The question of "do stay-at-home moms actually work?" is ridiculous, and the best answer is, “boy, do they ever!”
The particular work which moms do is the most important work on the planet.
We loved what Barbara Bush said in her commencement address at the college graduation of one of our daughters. “It’s not what happens in the White House that matters most, it is what happens in your house.”
And no one ever said it better than C.S. Lewis: “Homemaking is surely in reality the most important work in the world. What do ships, railways, mines, cars and government exist for except that people may be fed, warmed and safe in their own homes? The homemaker’s job is one for which all other exist.”
A few weeks ago, political strategist Hilary Rosen said that Ann Romney should not be commenting on the economy because she had “never worked a day in her life.” Right thinking people all over the country rose up in objection to that comment, knowing that there is no work harder or more important than raising five boys!
We wanted to wait a month or so for the fervor to die down and then comment a little further and a little deeper on the feelings and the sentiments that incident brought out and to make the case that a “homemaker” or a stay-at-home mom might actually be the very best person of all to give us economic insights and wisdom.
The home and the family are, after all, the most basic unit of our society, and of our economy!
So it would stand to reason that those who work full time in that job, that family job, that homemaking job, should be consulted and listened to when it comes to the broader economy.
Several years ago, right out of the blue, Linda got a phone call informing her that she had been selected by the National Council of Women as one of America’s six outstanding young women. (This is Richard writing now, because Linda is a bit too modest.)
We were to fly to New York City where the award ceremony would be held in the iconic Pierre Hotel on Fifth Avenue and Linda and the other five award recipients would be presented with their honor by Governor Carey of New York.
It was a marvelous occasion. Among the other honorees were an astronaut, a doctor and a research scientist. As their awards were presented and their credentials read, there was polite applause from the throng of women gathered in the hotel’s ballroom. When it was Linda’s turn, her work as an author and a music teacher was mentioned, but the citation made it clear that she had been selected for her work as a homemaker and the mother of nine children. The entire audience rose in a standing ovation, not so much to recognize Linda, but to recognize the importance of the role of homemaker.
People at large and women in particular recognize the preeminent importance of building strong homes and raising children who become solid citizens. But it is all too rare that stay-at-home moms are recognized and given the credit they deserve. Moms who work part time and moms who combine homemaking with a career also deserve abundant recognition. And it is also too rare that they are consulted about the policies of government, of education and of our economy.
Ever since that experience in the Pierre Hotel, I have wished we could give more status to full-time moms and to those of either sex, whether they work outside the home or not, who make the building of a home and the parenting of young children their highest priority.
Every so often, when I (still Richard speaking) meet someone and get the classic question “What do you do?” I simply (and proudly) say, “I’m a homemaker.”
It’s fun to watch their reaction!
Richard and Linda Eyre are New York Times No. 1 best-selling authors who lecture throughout the world on family-related topics. Read Linda's blog at www.deseretnews.com/blog/81/A-World-of-Good.html and visit the Eyres anytime at www.TheEyres.com.