Stay-at-home moms: Backbones among the spineless

By Doug Powers

One day last week, while at one of my favorite low-rent eateries waiting for a fresh coat of artery plaque to arrive, I overheard a conversation among three men. One of the men was asked where his wife was working. With his answer, I would soon find myself in full appreciation of one of the most important and difficult jobs on the planet – the stay-at-home mom.

The man put down his Budweiser, finished chewing his chili dog smothered in onions, and answered the question of what his wife did with, “She don’t work. Stays home with the kids.”

My ears perked up. Besides horrendous English and breath that could have vaporized the Maginot line, this statement was brazen with a delusional self-importance of epic proportions. This poor guy’s wife is home trying to corral who knows how many kids, getting rid of the baby’s latest nauseating diaper deposit, burning her hand after forgetting that the iron she was pressing his work shirts with is still plugged in, mainlining Folgers and trying to get Junior to stop jousting the dog with the toilet plunger. Meanwhile, her husband sits in a bar, on his third beer at 11:45 in the morning, saying that she doesn’t work?

I’ve spent many days in a row alone with my three kids. I can attest to the fact that full-time parenting is a job that puts you under incredible pressure. The only other things that can possibly relate to being under that amount of constant stress are air-traffic controllers and Brian Dennehy’s waistband.

There was time for nothing else. Outside contact with other humans was out of the question. I became the D.B. Cooper of my town. I felt as though the warden had placed me in “the box” with three tiny Type-As and I wouldn’t be let out until I’d answered every question ever posed by humankind. Kids have a way of making you feel horribly uneducated. While in solitary confinement for a week with the kids, I was forced to admit an embarrassing fact several times over – I do not know why the sky is blue. They seemed to find humor in my lack of scientific knowledge.

In the end, I discovered a new appreciation and respect for the stay-at-home mom, along with the fact that it’s darn near impossible to slit your own wrist with a Daffy Duck Bobblehead.

In addition to the pressure of bringing up kids full time and the emotional exhaustion caused by a constant and relentless suppression of any possible suicidal and/or homicidal inhibitions, some women must suffer the further indignity of having their husbands tell others that they “don’t work.” Reverse the equation and put a man under that kind of stress, then say he “doesn’t work,” and you’d see the top of every campus clock tower occupied by naked, heavily armed fathers demanding respect.

Most of us have jobs that we deem as “important.” Some go off every day and sell widgets to the widgetless, some spend the day making burgers and fries, defending this great nation in the military, driving trucks, or topless dancing in a club to Joe Cocker’s “You Can Leave Your Hat On” while speaking loudly over the music, “Your usual table, Mr. Kennedy?” These are important jobs, but all still pale in comparison to the most important career in the world – trying to make sure the next generation isn’t exceedingly stupid due to lack of parental attention.

Our culture has now, unfortunately, belly-flopped into the intellectually and emotionally stagnant waters of day care, latchkey kids and just plain no supervision whatsoever. Hillary Clinton’s “It Takes a Village to Raise a Child” tripe-tome becomes even more nonsensical when you take into account the fact that a great deal of “the village” consists of airheaded, directionless people who had the needle torn from their moral compass as children because their parents were dumb enough to rely on “the village” to raise their kids for them in the first place.

The argument is rendered moot, of course, if there isn’t a father along to cooperate. Women can’t stay home and raise their kids in a proper environment if they must work outside the home because there is no father around, or she’s married to a man who is willing to sell out his children’s future and insist that she keep working simply so he’s able to get a new set of Pings.

I salute you, stay-at-home moms, for bravely taking on a most daunting task, often with nary a “thank you,” and helping kids maintain good posture in an otherwise morally invertebrate society.