Mothers at Home
To the Editor:
As a fan of David Gelernter and a working mother of small children, I read his article, “Why Mothers Should Stay Home” [February], with interest. In my view, it suffers from a confusion endemic to many conservatives who attempt to deal with the trend of mothers entering the workforce. He cannot seem to decide whether the problem is that mothers are being forced to go out to work when they would rather be home, or that mothers who would really like to work are no longer socially constrained from doing so.
Needless to say, the implications for social policy of the choice between these views are quite different. If the principal problem is that rampant materialism and external social pressures have forced mothers to ignore their own “true” desires, then by all means let us work to combat the pressures and attitudes that keep women from their children. With respect to these forces, however, not all women are alike. Less affluent women often work out of real need. As for more affluent and educated mothers, as far as I can tell, a remarkable number succeed in defying the supposedly crushing “social pressures,” and choose to stay home and work part-time. I think Mr. Gelernter greatly exaggerates this aspect of the problem.
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