Linda Likes to Scrap

June 5, 2006

Linda Hirshman, author of Homeward Bound, is the anti-Flanagan. The drum she’s beating is that women should not quit their jobs to become mommies because that cuts them off from true power, which resides in the public and market spheres. She’s as brash and ready for a bitch-fight as Mrs. Caitlin, only sparring from the opposite corner.

She’ll be blogging on Tapped this week, throwing out some fresh meat for us lionesses to rip apart (or devour, if that’s your persuasion).

Here’s her opening salvo: Let’s cut the sisterhood crap, because working moms and SAHMS have very different needs and agendas.

Common sense would reveal that career mothers need more day care so they can get to work. Stay-at-home moms need more maternity leave so they don’t have to get to work so much. Since the publication of Taxing Women in 1997, we have known that career mothers need every worker to pay his and her own taxes so their salaries aren’t taxed at their husbands’ marginal rates. Stay-at-home moms need taxes to be paid by the “family,” so their lack of income will reduce the taxes on their husbands’ incomes. Career mothers need mothering to be treated as a manageable task. Stay-at-home moms need it to be the executive job of “Chief Household Officers.” Career mothers need their husbands to do more than 30 percent of the housework. As Caitlin Flanagan informs us, stay-at-home moms need their husbands to be grateful for all the work they do.

Well…uh…what about the moms like me who work 3/4 full time? There’s a giant swell of us part-timers who balk at such polarization, because we want and need it all! And most of these propositions aren’t either/or.

Linda’s quite a scrapper. I’m glad she’s speaking up about working mothers, even when she is only an infuriating foil against which I hone my own perspective.