Recently, I jumped midstream into a Twitter “discussion” (as much as a discussion is possible on Twitter – which it isn’t, which is why I prefer Friendfeed, but that’s a totally different topic than the one at hand…). The topic seemed to be about whether a stay at home mom could be a “real” feminist.
Okay, so I don’t know what the official definition of feminism is (and yes, I’m feeling way too lazy this morning to type my way to it) but here’s the AmyGeek definition: "Feminism means that women’s options are not limited due to their gender.” That’s it. It’s not about the choices people make – as long as their choices are their own – and that they have options.
I have several friends who have made the choice to stay home and raise their kids. First of all, this is a major family decision – obviously, by choosing to limit their income to one wage-earner, this affects a family’s financial ability and choices. This is not a light decision for many/most people. In many situations, it’s not an option at all – people cannot support their families without two salaries. That’s just wrong. I could go on a whole rant just about that, but I’m doing my best to stay focused for the moment…
These friends who have decided to stay home with their kids do so because they feel it’s best for their children. Period. In some cases they have advanced degrees and had been out-earning their spouse prior to their pregnancy. These are not women who are lacking in opportunities – these are women who have weighed their options and made a decision that they feel is best for their family.
To me, this is feminism in action. They are not staying at home because they aren’t capable of working, because they’re pressured by others, because of some social stigma or because of some lack of intellectual curiosity.
Of course, this is obviously a middle class issue – many many women just don’t have the financial ability to make this choice. Of course, for most single moms (who don’t have some sort of trust fund), this just isn’t an option. Shame on our country for not taking better care of our women and children. (See, I really am a big ole liberal. Even though I respect stay at home moms.)
So for my stay at home mommy friends: I salute and respect you and your (feminist) choices. And if you need a break, I’m available for movie watching and comic relief.