Generally I don't respond to letters to the editor commenting on my columns but I'm making this exception because of the importance I lend to the subject of my column of July 23.
First of all, I was surprised to see that anybody in Las Vegas reads my stuff. However, I'm not in the least surprised that a dedicated women's libber disagrees with me. That goes with the territory.
What is interesting, however, is that the letter writer, a lawyer no less, failed to catch the essence of my message. She missed my main point! Now, I've had this problem before and not always with women. It seems that when I push the right (or wrong) buttons, some readers go ballistic and they fail to comprehend anything I write following that which triggered their outrage.
She was correct, however, in assuming that my daughter Angie's husband, Mitchell, didn't share in the child rearing or homemaking duties because I failed to make that clear. Not enough space. Actually, Mitch also works a 16-hour day (just like Angie) between his public relations clients and his homemaker duties. So far his health is holding up pretty well. Angie's isn't.
Public relations is just like running a law office. Your time is your stock and trade. When you've worked your tails off to build relationships, you develop personal clients who depend on you and you alone.
You just can't cut back by dropping clients or pushing them off on your employees. We're talking about Exxon, J.C. Penney's, Houston Power and Light, and so on. This is the trap you women can find yourselves in when combining career with motherhood, even if you have hired household help.
For the record, Angie's a super mother and Christina is a devout Christian girl who will no doubt make it through these years of teenage tribulation because she's the most important thing in her parents' lives. There's no question the business will have to be pared back, but how?
Concerning my daughter, Lise, and her intention of entering law school later in life, you can be sure she knows exactly what she's doing. The entertainment business is her meat. She has the contacts, and the business will one day be her area of legal expertise. Regarding my remarks about employers preferring mature women who are beyond the child rearing stage, I stand by what I said because the key words which followed were: "especially women with credentials...." I've employed hundreds of women in my hi-tech companies, and I've always preferred seasoned women. Everybody isn't shooting for the CEO's job! And besides that, no sexual harassment.
Now to get back to the main point of my column which was missed by the letter writer, the key sentence was: "Home schooling is the most important thing you could ever do for your kids and with your liberal arts degree, you're as well prepared as anyone to be a good teacher." The public school "system" is a disaster! I can't see the public education establishment getting any better as long as the teachers' union calls the shots through the legislature.
Yes, contrary to the religion of political correctness, I firmly believe that being a mother is the highest calling any woman can have, and what could be more important than educating your own children through their formative years? Motherhood is something God gave to women, not men. Fathers can be just as important but more in the supportive role of providing the environment conducive to a materially and emotionally secure family. However, if a mother is in a better position to be the breadwinner, then the father can be the homemaker and the home schooling teacher. But one of them should be at home every day!
Motherhood isn't for every woman, and I made sure my daughters understood that. I made it abundantly clear that if either wanted to be a dedicated professional, then she should seriously consider not having children. it was awesome to see the mother instinct come into their lives.
All I was hoping to do with my column of July 23 was to get a few young women to be honest with their innate instincts and not get caught-up with this "wonder woman" stuff, feeling obligated to carry the liberated banner and enter the career world to slug it out with the boys. Queen of the mountain!
The odds are that most of you young women will marry and have children, so why not work to a plan which will give you the happiest home, the best education for your kids and a later life free as a bird to pursue an outside career? You'll be starting fresh as a mature woman when the ones who combined career with family are burning out.
Bob Thomas is a Carson City businessman, local curmudgeon and former member of the Carson City School Board and Nevada State Assembly.