First there was cry for women to have a vote. Then there was the rush for women to leave the traditional family structure and set out in the workforce. Once en masse in the workforce, and with the idea pushed that women are just as capable as men in running businesses and nations, women began to sense that the home could continue just as fine without her there full time. Inevitably, with the weight of a job, a husband, and children, women were posed (and are still posed to this very day on an individual basis) with a dilemma: give up work, or give up family.
To a degree each person is inherently selfish. We desire to feel good, look good, and be good at what we do. Being a spouse and parent is difficult work, and many times, between the child crying, the heirloom being damaged, and the finances being dismal, we married parent folk ask ourselves: wouldn’t it have been easier without kids?
The true answer is, really, “Yes.” I wouldn’t have to buckle screaming children into the car for errands. I wouldn’t have to remember to bring along a mule-sized bag full of diapers, wipes, snacks, and lotions with me on social outings. My clothes wouldn’t need washed every other day. There would not be a two-second pause when another adult addresses me as I try to comprehend these new, multi-syllabic words.
It’d just be easier.
And women, who are naturally inclined to mother, especially after having become one, feel the natural pull towards their children. It is a heartbreaking situation for so many women who, at the end of their 6-8 week maternity leave, must then (still full of postpartum hormones) leave their child with a caretaker. It is the abnormal woman who is able to do this without sadness and disappointment. The natural state of things is for a woman to stay with her children, caring for them until they are then able to care for themselves.
It’s hard to argue against this.
What has happened is that the concept of “work” was divided from a wife and mother’s household duties. The dishes, the mopping, the laundry, and the child-rearing, having been separated from a woman’s work, are now more easily seen as “burdens” and “chores”. This is felt more acutely with the increasing rarity of single-income households that can provide for a large family. Women often have to work to cover the ridiculous number of bills the average family pays.
The average person’s income isn’t matching the rates of inflation, and what started out as a woman’s liberation from the confines of her home has now turned into her slavery to the cubicle. To leave the workforce often times means halving the income, putting the family into the lower two economic levels (as described in this source). Those lower levels are the ones being hit the hardest each year as the dollar becomes, somehow, more meaningless.
A Pew Research Center study from 2014 showed that the rate of stay-at-home mothers is increasing. This factor includes a rising number of single stay-at-home mothers and an increase in those who state they simply could not find work (which would both pay for child care and allow them to save money). Still, the largest group, married women with a working husband, is growing as well.
For a college-educated woman, or a woman who is already in the workforce, leaving a job to become a wife and mother seems rather asinine. Firstly there is the income lost, and secondly (but perhaps more importantly for the woman), there is the social community lost.
Even within a call center you can find groups of women who, during their ten-minute breaks, will detail their latest tryst or moan about their husband. It’s a hen house. I imagine the scene from The Music Man where the plump old ladies are gossiping around town (a much more innocent idea then), and the tune compares them to chickens as it goes “pick a little, talk a little, pick a little, talk a little, pick pick pick, talk a lot, pick a little more.”
This is where the selfish part of a woman has been so groomed, that leaving a job is a difficult thing to ask of her. She must leave her friends, change her entire daily routine, rewire how she interacts with people, and learn a new set of skills. She is, in essence, changing careers. And just like when a man changes careers, there are all sorts of factors that can lead to this change being either desirable or mandatory.
While school administrations make a priority of forcing students to walk out of classes, many parents are becoming aware of the drastic difference in their mindset versus that which is taught to their child at school. When the nail hurts badly enough, something has to change. In these modern times, a current “something” is multi-level marketing.
Women are seeing the potential benefits available and the possible success of these businesses and signing up by the thousands. It is so recent a growth that I think it will be interesting to see what effects it has and how long-term a solution it is for those who succeed, given that it requires a unique temperament and significant amount of invested time and money.
Regardless, there is ample research to show that a vast majority of those who sign up to sell a product through an MLM lose money. In fact, it’s so easy to find the data that has been done, it’s any wonder that MLMs are still a thing. But just like any other bill or monthly subscription, these businesses rely on a person signing up and then forgetting about it.
Women are looking for a way out. They are so desperately looking for a way out that they will sacrifice a lot of money to begin a business that requires more time and effort of them than their previous job. They just get to stay in pajamas while they do it. They aren’t happy sitting in their chair or walking the Walmart aisle, restocking peanut butter. There is no meaning to being the voice on the other end of the phone, representing an impersonal bank that won’t reverse your late fee. But after work they turn on the radio or the TV and the attack begins. Another divorce. Another mass murder. Another scandal. More debt. More taxes. More despair.
A woman first needs to want a family to even have the opportunity of finding a way to be at home with them. I have several critiques of the network and multi-level marketing method, but of its ability to give women hope and a chance to be home, I can only give praise. I believe it is a fad, but I hope that, after it dies off a bit, the part of the title that women drop isn’t the “mommy” part, but the “multi-level marketing.”