First, some basics on why and how stay-at-home motherhood hurts gender equality:
When I push back against the stay-at-home mom fantasy — the myth that children fare better when mothers do not work, and that this lifestyle benefits anyone at all — I am often met with: “What do you care? We should respect all women's choices in the spirit of sisterhood!”
When women choose to stay home full time, abandon career and earning, in the name of better mothering, or commitment to family, we all lose, most especially women.
Why alimony is wrong, sexist, and unfair:
“As much as we would like to think the court is blind when it comes to alimony and gender, at least in Las Vegas, I would tend to disagree,” says Molly Rosenblum, founding attorney of The Rosenblum Allen Law Firm in Las Vegas, Nev.
In her Nevada practice, which handles family law, criminal defense, and civil cases, Rosenblum sees more women asking for alimony, about 90/10 women to men. And 95% of women receive alimony compared to 5% of men.
In Nevada, there is no set formula for alimony. It’s decided on a case-by-case basis considering factors like:
- Length of marriage
- Health and well-being of both parties
- Financial need of the alimony-seeking spouse
- Employment status of the seeking spouse
- Income disparity of both parties
Rosenblum leans toward the idea that Nevada’s alimony statutes compensate spouses who have truly been in long-term marriages, setting aside their own careers for the betterment of the wage-earning spouse. And although it’s not perfect, she believes it is equitable.
But there are definitely unfair scenarios that play out, depending on the couple.
“My overall sentiment about alimony is that it is risky business,” Rosenblum says. “In Nevada, if the receiving spouse remarries, they no longer get alimony.”
Rosenblum says the receiving spouse often loses financially when they move on to a new relationship — especially if he or she stayed home to raise the kids while their ex earned a ton of money.
“My personal opinion is that a spouse who may be entitled to alimony should look to be compensated elsewhere,” Rosenblum says.
Other options might be asking for a larger share of the house equity or a bigger piece of the savings or retirement accounts. Rosenblum says if handled correctly, these options can put them in a better financial position long after alimony payments end.
1. You model a stereotypical female roles, which informs your children, spouse, friends and neighbors
If you, woman, are home, your children equate housekeeping, child care and other unpaid ‘women's work' with women. They see their father, a man, earn in the world. That informs their ideas about gender and what is expected of women and men.
That is why Harvard professor Kathleen McGinn found, in her study of 34,000 people across 24 countries, that girls raised by mothers who worked outside the home for pay, achieved more academically and grew up to be women who achieved more professionally and financially than their peers who had stay-at-home moms.
Boys raised by working moms were more caring for children and older people living in the home than their SAHM peers, and grew up to be men who were the same — all while achieving as much academically and professionally as those raised by SAHMs. In short: kids grow up to be what they see.
2. Stay-at-home moms influence sexism in workplaces
Men — especially the white variety — still very much control corporate and government policy, and are far more likely to advocate for policy that supports working parents if they themselves share in family responsibility because their wives work, too.
Researchers at Harvard, NYU and University of Utah found:
“Employed husbands in traditional marriages, compared to those in modern marriages, tend to (a) view the presence of women in the workplace unfavorably, (b) perceive that organizations with higher numbers of female employees are operating less smoothly, (c) find organizations with female leaders as relatively unattractive, and (d) deny, more frequently, qualified female employees opportunities for promotion.”
3. Stay-at-home moms hurt the economy
When you do not participate in the labor force, the world misses out on your unique talents
Recent headlines such as “Closing the gender gap could grow the economy by $2.1 trillion” (CNN) scream that the best way to grow the economy is to better engage women in the professional world.
You consumed educational resources that were designed for the benefit of all of society. You worked hard to earn positions, raises or build a business.
When you drop out for any significant period, all those collective skills and network are paused — or tossed out. That is a brain drain that we, as a society and world, cannot afford to lose.
4. The choice to stay home with children hurts the hiring and promotion of other women
Your departure from the workforce discourages managers and companies from hiring, training and promoting women since it sets the precedence that women of a certain age will just drop out indefinitely to have babies. Read: “Motherhood Penalty Affects Women Who Never Have a Child” (NBC).
5. Staying home with kids means you abandon the women who stay and fight for equality
My friend Maria, a divorced mom, has fought her way into an executive position at the male-dominated accounting industry where she's worked for 22 years.
She told me: “Every time a woman in my company drops out to stay home and ‘be a mom,' I want to scream. I think, ‘I and every other woman in this big company need you to be here in these meetings and fight for them.' I feel let down and, frankly, abandoned. They left me here to fight alone.”
Leaving your spouse? Checklists you need for divorce
6. Stay-at-home moms shame working moms
Culturally, Americans believe children need stay-at-home moms. Pew found that 60 percent of Americans believe it is best for kids when a parent is home full-time, and a full 40 percent of Americans say that children are harmed (!) when mothers work outside the home.
A full 70 percent of U.S. mothers work, and the majority of those who do not would like to work, but do not because child care is so prohibitive, studies find.
The majority of moms who work do so because they need to eat, and their children need to eat — not because it is a lifestyle choice. In other words,
When women say, “I don't want to go back to work because I love my children,” that means, “I love my children more than you do. I am a better mom.” We all love our children. Here a very important fact you need to hear right now:
The University of Maryland’s very important meta-study, “How Does the Amount of Time Mothers Spend with Children Matter?” found that for children ages 2 to 11, it makes no difference the number of hours a mother spends with her when it comes to the child’s academic or psychological success.
7. Stay-home moms perpetuate the myth that motherhood is enough to fulfill us
Instead, here are studies that show that mothers who work are happier and healthier, and less sad and angry, than their peers who work for pay. This is old news.
Betty Friedan's 1963 blockbuster The Feminine Mystique established this five decades ago. We are having the exact same emotion vs fact debate today. Let's move this conversation forward.
8. Stay-at-home moms are more prone to poverty
Whether you stay married for the rest of your life, divorce, or your spouse passes away before you do (statistically likely), you are more likely to be poor.
A financial plan in which an entire family is dependent on one income is simply bad planning. After all, you know you should buy life insurance in the unlikely event that you or your partner dies.
The chances of that happening are far, far lower than divorce, disability, illness or unemployment — all situations in which a second career could mean the difference between staying in your home or living out of your car.
The fewer women living in poverty means good things for all women — and members of the world.
9. Women who do not work are less likely to be involved in family finances
Knowing everything about your household finances is critical in the event that you divorce, or otherwise are forced to manage the money in the absence of your spouse (he becomes disabled, unemployed, dies, is incarcerated or any other horrible things that happen every single day).
One study found that women's involvement in household finances is directly proportionate to their contribution to family income. In other words, the more a woman contributes to the family finances, the more involved she is with managing them.
The more involved a woman is with managing money, the more security she and her whole family have. this contributes to making wiser, empowered decisions, and being safe in every sense of the word.
29 jobs for single moms: Best high-paying jobs in 2023
10. Women who do not earn their own money are more likely to suffer domestic violence
A full THIRD of U.S. women will be abuse victims at the hands of an intimate partner, and in 99 percent of those cases, financial abuse is part of the equation. You are in physical, emotional and sexual danger when you do not have your own money.
11. When you divorce, stay-at-home wives and moms are screwed
You have the same ~50 percent chance as the rest of us (though some studies suggest the divorce rate is higher in marriages when one spouse is financially dependent on the other).
Alimony reform is underway in every state, and while you may get short-term maintenance (think about that term: a man who you are no longer involved with is forced to maintain you), you are now expected to earn a living.
Statistically women wind up poorer after divorce than men — typically because we have less earning power to start with. Take away any recent work experience, you are s-c-r-e-w-e-d.
The challenges for divorced women with no recent work history run deep. Want to keep your house in your name? Without two years work history, you can't get a mortgage.
You also likely can't get a car loan or credit card with a decent interest rate. In short: the pay gap, wealth gap and women's choices overall plummet without earning power.
Stay-at-home mom divorce: Follow these 3 steps to prepare
12. When women stop working, you have far fewer choices, and we all lose
According to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, a woman’s earnings drop 30 percent after being out of the workforce for two to three years.
This calculator created by the Center for American Progress projects the potential impact to a woman’s lifetime earnings when she takes a break mid-career.
A 26-year-old woman earning $50,000 per year stands to lose more than $800,000 in wages, raises and retirement benefits over her lifetime when she steps off the career path for just five years. You also can't get a decent car loan or credit card or mortgage.
13. SAHMs' post-divorce / separation life is tumultuous
When you are in financial straits post-divorce/separation, you are understandably afraid, and acting in fear leads to bad decisions and poor behavior.
Any family attorney or divorce court judge will tell you that terrified women and angry men then spend a lot of very contentious time and lots of money with lawyers and judges arguing over money.
This conflict bleeds deeply into your co-parenting. It is impossible to share parenting time and decisions in a healthy way if you are duking it out in court. Your children suffer the most.
These are the same children who were supposed to benefit from the countless hours you spent with them at home.
As a citizen, I am affected because courts are jammed up with petty arguing over custody and alimony, while actual abuse and neglect cases are marginalized.
As a society, we all suffer, because statistically, when men are marginalized in custody cases — and they are in 80 percent of cases that go to court, in favor of giving mothers primary custody, despite 55 reviewed studies that prove that equally shared time with kids is best for children, once again following in those gender-stereotype — they tend to drop out of kids' lives all together.
This is good for no one. Not you, not me, not the kids, dads or penal systems, which are full of kids who did not grow up with involved dads. Ladies, be part of the solution.
What to ask for in a divorce settlement agreement
14. How alimony hurts the gender pay gap
There is a lot of pressure on women in the workforce to forsake their economic power in lieu of family.
Pew found that an astonishing 40 percent of Americans believe that children suffer when their mother works outside of the home.
And study after study finds that the 21% gender pay gap is a result not of rich white men in C-suite keeping competent women down, but rather women choosing to compromise their careers to care for loved ones.
This pressure is so great that women who actually earn a living, falsely label themselves “stay-at-home moms.”
A recent project between my friend time management expert Laura Vanderkam and Redbook magazine found that 62% of described stay-at-home moms contributed to their household income, including 25% who run businesses.
I know a blogger who earns $80,000 per year and calls herself a stay-at-home mom — a disconnect that is both common and destructive, since it perpetuates the economically oppressive pressure to abandon our livelihoods and lives for our children and husbands.
Meanwhile, all research confirms: It makes zero difference how much time a parent spends with a kid after age 2, and the greatest indicators of a child's future wellbeing is her mother's education and income level.
Let us not forget: Working mothers are far less prone to depression and anxiety, and divorce rates are 50% higher for families in which one spouse does not work.
In other words: We glamorize stay-at-home moms, when science proves again and again that everyone is happier, healthier and more financially secure when both parents work.
After all: Divorce rates have been more or less steady at 50% for 40 years. The other 50% of couples? Unemployment, disability, death and other catastrophes mean a one-career family is a precarious financial agreement indeed.
And when these families do divorce or separate, the new paradigm is likely to be very sexist indeed, with the mom having primary care of the kids, and being financially dependent on her ex's child support and/or alimony payments.
Want to get your finances in order? Earn more, pay off debt and stop stressing? Join my 52-Week Money Challenge now! 100% free!
Breaking the cycle of the wage gap
So this is what you will do to make sure we break this cycle of women sabotaging their own wellbeing, and that of their children, marriage and for women and society overall:
You will identify a girl. Maybe it is your daughter, or granddaughter. Niece, student, mentee or neighbor. She might be 6 or 16 or a young woman of 26. You will tell her with zero nuance or caveat:
Always have your own money.
Never give up your ability to earn.
You are not an adult if you chose to be financially dependent on another person.
In my research, I have found it only takes telling a young person this critical message one time. The message taps into such a primal, visceral need for freedom, power and independence, even very young girls understand it intuitively.
But do not tell her just one time. Tell her again and again. Like you make sure your child knows to be kind, and say thank you and not to chew with her mouth open. Just as you make sure that young people know how to swim and must eat vegetables, this is a non-negotiable.
How to be a successful single mother in 7 steps
Knowing this shapes the life decisions you make
Because when a child is raised to reap the magnificent bounty that is the education, professional, political and financial equality that women in this country in the 21st century enjoy, and understand that she will never, ever chart her own course in this world until she embraces it as her duty to exercise it in its fullest, you set her on a certain course.
On the right course. It is a course that affects every single vertical of her life:
- The choices she makes in where she attends college, and how she will pay for it (because when you are wise about your education and related finances, and do not assume that a man will take care of you and your debt eventually, you make better choices).
- The career path she pursues.
- The relationships she forges with friends and colleagues (because these are the spine of her entire life).
- The money she does and does not spend on fun.
- The money she does and does not invest.
- The partner she selects (or rejects).
- The children she chooses to have (or not).
- The age she chooses to become a mother.
- The way she sees herself in the world, the value she brings to her partner, her children, friends, and the world around her.
By saying: “Always have your own money,” to a girl you are saying:
“You are powerful. And I believe that you will never, ever give up that power.”
She gets it. She will thank you. And women everywhere, forever, will thank you.
Alimony contributes to the wealth gap
When women earn their own money and think like breadwinners, the wealth gap will shrink. One study found that women’s involvement in household finances is directly proportionate to their contribution to family income.
In other words, the more a woman contributes to the family finances, the more involved she is with managing them. Consider these alarming figures on female financial literacy from workplace wellness program firm Financial Finesse:
- One-third of women feel confident about their investment allocation, vs half of men
- 66% of women report a general knowledge of investing, vs 85% of men
- 63% of women report having a handle on cash management, vs 78% of men
- 47% of women indicate that they have an emergency fund, vs 62% of men
One, a stay-at-home mom told me at our kids' bus-stop that if she ever got a divorce, her husband would have to pay her out the nose for all her “sacrifice.” Never mind he was perpetually unemployed in a middle-class job.
Where did she think that all that money would come from? Bottom line is she was relaying the common assumption that men always pay women when they have children together, and this woman had no money, a neglected career and a low-income husband.
Ending alimony would be a boon for family financial security, ringing a clear, screaming alarm that you, woman, must plan for the very real chance that both spouses’ income will be likely critical to the family.
What will it take for people to realize — and plan for — the fact that divorce rates have hovered around 50% for decades? Divorce is just one risk.
Maintaining a career is about being a responsible member of your family. Even if you have the hottest, most committed marriage that lasts until the end of one of your lives, there are other realities you must plan for.
And if you are divorced and dependent on income from your ex, never forget that he could lose his job, die, become disabled, chose a lower-paying career, see his business tank, or go MIA.
You have no control over that, and if you depend on his income, you live in fear every single day it will go away. Shift that energy into your own income and career, which you do have control over, and watch your life change.
Unemployment. Nearly four out of five U.S. adults will face severe joblessness, near poverty or being on welfare. Men in recent history have been far more likely to suffer in an economic downturn.
During the recession – from December 2007 to June 2009—men lost 5.4 million jobs while women lost 2.1 million. Again, this is a numbers game. Betting on your husband to support you and your family simply is not a good financial move.
Disability. Nearly 5% of all eligible adults receive disability insurance benefits.
Life. Crap happens. Accidents, psychotic breaks, natural disasters and fires. You have no idea what is in store. So you do smart things. Like keep a career going, which boosts your family’s financial security by 2x at least.
15. Alimony is legislated dependence for women
An end of alimony would force each able-bodied person to be financially responsible for themselves.
Suffragists and feminists before us fought bitterly (and sometimes joyously, one would hope) so you and I have financial and legal parity with men.
We have a ways to go, but for the most part in this country women have the opportunity to support themselves. With opportunity comes responsibility. You choose to be financially dependent on someone else (like a husband), you take a risk.
If that marriage ends and you have little career equity and low earning potential as a result, you must pay the consequences of the downside of that risk. Taking that responsibility away from women, and perpetuating a model in which women are financially dependent on men, infantizes all women.
We are not infants. We are capable adults with untold professional and financial opportunities.
Take alimony out of the career-planning equation and we force women to take full responsibility for their careers and finances from the beginning of adulthood.
This is critical if we are going to close the pay gap, which has little to do with workplace sexism, and more to do with women choosing lower-paying professions and stepping away from careers to devote to family life — all in the name of being a “better” mother who spend countless time with her children, even though all the search proves that children fare better when they have moms who work, and benefit none from endless hours with their parents.
Harvard professor Kathleen McGinn found, in her study of 34,000 people across 24 countries, that girls raised by mothers who worked outside the home for pay, achieved more academically and grew up to be women who achieved more professionally and financially than their peers who had stay-at-home moms.
Boys raised by working moms were more caring for children and older people living in the home than their SAHM peers, and grew up to be men who were the same — all while achieving as much academically and professionally as those raised by SAHMs. In short: kids grow up to be what they see.
I talk about this on this blog, my podcast, and book, The Kickass Single Mom (Penguin), and am very proud to say I have converted many moms to getting off the alimony gravy train (one of my favorite reader book reviews: “Thanks for ruining alimony for me forever, Emma!”).
Many women say that this message has propelled them into a life of autonomy independent of the man to whom they were once married.
Nonetheless, there continue to be lots of vintage thinking about money, marriage, family, and gender, and in this post, I explain why all the typical arguments in favor of alimony are wrong.
Listen to my interview with McGinn:
16. Alimony makes divorce so much harder, more expensive, and dragged out
Alimony adjustments, enforcements and arguments, are the No. 1 reason that divorced couples return to divorce court, or otherwise spend money on expensive family lawyers. Think about it:
There are countless ways to fight about alimony:
- You suspect or know his income increased, and therefore believe you are entitled to more.
- He suspects or knows you are earning more (good for you!) and therefore he should be paying less.
- He believes (or says) his income decreased, or his living expenses went up, so he should pay less.
- One of your remarried, or is in a relationship or living with a girlfriend or boyfriend, and therefore your financial situation has changed, and one of you believes the payments should be adjusted, too.
- Someone believes income is earned under the table, is not reported, or otherwise being hidden.
And on and on. It's exhausting, toxic, keeps you enmeshed in the emotional part of the divorce for ever and ever, and the only people who benefit from this are the divorce lawyers, who laugh all the way to the bank.
Take alimony out of the equation, the co-parenting relationship improves, and the divorce is far more amicable from the start. In fact, you may even be file a no-contest, DIY divorce, for a few hundred dollars.
17. Alimony and child support keep you passionately attached to your ex
I have a friend who abandoned a thriving small business she’d built for 15 years when she married a successful New York City tax attorney and had a baby.
The marriage ended. He pays her a sum each month that keeps her in an Upper East Side two-bedroom, three-story townhouse, while she struggles to rebuild her business. “Tell your readers to never stop working,” she told me recently. “There is nothing worse than being dependent on a man who you are trying to separate from.”
Also, there is nothing better than knowing that your own life is entirely of your making. That is the definition of empowerment — gender or otherwise.
I was on WCCO CBS in Minneapolis speaking about this win my friend, anchor Jordana Green who receives alimony. “Isn't it unfair if you're used to living in a $500,000 house but have to move into an apartment when you divorce?” she asked.
My answer? “If you want a $500,000 house, pursue a career that affords you one.”
As one alimony reform activist emailed me: “Alimony law was created to ‘keep the lesser earning spouse in the lifestyle in which they are accustomed.' Using that logic, wealthy parents should be legally obligated to support their kids throughout their lives.” I agree.
18. Alimony makes co-parenting very contentious
Alimony and child support are the main reasons that people return to family and divorce courts again and again. There has never, ever in the history of divorce been a person who pays money to another person who they believe is capable of supporting themselves.
Since your ex is angry about paying alimony (and child support), that anger will manifest in all sorts of ways in your relationship, which has now been reduced to coparents. May not be fair, may be court-sanctioned, but you are lesser co-parents because this money came between you.
Learn how to co-parent successfully with your ex for the sake of your kids
Dana Lin was a stay-at-home mom for most of her marriage, and admits there was a measure of pride in not pursuing alimony or child support in her divorce, even though she could barely support herself — selling her wedding and heirloom jewelry to make ends meet, and not eating for days on end when her children spent time with their dad. She was entitled to $3,000 in monthly support alimony.
Lin, the mother of two grade-school daughters at the time, also didn’t want money complicating her relationship with her children’s father.
“I never wanted him to be able to say, ‘I can’t spend time with the kids because I have to work long hours to support you,’” says Lin, who at the time of the split worked part-time as a school office manager for $20 per hour.
Today, she says, she has a very friendly relationship with her ex, who “is an amazing father now,” while he was only marginally involved while married.
If you receive alimony, your ex is likely really angry about it. He will question all your lifestyle choices, want to know why you are not earning more yourself, and be resentful of any man who comes into your life — especially if you live together or otherwise share expenses.
All of this makes it so much harder to co-parent. So much more tension, suspicion, and anger — all of which you both need to shed in order to move on with your own lives and come together for your kids.
19. Alimony holds you back professionally, personally and financially
In most courts, you only get child support or alimony if you earn less than your ex. If that is always on your mind, it is easy to consciously or unconsciously earn less in order to qualify for alimony.
That money often makes women less ambitious, less professionally fulfilled, and more resentful of your ex. This is bad for you, a bad example for your children, bad for women, and bad for the pay and wealth gaps.
Meanwhile, plenty of women flip the script. Dana Lin was guaranteed alimony as a stay-at-home mom with a high-earning ex-husband. But she turned it down.
“I was very ambitious and had great earning potential,” says Lin, 43. “I didn’t want anyone to say I couldn’t make it without him.”
Lin pursued her dream of being a screenwriter, today working as a script doctor and ghostwriter. Two years ago with a partner she launched Zen Life Services, which provides stress training management skills to law enforcement employees.
“Living lean taught me to be more disciplined,” she says. “Sometimes if you have too much of a cushion you’re not as aggressive in pursuing your dreams.”
The takeaway? Keep a foot in the workforce, even when your kids are babies.
Accept as fact you have a 50 percent chance of being divorced, and even if your husband seems to fully support heading a one-income household, deep down he likely feels very differently — or eventually will.
Regardless of what everyone feels, the only feelings that really matter are the judge's. And as more women take the ranks of the courts, there is less legal inclination for alimony — especially when the petitioner is an educated woman who chooses not to earn a living.
Bottom line: Get off the alimony gravy train because your choices affect me, and my choices affect you
Nearly 400,000 divorced women receive alimony — a critical topic when considering post-divorce life, feminism, the pay gap, and women's empowerment — financial or otherwise.
I feel very strongly that every single woman (indeed, 97 percent of people who get spousal support are women) should turn down any opportunity for alimony, aka spousal support, as it is a took to keep women to be dependent on men and not take full responsibility for themselves.
None of us live on an island. This is community and society and we are all intertwined. Choices matter, and when you make choices that hurt gender equality, I am hurt by that. All women, children and men are hurt by that. I am responsible to you, and vice versa.
I get the challenges. I appreciate very much that childcare is prohibitively expensive. I recoil at the fact that the United States has some of the worst maternal leave, child care, and health care policies when it comes to working parents.
I work very hard in both my personal and professional lives to change that. I also understand very much the incredible social pressure to stay at home full time with children.
This pressure is rooted in the misconception (some of the numerous relevant studies cited below) that this is what is best for children. I meet many women who make the decision to fully abandon their earning power and become dependent on husbands with genuine belief that this is what is good for their families.
Many others leave the workforce because child care costs make employment unaffordable.
The United States needs vast policy change.
But votes and calls to legislators are not enough.
Each of us is called to make choices for our lives and families that aim for the greater good — including equality for all people. The more educated you are, the more money, access, privilege you have, the more responsibility you have to others to live a life that pushes the envelope for positive change in the world.
The real reason your ex doesn’t see the kids
Why is child support so unfair to fathers? A case for needed reform
A dad explains: “Why I don’t see my son.”
I couldn’t finish this article. I’ve always been a professional woman. I’m divorced. There is no doubt despite my high level of success, the men around me with stay at home wives are on a faster track and easily shoot past working mothers. Why? Simply because they have support at home, when the working mothers have to balance career and home. I need to sacrifice hours for my children’s extracurriculars, doctor appointments, school functions, home maintenance. My job is flexible, but there is no denying when I have 95% of the responsibilities of the children, 100% of the responsibilities of the home and a high expectations career – something gives. The kids are missing out, my work is not as high quality as it would be if I had no distractions, and I’m worn thin.
So maybe these stay at home mom’s “market value” isn’t great, but the value they are contributing to their husbands by removing the home and child duties, is immeasurable. These men DO make more money, they DO get bigger and faster promotions, and they DO it at the expense of their wives earning potential. It’s not a myth, it’s fact.
Lifetime of support, no that’s too much. A reasonable amount of support to allow them to educate themselves and build a career comparable to their spouse – yes, that has been earned.
Exactly. Well said. Is the article author a parent? Getting back into the workforce, unless you had a high demand, specialized profession is extremely difficult. People who have left traditional careers for a long period are screened out before anyone even sees their resume and this massive discrimination women face by OTHER WOMEN who never left the workforce is the worst. And dont even get me started on ageism… over 50 and forget it. This article is extremely condescending and belittling to the valuable contribution stay at home parents make to their families and the community. Many volunteer many hours. How about we encourage more opportunities for parents to get back into the workforce? How about we start paying wages to the stay at home parent and take that work seriously. Disgusting.
Emma – Great wisdom! Here in Florida where we are trying to change alimony laws for the past eight years (with two Governor vetoes being gifts to the Florida Divorce lawyer industry), we are pushing for alimony to be Marriage Unemployment Insurance. Nobody argues that allowing a party that has chosen not to work for the sake of the children (notwisthanding your excellent arguments to the contrary), to get back on their feet. Hence – alimony should be for a limited time and for a limited amount!
Our Florida Family Law Reform PAC survey indicated that the post-divorce strife around alimony seriously harms the emotional state and relationships with children. It is really time to end this.
Emma – WWII bomber pilots used to say that the flack is always greatest when you’re right above the target. Many of the responses to your article seem to be from people who are very defensive and will do whatever they can not to look at the hard and uncomfortable truths you’ve outlined. Alimony causes more pain and destruction for all involved in the long run. No need to infantilize women. They are just as capable as men. Equality is when we all, regardless of gender or race, accept the consequences, both good and bad, of the decisions we make. No grown adult should believe in a narrative that has a foundation based on inequality; where one grown adult is ordered by the state against their will to financially provide for another grown adult. It’s gross. It needs to end.
You know, since you’re sooo concerned with societal outcomes and children’s long term successes, maybe you could start worrying and writing about the statistical and social disadvantages of children in single mother households. I feel like that’s a much more dire (and well documented!) problem in our society than this “force yourself into a life you don’t want in the name of my definition of feminism” garbage you’re writing to make yourself feel better about the fact that *your* kids are the ones more likely to have emotional and behavioral disorders and be incarcerated. Worry about your own life and choices before you start shaming people for simply raising healthy, well balanced children.
Nonsense. Single mothers can and do raise perfectly healthy normal children. They are often good role models for their kids too. She was just presenting other sides to the argument and some well documented stats here. You are being judgemental here. If you didn’t like the article, why didn’t you just skip it
Emma, good points and you definitely win the hyperbole award of the week. All research indicates…, there are no financial experts in the world who would support…, there is pretty much a 100% chance… Alright, just yanking your chain! I couldn’t help myself.
I just love it when over privileged successful women go on rants! You go girl
I’m glad things are going so well for you, Emma. However, I find your essay extremely meanspirited and filled with assumptions and privilege. You assume that the divorced mother has the education and ability to work at a job that pays her enough for a sustainable lifestyle. I won’t even begin to argue as to what that looks like. You also assume that ageism plays no factor in the ability to support oneself. Of course, you can’t know that now. I hope you never have to face it. I also hope that you never have to be the primary support emotionally or financially of elderly relatives. That changes things, too. Regardless, good luck to you. You’ve got the world on a string. Hope it continues.
Lisa – Alimony IS a function of privilege. Increasingly, it is only affluent, white people who marry (a requirement for alimony) and enough income from the husband to make it even possible. Twice as many white divorced women receive alimony as black women — who are far less likely to marry in the first place — OR receive child support, but much more likely to live in poverty.
What planet are you living on?
I am living on the same one that you are living on. Of course I am. I’m a lot older than you so have experienced life differently. I look forward to the day when your world is a reality, without leaving people behind. I hope all of us, all 350 billion of us can rise up and support one another without shaming. But thank you, you’ve given me a lot to think about. You take care of yourself.
Good gracious. Every competent adult is responsible for getting the education and skills to support themselves. How is it sane or responsible to assume that somebody else is going to feed you?
I do not agree that alimony is a “gravy train” it is fair in that it allows the other partner to have the time to get their career up and going or going to school. The stay at home mom and the working Dad will find themselves in very different circumstances at their divorce. One has an income and the other does not. Having a set amount of time, determined by a judge, in order to get that job or get back in the work force is necessary. It is especially necessary when that Mom is also the custodial parent, taking care of raising the children, which is what typically happens.
I also believe that each case is unique and is dependent on a number of circumstances.
Not all alimony recipients were SAHMs with no income. Plenty have income- but not enough for them to enjoy the lifestyle their husband’s income afforded them. That is wrong.
That’s your opinion…and opinions are like assholes we ALL have them…
Stay at home status is not a requirement for alimony in Ohio and is not even one of the statutory factors for alimony award, amount or duration. The only factors enforced by most domestic law courts in Ohio are length of marriage and difference in income. Typically alimony will level the net income of the two spouses. My ex has a masters degree and was a professional until she retired in the midst of divorce proceedings. I must support her until one of us dies. She was never a homemaker.
Wow, you are so angry at stay at home moms and I think you would want to check your tone and remove the insulting comments and assumptions. I disagree with some of your statements but am open to different perspectives as long as they are respectful… And no I’m not ashamed of my life choices… Sheesh!
Are you divorced? How did your lifestyle choices affect alimony and finances? And I am mad: https://www.wealthysinglemommy.com/how-stay-at-home-moms-hurt-gender-equality/
First, Happy Mother’s Day to you and all of the moms, and single moms, reading this blog. We all should be in this together and build eachother up more than we tear eachother down. With that said, I want to say I have loved your blog and came to it when I was first divorced last year. I have read the article you linked and it gave me something to think about for sure. In my opinion, this article goes too far with stay-at-home mom bashing, almost mommy wars, to make your point. I would especially disagree that staying home with the kids does help further the other spouses career. They can work long hours, take business trips on a whim, don’t have to take extra sick days for the kids and have less other work to do at home so they can dedicate more time and energy to work. For example, my sister has been in all positions, she has stayed home, had her husband stay home and they both now work. She said by far the best situation for her was when he stayed home with the kids. In any case, there is a discussion to be had about inequality in the workplace and in life, but as I said you could’ve done without the degrading comments to stay-at-home moms. I am not ashamed of my choice and no one should be. I am working now and am lucky enough to work for a company with a very family-friendly environment, which is needed to help all women stay in the workforce… if they choose to.
I agree. Thank you.
You seem to be a great writer. I also applaud you for being a strong single parent.
I’m a SAHM. I have a degree in journalism and had a 11+ year successful career in marketing.
When my daughter was 2, I was part of a company-wife lay-off. I was pregnant at the time and had a miscarriage a couple of weeks later.
Three months later, I was pregnant again with my son who’s now 4.
Luckily I had a great severance package and we could afford me staying home.
When I was 5 months pregnant, my daughter was hospitalized for 3 days due to RSV. I stayed with her in the hospital with her and was able to be with her at home for the frightening days that followed. Had I been working, that would have been vacation time or sick time.
Meanwhile, my cobra insurance benefits were coming to a close and we had to buy health insurance. My husband owns his own business so we didn’t have health benefits through him.
After my son was born, we decided to have me continue to stay at home
When I was working, I’d leave the house at 7am and get home around 6am. That included commute time. There were many times that a work meeting would be scheduled for 4:30/5pm and I’d be home even later.
It was hard to be competitive at work because our company culture valued building relationships via after-work happy hours or staying late at the office.
So, when my husband and I weighed our pros and
Cons of my staying home, we decided to give it a try.
It’s been about 5 years and I’m very happy with our decision. It hasn’t always been easy but we’ve made it work.
My children are 7 and 4yrs old. My daughter is in 2nd grade and my son is in preschool.
I help out in my daughter’s class every week and have built a great relationship with her teacher. I volunteer at school events and co-lead the PTA email newsletter. I’ve built relationships with other parents, the PTA leaders and am getting to know the school principal etc.
It may sound trifle to you. However, there are many benefits to being involved in your child’s school and building those relationships.
I am friends with both stay-at-home moms and moms who have jobs outside of the home.
I’m there to help the moms who are working. I often bring their kids home after school.
I’ve seen different reactions from family and friends when I decided to stay home. Early on, I noticed there was a change in the respect they gave me. I could see how some family and friends devalued my opinions etc.
But, I’ve seen it change over the years. They’ve seen how my children are benefiting from my decision to stay home.
I want to emphasize the “my” here because I’m only taking about my situation.
I do not believe that a mom or parent staying at home is better for all children or parents.
But, for me, it was the right choice. I am happy being with them. I was very competitive at work before I had kids. But, once I had my daughter, things changed.
I love being home with them. I’m so happy to be able to help at my daughter’s school, take her to soccer practice, pick up my son from preschool and enjoy our afternoons together. I like being home to see the kids get excited when their dad comes home. I like being excited when my husband walks through the door.
I love helping my friends when they need an extra hand.
I enjoy being part of the PTA and (soon) neighborhood association.
The one thing I don’t like is stereotyping, judgement or inauthenticity. I don’t like it when someone down to “stay-at-home moms” as though we are this inferior member of society. I don’t agree with the notion that, after 3 years of age, being a SAHM is pointless.
I hate when women are pitted against each other. I despise it when mothers are compared to each other.
When I started reading your article I hadn’t looked at who the author was. Then I glanced up at the website in the url.
“Wealthy single mommy”
One of my best friends was a single mom. She had her daughter, my god-daughter, when she was 19 yrs old. She had almost zero help from the father and raised a child when she was barely learning to be an adult. I have the upmost respect for her. She’s married now to a man who took in her daughter as his own and together they built a family.
There has never been one moment where she judged me or looked down on me for the path I chose to take.
I know your article is about alimony.
It doesn’t apply to me in that sense.
However, your tone and disposition on women who stay at home, was not necessary in getting your point across. In fact, it actually pushes away people who may benefit from your research.
I felt so much hatred and disgust coming from your words. I assume this was merely a blog or editorial to vent your frustrations or perhaps you are someone who really hates alimony.
But, I saw that you are an award winning journalist. That means you’re a good writer, right?
It probably means that you are talented, intuitive, creative, intelligent and resourceful. If so, you must also know that there is power that comes with that. You must know that you can make a difference
I took journalism at SFSU and had the most amazing professors. Ben Fong Torres was one of them and I’ll always remember how inspiring he was.
He, along with my other professors, taught me that a story isn’t worth writing if you can’t get the right people to listen.
I’m not sure who you were aiming at with this article but you definitely weren’t reaching the segment you obviously despise. Maybe your story was meant for the ex-husbands. Perhaps your story was for other women who aren’t in an alimony situation. Perhaps it was just a rant that you had building up in you that you wanted to express.
I’m not sure. But, I think you could have done better. I mean that as a compliment.
You obviously have passion.
But…. I’m just a stay at home mom who used to work in marketing and has a degree in journalism from a long time ago.
Seriously. I probably am in no place to say anything like this to a professional journalist. So, you can respond and cut me down if you wish. I’ll be ok. But, I think you’re better than that.
I’m just trying to give you another perspective from mom who probably isn’t all that different from you. (Except for the award winning journalism etc)
Thank you thank you thank you! Ughhh SAHMs make me very angry also. Anyone who takes issue with this post needs to stop and ask, if all things are “equal”, why aren’t there stay at home dad’s in equal numbers as mom’s? Why do women set themselves for this garbage, to accept that their earning power should be less? If you say, well my husband made more money, please stop and ask yourself WHY? Why do women make less? Why did your wife decide to quit her job and let you keep yours? Ughh.. I especially can’t stand the “Mrs Degrees” women get. I also cringe when I learn they do volunteer work… If you have time to volunteer, you have time for a job. Stop perpetuating 1950s gender norms. And no, I think kids with stay at home mom’s learn it’s okay to make the same bullshit decisions.
Couldn’t agree with you more. Seems she trod on a few toes, but glad to see some of us got it.
Here is an unbiased article on the topic.
As a working mother I am embarrassed by this article. SAHMs please know that the majority of working mothers absolutely do not blame you for workplace inequality and think you are doing just fine with your kids. Sheesh.
Ironic that Emma rails against staying home, yet she has links for jobs that let you *gasp* work from home!!! As for the chick in #5 (whining about women leaving her to fight the battle alone while they choose to stay home), these women have an obligation to their family, not you. If Maria really cared about these women fighting along side her why not offer them a work at home position?
Working at home is not a stay at home mom. I have run a business out of my home for 12 years.
I’m sorry but your are deeply misguided. What hurts society is telling any parent what they can and can not do as a parent. Some dads make great SAHDs. Some moms make great SAHMs. And sometimes both parents work. Their choices on how to run their family aren’t holding anyone back.
If I wrote an article that said: “10 ways your car destroys the environment” you likely would not argue, and continue driving your car (I would). Just because this research makes you uncomfortable does not render it incorrect.
Simple common sense will tell you that we can’t have equal numbers without equal participation. So we can’t have it both. It’s really as simple as that. If a woman does leave her career to support her family … she can’t expect there to be an equal number of female leadership in her career when she jumps back in (or if her daughters decide to work). And if leadership is all men … she can’t expect there to NOT be a glass ceiling. She can’t expect her daughter NOT to get harassed or told to smile more or propositioned. Because she is not there to protect her. I don’t make the rules. Reality sucks, doesn’t it?
What a load of horse sh*t. I suppose anyone can cherry pick information to prove a point, eh? I’m glad you’re happy working outside the home. I’m happy as a stay-at-home mom. True feminism means that we both have the option to do what makes us feel fulfilled. ;)
Simple common sense will tell you that we can’t have equal numbers without equal participation. So we can’t have it both. It’s really as simple as that. If a woman does leave her career to support her family … she can’t expect there to be an equal number of female leadership in her career when she jumps back in (or if her daughters decide to work). And if leadership is all men … she can’t expect there to NOT be a glass ceiling. She can’t expect her daughter NOT to get harassed or told to smile more or propositioned. Because she is not there to protect her (We have all the evidence in the world that men do not protect women). I don’t make the rules. Reality sucks, doesn’t it?
The title of this article should be “How Having a narrow view of success hurts gender equality”
This is the most one sided anti-woman thing I have ever read. Clearly clickbait because no one could be this ignorant.
Emma- is it ok for fathers to stay home with their children?
The goal is for autonomy and independence for both genders. The goal is gender equality. That is impossible when anyone give up their earning power.
Define “gender equality.”
“You can grow up to be anything you want, dear daughter, because you are strong and smart and talented…except be a stay at home mommy.”
I think we would all agree on a long list of things we would not want our daughters to be: dependent, abused, depressed, poor, just to name a few.
ALL stay at home moms are “dependent, abused, depressed, poor”? Can you site that statistic, Emma? Or are you just speaking from your experience?
No research finds absolutes.
Simple common sense will tell you that we can’t have equal numbers without equal participation. So we can’t have it both. It’s really as simple as that. If a woman does leave her career to support her family … she can’t expect there to be an equal number of female leadership in her career when she jumps back in (or if her daughters decide to work). And if leadership is all men … she can’t expect there to NOT be a glass ceiling. She can’t expect her daughter NOT to get harassed or told to smile more or propositioned. Because she is not there to protect her. I don’t make the rules. Reality’s sucks, doesn’t it?
So no. If women continue to drop out of the workforce… she can’t.
Yikes Emma, sorry, I didn’t mean to start a war here. As I said I appreciate your body of work and learn from it regularly. I’ll have to think about your reply in spite of my natural tendency to argue.
Am I a feminist because I’m a 39 year old single mother who has never been married? If I got married tomorrow and happily threw a quiche in the oven to bake while knitting some massive doily for the couch, would I be abandoning that identity and “perpetuating stereotypical gender roles?” What if I like to fucking knit (I do)?
I am a feminist *who just happens to be* a 39 year old single mother who has never been married, not BECAUSE of it. I am presently not be perpetuating a stereotypical gender role but I reserve my right to move to Stepford if I want to. Or I can bake in the city.
Feminism – the movement, the revolution, the idea (or what have you) – has provided us (women) with the powerful and apparently controversial thing in life called choice. The choice of whether or not we want to be barefoot housewives and mothers, as well as the right to happily be both, one, none, or more. It has widened our opportunities to be all that we dream, but most importantly, it insists that women not be confined to certain identities only.
There are plenty of people who believe we should still be confined to certain identities, and this author seems to be one of them. It’s up to all of us to continue to assure that we are not, and I think perhaps we start with explaining what feminism actually means to those who claim to be a feminist. (Spoiler Alert: No where in the definition does it include, “hating men.”)
All this choice is worthless if it is made under false assumptions, primarily that full-time at-home mothers are good for anyone, when in fact that myth creates dangerous dependency.
How is it not good for a child to have constant access to their caregiver?
Especially if that caregiver doubles as their food source?
I really didn’t think this level of ignorance was possible.
I am referencing the science. With the exception of the past century, women have always worked outside the home, typically in fields, with a village of caregivers looked after young children – and older children often worked.
Let’s bring back child labor! Also a “village” looking after children is hardly the same as an underpaid daycare worker. This article is some neoliberal bs.
I’ve been the full time working single mom and I am now the SAHM. Working was the easier job as raising my kids is way more work. But I’m way happier to be able to raise them instead of only seeing them a few hours a week. So the person it benefits is ME. My life is happier.
Emma you are a badass! I am so glad that you have the courage to write things (backed up by science) that inevitably bring on so much hate. These commenters are angry AF. My girls call work like yours MamaDiva work – because only Moms are brave enough and hard-working enough to do it. <3
Thank you Ellen :)
You mention that some mothers stay home because childcare is expensive. Ok. You did not once discuss that some women *want* to raise their children full time. No woman should be told what her role in her home or society is. That’s what women have been fighting for for decades. They right to do what *they* want to do.
Also, it is very strange that you repeatedly state *when* you get a divorce not *if* you get a divorce.
What about stay at home fathers?
Most alarmingly, you seem to be placing blame for women’s inequality in the workplace on WOMEN, instead of their employers. That’s sexism at its finest.
You also fail to understand the overall picture behind these statistics. Yes, studies show children of working mothers have slightly better outcomes. Obviously this does not mean that children of stay at home parents are inherently worse of because there are hundreds of thousands of examples of successful happy children whose mothers stayed home, but more importantly, this is a correlation not a causation. More mothers in poverty stay home because of limitations that you mentioned. Children in poverty are more likely to have negative outcomes. The elements that actually impact childhood outcomes are poverty, abuse,and parental involvement. Trying to make the case that a loving family who chooses (because women should have choices, remember that part?) to have a parent stay home and is financially stable and involved in their children’s lives is inherently putting them at risk for lower quality lives is flawed research. The biggest rule if research is correlation does not equal causation.
I know some mothers who must work want comfort in thinking their way is better and that their children will thrive. They probably will, because you care. But not specifically because you work. That is presumptuous and honestly pretty vile.
I have an advanced degree and my family has gone through periods where my husband was the stay at home parent and periods where I was. I would never spew the hate and misinformation towards working mothers that you just did for mothers staying home. I’m really sorry you feel like you have to prove your love like this. We are all doing what we decided was best for our families.
What is the “misinformation”? This is all fact-based opinions, research cited. Yes, you are doing what you believe is best for your family, at the expense of gender equality. I don’t see any room to argue here, except that you have not thought about the points I make and research I cite and your feelings are hurt. Discomfort is the root of change.
Gee, I guess some sanctimommy who is out to prove that she is the best by tearing others down thinks I should live my life differently. You convinced me, I’ll go back to my career now. Riiiiight. You are arguing That ALL stay at home mothers are causing poverty and setting women back, which is indeed misinformation and a gross generalization. You completely dismiss that plenty of women want to do this, and place the blame for workplace inequality on the victims. You also failed to see how your compilation of other people’s research only shows correlation, not causation, a fact that you ignored once again in your response. Perhaps you need to be a good role model for your children and obtain some more education on how exactly research works. Anyone can find any research to support their own opinions on the internet to support their opinions. Here is some research that refutes your position. But unlike you, I would never claim that you should stay home or that you were a bad woman and mother for not doing so. Because that kind of shaming, not working mothers or stay at home mothers, is what is further degrading the lives of women.
I’m sorry but I laugh at the fact that you take a few angles and statistics about how stay at home moms do not help but actually hinder society. How they negatively or moreso don’t help positively in children’s upbringing yet avoid to discuss the fact that so many more statistics/research exists to contradict your statements. You are a mess and I am so sad women like you have a platform to use in which to belittle other women. Real women don’t do that…they pull other women from the trenches. Shame on you for trying to shame SAHMs because you are bitter for whatever you have been thru and clearly you have some other emotional agenda. I hope that isn’t your intent but that is how it reads to both men and women. It’s sad that even men have to come to SAHMs defense to explain how in fact they are making a difference. You say his response is emotional….?! Yet yours isn’t?! Lol This blog is demeaning to stay at home Mother’s and you are creating a you versus them situation. So sad….why don’t you try and look at the world off the pedestal you sat on while writing this!
Alinda, Would you mind sharing the research in favor of stay-at-home parents? I am a working Mom and take a lot of comfort in the earnings research for my kids. But I would love a more balanced view if there is one. Maybe you can copy some links for me to read? Thank you :) Ellen
I am a regular reader and I like your work, it stretches my boomer, conservative, white mind in some productive ways. I struggle with this one though. The idea that my wife did a lot of damage by retiring at 32 to raise three kids and manage our house and investments and to volunteer and to run her unofficial care taking of people who need a human touch now and then doesn’t ring true with the reality I’ve observed. One of our millennial daughters has a BS and an MS in two separate engineering fields and is gainfully employed reducing industry’s impact on the planet with our state’s environmental regulatory department. Her sister has a BS and MS in business and education and mentors division one athletes of all genders at a major university and she loves her job. They are both feminists as well but respect their mom highly and value her judgment. Our daughter in law is a PhD CRNA who seems to be doing pretty well making now about what I made after thirty years in corporate management even though she is still in her 30’s. These three women are all outearning their significant others. My spouse can out run, out hike, out shoot and out fish me and we make our financial decisions together. I prize her judgement above mine in anything that isn’t related to thermodynamics. She is a multimillionaire by the way and has always lived her life exactly as she chose. Every cent I’ve made is due in equal part to her support of our family operation. I never have nor ever will tell her to do anything, nor has she done so to me. The world, I would opine, has benefited greatly from her talents as a volunteer and someone who nurtures and helps some dozen older or marginalized people because she cares for them as unofficial family. Her kids are also productive contributors to society. The idea that you can assign fault to her life choice because she prefers to fight a different battle, one against lonlieness and neglect, instead of the gender war, seems wrong to me. The idea that she should have worked when we had way more money than we needed from one high earner income also seems silly. There are many great fights, third world poverty, religious persecution, gender bias, crime, drugs, abuse and nobody can fight all of them. In my mind she picks her battles and has accomplished a great deal in spite of not following a path you approve of.
You are arguing fact with emotion. Per many studies, several cited in this post, both boys and girls fare better when they are raised by mothers who work. You, like most Americans, tie children’s professional success to mothers’ hours with them, and that simply does not hold up. I do not suggest your wife or family are not worthwhile humans, simply that that model of the stay-at-home wife/mother hurts gender equality, and your comment does not refute that point.
I don’t see what part of Steveark’s comments seem unreasonable or untrue in disproving your anti-nuclear family diatribe. Much of what you wrote in your own blog post are ad-hominems and emotional outbursts. On second thought, all of what you wrote is an emotional outburst. You should do everyone a favor and petition your local US Representative and ask them to pass a law making it harder for women to stay at home or have forced labor rules so women are forced to work so your fantasy world can become reality. Because everything you wrote here is truly a Marxist Fantasy.
Waylon this post cites legitimate research. I’m interested in your perspective relating to the untruths. Which things are lies? And what parts of the posts are unreasonable to you? I’m genuinely interested not doing a devils advocate thing to condescend.
Legitimate is only an opinion. Read all of the blue numbered items in her post, they are all ad-hominems. Because she links to some study or other does not validate their existence or make the numbered statements true in any way.
ad-hominem: directed against a person rather than the position they are maintaining
legitimate: conforming to the law or to rules:
I agree. Emma is not making a reasonable argument.
Children benefit from at least one parent staying home, at least part time. Raising children leaves less time for you, whether it’s a girl’s/boy’s night out or pursuing a PhD. You make sacrifices when you have a child. If you don’t believe that this sacrifice exists, then you should not decide to have children. This pertains to both men and women. It doesn’t have to be only mom staying home, dad can do it too. There’s your gender equality.
However, if both parents want high-powered careers and freedom to pursue them, then they shouldn’t have children. What is the point of having a child you never see?
Also, Emma never arrived at a solution for the high cost of daycare to bank roll this full-time, career-driven lifestyle she suggests that we all have.
Her perspective on career and family is typical of most people in capitalistic societies. We OVER-work as men and women and our families suffer and for what? To afford that Mercedes or new boat? Maybe a time-share in Tahoe? The work ethic and family life philosophy of the U.S is far behind other countries, who support family involvement and less hyper-capitalism. Their quality of lives are much better than our own.
The answer isn’t that mothers need to work more. The answer is that we all need to work less and focus on what’s important in our lives; our families!