Thursday, March 25, 2010

Moms rule

kw: book reviews, nonfiction, family relations

When Clear Channel Communications bought out a local radio station recently, it spent little time replacing all the conservative talk shows with fare more palatable to the benighted liberal audience they wished to cater to. That means if I want to listen to Rush, Sean, Glenn, or Dr. Laura, I have to listen to a scratchy signal from thirty miles away (no streaming internet audio is allowed in my workplace, for good reason). Somehow they've kept the "other Laura" (Ingraham) and Jerry Doyle. Go figure.

When I saw that Dr. Laura Schlessinger had a new book out, I of course snapped it up, even though its primary audience is women. English is my wife's second language, so she prefers that I read excerpts to her, rather than plow through a book herself. In the case of this book, In Praise of Stay-at-Home Moms, her response to almost any excerpt was, "Well, of course!"

Dr. Laura uses the acronym SAHM, but I prefer just the term Mom with a capital M. That is what I called my Mom, and that is what our son calls his mother, both stay-at-home Moms. We feel very, very fortunate we were able to have my wife stay home to raise our son. However, it took some practice and training for my wife to respond to the inevitable question, "What do you do?" with something other than "I just stay home." She soon learned to say instead, "I'm raising our son." Spoken with quiet confidence, such a response typically ends the matter.

So in our case, reading the book was a case of the author preaching to the choir. Its eight chapters reinforce any wavering Moms in their conviction that nobody else can truly mother their child. While we all know of a woman or two who really should not have tried to raise children, if you have 100 women at random declare confidently, "I am the best Mom for my child(ren)!", 95 of them, or more, will be correct.

Dr. Laura hints at this, which I will come out and say: To any woman who thinks a "professional" would be better at raising her child, ask yourself, would a "professional" be better than you are at keeping your husband's bed warm?

We are glad, my wife and I, that she raised our son. We are glad that she shared those special moments only a Mom can appreciate best. We are equally glad I had sufficient freedom in my schedule that I got to all the soccer games and track meets and concerts and PTA meetings. We don't remember any sacrifices, just the joys. Just like nobody ever said on his deathbed, "I wish I'd spent more time at the office", no Mom would say, "I wish I'd seen less of my kid(s)." And to those mothers who feel they really can't stay home, I sympathize, I really do. Take all the time you can with your kids, and just do the best you can. The years pass so, so fast.

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