Jane Galt argues that if mothers are “rational” (in the economic sense) they’ll fight in the Mommy Wars.
Most neighbourhoods used to be communities full of women who zipped around between houses, filling each other’s days. Now they are often lonely prisons.
Perhaps even more importantly, the economic effect of women entering the labor force is to drive down the wages of male earners, who are now competing with 70% more workers for each job. (It also increases the economic pie, but since many things like homes in good school districts are relatively fixed, that benefit doesn’t necessarily accrue to the family man). Part of the reason that a man with a family often can’t support it on one wage is that he’s competing with all those family women. And two income families are using much of that income to bid up the cost of things consumed by families with children, most notably the aforementioned homes.
There are also political and cultural externalities: the more women stay home, the more political support there will be for things that benefit [them].
The more working women there are, the more pressure there will be, both informally and through the legislative/legal process, to accomodate workplaces to their needs. The more cultural pressure there will be on her husband to take charge of housework. The more the economy will presumably be transformed into one where men and women take a more equal role. The more acceptable it will be to fall asleep in a meeting because your toddler was up vomiting half the night.
There’s also the fact of competition for spouses. Many men, especially high-earning men, want women who will stay at home and take the burden of childcare and housework off of them. The more that working women manage to establish working as a social equilibrium, the less competition they will have for those men.
When it comes to Mormons, I’ve observed that if a homemaking mother thinks she’s sacrificing to fulfill her divine role, she can accept other women’s choices to work without surrendering her own self-conception, but she can’t celebrate them. Working mothers often don’t like other women thinking they’ve made a lesser choice.
But are there any specifically Mormon variants to Jane Galt’s explanation for the Mommy Wars? Is mothering at home easier or more fulfilling if most women in the church do it? Is working and mothering (or working without mothering) easier or more fulfilling if most women in the church do it?