On the Today Show this morning, the author of the book, “The Feminine Mistake”, Leslie Bennetts, was featured. I have never heard such ridiculous arguments.

The essence of Bennetts’ book is this: because it is likely that women will end up without a man to support her, due to disability, job loss, death, or divorce, it is irresponsible for a woman to stay at home with her children. Bennetts offers nothing more here than a false dichotomy that, dangerously, leads women to believe that they are making a mistake by staying at home to do the most important job that any woman can do.

I’ll take her “arguments” one at a time. First she asserts that because a woman’s husband might become disabled, thereby leaving the family without income, the mother needs to be working in order to support the family on the off chance that her husband is unable; or, if the husband becomes disabled, then the wife must be able to replace his income. FALSE! The smart financial decision in this case would be to purchase disability insurance that would replace the husband’s income, and still allow the wife/mother to stay at home and raise their children.

She then asserts that a woman must be prepared to replace the family’s income in the event that the husband loses his job; or, if the husband loses his job, then the wife/mother must be working in order to replace his income. FALSE! The smart decision for a woman who stays home with her children is not to keep her job; rather the smart decision would be to forgo that new car or fancy home furnishings and tuck away three to six months (or more) of expenses into a savings or money market account. This smart financial decision would allow the wife/mother to continue to stay at home and allow the husband time to find another job – all while keeping the family out of poverty.

Bennetts also states that a woman’s husband might die and she therefore needs to have a job in order to replace his income; or if her husband dies, then the woman must have a job in order to replace his income. FALSE! The smart financial decision here would be to purchase life insurance for eight to ten times her husband’s yearly salary so that, in the event of his death, she will be able to continue living the sort of lifestyle to which she is accustomed, all the while remaining home with her children.

The final “problem” to which Bennetts points is divorce. Although this is not so easily solved with smart financial planning, her “argument” is still faulty. Rather than attempting to solve the problem of divorce by attacking the utter disregard for the institution of marriage in this country, she merely says, “Oh well. You just have to hang on to your career in case hubby decides to up and leave you one day!”

By pointing to statistics she labels stay-at-home moms as women who are taking part in “high risk” behavior. The problem is that the high risk behavior is not the staying at home; rather it is the lack of financial planning. Bennetts, however, seems to be attempting to hang on by her fingernails to the feminist movement of the 60’s, rather than trying to actually help women make smart decisions.

Rather than hanging on to selfish ambition (and what’s left of the women’s movement), women would be better served by making smart financial decisions. There is no greater job than that of raising a family, and the financial decisions that must be made (and acted upon) to enable a woman to stay home with her children are not rocket science. Figure it out, ladies! There is no one in this world who can raise your children better than you and to give that up because a dried up old feminist tells you that it’s “dangerous” is ridiculous! Make the decisions that need to be made in order for you to be there for your kids…and I promise you won’t regret it.

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