I want to say something important here as someone who works in the field of economics. Some of you seem to me to be failing to understand all the obstacles holding mothers back. They are not entirely about the patriarchy, they’re also about capitalism. That is not to say that I think we should all drop out and live in a commune, but it is saying that if you are promoting some of the most exploitative elements of capitalism as part of your feminism then you will be missing the mark. If you do not understand how capitalism survives on (not just benefits from, but in its present form could not survive without) the unpaid caring work of women (that this isn’t just ‘lip service for mummies’, this is an economic truth), then your feminism is missing the mark. Self-ownership through wages has been an incredibly important development in feminism but it has not made unpaid caring work disappear – 50% of all hours of work performed in the USA are UNPAID.
You have some of the most inflexible workplaces in the Western world, with or without children, you have it tough in the US. But workplaces can change. We can focus feminist efforts on changing institutions of power to be less exploitative of unpaid caring work instead of just saying women must somehow ignore the realities of their lives. (Because how much real ‘choice’ about work does a mother get who has a severely disabled child? How much real ‘choice’ is there for a mother when the only job is a full-time job with long hours? Why are mothers supposed to think anything apart from raising their children is a worthy pursuit of their lives? And anyway, how many women are actually stay-at-home mothers for their entire lives? It is surprisingly low, so, do we need to suggest stay-at-home mothers are behaving like ‘indulged children’? Could we instead talk about how and when they return to paid work and what are the vulnerabilities involved? And, stay-at-home parents are not homogenous either, some of them are even fathers).