Friday, October 02, 2009

Opting Out

This post is probably not going to surprise a single one of my 10 or so readers. This morning in the paper was an article about a new study that was conducted about the education level of stay-at-home moms. It would seem we are a far less educated group than was thought and that the phenomena of educated women leaving the workforce (opting out) to stay home to raise children was not nearly so large as was supposed. It seems to be so small as to not even count as a phenomena anymore. The overall tone of the article seemed to imply, "Whew...that crisis averted!"

I'm not going to expend too much energy on the tone of the article. It was what I've come to expect when the job of mothering is discussed...a tacit assumption that staying home to raise children is a second-best option. What I'd rather discuss is the phrase 'opting out'. Does anyone else find this term as derogatory as I do? I know the thinking is that women who have degrees somehow 'owe' society something and the only way to pay what we owe is to be gainfully employed. By not choosing employment, we are selfishly keeping our skills and knowledge to ourselves and somehow hindering the advancement and betterment of our society and country. Wow, who knew that such magnificent things awaited me if I went out and got a job?


But, as those of us who stay home, know, that when we 'opt out', we are actually opting in. We are opting in to being on the front lines of raising children. We are opting in to being available to volunteer in community programs. We are opting in to having time to help neighbors, friends, or family in time of crisis. We are opting in to being a presence in our neighborhoods which might be otherwise deserted during the day. Our degrees are not wasted because we are not earning money. They helped us gain knowledge and explore new interests and ideas. We still make use of these skills and knowledge whether we bring in a paycheck or not.


And on a different note, a couple of pictures of the babies for my mom. It's hard to be a grandma a couple of thousand miles away from grandbabies.


L. (Who just learned to roll over front to back and back to front today.)

G.

6 comments:

Cuppa Jo said...

Wait! Where's the rest of your post? Did you "opt out" of finishing? More, please!

thecurryseven said...

I guess that answers my question of whether people can read posts I'm editing. LOL

It's what happens when I start a post, then hit publish accidentally. Then get interrupted by hungry babies and an hour and a half attempt to drive to the bagel store, but the traffic was so bad I never made it. It doesn't usually take me hours to finish a post!

e

PhoWises said...

E.
There are so many days when I feel like opting out of modern life in general! I can't stand to watch the news, read the newspapers or listen to the radio. Everything is backwards. Like using the GNP as a measure of econmic growth when it's actually the nation's debt load!
You are not alone. there's a whole bunch of us. We call it Voluntary Simplicity, the antidote to Affluenza.
I.

Carol said...

E & I,
Agree with you both. And while opting in (yep, I like your definition better) I've found my life so much more challenging, fulfilling and rewarding than when I was out there working.

The girls are sooooo cute!

Carol

Gina @ MoneywiseMoms said...

I agree with you. I have a Master's Degree, yet CHOSE to stay at home with my children. I do feel that I have opted IN, and while I recognize that it's not a good fit for every woman, it's the best for me and my family.

Thanks so much for your comment on my Multiples & More post. Sounds like you're a veteran meal planner!

His Hands His Feet Today said...

Opting IN too ... ten times! LOL!

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