True or False? Young women and girls need zero career advice or information because we expect them to be at home mothers.
True or False? Young men and boys need zero information on caring for and teaching children because we expect them to work full time in order to provide for their families.
So? What’d you get? I think both are false and here’s why.
I stay at home with my kids full time. Because my husband earns enough to support us all, I have all the time in the world to practice becoming the best mother I can be. While the lessons on childcare that I received in Merrie miss and Young Women’s have been put to use, I learned more in the first month or two of being home with my kids than I learned in 8 years I spent in those programs. I am getting the ultimate on-the-job education.
My husband works works full time. Because he has me at home as a support system he can devote himself to his career as much as he needs or wants to. While what he learned about careers and the workforce in scouts has been put to use, he learned more about *his* career in the first few months of work than he ever did at church.
You know what would have really benefited me, and helped me feel more secure and prepared to be a full time mother? A thorough career plan. By knowing exactly what sorts of vocations are amenable to long absences from the work force I could have made much smarter choices about what to study while I was going to college. I would have benefited from learning from learning how to keep a resume current during the years I spend at home with my kids rather than letting those years become a black hole on my career history. If I felt confident that I could support myself and my kids should my husband pass away I would feel much safer having more children.
Specifically because we expect women to be stay at home moms whenever possible, girls and young women need more career advice than any other group in the church. Because the church is asking girls and women to walk a very uncommon career path, we need to give them very detailed maps to ensure they get through safely.
And you know what would have really benefited my husband? Learning more about developing a closeness with his kids, even when he is short on free time. My husband was very lucky to have good parents (and younger siblings) who taught him how to care for babies and young children. Not all young men are so lucky.
If we’re going to expect fathers to spend nearly all their time apart from their children (and give them church callings on top of that) they’re going to need help developing a closeness and familiarity with their kids in what little time they have left over. In this way fathers can feel confident in their ability to care for their children should anything happen to their wives.
I think that if we gave people information that would help them compensate for all the things that living traditional gender roles would prevent them from doing, we would find people not only more willing, but also more able to live those traditional gender roles safely and happily.
As far as I’m concerned right now the information we give our kids and youth is exactly backwards.