“Sometimes, someone, usually Mom, leaves the workplace to stay home with the kids, which then leaves her earning a lower wage for the rest of her life as a result,” said President Obama in an Oct. 31 speech. “That’s not a choice we want Americans to make.”
Obama called for subsidizing high-quality preschool, so working mothers don’t have to choose between affordable, not-so-great programs or leaving the workforce temporarily. It was taken as a hit at stay-at-home mothers.
In another push for preschool, Education Secretary Arne Duncan added to the perception that the administration wants every parent to choose preschool.
With Hispanic parents, “sometimes you have a cultural piece where people are scared to put their kids in more formal care and they prefer, you know, to do the grandmother, the neighbor, whatever,” he said at a Washington, D.C. event. Work is needed on “how we challenge some of the cultural hesitation” of Hispanic parents, Duncan said.
Obama’s remarks were “a rare allusion to the fact that the intersex pay gap — women earn approximately 77 cents on a man’s dollar — reflects different lifestyle choices the sexes make, responded Selwyn Duke in The New American.
Stay-at-home mothers understand the trade-offs, writes Mollie Hemingway on The Federalist. “When I had my first child, I traded the money of my newspaper job for the far-greater value (for me) of time spent with my totally awesome daughter.” It was a choice.
Men tend to work more and earn more when they become fathers, she adds. Intact families often see a “marriage premium — more money brought home,” even though mothers tend to prioritize child-raising.
I worked part-time — about 25 hours a week — till my daughter was eight years old. It was great for both of us and my career didn’t suffer, though I knew I was taking a risk that it would.