NLSJ, Motherhood Edition…

One aspect of the neoliberal subsumption of feminist ideas is the demeaning of motherhood. Raising children, it is often argued or implied, is not enough for one’s existence to be meaningful. One must also work.

That is true for some people, of course – and many other have no choice in the matter – but for everyone? No. The idea that work need more be meaningful than family is so ludicrous that it crumbles on inspection. Families, after all, are something many people pay enormous sums of money to maintain. Work is something we are paid to do. Even if, like me, you are blessed with enjoyable and fulfulling work you expect money in return. No one is so mercenary about their children. Why? Well, there’s no money in them. But they are also more meaningful.

I almost admire Sarrah Marquand, of the Australian Daily Telegraph, for being so blunt about the monetary motives behind her idea to ban stay-at-home motherhood. It causes “potentially large losses to the economy” she says. So, get women out of their homes, away from their kids and into offices. Think of how much more fulfilling their lives will become. And think about the rise in the GDP!

About bsixsmith

I am a writer of stories and poems - published by Every Day Fiction, The London Journal of Fiction, 365 Tomorrows and Det Poetiske Bureau - and a columnist for Quillette, Areo and Bombs & Dollars.
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4 Responses to NLSJ, Motherhood Edition…

  1. Whyaxye says:

    GDP will certainly rise, and not just because all those women will be producing more, and consuming more with their monetary rewards. Those little abandoned squawkers will need a small army of paid carers to look after them, so the economy will receive an instant boost as the cash changes hands.

    Incidentally, the vast majority of those carers will be other women of childbearing age. Is anyone saying how that subcontracted work of childrearing is demeaning and meaningless?

    Somewhere out there must be a mother who has abandoned the shit job of rearing her own children so she can gain fulfillment through rearing other women’s children in order to earn money. So she can pay for the care her own children need…


  2. Pete says:

    It’s not completely clear from the article, but isn’t she just arguing that the tax system shouldn’t encourage stay-at-home motherhood? In which case I refer you to your point about how the mysteries if motherhood shouldn’t be sullied by vulgar economics. Unless she’s actually arguing that jobless mothers of children over four without should be thrown in jail, in which case the woman is mad and needs to leave the workforce immediately.

    More seriously though, and speaking from (second-hand) experience, I think there’s a pretty good argument for mothers going back out to work once kids reach school age. Quite apart from the gender equality issues, kids ultimately grow up, it leaves a big hole in the timetable of the stay at home mum, and the results can be pretty unfair. Not in every case, but in enough that the government probably shouldn’t be actively encouraging it.


    • bsixsmith says:

      I’m sure she’s being hyperbolic for clickbait purposes but she does say “we should make it a legal requirement that all parents of children of school-age or older are gainfully employed”.

      I don’t disagree that most mothers would benefit from finding work once their kids have gotten older. They might have five decades of life left in them after all.


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