It's kinda funny. We're one of the most technologically advanced nations in the world yet in terms of social progressiveness we lag behind a number of countries less developed than we are.
After all, many countries have had women leaders but we can't seem to field a credible female candidate for president. And there are a number of countries across the world that have had no problem approving same-sex marriage, yet our politicians here in the "land of the free" can't seem to get past religious objections. (The separation of church and state isn't that big of a deal, apparently.)
Yet this week, we learned two things which lead me to believe many think the US was a better place in the 1950s, when the men worked and the women stayed at home to care for the children.
First, an Ohio State University study found that when parents shared caregiving responsibilities for their preschool children, they were likely to experience more conflict. The study also showed that couples had a stronger, more supportive co-parenting relationship when the father spent more time playing with their child. But when the father participated more in caregiving, like preparing meals for the child or giving baths, the couples were more likely to display less supportive and more undermining co-parenting behavior toward each other.
Really? Did the study also find that parents had a better relationship when the wife, dressed in pearls, awaited her husband's arrival with a martini in hand?
And as if this wasn't inflammatory enough, on Tuesday, two county commissioners in Frederick, MD, advised Head Start mothers to stay married and not hold jobs outside the home. Republican commissioners Kirby Delauter and C. Paul Smith said during a meeting that the best way to help their children succeed in life is to stay married and stay home with their children. Both men touted their wives and the sacrifices they made by not holding jobs outside the home. Oh yeah, and they did this while pulling $2.3 million in county funding from the Head Start program effective March 1.
Needless to say, Frederick women are offended, but Smith doesn't think they should be. After all, he points to his own wife as an example. "As many of you know, I had a lot of kids and my wife stayed home at a significant sacrifice in those early years, because she knew she had to be with those kids," said Smith, who is the parent of 12 children. "I know everybody isn't able to survive doing that, but clearly if we can strengthen marriage, we can decrease the number of children we have to reach."
Ah, there we are. Strengthening marriage will make everything better. And clearly, if these men have their way, stronger marriage means wives will know their place is in the home, not the office.
Where have you gone, Susan B. Anthony? Our nation turns its lonely eyes to you...