Does a Full-Time Homemaker Swap Her Mind for a Mop?
Family life can be just as intellectually rewarding as work.


Dennis Prager

I am syndicated by the Salem Radio Network. My colleagues are Bill Bennett, Mike Gallagher, Michael Medved, and Hugh Hewitt. Two of us attended Harvard, one Yale, and one Columbia; one of us taught at Harvard, another at the City University of New York, and a third teaches constitutional law at a law school. In addition to reviewing the news and discussing our own views, we all routinely interview authors and experts — left and right — in almost every field. The woman who listens to us regularly will know more about economics, politics, current events, world affairs, American history, and religion than the great majority of men and women who work full-time outside of the home.

Lest the latter seem a self-serving suggestion, there are many other opportunities for full-time homemakers to broaden their intellectual horizons: recorded books and a few television networks, for example. And if a woman can get help from grandparents, neighbors, older children, or a baby sitter, there are also myriad opportunities for study outside the house — such as community-college classes, book clubs, etc. — and for volunteer work in intellectually more stimulating areas than most paid work.

Let me give an example of the woman I know best, my wife. She is a non-practicing lawyer with a particular interest in, and knowledge of, taxation and the economy. She decided to stay home to be a full-time mother to her two boys (one of whom is autistic) and her two nieces (who lost their mother, my wife’s sister, to cancer when they were very young). Between talk radio, History Channel documentaries, BookTV on C-SPAN2, recorded lectures from The Teaching Company/The Great Courses, and constant reading, she has led a first class intellectual life while shuttling kids, folding laundry, and making family dinners.

So, it is not only nonsense that full-time home making means swapping the mind for a mop. It is also nonsense that the vast majority of paid work outside the home develops the mind. One may prefer to work outside the home for many reasons: a need or desire for extra income, a need to get out of the house, a need to be admired for work beyond making a home, a need for regular interaction with other adults. But the development of the intellect is not necessarily among them.

Dennis Prager is a nationally syndicated radio talk-show host and columnist. He may be contacted through his website,


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