Men with big careers don’t spend much time with their kids, either. This should be obvious by now, but there still seems to be a strong strain of “you can do everything if you just try hard enough” in the culture.
So, yes, Tuttle is right when she says we need to shake off the second-wave feminist baggage and elevate the work we all do at home. But I don’t think reclaiming the word housewife will be enough to make caregiving a more respected occupation. Tuttle talks about the hit her 401(k) will be taking in her caregiving years and the difficult financial spot her own mother was in when she got divorced. If we really value the work that goes into raising a family and maintaining a home, we need policies to reflect that.
Because YES. The Mommy Wars are not about who FEELS respected and valued. They're about who IS respected and valued. They're not about who gets a goddamn parade.
The Mommy Wars are about money, because money (as is known by everyone who doesn't have Mitt Romney's kind of cash) is power, and money is legitimacy, and money is achievement, and money is respect. Money throws the parade. Money is the parade. Acting like parenthood is somehow only good if it comes at crippling financial cost to one or both people in the relationship is condescending and ridiculous and stupid and most of all unnecessary.
Sensible models for how to truly value parents and their work potential exist on every damn continent. It's not like we lack good examples. What we lack is the wherewithal to make anything happen because in the meantime we can debate the inherent nobility of the word "housewife" and pretend this is all about the terminology and not the tithe.