LONDON, June 20, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Cherie Blair, wife of the former British prime minister, has said that she worries young women are turning their backs on feminism by regarding motherhood as an acceptable alternative to a career.
“Every woman needs to be self-sufficient and in that way you really don’t have a choice - for your own satisfaction,” Blair told Fortune magazine’s Most Powerful Women event held at Claridge’s in London last night, according to The Telegraph. “You hear these yummy mummies talk about being the best possible mother and they put all their effort into their children.”
“Yummy mummy” is a UK slang term typically used to describe young, attractive women who live on their husband’s wealth, staying home full-time with their children.
Blair suggested that children raised in households with a full-time mom lack a sense of independence and can’t make their way in the world because their moms don’t have “professional ambition.” “I also want to be the best possible mother, but I know that my job as a mother includes bringing my children up so actually they can live without me,” she remarked.
Adding that women who decide to get married to rich men and “retire” at home are unfulfilled and “dangerous,” Blair said, “you think how can they even imagine that is the way to fulfil yourself, how dangerous it is.”
Blair said her view of motherhood was shaped by her own experience of her father abandoning her mother when she was a child.
Blair’s remarks are reminiscent of the heated controversy that erupted in the United States in April, when a Democrat strategist accused the wife of GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney of having “never actually worked a day in her life.”
In the midst of the backlash, supporters of stay-at-home moms pointed to a study conducted this year that values a stay-at-home mother’s work at nearly $113K per year.
In a survey of thousands of stay-at-home moms, Salary.com came up with $112,962 as the right compensation for the domestic daily grind - considering the market rate for the hours worked as cooks, teachers, child psychologists, drivers and chief executives.
Ann Romney fiercely defended her decision to stay at home, taking to Twitter to say, “I made a choice to stay home and raise five boys. Believe me, it was hard work.” To which one of Romney’s sons, Josh, added, “@AnnDRomney is one of the smartest, hardest working woman I know. Could have done anything with her life, chose to raise me.”
Pro-family advocates point to the abundant research available on the beneficial effect of a parent staying home to raise their children that contradicts Mrs. Blair’s assertions.
Brian Rushfeldt, Executive Director of the Canada Family Action Coalition, has pointed out the “researched evidence that shows that when a parent stays home with a child there’s much more likelihood the child will be better adjusted and also less likely, as evidence shows, of getting into crime or drugs or sex issues. … Parents do a better job of raising their children than somebody else can.”
Dave Quist, Executive Director of the Institute of Marriage and Family Canada, previously told LifeSiteNews, “The body of research is quite clear that children do best when raised by their own, married, biological, mom and dad.”
“With regards to having a mom or a dad stay at home with their children,” Quist observed, “there’s also evidence that kids do best when that takes place. They are nurtured best. I mean who knows better how to treat a child - mom or dad, or a childcare worker? ... Moms and dads care and love their kids the most, and so that’s obviously in the best interests of the child.”
Gwen Landolt of REAL Women Canada said that although the economic structure of Western society is stacked against stay-at-home parents, “We need to recognize the tremendous value of stay-at-home mothers, and society hasn’t done enough of that.”
“They say the woman, especially an educated woman, is wasted [if she raises her own children]. Hardly. She’s making the most magnificent contribution imaginable to society … It’s time society recognized this tremendous value and contribution,” Landolt stated.