Women used to be faced with a dilemma: forgo a career to stay at home and raise children, or sacrifice the upbringing of your children in order to pursue a career. Since the 1960’s, feminists and conservatives have sparred over this choice. Feminists criticized mothers who stayed at home, claiming women could instead “have it all;” pursue a career while putting their kids in daycare. Conservatives criticized women who put their career first, correctly observing that a parent in the home raising the children is better for the children. This debate was known as the “mommy wars.”
The war is now essentially over and the feminists have won, although not because they were more persuasive. Only 12 percent of moms believe that working full time is an ideal situation for children, and 74 percent of adults say that mothers working outside the home makes it harder to raise children. About half of adults surveyed believe that children are better off if the mother does not work.
Yet today, only three in ten mothers do not work outside the home. The reason the feminists have won is because it is now difficult for men – as well as women – to make enough money from one job to support the entire family. As economic conditions continue to spiral down under Obama, employers have been forced to cut jobs, hours and benefits. Jobs that used to pay decently have been replaced by free student labor, or “internships.” Most parents are lucky to find full-time jobs that pay slightly better than minimum wage. There are fewer people working now than anytime within the past 35 years; only 63 percent of working-age Americans are in the workforce. At the same time, the cost of healthcare, gas, food and other necessities continues to increase.