Could Working Moms Save the World?

Women in industrialized nations are having fewer kids, which means fewer workers, aging and shrinking populations. Could working moms save the world?

Settling in with my New York Times Magazine on Sunday, I stumbled upon this article. It’s about how women in industrialized nations are having fewer and fewer children. Apparently, this is freaking out folks who keep track of that kind of thing, because shrinking birth rates lead to, “fewer workers, graying populations and dire predictions about vanishing peoples.”

The answer might just lie in helping working moms. Maybe, just maybe, could working moms save the world? Here’s what the article said:

If becoming a mother requires a woman to take a huge financial and professional hit,” says the article, “the thinking goes, she will be far less likely to do it. Could it be that easing a woman’s ability to hold a job and raise children simultaneously will nudge her toward having a bigger family? … Contrary to the rhetoric of many family-values champions,… the promotion of larger families and the promotion of women’s careers may go hand-in-hand.

I love this idea. It describes how other countries are making life easier on working moms and seeing results in rising birth rates. My only complaint is with that last paragraph, where the writer felt compelled to trot out the old “have it all” cliche. I am really sick of people using that phrase in relation to working moms. I’m not trying to “have it all.” I’m trying to feed and clothe my child.

But that’s a topic for a different post…

6 thoughts on “Could Working Moms Save the World?

  1. I also really enjoyed this article in the Magazine. I find it very disappointing that a nation like the US that is one of the wealthiest and healthiest in the world, is so far out of touch on these issues. My husband and I are discussing timing regarding having our second child and we have pretty much determined that two will be our limit. If it was easier to make a living and find decent child care, we might consider having more…

  2. Mama's Moon says:

    Wow, this is very profound! The very reason I became a stay-at-home mom is bc of the constant clashes between my schedule and childcare. Even to this day when I’m the one who is ill my husband has no choice but to take some time off to care for all of us (we now have two). And it just seems that in this country there’s just no empathy for working parents (mom or dad)who are just trying to provide the basic necessities for their family. Isn’t all of this crazy?

  3. Anonymous says:

    I agree wholeheartedly that our society does not value mothers. Rich, childless bachelors get social security payments eventually from someone else’s child. However, the person who raised that child does not earn any credits for her obvious contribution to the economy of a well-raised little taxpayer. However, I disagree with the assumption that this is a problem that only working moms are dealing with. We need large, cash stipends for ALL parents to offset the large cost of providing the next generations taxpayers. Let’s leave women with the choice to use that money for child care, or to only work part-time, or to stay at home.

  4. Anonymous says:

    “I’m not trying to “have it all.” I’m trying to feed and clothe my child.”

    AMEN to that!

  5. I almost get the impression that in this country, if you have more than 2 children you’re looked at by others as being selfish. Like more children are just unnecessary luxuries that are overpopulating the nation. It’s interesting that other countries are looking to larger families to help future economies. I wish we had that kind of support here.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Wow, I love the analysis by the first anonymous. This is a good time to capitalize on that observation – have you thought about sending your comment to the NY Times editorial page to be published w/ the letters? Due to the looming soc. security crisis all of a sudden producing babies is valued and maybe we need to point out the economic value of this in terms others can understand. Most of all I love [her] idea to let women figure out how to use stipends given for raising children. This gets to the heart of the matter – CHOICE. Unfortunately in today’s world fewer and fewer women have the choice NOT to work during their child’s early years. This is heartrending for mothers and potentially damaging for kids.

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