Banks County Opinions...

MAY 08, 2002


Editorial

The Banks County News
May 08, 2002


Remember Mom every day
Being a Mother can be one of the most difficult, and rewarding, things a woman can do. Motherhood is also, unfortunately, one of the things that is often taken for granted. Children expect their mother to always be there for them. They don’t stop and say thanks.
While honoring our mothers is something we should do every day, it is wonderful that a day has been set aside to honor these special ladies. It doesn’t have to be another commercial holiday where the amount of money spent is the most important thing. It should instead be a day when mothers are honored and thanked for all they do.
A few things that are sure to bring a smile from mom could include breakfast in bed, a homemade card, washing her car or a hug and an “I love you.”
We should also remember to thank mom all year long for what she does and not just honor her one day a year.

Column

By: Kerri Graffius
T
he Banks County News
May 08, 2002

Women, the workplace and everything that’s wrong in America
Not too long ago, I read a book by Bernard Goldberg that included a theory that most of the problems with America’s youth could be traced to the fact that so many women have opted to leave the home place for the workplace.
Now I don’t consider myself a staunch supporter of the women’s liberation movement (in which one of the largest tenets is based upon women earning wealth independently from men), but at first I thought this statement a little accusatory.
After all, I thought, how can a man say that all of the problems relating to the decline of morals and increase of violence among America’s youth simply stem from mom’s decreased presence in the home? Who does think he is to make such a generalized statement about not only MY mother, but myself as well?
But then I took a moment from my emotions to really think about this author’s theory. Right or wrong, the theory deserves a consideration.
My first instinct was to attack the author’s view that gender roles are apparently leading to the downfall of this country. His one-sided view that WOMEN, not men, hold the single responsibility for raising a family wrongly balances the burden upon one sex.
Historically, however, women have consciously accepted the greatest responsibility in raising a family. It’s not so much that women in general receive less money and lower management positions in the workplace than men, it’s that many of us have knowingly accepted that pay and position in exchange for a life that affords us with more time with our families.
But why must it still be in a relationship that the woman seemingly sacrifices her job and income for the family more often then men?
Although women are beginning to receive college degrees in disproportionally higher numbers than men, we still tend to fall into careers that in which gender plays a role, such as teaching or secretarial positions. Two recent editorials in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution pointed to social and physical expectations of women’s roles as to why they choose the careers they do.
And yet, when a woman knowingly chooses to de-emphasize her career or simply put it on hold for a while to raise a family, our career-oriented society somehow sees that as unfulfilling. Dare I even say that some of us view that as tragic?
Indeed, in this culture in which material accumulation also plays a significant role in determining “who’s doing better” than our neighbors, a two-income household is a necessity. After all, how can we afford the mortgage payment, the car payment, trips to Florida, dinners at a restaurant twice a week, name-brand clothing and every other material item if we have only one paycheck coming into the home?
So I, nor Goldberg, can say women should be targeted for not staying home with the kids. Men have the ability, just like women, to knowingly accept lower paying jobs with less prestigious positions to raise a family. Many people consider raising a family a job that requires more responsibility and greater rewards than a cubicle-based career. But I suspect that for many men, it’s also a matter of pride when his wife earns more money than he does.
It also disturbs me that Goldberg believes that since women are hanging around the house a little more than their career-building counterparts, that home-bound mothers will raise better children. Who’s to say that since mom is staying home that she’s spending most of her time with the kids?
Spending time at home gives us the chance to teach our children on a more personal level about school subjects and morals—something I also believe too many parents are shoving the burden of doing upon our nation’s school teachers. With neither working parent able to spend as much time with their children, we expect school teachers to be the single source of teaching. When a parent spends more time with their children, the child benefits simply by learning from example.
And that’s where Goldberg’s theory really comes into play. Not only are we able to teach our children more thoroughly when one parent stays home with them, but we’re also able to watch our children. Simply put: we discipline them more since we directly see the trouble our children could be encountering.
While I may not whole heartly agree with every word of Goldberg’s theory, I am no less in agreement with the basic principle.
Yet with such a theory that places the blame upon a group of people who are only trying to do what’s best for their family, I should also point out that I am the child for two, hard-working commuting parents.
Would I have preferred for my parents to stay at home with my sister and myself? Certainly. Would I have at least wanted them to work closer to home that didn’t require an hour commute? Definitely. But I also recognize that my parents did the best they could with the resources they had. My sister and myself turned out to be normal people, I believe. This point drives even deeper for me when I think how in the world my mom raised us when my parents divorced. We may be children of the day-care era, but I believe more people today are realizing that staying at home with their children is a career option that can’t be overlooked.
Kerri Graffius is a reporter for MainStreet Newspapers. Her e-mail address is kerri@mainstreetnews.com.

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