An interesting article at Women’s Enews on mothering and the value placed on it. While much lip service is given to the undertaking, little is done to actually support those choosing to have children.
(WOMENSENEWS)–The news media loves stories about highly educated mothers opting out of rewarding careers to stay at home with their young children.
Anecdotal evidence unsupported by serious research is also constantly drumming home the idea that women consider themselves the best providers of child care. For example, a 2006 Salary.com survey of what mothers do “on the job” leads with the headline “Dream Job: Stay at Home Mom.” Although the survey claims that equal numbers of working and stay-at-home mothers participated, quotes from the happy, at-home mothers dominate the report.
For instance, working mothers are “horrified” at the thought of hiring strangers to care for their children, they believe that mother’s care is “priceless” and that motherhood is the “greatest job in the world.” It’s easy to stay on message: Women must choose between work and family.
But the opposite message is sent to low-income mothers.
The recent debate over the welfare-to-work provisions of Temporary Assistance to Needy Families–or welfare–captures this difference. Congress did not debate the best means to provide even minimally adequate day care to the children of single parents. Instead they wondered whether or not the required hours of paid work should be increased!
Why does popular sentiment portray some mothers as virtuous when they drop out of the labor force to care for their families, while others are responsible only if they work for pay outside the home?
With Mothers Day coming up and the usual platitudes running rampant trying to get you to spend spend spend to show mom how much you love her, and with the forced pregnancy folks all creamed up about Bushie and company and their anti choice stance, I thought it might be interesting to see just how much mothers are valued once those sacred womb contents are born.
Taking from the article and substituting Canadian stats we find;
In 2006, 73% of all women with children less than age 16 living at home were part of the employed workforce, up from 39% in 1976. (statscan)
Presumably these women need childcare facilities we find that, daycare costs an average of $9-14000 a year Compare that to University costs Undergraduate students will pay an average of $4,347 in tuition fees for the 2006/2007 academic year
Now while we would hope that the cost of childcare reflects the importance of such a service for our Canadian families and that this is reflected in the wages of daycare workers in fact,
The average annual wage for a child care worker in Canada in 1998 was $22,717. The report compared that to the average wage of $21,308 for a parking lot attendant.
On a Canada-wide basis, 22 per cent of child care staff quit their jobs each year, and most who leave do not stay in the child care field. A main reason for this high turnover is low pay, benefit levels and working conditions. Most do not receive paid benefits such as sick leave, retirement and pension plans, and medical benefits
Oh but we have had a number of years without Family Values™ Tories in charge surely they recognize the importance of children and the care they require..well in fact Canada’s New Government™ decided the best thing they could do was cancel daycare spaces and substitute a 100 dollar a month gift to parents for daycare. Psst… they also want a portion of that back on your tax return Harperites grudgingly giveth and greedily taketh away.
The money cuts out at six too, cause we all know once children reach the age of six they are perfectly capable of looking after themselves.
Women have always worked. The dreamy, floaty, vaseline covered lens of marriage and motherhood presented by the REAL(ly wacky) crowd is a fantasy. The very rich worked at overseeing staff and hosting gatherings to drum up business and impress higher ups, the very poor took in laundry, wet nursed, did domestic service, there was a time fast returning when there was no middle class as such, a time to which we are fast returning.
I believe it is this eroding of the middle classes which is giving rise to the fantastical claims that a return to “Kirche, Kutchen und Kinder” will stop the erosion of the job market, clean the air, and cause skittles to rain from the sky.
When I see those who so stridently promote the grandness of motherhood actually doing something to improve the lives of those women,
when they work for universal daycare,
an end to poverty,
a support network for overworked, overstressed mothers,
stop dismantling programs like medicare,
stop taking money out of schools and social housing,
Then and only then will I believe that their soft focus lens view of motherhood is anything more than sentimental pablum.
fern hill says
Wow, childcare workers are paid marginally more than parking lot attendants! Hey, cars are hard to look after. They run around, hurt themselves, have to be fed, read to. . . Oh, no, that’s kids. Nemmind.
Great post. Re: the woman who accidentally killed her baby, I saw this on the news the other night and that was my first thought: Here’s a 25-yr old with a baby not even 2 and a set of triplets — she’s going to need help! Where is the support for her? Where are the fetus fetishists? She did what *they* want and birthed all those babies, then it’s “You’re on your own, dear, deal with it.” 😡 😥