Parenting by John Rosemond
What Kids Should Expect From a Working Mother
Note From the Editor of Christian Parent’s Network: John Rosemond is a Psychologist by training and family counselor by practice. However, he does not accept psychological theory as valid and provides Biblically based counseling. I enjoy his viewpoint on many subjects and read his column regularly. Visit his website at http://www.rosemond.com I do not endorse contemporary psychological principles. I believe psychology and some of the non-medical elements of psychiatry to be pseudo-sciences. My readings of John Rosemond’s material indicate to me that for the most part, he shares similar beliefs. MB
Today’s moms are servants to children
I was recently in Somewhere, USA, where I talked on the unfortunate consequences to families and children of the prevailing nouveau idea that the more one does for one’s children, the better a parent one is. This message, I said, has been insidious, especially for women.
A woman approached me afterward.
“Things have changed,” she said. “Like many of today’s mothers, I work full time, which gives me only three hours a day to spend with my children, and I think they deserve my full attention during that time.
- “I’ll just bet,” I said, “that you’re exhausted after you put the kids to bed.
- You bet!” she affirmed.
- “Are you married?” I asked.
- Yes,” she answered.
- “Why don’t you spend that three hours – most of it, at least with your husband?”
- She stared at me, speechless, for at least five seconds. Then she said, with a dreamy sort of tone, “That had never even occurred to me.”
Unfortunately, it hasn’t occurred to a lot of today’s female parents. The straitjacket we’ve built for this generation of American women all but compels them to stop being wives once they have children and become,. instead, “working mothers” or “stay-at-home moms.” Their husbands then fall into line by becoming fathers, first and foremost; and that, kids, is the story of how parent – especially the female of the species – is now synonymous with servant and the marriage has become the American Family’s Cheshire Cat – now you see it, now you don’t.
In the first place, there is nothing new about mothers working outside of their homes. My mother did. So did her mother. So did a significant number of my childhood buddies’ mothers. What’s new is guilt over doing so and consequently – large numbers of women flogging themselves into frenzies of “I’ve got to make it up to my children” every evening and on weekends.
Take, for example, my mother. For the first seven years of my life, she was a single parent. Then she married. In neither situations did she come home from her job feeling she owed me something. Quite the contrary. She came home feeling – are you ready for this? – I owed her something! What a concept! Specifically, I owed her for putting a roof over my head, food in my stomach, clothes on my back, and shoes on my feet.
For her sacrifice, Mom felt she deserved respect, obedience, and peace and quiet. And she got it. She expected me to keep myself busy And I did. Funny. I don’t recall ever thinking my mother wasn’t giving me enough of her time and attention. Nor did my friends-whose-mothers-worked and I form a “rejected-children’s support group.”
Thus did I grow up with the feeling that I was obligated to my mother.
By contrast, overwhelming numbers of today’s kids are growing up thinking their mothers are obligated to them. Because the mother-child relationship has turned upside-down, inside-out and backward in the course of 40 years, today’s child is at great risk of becoming a petulant, demanding, ungrateful brat. Unfortunately, the more petulant and demanding he becomes, the more likely it is his mother will feel she’s not doing enough for him. And around and around they go, this codependent union of mother and child.
What America needs is yet another women’s liberation movement. this time, however, women should burn not their bras, but their mini-vans.
Dr. Rosemond writes a nationally syndicated column on Parenting