Stay-at-home moms are beneficial to society, despite what the media says

Stay-at-home moms are beneficial to society, despite what the media says

A number of media outlets have apparently taken issue with so-called “tradwives,” a term which just refers to women who stay at home and take care of the kids, clean, and cook while their husbands goes to work.

Articles going back several years refer to the “trend” as having a “dark heart” or that it promotes “sexism.” Vice reported on March 10, for example, that “trad ideology” has “sinister connections with right-wing extremism,” according to “experts.”

But while the increased attention may come from the use of social media sites like TikTok that show women embracing a more domestic role and less of a corporate, business-driven role, women staying at home is simply part of a long, successful history across numerous cultures where men provided most of the income and women oversaw the household.

Families benefit when mom is at home and dad works to provide for the family, whether that is in a physical office or working remotely, a fact recognized by broader American society. “60% of Americans say children are better off when a parent stays home to focus on the family,” Pew Research found in 2014. A Stanford University business professor concluded that children who have moms at home with them do better in school.

“The evidence is already quite strong that staying at home during a child’s first year of life can have long-term benefits,” a Stanford Business article explained. The professor’s research into a Norwegian program that underwrote parental leave concluded “those children whose mother did not work at age ten because of the Cash-for-Care in average obtained a 1.2 increase in the grade point average.”

Furthermore, it is well established that children benefit from someone regularly reading to them and having secure emotional attachments as kids. Therefore, if a mom is at home to read to her kids on a regular basis and play with them and form emotional bonds throughout the day, it would make logical sense that those kids would grow up to be educated, emotionally healthy individuals, all things considered.

There is something else that cannot be perfectly explained but I believe is intuitively known. That is that something about the father and husband working as the primary provider for his family leads to better career success, including higher wages. The point is not that money is the be all and end all, but that financial security can come if just one parent is working. One reason may be is that employers see married men with kids as more responsible.

It could also be that married men with kids become more responsible and better workers because of either that extra incentive to perform or because they learn skills that help them succeed both as fathers and as employees.

This is why I encourage my male friends who are planning to get married or are married to consider having their wife stay at home even before kids enter the picture. There is just something that employers implicitly or explicitly see that I do believe pays off for families.

Christian financial expert Dave Ramsey recently observed this as well, based on his personal experience. A female caller into his popular personal finance show called for advice on how to best balance education, work and raising kids. She felt guilty about the prospect of not working and feeling that she was not contributing to the family, even though her husband did not tell her that, it was an internal thought.

Ramsey said that 36 years ago his wife stopped working for a paycheck when his first child was born. “One of the reasons that I am a national brand, and a highly successful businessperson is because I don’t have to deal with drama at home, ” he said. He thanked his wife for making the home a “place of peace” which gives him a “foundation” for going to work. He said his wife is a “contributor” to his family’s “wealth.” “She really is… there’s an actual, factual piece of data here,” he said. “I call that contributing.”

Finally, it is not like women who are in the workplace are exactly thriving.

“Women have reported higher levels of burnout than men for years, a gap that has more than doubled since 2019,” CNBC reported, based on research from Gallup.

Just last week, Fortune magazine ran an article about working women who suffer from depression. A quick note here – it is not a simple enough explanation to argue that if men shouldered more of the household chores or childcare or if women had more paid time off that this problem could be ameliorated. Women naturally are better at childcare and being caregivers than men. Children need their moms at home.

“There were so many times last year where my child was sick, and when that happens your whole foundation breaks,” the CEO of a wellness app said. “Because you have to keep up with work, and you don’t have the chance to recuperate.”

“It can really take a toll on your mental health,” Nathalie Walton told Fortune. The magazine reported that “having it all isn’t always enough, especially when it comes to mental health.”

Even Walton, who took paid leave and thinks more time off would help working moms, implicitly acknowledges that paid time is not going to fix the problem.

“I had a 20-week maternity leave, but I don’t feel like that was enough,” she said. “For me, personally, I felt like I needed much more, but a lot of women don’t even get that type of maternity leave. Some of your identity shifts and you don’t really have time to process it.”

Correct. There should be an identity shift when women get married, or at a minimum, when they have kids. Individuals are not made to be full-time workers and full-time parents timewise – it is simply not possible.

Obviously I am always a father to my kids, but I could never work 45 or 50 hours a week, do chores, and also spend 45 to 50 hours a week in an attentive, beneficial manner with my kids. Similarly, I do not expect my wife to work 45 to 50 hours a week while taking on all the household duties.

Stay-at-home moms are beneficial to families and to society and should be encouraged, not vilified.