Posted by: jessicacooke11 | January 22, 2014

BAD MOTHER

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This article demonstrates the perfect ‘gender role-reversal’. The father is the ultimate stay-at-home dad while the mom holds the job. There are three main ideas that stand out in this article. The first principle I noticed was how society’s image can impact gender roles. This seems so obvious because we consistently discuss how hard it is for women to be given the chance to be the ‘provider’ for the family and to be offered leadership positions. Although, in this situation I saw it differently because it caused Allie, the mom, a great deal of guilt for not being a good mother. It did not have to do with her struggle to get the job, but with the women who then viewed her differently because of her job. The views of other women, in this case, make her feel insufficient and embarrassed for not “living up to our society’s expectations of a wife and mother”.

On the other side of the partnership is the father. He brings up the idea that being a stay at home dad is a hard job. It is important for society not to devalue his job or make it seem inadequate of a job to be called ‘full-time’. This is important for the people who do choose to live as a caregiver and deserve the respect for holding that position.

As much as I would like to ignore society’s thoughts about how I live my life, it is not a reality. In order to not force people into a box, we need to break ALL of the stereotypes. Included in this box is the impression that women have to be the caregivers to be good mothers.

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Responses

  1. Upon reading this article, I found it to be the perfect example of the masculine/feminine role reversal issue. In many cases men do not desire to play the domestic role in the family. This article depicted a strong male in the domestic role, who admitted that being the cornerstone of the family instead of the “breadwinner” is, in itself, equally as difficult. Coming from a household where my mother did not work outside of the home, I witnessed my mother being unfulfilled in simply being a stay-at-home mom. Now that both my brother and I are out of the home, she works as a nurse -as she did before we were born. My mother was a fantastic mom, but I can appreciate that she is much happier playing an role that is similar to that of my father.

    I concur that the role of a “stay-at-home parent” has its own difficulties and battles and should be observed with as much admiration and awareness as the working parent position -though the struggles may be different. I disagree strongly against the statement that a mother working outside of the home should classify her as a “bad mother”. In many cases, the luxury of being a stay-at-home mom is not possible, and in no way should a mother or father who strives to provide financially as well as emotionally for their children be considered a bad parent.

  2. Like it was said before, this scenario breaks all the boxes that society has placed for men and women. Society puts so much on both genders to uphold their particular roles that have been set since the beginning of time. Women are supposed to be the primary caregivers and if they decided to work a full time job, they are looked down on by society and said to be bad mothers. My mom had me and my sister and then went back to work full time. I never felt like i was neglected or that she was not doing her job. She did what she had to do to take care of the family, and having a job helped our family.
    Men have the same pressures as women. Society has placed them in a box and says they must be the provider for the families, and if they don’t do that then they are considered weak and not a real man. Like my mother, my father works a full time job but he was the one who picked my sister and I up from the babysitter’s house and cooked dinner for the family. Most people are surprised to hear that my father is the cook for the family and that he does other household chores around the house. Society says he is doing “women’s work,” but to my father, he is doing his job of providing for the family since he is helping take care of the house and my sister and I.
    I believe the only way stereotypes and gender roles are going to be broken is if society stops trying to place everyone in a box. We as a whole have to stop putting titles on everything if we want to being compared to one another.

  3. Rather than just repeat what has already been said about gender roles, I would like to bring the media into this conversation. There have been a few television shows about men staying at home while women work (after some digging around I realized the main one I was thinking about was NBC’s “Guys with Kids” that only ran for one season). While shows like these are meant to be funny, I think they really hurt the image of men that stay at home with their children. These shows make it seem like there is something funny about being a stay-at-home dad. Kind of like in class when we say “by studying women in leadership we’re polarizing it even further,” by making shows like these that token the idea of stay-at-home fathers even further, we are reaffirming these gender roles, in my opinion.

  4. It’s interesting how society has such a huge say in how individuals (families in this case) should work and function as a unit. Our view of leadership is stuck in a paradigm where the traditional view of a family still remains in use. Yet, even so, why is it that society and leadership impact the roles of parents in such a profound way? Is this not essentializing individuals into a category based on their sex and gender?

    Regardless, I think it’s necessary for our class to notice events like this and learn to do the opposite. We must support others and work towards individualizing leadership in a way where individuals can work towards their goal and not be seen as violating some sort of norm or expectation that they must fulfill.

    Kudos to this family for being confident in utilizing the strengths of each parent where they see it fit, and not conforming to society’s pressure to where their leadership is “supposed” to be focused on.

  5. I basically agree with what everyone else has said in the comments before me. It’s unfortunate that gender stereotyping still play a large part in how we view dads who stay home with the children because society still looks at that as being a woman’s duty- not a male’s. I, personally, think that it speaks volumes about a man who decides to stay home so his wife can go to work. When my mother had my youngest brother (who is 11 years younger than I am), my dad was still the primary source of income because he continued to work after my brother was born so my mom could stay home, but he also played the ‘mom’ role in a sense as well and did all of the grocery shopping, cooked and cleaned the house for my mom. I remember asking him why he was doing things that moms should be doing and he told me that it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks about it because he did it out of love for my mother. He said that because he is perfectly capable of cooking and cleaning too, why not do it to make it easier on my mom because she barely slept? Since then, I grew up thinking that the men who truly loved their wives would gladly take on a “mom” role, so I always applauded those who did so, like the father in this article. I wish that more people would have a more positive view about the caring men who do this because I believe that it is truly admirable!

  6. I, personally, think that being a stay-at-home parent, regardless of whether you are a female or male, is one of the most worthy jobs you can have. People think that it is taking the easy way out or coming up with an excuse so they don’t have to work, but what I think society doesn’t realize is that being a stay-at-home parent is work! It’s a 24/7 job. You can’t just come home and escape your work life once you get home from a 9-5 job, because your home is also your work environment. I have always grown up with both of my parents working, so I cannot exactly fully relate, but my next door neighbors in my hometown actually have a similar situation as the article addresses. In my neighbor’s case, the father stays at home and the mother works. I remember when I was growing up that I thought it was weird that the father didn’t work because I was always just used to both of my parents working. But, once I went over to their house a few times because they had a daughter my age and started to see how their family operated, I realized that being a stay-at-home dad worked best for their family. The dad enjoyed being home with their kids and helping them with homework and cooking the meals, and the mom felt fulfilled by her work. That is when I realized that role reversal situations may not be the norm, but they still work for many people. I think that the reason the mom in the article may have felt guilty for working was because society has warped her thinking that way. The Eagly and Carli reading even stated that many women aren’t able to reach higher-up positions because they end up leaving the workforce due to the guilt they feel for not being with their children. However, I grew up with a working mom and I never once felt neglected. Shouldn’t a woman be able to work and still be a great mother at the same time? Of course! Who says you can’t have both? I don’t think that the father should feel any sort of guilt for his decision to stay home either because that’s one of the hardest jobs you can have. Sometimes you have to make sacrifices for your family and I think it’s great that the father fully supported his wife’s decision to take on the business world. Props to this family for breaking the gender role mold and showing people that there is more than just one way to parent and be in the workforce.

  7. I can relate to this because my mom felt she was being judged by stay at home moms that were our neighbors. Both of my parents worked when I was growing up, but I feel like my mom was a very supportive parent and filled her mothering role perfectly. She is a high school teacher. Though she always went to support students at games, she never missed an event that either me or my brother had. I despised the mothers that would ask whether my mother was coming to my tennis matches or not. She always made it to them, just not early because she had work and students to help after school. My mother was always attentive of my life and would praise or punish when needed. You do not have to be a stay at home mom to be a good mother, you can have a job and a family.

  8. I really enjoy reading articles like this because this family situation is a lot like what I am hoping my own personal family situation is like in the future. I want to be the one in the relationship holding down a job (if not both of us) because I really want to push myself to go as far as I can in my career. This article is great proof to me that there are men out there that would accept the role as care-taker of the children, and would do a successful job at it. It did scare me a little bit about how people thought that she was a bad mother. But when I think about it, I don’t think she was a bad mother at all – she just gave the role of “nurturer” to her husband. Her children were getting the same support as other children were getting, they were just getting it from their fathers and not their mothers. I know it’s hard to go against what society thinks is normal, but I think this woman is really strong and independent, and I don’t think she really did anything “wrong”. She just did it differently. I want to be the type of woman one day who isn’t afraid the break the rules of society. It is women like Allie who help to break the general stereotype of women being the dominant nurturers and caretakers. This is what I aspire to be. We, as women, aren’t going to get anywhere without strong women like Allie who aren’t afraid to live her life as she wants.

  9. I can completely relate to this article. Even though I am not a mother yet I feel torn between wanting to be a “good” mother and wanting to be a “good” professional. I believe that in order for women to have equal opportunities for leadership roles and professional carriers we must not only change how society views women in the workplace but also how we treat our women who choose to work in order to prevent working mothers from feeling guilty for having a job.


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