Judith Warner’s new book, Perfect Madness, pinpoints what the author believes need to change about society’s demands on motherhood.
“I read that 70 percent of American moms say they find motherhood today ‘incredibly stressful.’ Thirty percent of mothers of young children reportedly suffer from depression,” she wrote.
Warner uses her experience as a do-it-all career woman/mother to illustrate the overwhelming demands society puts on women. The choices, she says, are 1) pursue professional dreams and abandon the children into long hours of child care, or 2) stay at home and live in a state of virtual, crazy-making isolation “because you can’t afford a nanny, because there is no such thing as part-time daycare, and because your husband doesn’t come home until 8:30 at night.”
Undoubtedly, full-time motherhood is a difficult job. To be done right, it requires education, boundless patience, resourcefulness, creativity, perseverance—and, above all, total commitment.
Nevertheless, it is eminently important. Its challenges should make it self-evident why a low-paid daycare worker can’t be expected to measure up to the task.
Warner’s solution to the problem is for the government to legislate measures intended to change society’s accommodation of “the hardest job in the world.”
Surely there are many solutions that wouldn’t require government interference. Many of them stem from the attitude of the mother, who does, after all, need to be taught how to be effective and loving “keepers at home” (Titus 2:3-4).
One solution Warner failed to cite, though she brushed up against it, was calling on fathers to consider the demands motherhood places on their wives.
The Trumpet has always endorsed the woman fulfilling her God-given role in the home. This role is much harder when the father is not involved with the children—playing with them, teaching them—or if he will not give his wife stimulating, adult conversation.
God’s role for the father demands that he provide for his family—and not just by spending long hours at his job to meet the family’s financial needs. What kind of home is he providing if his children never see him, and—perhaps more importantly—if Mom is never given a break?
If fathers would lead their families the way God intended from the beginning, mothers would be much less inclined to view their stay-at-home role as an unfulfilling life of seclusion.