*Note: I understand that Dr. Laura is respected by and has helped many people. If you are one of those people, this post is in no way meant to diminish that or offend you. It is simply my honest and heart felt opinion about something I heard on her radio show recently. But to just throw in my 2 cents about her, I think her views are misogynistic to the core, I believe she undermines and demeans working moms, single parents, blended families, gay/ lesbian parents, step parents and families, abused women, and the list goes on. For more detailed reasons why I believe this, her blog, shows, and letters from listeners are archived extensively on her website.
This is also not a jab at stay at home moms- because I am one! I have also been a working mom so I have perspectives from both sides. I am an advocate of all amazing moms, no matter wether they work outside the home, stay at home, or are aliens from Plan 9 from Outer Space. If you are doing your best to do right by your children and family, that is amazing in my book. No matter how crappy you may think you are. (*you are not* :)) And I also love and cherish all of those amazing daddies out there!
*A brief bit of background info:
Dr. Laura frequently reads letters from her listeners over the air. The particular letter (and consequent verbal finger wagging from she-who-does-no-wrong) I heard a few weeks ago was from a listener who was passing along a news story that included a tragic story where 2 toddlers were left in a car and passed away. The news story was taken from Parenting.com (great site btw) by way of CNN.com and also had tips on how to avoid such tragedies (click the link above to read the full article). The letter writer was shocked, as I think all parents are when things like this happen. However, she went on to suppose that if the woman had only been a stay at home mom, she never would have left them in the car in the first place. The letter writer goes on to say how peaceful, stress and anxiety and worry and problem free her life is because she stays at home. Dr. Perfect goes on to advocate this letter writer's opinion and furthers the inslut by pointing her finger in the face of this family, and other good, decent, wonderful parents who have had tragedies like this and others happen to them. Not all situations like this are the result of some drugged out junkies.
*So as a result, this letter was written in a fury immediately following my hearing of this segment. So if I get a little confusing sounding, please understand I was just letting my thoughts pour out. I have not sent this letter to her royal highness. I am not afraid to. I just no it will do no good. This woman has been spewing her hate in the public arena for over 30 years.
So tell me, after you read my letter, should I send it to her? Would it even make a difference?
(Oh, and yes, it's pretty hypocritical of me to get on to her for wagging her finger by wagging my finger at her. But, well, I don't care! :P And if you are looking for really great advice, I suggest you check out Dr. Laura Berman
July 9th, 2010
While I disagree with a lot of your advice, I do agree with some of it. And I like listening to programs that I can agree and disagree with. They often help me change my thoughts or reinforce my opinions.
HOWEVER, and I want to be as respectful in my words to you as possible because that is how I like to be treated, I TOTALLY disagree with your commentary today. And I apologize if my words are harsh, but it is how I feel and I will try my best not to judge you or the listener because I do not know you or her. But I will say this, while I do not hate you or your listener, and I love you both with the Lord's love, I HATE your views on this news story.
My concern is about your reading of the email from listener Christine about the working mother whose children died after being left in the car and your condoning of her thoughts in the email. I agree that thoughts are thoughts and opinions are opinions and EVERYONE is entitled to them, WHATEVER they may be, no matter how sick, the problem here is that you are a public figure who broadcasts in a public forum, and your job is to give advice and I'm sure MANY of your listeners rely on what you say as reliable from an 'expert' in the field.
In my opinion, Christine's thoughts on the subject are incredibly callous and SICK and I believe the fact that you condoned these thoughts on your public radio show is even MORE callous and SICK.
How can either of you have anything but sympathy and compassion for this poor family? While I agree that I don't understand how a parent could leave their child in the car for that long and forget about them, HOW DARE YOU insinuate in your public forum as an 'authority' on morals that the fact that she wasn't a Stay At Home Mom (SAHM) may have been the reason why her children died! I am still in shock and I was shaking hearing this.
I understand you can have your opinion, but to condone that opinion in your public forum as an 'authority' on morals is so harmful and damaging. What if this family hears what you have said? This is possible because you are a public figure and are speaking publicly. I almost think you WANT that poor family to hear what you and Christine said. If so, that is a ridiculous wish for a 'Christian' woman! That hurts my heart more than your SICK opinion. Will that bring back these precious children? Will wagging your superior finger in their face turn back the clock? Will it cause her to be able to travel back in time and become a SAHM? It will only further cause them pain. Do you not think that this family has been through enough grief and suffering? Do you not think this mother blames no one but herself for this horrible, avoidable tragedy? What if this woman tries to hurt herself if she sees your comments in an email or elsewhere? Will that please you? PLEASE try to think of the fragile mental states of people that are going through personal turmoil and tragedy. No one should have publicly commented on this story unless it was news outlet or using it to help others. And how can you assume that she didn't want to raise them? She WAS raising them in her way. They adopted those angels from a poor country, so how can you have the gall to assume she didn't care for them or want to raise them? She may have desired to stay at home but could not.
And to criticize the news outlet using this terrible story to try and prevent this tragedy from happening again by giving ways to remember your child is in the car is shameful. While almost everyone who has not had this happen to them, which is many, many people, cannot fathom how a child can be left behind in a car for hours, what is the harm in coming up with things to help us when we are under extreme stress and having a forgetful time? While I cannot fathom leaving my children in the car (my 2 1/2 year old and my 7 1/2 month old are pretty noisy), I could never have anything but sympathy for a parent who loses a child no matter the cause (except for abuse and neglect by the parent- My heart breaks for the children but the abusive parent(s) are scum). How can you not? And if you do, how can you say these horrible things? As a 'Christian' woman, here are some verses about compassion that you may need to review:
1 Peter 3:8
I understand that you are the 'tough love' therapist. I agree that many people need this tough love attitude when it comes to their problems. However I truly believe that your choice of tough 'love' finger wagging in this case was appalling.
What do you feel about children who are killed at school or at the park whether their moms SAH or not? If the mother works and the child is killed at a park by an unfortunate, completely avoidable accident while the supervising SAHM is distracted, would you feel that working mother was to blame because she was at work? Or would you blame the SAHM, who is supposed to always flit around the room like June Cleaver and be so rested and relaxed because she SAH, in your succinct opinion, not mine, who was unfortunately distracted at the time of the totally avoidable, tragic accident? Would you publicly read a listener email that basically states 'it was both of those mothers faults and I would NEVER do that! Since I am not those moms, don't know them, and wasn't there, I am totally a reliable source to quote on this subject.'? Would you humiliate and degrade those distraught families as well? I fear your answer ma'am.
As far as Christine and your views about a SAHM or Work At Home Mom (WAHM)
not having to 'work,' not being stressed, and not having anxiety, amongst other ridiculous views about SAHM/WAHM's, I will tell you this. I am a WAHM who is so blessed to be able to stay at home with her kids. I understand your views that all moms should stay at home so they don't miss precious moments and I think it is valid, in NO way does being a working mom make you a bad mother. My mother was a single, working parent and she was and still is amazing for all she does. I love my parents and I was in no way damaged by them working. I made many great friends at our church day care/ after school care, some of which I never would have met and actually am still in touch with today. But that being said, don't you think that most working moms and dads would LOVE to be home with their kids earning income and not having to work? Most parents do not have this opportunity and I in no way think that because both parents need to be employed correlates so exclusively with not being good parents. Some of the best parents I know are working parents and their kids are all happy and well adjusted and have a loving, caring, healthy home life. And a previous statement of yours that assumed quantity time with kids trumps quality time with them is way off base in my opinion.
So that being said, what I said about your views about a SAHM or Work At Home Mom (WAHM)not having to 'work,' not being stressed, and not having anxiety, amongst other ridiculous views about SAHM/WAHM's, how in the world is a SAHM mom's life not stressful, anxiety filled, and full of work all the time? I am a WAHM mom who works hard at my job(s) which I love. I am able to work and care for my kids at the same time. I also cook, clean, run errands, do play dates, ship kidlets to appointments, try to find people to watch my kids so I can get certain things done that are impossible to do with kids in tow (which can be very stressful), etc. All of these things can be stressful and they are all hard work which can be physically and mentally draining, even if you LOVE doing them. And I have a wonderful husband who does more than his share of hard work in and outside of the home and he would LOVE to stay at home, but that is just not possible for our family. And I suffer from genetically inherited anxiety. Maybe that poor mother did too. And I know plenty of amazing mothers who suffer from this as well. Does having anxiety mean that we aren't fit parents? That we aren't good mothers? That our beautiful, wonderful, indescribable children don't deserve to be here?
I would love to know what other SAHM/WAHM moms think of you all's assumption that staying at home is one big non-work cuddle-fest. I'm sure that you'd get plenty of outraged responses with that statement alone. Because that is the exact same excuse that misogynist men use to day that women who stay at home don't 'work'. As a former SAHM (I assume)/ SAHM advocate, that sentiment from you is especially egregious.
I truly hope your inbox is overflowing with outrage at your caviler and condoning attitude regarding Christine's email, your SICK insinuations about a horrible tragedy and grieving family, and the great shame you have received from SAHM's. I doubt they will be as respectful as my email. Assuming people holding such views are deserving of respect.
Outraged, hard working WAHM and advocate of ALL wonderful moms,