Children Nurturing: Unnecessary ''Costs'' Attached To Motherhood
Ann Crittenden's work on her book, The Price of Motherhood, accentuates that mothers are a critical pillar towards nation building. Mothers play a highly critical role in their effort of trying to provide their service to the economy building. One may find it as an irony, but their children nurturing capability is highly critical, as it assists in producing potential human capital. Good nurturing practices help to produce better human capital that has a potential of producing more than two-thirds of the total economy in the industrialized countries. According to Crittenden (71), children, who are brought up well, possess capability of exhibiting better entrepreneurial skills, creative skills, and also better human skills than the ones with poor nurturing background. Paradoxically, all these nurturing efforts by dedicated mothers are portrayed as useless and meaningless by the society. What the community does not realize is that mothering and nurturing of children is the most vital of all the jobs in the whole world. Despite achievement of women's economic equality, motherhood has still been left behind in this path, as nurturing of children has acted as an obstacle (Becker 67). Superior human capital is the best economic development tool any nation can own.
According to Ann Crittenden (3), not only is a mother's work invisible, but also handicapped. At this juncture, the state fails to recognize mothering as a critical role that has a vital place in the economic development. Despite this, the society and the state are the first public institutions to highlight on the significance of observing family values through good motherhood practices. The act portrays arrogance and ignorance of public domain in that it only values motherhood as critical for a better future, but does little or nothing towards its enhancement. The public domain acts as ''a free rider'', who wants to benefit from mothersВ’ efforts when raising their children, but do not want to contribute in any way towards the children development. Therefore, there should be de-privatization of mothering in an effort of trying to make it public, just like any other job. Privatization of mothering does not only make nurturing of children arduous, but also it comes with some additional costs, such as the foregone ones. What the society seems not to understand is that it makes work of child rearing difficult and at the end becoming an indirect contributors of human capital underdevelopment. Consequently, society and the state bear the pain of ignorance through experiencing slow economic growth. A good remedy to such an experience is that the society and the state should put an upper hand towards nurturing of their children. Therefore, child nurturing would be no more a private affair, since the public will cheap in to meet some child upbringing costs; thus, treating children as ''public goods''.
From another insightful perspective, children not only benefit their parents when they are grown up, but they also are the assets of the whole community. They become major consumers and producers of goods and services. Children can be seen as critical engines of the state's economic development. As such, more resources should be allocated at the initial stages of children development enabling them to become productive and responsible adults. Currently, parents seem to meet all costs that are related to children nurturing with little or no help at all from the public sector. The result is that parents, especially mothers, feel overburdened; thus, failing to fulfil child upbringing requirements efficiently (Budig et al. 87). Therefore, the ''free riders'' should be ready to take up their position in children upbringing by incorporating into their minds that children are ''public goods'' and that the state and the public should avail helps to mothers, such as helping them to meet health costs; thus, enabling childrenВ’s healthy development. Efforts should be aimed at dismantling cultures that perpetuate individualism in the society that supports absconding of children nurturing responsibility by non-parents. Non-parents are ''free riders'', who purport that child nurturing is a private affair. Paradoxically, they benefit from good mothering sweat depending on them in terms of the skilled human capital provision. Even childless adults highly depend on the availability of competent human capital, which they care less about its moulding. Careful analysis of the imbalance between parents and non-parents input in shaping of human capital depicts that reforms must be enacted. There should be dismantling of norms that tend to favour privatization of child nurturing, and assimilation of those that tend to hold the public sector accountable. The state should aim at enacting the laws that recognize children nurturing and paid work as equal, and treat them as such in all dimensions. Work reforms, such as part time jobs creation, should also be encouraged; thus, allowing flexibility for mothers to work while taking care of their children (Correll 32). Many benefits will be accrued owing to these constructive reforms, such as reductions in the costs associated with child upbringing in addition to enabling mothers to attain economic viability.
Working mothers find themselves in a dilemma of deciding whether to dedicate more time to nurturing of their children or to their work. Over a long time, womenВ’s contribution towards production and reproduction has remained invisible in the society. Consequently, they have found themselves in the dark in terms of benefitsВ’ distribution. Mothers from all walks of life have remained subject to an indirect cost referred to as ''mommy tax'' (Crittenden 5). Child nurturing skills are one of the most ignored of all the career skills in the United States. Mothers at work, normally, find themselves at the states of destitute, since they lack material support. Moreover, they have to do away with benefits and earnings if they intend to spend an ample time with their children. Consequently, they end up having less earnings in their life time; hence, becoming impoverished at their old age. Currently, employers expect workers to discharge their duties for long hours. Although this inflexibility may seem not a big barrier to working men, the situation seems almost insurmountable to women. Many are forced to quit their job and stay at home or start small businesses, which are not lucrative enough for a good family up keep. Ability to work for long hours, at night, and during the weekends is one of the qualities that employers weigh during promotions. Often, the requirement acts as a barrier for women to get higher positions, such as becoming managers or CEOs, since they have to think of their children. Childless women in the US have higher chances of succeeding in their careers as compared to the women with children.
According to Crittenden (95), denigration of mothering has cost American working mothers their payment during their maternity leaves. Payment during maternity leaves is something that is not recognized under the American laws. Working women have tried to seek for applications of lenient measures that will enable them to earn promotion despite devoting some of their time to their children. However, the resulting outcry has not been heard, as women, who have had smaller maternity gaps during their employment, are more likely to earn a promotion than those, who have had a long one. The ultimate success to any employee in a white collar job is the senior post, such as the companyВ’s CEO (Alol 53). As such, some women sacrifice bearing children until they earn promotion to a position, which they desire. However, there is a risk of not bearing any child at all, consequently, paying their mommy tax in form of their childless state. Women, who are college educated, incur $1 million, while the working ones incur a total cost of $0.6 million (Crittenden 89).
Single mothers bear more pain in terms of welfare system than middle-class women, even though they have a high ''mommy tax''. The public sector deems poor mothers as second-class citizens. According to Sharon Hays (16) the state expects mothers with children, who are three months old, to look for a job as well. Consequently, they end up being employed on the jobs that pay low wage. Therefore, they help employers to become escapists by undervaluing mothers. They often find themselves in the situations that are not desirable, since they do not observe welfare that relate to poor womenВ’s well-being. Low wages add more child nurturing costs, while, in unison, denying these women of time to spend with their families, since the job time is inflexible. Moreover, spending more time at work puts children in a bad mood situation. However, the case is different when it comes to the women who earn high wages. Their job is time flexible; thus, giving them enough time to spend with their families. According to Hay (58), there was 10-20% in total of all welfare clients, who have permanent jobs. These jobs are also stable; thus, enabling them to take care of their families. However, more than 70% of women, who face hardships, are unable to get out of poverty.
Indeed, mothers from all walks of life face harsh penalty in their effort of performing their natural noble calling, that is, children nurturing. However, it is ironical that the government and other stakeholders, who are supposed to be protectors of motherhood, are the ones that condemn it. What the public should seek to understand is that children are public goods, since they are a human capital. Crittenden (74) notes that the society benefits from productive children during their adult age, despite it having minimal contribution towards their development. Mothers hold the key to successful children, since they improve their working capability (Crittenden118). Therefore, institutions and the government should dedicate more time and resources to mothers, so that they can spend them with their children. This can be done through making working time flexible. Maternity should be legalized and paid in addition to creating part-time jobs. Moreover, the US government must provide subsidies to child nurturing costs; thus, making it pertinent figures in the child's upbringing. Such moves will ensure that the society and the state value the children as public goods, since they benefit everybody upon growing. Mothering efforts should be recognized under the law as one of the public jobs. This can be possible, as long as 'commoditization of domestic labour' is done (Blades, and Kristin 44). Laws that are mother-friendly, such creation of part-time jobs and time flexibility, should be enacted at work stations. Such measures will help to improve quality of human capital translating to higher economic growth.
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