Staying at home is an act of freedom

SATURDAY MAILBOX

Saturday Mailbox

October 08, 2005

Susan Reimer's column "Survey results put women back at square one" (Oct. 4) was very offensive to mothers who choose to stay at home with their kids. More precisely, she targeted those of us who went to college and chose to stay at home.

Ms. Reimer seems to suggest there is something wrong with being a well-educated, stay-at-home mother and refers to those of us who do so as "silly girls" who went to college "to find a husband."

I myself went to college to become better educated and to help build the knowledge base and skills I would need to enter a successful and rewarding career.

I graduated summa cum laude, was a member of Phi Beta Kappa and went on to graduate school to earn my master's degree in speech-language pathology.

My husband and I got married a few months after I graduated from graduate school, and I worked as a speech-language pathologist for a year and a half until my son was born.

My son is now 2 1/2 , I am pregnant with my second child and I have not gone back to work.

I feel fortunate that I have the opportunity to stay at home because I know how difficult it is to do so today.

I made the decision to stay home mainly because I enjoy being at home with my son but also because my husband has a very demanding career and it would be too difficult for us to try to juggle both careers and a family at this point in our lives.

In addition, I worked at a day care center for six years during college and graduate school and observed that while the quality of care was good, some children simply do not do as well as others in this type of environment.

That all being said, I have made my choice to stay home, but I know that it is my choice.

I have friends who are mothers and have careers outside the home, and I don't look down on them or question the choice they have made.

I would never ask why they chose to have children if they are going to continue working.

However, Ms. Reimer's article seems to ask the question: "Why go to college if you are going to be a stay-at-home mother?"

My point is that there is room in society for women who make either choice.

When my son is sick and I take him to his pediatrician, I am grateful that she continues to work in her career field.

I am certain that she will feel the same way about me when I am going on field trips and volunteering my time in her child's classroom.

Mary Youngblood

Linthicum

What, exactly, does Susan Reimer have against women who choose to stay home with their children?

And why is it a step backward for women to choose what comes naturally to many of us - to be full-time mothers?

It's a slap in the face to these young women who see mothering as their future to criticize them and make them feel like they are letting women down or setting us back to pre-women's-movement times.

Why does it seem like many of the women who unquestionably worked hard to get equal rights for women now want to limit us in a different way?

Failing to accept the choice of a young woman to stay home and be a mother is just as primitive as not allowing women equal opportunities in the workplace.

Jennifer Hamilton

Sykesville

Hey, Susan Reimer, just because 60 percent of female Yale University students surveyed plan to cut back or stop working while their children are young doesn't mean they are attending the university in order "to find a husband" ("Survey results put women back at square one," Oct. 4).

You call those women silly and naive. Get off it, and get with it.

These girls have a firsthand perspective of the effects of working motherhood, and they're making an educated decision.

And since when is a college education pursued exclusively in order to land the best job?

I guess that according to Ms. Reimer, if a woman wants to raise her children at home, she shouldn't have the same educational opportunity as those available to a woman committed to a life-long career.

But thankfully, the admissions decisions in Ivy League colleges are not based on Ms. Reimer's materialistic and short-sighted principles. These institutions recognize that a quality education does more than provide a person the ability to earn a fat paycheck.

And by the way, these "silly" girls who plan to spend time at home with their young children will be utilizing their education and work experience.

They will raise well-adjusted and emotionally secure children of moral character. They will volunteer their skills in schools running PTAs, coordinating events and assisting teachers.

They will develop million-dollar capital campaigns for nonprofit organizations. They will become environmental activists, museum docents and hospital volunteers.

They will raise money for charities at unprecedented levels. They will, in fact, become the backbone of their communities.

Show a little respect, Ms. Reimer.

Draw in your outdated, women's lib-inspired cat claws, and do your part as a woman to embrace and respect the individual choices that women make.

Maria Medaris O'Shea

Baltimore

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