Salon.com article on Michelle Obama perpetuates old debate between working mothers and stay at home mothers.


The momification of Michelle Obama
By Rebecca Traister
The next first lady is an accomplished lawyer. But with the media focused on her clothes and family, Bamalot is starting to look a lot like Camelot....Read here.
My response to this article:

I definitely have some thoughts on this article. But mostly with her comments on Takeaway on public radio this morning were really disheartening. I see so many career focused women so focused on the power struggles for working motherhood instead of focusing on initiatives to make it easier for moms to balance the workplace and family. They always talk about women going to the motherhood as priority as if they are traitors to the cause. I still find this outdated and ineffective in equalizing the playing field for women. Once they started spewing the salary numbers and I know the writer just landed herself a 6 figure writing contract, this is just a conversation between a certain kind of working woman, leaving out the majority of working women. They have money. They are working mostly for personal satisfaction rather than keeping the power on and the mortgage paid. More women than not would like to have the time, power and money it takes to focus on their families. Obviously, Michelle Obama is a brilliant career woman. Obviously, the President will be talking policy with her over dinner table. But more importantly, this power couple is in a position to prioritize their duties without needlessly sacrificing what is best for the family and mostly, the children.

Traister writes:
In one of the smartest pieces that has been written about the next first lady, Geraldine Brooks' profile of her in the October issue of More magazine, Brooks writes that while you can see Michelle's life as the quintessential modern woman's success story, the trajectory can also be read as a "depressingly retrograde narrative of stifling gender roles and frustrating trade-offs." In serious ways, Brooks writes, "it is her husband's career, his choices -- choices she has not always applauded -- that have shaped her life in the last decade."

This discussion is the absolute heart of the discussion in communities of mothers inside and outside of the home, pitting them against one another. What I find fascinating is that Ms. Traister and Ms. Geraldine Brooks of More magazine seem to equate the decision to care for the well-being of young children as a step backward hundreds of years and an insult to the working women striving for acceptance today. It should not be a slap in any feminists face that the Obamas are stressing the importance of a mother figure in a home of small children. It is simple prioritizing. It is also a question of respecting her choices as a woman to say that I do want to do what is best for my children and I think my focus on them is best. In the long run, the greater sacrifice to this nation would be to create a sense of inattentiveness in the greatest transition of these children's lives. Many agree, motherhood is the hardest job out there and managing this family transition of young children into the white house is a full time parental job. This isn’t one for the caretakers.

A number of working women in positions of power rarely champion the causes of true working women that need more flexibility, better healthcare and daycare in order to not create an imbalance in the lives of their children. You must ask yourself exactly what so many working mothers are striving for besides paying bills and taking care of business when they continue to miss parent conference meetings and the infamous bake sales. What about the simple act of sitting down to help with the homework? This is an absolute mandatory task for parents of young children. If both parents are diligently working until after 6, who is helping with the homework after 3? Some families are lucky enough have plenty of extra help with nannies and tutors. Most families rush to get it done right before bedtime.

Maybe the Obamas are trying to send America a message that they are redefining the American family by re-acknowledging the benefit and stability of a traditional household. If one can afford this tradition, it is a blessing, not a step back into the dark ages.
...and the commentary continues...
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=97128098 This was a great listen. I love the debate among women on the subject of Mom-in-Chief. Truly fascinating.

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