Elon Musk has undoubtedly just reignited a long-standing debate.
He has sparked a discussion on the value of being a stay-at-home mom versus being a women with a career. While inadvertanly starting a conversation on why this battle between working and non-working parents is almost always focused on mothers.
The chief executive officer of the electric vehicle manufacturer Tesla (TSLA) probably doesn't mind being at the center of this debate because he believes it is his duty to provoke discussions on societal and political issues.
Musk, who has more than 103.4 million followers on Twitter, for example, no longer hesitates to use his platform and his megaphone to raise important issues of our time. From Russia's invasion of Ukraine, to the heat wave affecting the northern hemisphere, to guns, to family, to politics, Musk, who aims to make the planet Mars habitable, lets no subject escape him.
'Mom Is Just as Important as Any Career'
The serial entrepreneur has just added the issue of gender equality to his list. In a tweet posted on Aug. 17, the billionaire seems to want to definitively settle a question that keeps coming back: is being a stay-at-home mom as valuable as having a career?
Musk, 51, a father of nine children, has no hesitation:
"Being a Mom is just as important as any career," the billionaire posted.
A sign of the sensitivity and importance of this subject, the tweet had already received more than 404,000 likes at the time of writing. This is a question that often plagues mothers on both sides, whether they choose to stay home or work.
There were many passionate responses, starting with Maye Musk, the mother of the billionaire who raised two other children in addition to Elon.
"Yes! Being the mom of @elonmusk @kimbal @ToscaMusk is most important," Maye Musk, model and author, commented. "Career grew as all became more independent 💪💃."
Elon reacted to his mother's comment with an emoji with two hearts.
While a large number of Twitter users applaud Musk, others pointed out that his message is diminishing for women, while other commenters pointed out that it would be wiser for him to talk about being a dad.
"Why a man say that for a woman? 🤦♀️ Why not saying for yourself: Dad is just important as any career? Oh wait no… a man can’t say that!," criticized one Twitter user.
"Thank you for saying this! 100% true. What job could be more important than shepherding young souls? Moms are the primary influence on who children will BE as adults. This is orders of magnitude more important than any career. It’s the honor & privilege of a lifetime to be a mom.," agreed one user.
Many women saw this as an opportunity to tell about their experience as a stay-at-home mom.
"The hardest part about being a single mom is not having anyone to step in and take over when you are overwhelmed," said one Twitter user.
"I was a single mom too. I look back on those days and no idea how I did everything….drop off for school, then race to work. The reverse after work then to the baseball field. Dinner from a crock pot w homework and bed. Then fix lunches and crockpot for the next day," posted another one.
"Wow! Elon Musk recognizes being a mother is a full time job . Now tell the dads they can't keep taking unlimited days off," added another one.
Whether being a stay-at-home mother is considered a profession is a question linked to gender equality. The debate has often turned to pit stay-at-home mothers against mothers who have chosen to work.
Both are stereotyped: stay-at-home mothers are often not fully recognized for the value they provide - invisible tasks, unfailing patience, professional sacrifice. Advocates say raising children is often akin to running a small business. They also argue that a profession is not just about activities that are paid for. It's also about skills, talents, responsibilities, hours of practice.
As for working moms, they are sometimes unfairly judged as bad mothers who delegate the raising of their kid(s) to other people. However, working father's hardly ever receive the same criticism.