I'm old. I can remember a time and place where the vast majority of women stayed home to care for their families. The women who worked were few and far between, and those who did were either school teachers or secretaries. And a lot of the female school teachers were single.
Television -- all three black-and-white channels -- showed happy homemakers like Donna Reed, dressed to the nines making fragrant meat loaf.
Then came the Women's Movement, which basically said, "Enough with the barefoot and pregnant slavery! We want education, good jobs, and fulfilling careers!"
The oligarchy perked its ears.
So women went into the work force in numbers. They dropped their kids at the child care they could afford by working long hours for less wages than their children's fathers.
Motherhood was looked down on as a form of submission. Which of course it was, considering that stay-at-home women worked long hours for no wages at all.
Just recently, Senator Romney introduced the idea of paying women $350 per month per child (up to a point) to help allay the costs of rearing a human being in our modern society. And the hue and cry against it, once again led by the New York Times, is making me so furious I could dine on penny nails and window panes.
I don't only blame the assholes who are saying that giving women money to stay at home and raise children will encourage them to be lazy. I also hold that early Women's Movement to blame for making motherhood seem like an extraneous duty, instead of the crucial one it is.
Let's address this nonsense.
1. No one who has small children to care for is lazy. Even in these days of video games and 2,000 t.v. channels. Kids need to eat, they need supervision, they need baths, they need stimulation. These are the formative years of a human being's life! And yet moms are paid zero, and day care center workers are paid like they're slinging burgers at Wendy's. Paying people to stay home and perform child care might not result in better-nurtured kids 100 percent of the time. But it would improve American humans exponentially.
2. Motherhood is a sacred profession. Many cultures recognize this. There is no more important job than bonding with and nurturing children. Do we have a Goddess of Cubicle? BAMP! No. But all the enlightened religions have Mother Goddesses. Even Christianity venerates Mary. So why is staying home to raise children looked upon as a life lacking meaning? Because the feminists of the 1960s and 1970s declared it to be that way.
I fully support paying women directly to stay at home with their children. If I was in charge, I would give them a universal basic income of $1500 a month and call it money well spent.
"Well, Anne," the oligarch says, "there are child tax credits."
NOT ENOUGH. (And by the way, oligarch? I'm going to eat you as soon as I finish this column.)
There's a difference between a tax credit and a payment. One is buried in paperwork, the other comes to the door and is tangible.
Women should be paid to do parenting. Or men. I imagine a lot of men would love to stay home with their kids. Parenting should be considered a profession, and a noble one at that.
Notice I'm not saying that parenting should be an obligation. If you want a meaningful career outside the home and still want children, you go girl! That $350 a month will help you pay for excellent child care. If you want a meaningful career and no children, you go girl! One needn't measure meaning entirely through raising kids.
So let's put some weight behind this whole "pay the mom" movement. We would be investing in the very future of the nation. The way things are going now, women work long hours for poverty wages (thanks, oligarchs! Pass the salt.), and then they come home to neglected children. Talk about slavery! Might as well be the damn plantation.
Pay moms to be moms!