Thursday, April 12, 2007

Are You a Needy Nitwit?

In Sunday's newspaper I read an article on a new book that was just released called "The Feminine Mistake" by Leslie Bennetts. I have since read three more articles about it online and decided that it is just too important of a topic not to address here. In fact, I'm surprised the mommy blogs aren't all a twitter and don't have their pantyhose in a knot over this book. But since they aren't, let me be the first to jump into the big pot of scalding controversy.

According to this article on AOL, the book is about, "Women who depend on men for economic stability do so at their own considerable peril. Women who drop out of the workforce or even scale back for children run the risk of being derailed from their careers, Bennetts says."

Bennetts goes on to argue that "Women should make work a top priority with the lifelong goal of self-sufficiency. No matter what the reason, justification or circumstances, it's simply too risky to count on anyone else to support you over the long haul. This prescription for life isn't just an economic necessity. It also makes for longer lives, healthier marriages and balanced children."

Now, I will concede from the start that I have not read the book, nor do I intend to read the book. Call me a needy nitwit, but I'm pretty sure Ms. Bennetts and I aren't going to see eye-to-eye on this matter. And, as the article points out, even though she has tons of statistical information to back up her position, I still think she is way off base.

To address all of the absurd premises that are mentioned just in this article, let alone the entire book, would be utterly useless because ultimately Ms. Bennetts' frame of reference for life is so different from mine and the mindset of most SAHMs. But here's what I do want to address. And I think you'll need to sit down for this.

I do think the premise of the book is a good reminder for SAHMs.

Hear me out on this. Life is unpredictable, unfair and uncertain. Divorce, death, chronic illness, devastating injury or other calamity are all feasible things that could happen in our lives. We all know a SAHM who lost their spouse due to a horrible accident or terminal illness. We also know of others who suddenly find themselves in the role of chief bread winner when their spouse experiences a debilitating injury or when he walks out for the younger women while taking everything with him.

Have you ever thought about if that happened in your life, what would you do? How would you put food on the table? What kind of job could you get? How would you survive?

This is where I say, ladies, "Don't Be Stupid" because this is exactly where Ms. Bennetts gets her premise. However, not being stupid doesn't have to mean sacrificing your kids and family on the altar of corporate America as we scale the ladders and bust through the glass ceiling. I do believe we CAN stay at home while still planning for an uncertain future.

In fact, this needy nitwit and her husband have thought about all those questions many times. So, I'm going to take the next couple of days and give you six things we have personally done to ensure my future and the future of my kids if we are left on our own.

In the meantime, read the AOL article and start thinking about these questions. Get your spouse involved in the conversation, and then come back here tomorrow for my first idea on "How to Avoid Becoming a Needy Nitwit."


Richelle said...

"I do believe we CAN stay at home while still planning for an uncertain future."
I totally agree with you. I actually scanned an article in the Parade insert of the Sunday paper that must have been about this book, or written by the same person. I am a SAHM, but I got a college degree and could support myself if something unforeseen happened. I think that is a good topic to talk about!

Classic MaMa said...

Since I saw this woman on the Today show last week, I have seen many articles and have heard many discussions about the topic. I was wondering when someone would blog about it. I look forward to reading tomorrow's advice.

TCC said...

I actually hadn't heard about this prior to your blog. However, I had determined when I was in high school that I would be sure to have the means of career and support for my family because of:
1. A neighbor who became the sole provider for her family when her husband was diagnosed with a dangerous heart condition.
2. My uncle was killed. My aunt had no means of income and had two children. I don't believe they had any life insurance and she still struggles.
3. My aunt whose husband left her after she became pregnant with their daughter. She had a rough road ahead of her since she chose to marry him rather than attend UVM (she had a full four-year scholarship!!!)

I didn't become a SAHM until God put the passion and desire into my heart. I know the future is uncertain but there are practical things that one can do to be prepared should something happen.

I am glad that you are highlighting these things!!!

Becky said...

I agree with you that she has a point. I just posted a review of the book, if you're interested.