Mothering today

The series ``Divided hearts,'' Oct. 5-6, on mothers choosing to stay at home was a fine piece. It is a pure, gut feeling that makes us choose full-time mothering, and as such the choice can be almost impossible to explain to those who don't believe likewise. The variety of responses from the women interviewed in this series managed to do just that.

The ``things'' given of ourselves by being at home with our young ones are from our hearts and our intellects. These are hard to define, but they make up the foundation of our future and our children's future.

The fear of struggling to get back into the workplace after some years of staying at home forms the basis of many women's decision to remain on the job. What is perhaps not realized is that there is a tremendous amount of personal growth that occurs unwittingly in every woman who accepts the challenge to be at home. Mothers need time with their children as much as the children need time with them. Kathryn Lewandowski Richland, Wis.

If motherhood is hard work without a regular job, imagine how hard it can be with a job. I am 26 years old and have both a challenging career and a young son. I am working by choice, not ``coping'' with being a working mother.

Why not feature an article about mothers like me who are balancing a family with a career? Karen Protzmann Laguna Hills, Calif.

Children need to know that as their worlds widen, some things will remain intact - home and family, protective walls of love, and especially a mother who has time to listen to what happened in school that day, to share worries about little and big concerns. When compared with the rewards of motherhood what do two cars, another TV, or more vacations mean? Marty Reisner Honolulu

I am delighted and grateful to report on the amazing response of your readers to Marilyn Gardner's article about my program Mothers Matter [``Motherhood is a career to Kay Willis,'' Oct. 19]. In less than a week I have heard from dozens and dozens of delighted mothers with warm messages of encouragement. The article is by far one of the most comprehensive and well-written articles on my work.

However, I was disappointed that the makers of Ultra Pampers Plus were not given credit for my tour across the country (and indeed, for bringing me to Boston for your interview).

In a noncommercial fashion they allowed me to meet hundreds of mothers and bring the message that mothers matter to all I met and to the thousands who read about my program.

I think your readers would appreciate knowing this and be happy to know that a huge corporation (Procter & Gamble) listened to a mother from New Jersey and believed that motherhood should be recognized as a profession.

Thank you for helping me to touch your readers. Kay Willis Rutherford, N.J.

Employer ethics The opinion-page column ``Plant closure notice means lost jobs,'' Oct. 14, argues that companies would have lower costs if they could close plants without notice. In the same vein, would the author support companies who renege on their pension plans or health benefits?

Workers rely on their employer's promises in all of these cases; why should the company be able to leave the workers in the lurch when its promises turn out to be expensive?

The point that, with a closure-notice law, companies will substitute part-time and temporary workers for permanent workers is no doubt also correct. But laws ensuring pension and health benefits have the same effect.

After the long history of deceptive promises of pension and health benefits, we properly set up legal safeguards; is it wrong to do the same for plant closings? Kenneth Koford Dept. of Economics University of Delaware Newark, Del.

Life in a tank The article ``Home sweet home - in an Army tank,'' Oct. 28, on making the M-1 tank more comfortable states, ``In future conflicts, crews might have to remain in their tanks or fighting for days to avoid nuclear fallout or residue from chemical and biological weapons.''

If this is the case, they might as well stay inside permanently. Nuclear fallout or chemical residue of that intensity wouldn't leave much on the outside worth leaving the tank for! Andrew Blander Needham, Mass.

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