Just like ads for 1-800 Flowers, you can expect stories about moms to crop up on the news just before Mother’s Day. The "CBS Evening News" -- anchored by arguably the highest-profile working mom in TV news -- weighed in with a story about the decline in the number of women in the workforce who have young children. Of course it wasn't reported as good news. (Emphasis mine throughout.)
Taking a page from the National Organization for Women (NOW), reporter Kelly Wallace included "experts" who said women had been "forced" to stay home because of the "conditions" of their jobs and stay-at-home moms “do not use (their) full talents and abilities.”
Having been blessed to stay home for 10 years with my own kids I wonder if these women have any idea how many talents and abilities stay-at-home moms employ on a daily -- even hourly-- basis.
The story focused on women, dubbed “opt-out moms,” who choose to leave high powered jobs to stay home and raise their own children. While many would regard this as a stand for traditional values and actually good for the children, Wallace spent the entire report circling around the feminist theme, “But the question is why did these women turn their backs on corporate America to be home with the kids? Are they opting out or did they run out of options?”
Wallace singled out one “opt-out mom,” a former “lawyer at a high-power law firm” and “student body president at Northwestern Law School.” The mom never talked about why she thought staying home with her own children was important, but cast the decision in a business-like manner when she stated, “I went back and forth, and finally I decided that I couldn't do the level that I needed -- I couldn't be at the level I needed to be, at the job I was doing, and also do what I wanted to do with (her son) Jackson.”
It was the perfect sound bite to set up the feminist agenda. Wallace used left-leaning experts to comment on whether this trend is a “social revolution.” Sociologist Pam Stone, who wrote "Opting Out: Why Women Really Quit Careers and Head Home," said there is no revolution. Women simply have no choices. Women are being “shut out.” They are being forced out because of “the conditions” of their jobs.
No where in Wallace’s piece did she interview a mom who said she chose to “opt out” because she thought raising her own kids was more important than a job outside the home. Those women are out there -- in droves. I was one of them and I know many who still are. None of them feel they were "forced" into the decision. None of them regret their choice.
The feminist drumbeat continues with liberal philosopher Linda Hirshman, the other “expert” used by Wallace in the story. Her quote read like a statement from the NOW. “If you opt-out you do not use your full talents and abilities.” Wallace balanced the statement by saying Hirshman’s book "Get to Work and Get a Life Before It's Too Late" has “outraged” stay-at-home moms. But then she let Hirshman fire another feminist salvo, “If working part-time is such a great idea, why aren't men doing it? They are not doing it.”
Ah, so it's all about the "sacrifices" women make by staying home with their own children.
Wallace came back to her featured mom telling us she's struck the ideal balance by starting her own law firm out of her home and that her business and family are “thriving.”
And good for her. But good too for the other “opt-out” moms who don’t feel like they need to have another job besides being a full-time mom. Wallace’s report did not tell their side of the story and did a disservice to them in the process.
Editor's Note: For a similar article and other reporting on the media's bias against traditional values and social conservatives, check out CultureandMediaInstitute.org.