Is it a right or a privilege to have a mother?

Many children throughout the world have mothers to raise them, or at least a nanny. What about the families of the nannies? In developing countries where job opportunities are scarce, it is not uncommon for mothers to leave the country to find work as a nanny in affluent countries, commonly in the United States. In fact, more than half of legal migrants to the United States and are women, mostly between ages 25 and 34 (Hochschild). These migrant women workers form the global care chain, a series of personal links between people across the globe based on the paid or unpaid work of caring for people (Hochschild). come to make money and often are employed by families who need help in the home. The women take portions of their paychecks and send them back to their families in order to pay for various things, such as living expenses and educational costs for her children. Commonly, people overlook the biological children of the nanny when they think of her personal life when in fact they are often the driving force in their migrant work. In the absence of their own children, these nannies give all of their love to the children in their care (Hochschild). They celebrate first steps and birthdays alike, constant reminders of the accomplishments that they are missing in their own children’s lives. But their money is necessary to their children’s daily living–they could either live with their children in squalor or make money living apart from them (Ehrenreich). The looming hypothetical question then arises: What would it be like to grow up without a mother while your own is taking care of another child in another country? It is surely bittersweet, and something that I am thankful not to have experienced.

Ehrenreich, Barbara; Hochschild, Arlie. “51: Global Women.” Reconstructing Gender: A Multicultural Anthology by Estelle Disch. 4th ed. New York: McGraw Hill, 2000. 443-52. Print.

Hochschild, Arlie. “The Nanny Chain.” The American Prospect. N.p., 19 Dec. 2001. Web. 02 Dec. 2013. <;.


One thought on “Is it a right or a privilege to have a mother?

  1. kateyschatz

    I agree with your notes on the misfortune of children in third world countries, but I think an issue with your post is that you’ve kept the standard of the gender binary. Yes, it would not be ideal to live without a mother, but males and females are now further being seen as equals in childcare, and some youth even in America live without a mother (one or two dads) and still have happy childhoods. If we keep the expectations that only women raise children, then this standard will remain. Childcare is not an easy job, and it is certainly not a job for one woman. As a famous African proverb states, it takes a village to raise a child, and I think that society should follow this reflection. We should all be seen, regardless of gender, as responsible for our youth as a whole, maybe not in physically raising them but with our representations of gender and children in the media, and in education. Everyone as a unit can be responsible for childrearing.


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