Law School Discussion

Nine Years of Discussion
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Poll

Are stay-at-home mothers with  graduate degrees conscientious caretakers or the downfall of equality in the workforce?

Educated stay-at-home mothers raise educated kids, benefiting society
 28 (35.4%)
Mothers should work part-time if possible
 10 (12.7%)
Mothers should be full-time 3-6 months after birth
 6 (7.6%)
Anything less than full-time is a detriment to all women and society
 5 (6.3%)
Doesn't affect society or equality either way
 30 (38%)

Total Members Voted: 79

Author Topic: The Mommy Wars for J.D.s  (Read 15718 times)

MachuPicchu

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The Mommy Wars for J.D.s
« on: May 21, 2007, 02:16:37 PM »
But, what I find most alarming is that the girls have seemed to regressed in their attitudes about motherhood and working.  So many are saying they will not work once they have babies...  Now, so many of my female classmates want to just blow off their expensive educations and become full time mothers. 

This was in the Props to Non-Trad thread, but I didn't want to highjack it, so I started this one.

Linda Hirschman (J.D., University of Chicago--now a PhD teaching philosophy at Brandeis) has written a lot on this topic and stirred up a good amount of "mommy wars" type controversy. I understand the positions of the two most polarized ends of this debate (Hirshman at one end saying women must continue working full-time or risk undoing decades of struggle for equality in the West; stay-at-home (highly educated) mothers on the other end saying the raising of kids with care and attention is not only their most important personal goal, but a benefit to society and an endeavor improved by mothers' graduate and professional educations, to boot).

Unfortunately, I think for mothers the issues are probably never this clear (polarized). The two things I can say as an observer are that (1) this is indeed a "high-class problem," limited to the educated (those women who paid and worked so much for their multiple degrees) and the solvent (those households in which finances permit one adult to stay at home) and (2) the all-or-nothing attitude of both sides in probably not very helpful.

Working part-time (difficult in big firms) is not the kiss of death for your kids--they'll survive and probably even do better for having you as a role model. Neither is working part time or taking two years off after birth the kiss of death for (much-needed) improvements in American attitudes towards women in the workforce; if anything, it may force Americans to realize that motherhood is a natural state that can co-exist with the words "professional" and "corporate."

just call me elle

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Re: The Mommy Wars for J.D.s
« Reply #1 on: May 21, 2007, 06:11:35 PM »
my mother worked full-time as a doctor and went back pretty quickly after i was born (maybe 8 weeks?). i never disliked that decision - i loved visiting her office and it certainly helped my independence level. also, it made me appreciate the time when she was home because it wasn't always the case. she tells me now that she regrets it, but i certainly don't (and yes, we still have a quite positive relationship).

mugatu

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Re: The Mommy Wars for J.D.s
« Reply #2 on: May 21, 2007, 08:02:04 PM »
my mother worked full-time as a doctor and went back pretty quickly after i was born (maybe 8 weeks?). i never disliked that decision - i loved visiting her office and it certainly helped my independence level. also, it made me appreciate the time when she was home because it wasn't always the case. she tells me now that she regrets it, but i certainly don't (and yes, we still have a quite positive relationship).

This was my mom, but it was closer to 4 days.  Although, she doesn't regret it in the least. 

This poll is flawed.

Yeah, a little.

My take on it is that if you are able to be a highly contributing member of society, you should probably be one.  Raising a few kids doesn't really qualify (but a look into a cost/benefit analysis is worth it as well.)
Let me show you Derelicte. It is a fashion, a way of life inspired by the very homeless, the vagrants, the crack whores that make this wonderful city so unique.

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mugatu

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Re: The Mommy Wars for J.D.s
« Reply #3 on: May 21, 2007, 08:39:47 PM »
Oh.

<---thinks they should.
<---thinks feminism isn't really about choice
<---thinks it's more about equality
Let me show you Derelicte. It is a fashion, a way of life inspired by the very homeless, the vagrants, the crack whores that make this wonderful city so unique.

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mugatu

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Re: The Mommy Wars for J.D.s
« Reply #4 on: May 21, 2007, 08:46:33 PM »
Oh.

<---thinks they should.
<---thinks feminism isn't really about choice
<---thinks it's more about equality

Yeah. I've noticed. You and I disagree about this.

And cost/benefit analysis for whom, exactly?

The couple (or family unit.)  Is it reasonable to have both parents work considering the increased child care costs?

Oh.

<---thinks they should.
<---thinks feminism isn't really about choice
<---thinks it's more about equality

:: is crushed ::

Sorry.

Do you want to tell me why I'm wrong in SFLSD or here?

And who determines what constitutes a highly contributing member of society? What if I say that making a bunch of money is not okay if you could be using those skills to raise money for charity? Where's your cost/benefit analysis on that one? Benefit to whom, exactly?

Why couldn't you use those skills to make a lot of money and then give it to charity?

I think this really revolves around the following:  If you are so kind hearted as to put aside a career for your family, you probably deserve the money that the career gives you more than the person who doesn't set aside their career.  Therefore, you might be a better person and should out compete them for the resources (to do with as you wish.)
Let me show you Derelicte. It is a fashion, a way of life inspired by the very homeless, the vagrants, the crack whores that make this wonderful city so unique.

They're break-dance fighting.

mugatu

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Re: The Mommy Wars for J.D.s
« Reply #5 on: May 21, 2007, 08:49:46 PM »
Maybe, but you can't do anything without money (from yourself or others.)
Let me show you Derelicte. It is a fashion, a way of life inspired by the very homeless, the vagrants, the crack whores that make this wonderful city so unique.

They're break-dance fighting.

mugatu

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Re: The Mommy Wars for J.D.s
« Reply #6 on: May 21, 2007, 08:52:44 PM »
Maybe, but you can't do anything without money (from yourself or others.)

You don't need an infinite amount. You seem to be saying that people have a duty to capitalize their earnings potential as much as they possibly can.

Oh, no.

I thought we were talking about the difference between "staying home with the kids" or "working."  If we start to get into gray areas the discussion gets more complicated (from my side) and more interesting (for all parties.)
Let me show you Derelicte. It is a fashion, a way of life inspired by the very homeless, the vagrants, the crack whores that make this wonderful city so unique.

They're break-dance fighting.

mugatu

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Re: The Mommy Wars for J.D.s
« Reply #7 on: May 21, 2007, 09:03:32 PM »
Maybe, but you can't do anything without money (from yourself or others.)

You don't need an infinite amount. You seem to be saying that people have a duty to capitalize their earnings potential as much as they possibly can.

Oh, no.

I thought we were talking about the difference between "staying home with the kids" or "working."  If we start to get into gray areas the discussion gets more complicated (from my side) and more interesting (for all parties.)

I still disagree strongly with your take on the black and white question. The cost/benefit argument is absolutely silly. If you can afford to stay home, then why are you obligated to work and bring in still more money? If you say that the cost/benefit analysis is limited to the couple, or whatever the family unit is, rather than any broader effects on society, then why is the equation all about maximizing the amount of money brought in? You don't see any other factors that matter?

Like I said, it puts a hypothetically better person in charge of the money to do with as they wish. 

The money brought it in just a benefit.  There are many costs and benefits to consider.  Furthermore, a benefit (non-monetary) of going to work may so outweigh the extra costs of child care that work should be required.  I.e., personally curing poverty in Africa, or something (a ridiculous example, but along the right lines.)

What factors do you think matter?
Let me show you Derelicte. It is a fashion, a way of life inspired by the very homeless, the vagrants, the crack whores that make this wonderful city so unique.

They're break-dance fighting.

mugatu

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Re: The Mommy Wars for J.D.s
« Reply #8 on: May 21, 2007, 09:19:06 PM »
so what are we arguing about?

Mu thinks that women shouldn't quit working to take care of their families, because it's bad for equality.

I don't have a problem with it if there was a chance of either partner quitting their job.

That will not be my world, and so I will never subject anyone to it (nor can I comfortably condone it if my partner wished it.)

---

I apologize.  I'm using the term "couple" to indicate the couple as a unit, as well as person 1 and person 2. 

So if something personally benefits person 1 it benefits everything.

ETA: and if person 1 is benefiting society,  they're really benefiting themselves, because we never do anything selflessly.  They're making themselves feel good or whatever.
Let me show you Derelicte. It is a fashion, a way of life inspired by the very homeless, the vagrants, the crack whores that make this wonderful city so unique.

They're break-dance fighting.

mugatu

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Re: The Mommy Wars for J.D.s
« Reply #9 on: May 21, 2007, 09:26:20 PM »
Spending a gazillion hours a day with the kids is not benefiting society.  (Neglecting kids, however, is a detriment.) 
Let me show you Derelicte. It is a fashion, a way of life inspired by the very homeless, the vagrants, the crack whores that make this wonderful city so unique.

They're break-dance fighting.