March 9, 2012

"An increasing number of affluent women with affluent husbands are casting off the chains of professional work..."

Writes James Taranto, noting a new Federal Reserve study showing a decline in the number of highly educated women with highly educated husbands in the workforce. (Between 1976 and 1992, there was an increase.)
"The trend is not limited to top earners," Reuters notes. "It has been detected among households earning around $80,000 per year." But $80,000 goes a lot further in the middle of the country than it does in New York or San Francisco. A husband has to be fairly affluent for his wife to be able to afford to stay home: "Only a few households can afford to give up a good second income."...

Marriage and male responsibility for families were once the norm at all levels of American society. Feminism was supposed to liberate women from dependency on men. Instead it has helped to create a two-tiered culture in which the norm is for women to be "chained to a desk," but those who hit the jackpot in the mating game can realistically aspire to escape that status. Nice going, ladies. Happy International Women's Day.
Oh, my.  I'm not going to try to say everything that's wrong with that. I'll just say:

1. A family is an economic unit, and the adults in it should think carefully and clearly about their needs and interests. It may very often work out better, both financially and in terms of happiness, for one person to specialize in bringing in the money, freeing up the partner to contribute in other ways, through child-rearing, homemaking, community service, developing social connections, and innumerable other things that a person not tied to a job can do. There is absolutely no reason that the spouse in the job-free position needs to be the wife.

2. Male or female, a working person can find himself/herself in a stultifying or otherwise unpleasant job, and a job-free spouse may find himself/herself lacking power in an abusive relationship. There's no one answer to how to stay out of the many bad positions a human being can get into. You can go too far protecting yourself from dysfunctional dependency on a lackluster job or a lackluster jobless life. And you can go too far clinging to one or the other.  People need to pay attention to the details of their own lives and exercise good judgment as they make their own individual decisions. You can get into trouble using big ideologies to make those decisions.

3. Feminism opened up some new ways of thinking about various life decisions. If women are simply trying to be good feminists and not thinking about their own individual wants and needs, then they're unlikely to be any better off than if they'd unthinkingly followed the old-fashioned traditions. And they're not even good feminists, because they're just doing what they think other people want them to do. Good traditionalists are reflective too. Think for yourself!

4. Is there a "mating game" with "jackpots," in which some women just get lucky? That sounds like a loser's theory. I think there's some skill involved. And it's not a matter of finding the person with the most wealth. A man being rich is like a girl being pretty...



... but you might be happier shopping for a mate a few levels down from the top of the wealth/beauty pyramid. Shop well. Make good decisions. And stop being envious of everyone else. Get your own life in order.

90 comments:

cubanbob said...

As Sophie Tucker once said " its just as easy to fall in love with a rich man than with a poor man". She also said " I've been rich and I've been poor. Rich is better".

rcommal said...

Great post!

I especially love this:

People need to pay attention to the details of their own lives and exercise good judgment as they make their own individual decisions. You can get into trouble using big ideologies to make those decisions.

and this:

And they're not even good feminists, because they're just doing what they think other people want them to do. Good traditionalists are reflective too. Think for yourself!

One quibble with the article: Though anecdotes are not data, and I acknowledge that, you don't necessarily have to be affluent. I'd say well north of 85% of the families in the homeschooling groups in which I participate here aren't affluent (and most are far from it). Yet they've made choices, and most either don't work or only do so very part time.

Yet they manage.

Scott M said...

There is absolutely no reason that the spouse in the job-free position needs to be the wife.

The women described are self-selecting to stay at home and that was the basis of the study, wasn't it? Why don't more affluent men decide to stay home?

I Callahan said...

This may not sit well with the feminists, but oh well:

This is just the natural order of things coming to fruition. If it weren't for the economics, this would be the overwhelming majority.

The feminist movement is for high taxes because it forces women out of the home and into the workplace. They're for major social services for women so that they won't need men to take care of them.

Anything to break the natural order.

Quayle said...

Yeah, but the truth on the ground is that the poorer women are the clear loosers in this feminism game.

They reaped all the burdens of the switch0-o-chang-o family - the plug and play mate - but with none of the financial freedom that the rich, educated feminists have.

The end result is they are both caring for their children, and holding down minimum wage jobs.

I handle their family law cases from legal aid.

They are tired and they are frazzled.

And the fathers of their children are on to a new woman, who soon will be frazzled and tired with her children.

I hate to say it but the 'plan your life carefully' meme has more purchase if you have an Ivy League or NYU law degree and plenty of money.

High School degree and a minimum wage job in a small town? Not so much.

rcommal said...

Also, there are a couple of homeschooling *fathers* in the group, too--including one with advanced degrees, no less.

PatCA said...

"Feminism opened up some new ways of thinking about various life decisions."

It did, and you put that very well, but it also, in practice, shamed women who "just" stayed home because they wanted to or felt they should.

rcocean said...

The line at 1:31 "except for Gus, he's always been interested in my brains" always cracks me up.

BarrySanders20 said...

Tananto is a very talented writer. Extremely clever and usually concise, biting and witty.

But he has blind spots, and you exposed one here. He is proudly not married and proudly childless, and in these areas he lacks perspective. At times when he expounds on marriage or child-rearing, I think his lack of experience leads to unfortunate conclusions.

I have always viewed a marriage as a partnership. Some partners are better at certain things than the other, and you divide the responsibilities accordingly. Be flexible, show appreciation, help each other out -- it can work to the benefit of all involved.

Rigid dogma, not so much.

cubanbob said...

Of course the real issue is why we have allowed the tax, regulatory and statutory and legal systems be such a millstone to the economy that working class people can no longer afford a single income earner unless they are willing to make substantial sacrifices. Ralph Kramden can't afford a stay at home Alice. And thanks to the excesses of the green movement and the unions and the left in general all the high school kids that used to get jobs in the mills and factories are now lucky to get a job at Mickey D's.

A working wife is a necessity not a luxury that only the affluent and those on the government dole can afford.

d-day said...

There is absolutely no reason that the spouse in the job-free position needs to be the wife.

Having done this both ways (and seeing friends try this too) this statement strikes me as absolutely absurd.

Now, it doesn't "need" to be the wife, but let's not pretend that there are biological differences between the sexes that makes it overwelmingly more likely that the family will function best with the wife at home.

Peter said...

This is old news.

But it's something to think about the next time you see some MSM article trumpet that "Women only earn xx cents for every dollar men earn!" perennial.

jimbino said...

It makes no sense for a stay-at-home woman to return to work. If she does, she faces a staggering tax rate.

First of all, she starts paying income tax at the top rate of around 40%. On top of that come FICA, unemployment insurance tax and workers' compensation tax that together amount to 20%.

Particularly galling is that she will be paying the Social Security tax of 13.2% for nothing, since she gets a free ride on her husband's Social Security contributions once she is married to him for 10 years.

Far better it is for her to say at home and work by mowing the lawn and improving the property--improvement that yields up to $500,000 tax-fee capital-gain upon sale.

Luke Lea said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Luke Lea said...

This is all very nice for upper-middle class couples. But for tomorrow's working-class families I propose factories in the countryside run on four-hour shifts. Under this arrangement both parents could work half-time outside the home, and in their free time could build their own houses, cultivate gardens, cook and care for their children, and pursue other leisure-time activities. They could care for their elderly parents instead of putting them in nursing homes, and not retire at 65 but go on working for as long as they were able.

Econophile said...

"And they're not even good feminists, because they're just doing what they think other people want them to do."

My understanding, as a Gen Y female, has always been that feminists think women should do what they the feminists want them to do, which is to be like a man and disparage women who choose more traditional roles. I'm sure this gap in the understanding of feminism has been discussed many times in this forum--but I thought it was worth pointing out again.

"Is there a 'mating game' with 'jackpots,' in which some women just get lucky?"

There's definitely noise in the mating process, yes, but you might enjoy readings on Gary Becker's work on matching, marriage markets, and the concept of positive assortative matching. In it he suggests as you do that high-value males and females match.

yashu said...

Althouse, agreed. When I read this Taranto bit on Instapundit, it annoyed me (and I was hoping you might address it).

All the more because Taranto raises some very interesting issues-- complications which doctrinaire feminism has often been too simplistic to examine. But Taranto's conclusion is, disappointingly, all too facile and simplistic itself.

Nathan Alexander said...

@ Ms Althouse,
There is absolutely no reason that the spouse in the job-free position needs to be the wife.

Wrong.

There are two reasons, closely related.

Hypergamy.

And the fact that despite decades of social engineering attempts, most women will look down on a man who makes less money than her. Or to put it another way, men and woman are biologically programmed to see wealth in different ways.

You cannot change biological tendencies with philosophy. All you can do is come to an understanding of why your biology influences you, and take some control of how you respond to it.

All the feminism in the world will not make reproduction organs, brain structure, or hormone mixtures identical.

TCB-n-a-Flash said...

My wife quit working at eight years ago when our second child was born. The cost of daycare made the $35G's she was making, was a waste of her time. She would have been working 40 hours to net like $200 after paying out daycare costs for two kids. Plus her income was taxed on top of mine, so, marginally it was a good decision, and we have lived on my income in Suburban Chicago for eight years now. We both like it.

yashu said...

PS And Instapundit's one-liner comment on it-- "Feminism has always been about promoting the interests of affluent women"-- is all too facile, simplistic, erroneous too. Even if there's a partial truth to it.

TCB-n-a-Flash said...

Feminism wants to teach my 12-year-old daughter that successful women like Sarah Palin are undeserving, ungrateful, stupid women, that deserve no respect.

I try and teach my daughter to think independently, and that she deserves respect from ALL men (and women), starting with her father.

Sorry Ann. I hope she lives her own life, not one defined by the Feminist movement.

Jay said...

but you might be happier shopping for a mate a few levels down from the top of the wealth/beauty pyramid.

Don't go out of your looks variance and odds are you'll be better off.

Tim said...

"People need to pay attention to the details of their own lives and exercise good judgment as they make their own individual decisions. You can get into trouble using big ideologies to make those decisions."

Says an Obama voter.

This is rich. Too rich.

But charming, nonetheless.

TCB-n-a-Flash said...

Feminists also expect all women to line up behind their beliefs, and if they don't their not a 'real' woman. Only they know what is good for women, and women who disagree with them don't. That's just stupid.

Can you imagine such a ridiculous demand in the male world? All men must think alike? Frankly, I think most men are full of shit, and feel no obligation to give them some type of intellectual loyalty because we are of the same gender.

It is a ridiculous demand of the feminists when 45% of American Women do not vote with them, or share some of the more radical positions.

Tim said...

"The trend is not limited to top earners," Reuters notes. "It has been detected among households earning around $80,000 per year."

Under the health care law Obama, his voters and Congressional Democrats foisted upon us, the federal subsidies for "affordable" (i.e., affordable at someone else's expense) phase out at $92,200 for a family of four.

Think about that, if one can, for a moment: under current federal law enacted by Democrats, Americans making up $92,199 are too poor to arrange their finances to purchase health care coverage for themselves. This same family of four pays federal income taxes at the 25% tax bracket.

If you don't think the Democrats mean to increase dependency up the income ladder, you aren't paying attention.

Tim said...

Everyone is going to have to work, just to pay the taxes to fund the social welfare bennies Democrats push.

So much for Miss Nancy's promise that now people have health insurance, they'll be able to quit their jobs and become artists.

TCB-n-a-Flash said...

And when I look at the kids of #Occupy, and the weak mindset of college campuses (giving your brain to slogan chanting??), I don't think the feminists really did that great of a job for the kids. Now they want everything for free.

We've now extended the human at home incubation period to 25-30. Could this be perhaps, because of the lack of maternal nurturing that is vitally important to both boys and girls.

edutcher said...

Another example of how the younger generations are re-thinking the Lefty revolution of the 60s and rejecting it.

JMS said...

A lot of this has to do with the tax penalty on married professionals. For example, if you both make $125k, practically all of the second earner's income is in the 28% and 33% brackets. Alone, neither earner even breaks into the 33% bracket, and over half is taxed at 10, 15, and 24%.

yoobee said...

There have been many articles written in the past on this topic, and some of the commenters have already noted it: there is a pervasive and persistent myth that families are better off with two incomes. In fact, on average, the costs that arise from having a second working spouse just about cancels out the added income.

Such costs include child care services, increased food costs as a result eating in restaurants or ordering meals, maintenance of two modes of transportation, maintaining an additional business wardrobe, and increased tax liability. Several studies have shown that these costs deeply undercut any marginal financial benefit from having two incomes.

pm317 said...

And stop being envious of everyone else. Get your own life in order.

I like that. Live your life.

TCB-n-a-Flash said...

Is it chauvinistic for a man to admire, love, lust for, and want to take care of his wife and family? It gives me pride that I am able to provide this. Because of my income my wife has the CHOICE to work or not to work, and I think that is one of the gifts I have worked hard to give her.

My wife worked in retail and HATED all her female bosses. One had her planning her wedding rather than working for the company. She was wasting her life propping up someone else's life. Now she does those things for our family. Way better use of her life, and that's what she believes, not just me.

My wife and mother are both highly intelligent, and neither would categorize themselves with Feminism. They are both uniquely individual.

Plus, at 40-years-old my wife is still smokin' hot and it still drives me nuts. That rocks too.

yashu said...

Actually, Sarah Palin is a great example and vindication of some of the *good* parts of, let's say, classical feminism (analogical to "classical liberalism"-- let's say "classical liberal feminism"). And her example corroborates some of Althouse's points here.

In other words, Sarah Palin herself is a grand success story, a happy outcome-- a happy possibility-- of the mixed (good and bad) historical consequences of "feminism". Even if she'd never label herself a feminist; even if many feminists wouldn't claim her as a role model.

She (with her husband and family) has freely crafted a life, a good and fulfilling life, that works for them. It's only one model of a good life (and perhaps only works in exceptional circumstances, or with exceptional individuals). But it's a good life scarcely conceivable before the advent of classical feminism.

TMink said...

Better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife.

Same thing goes for husbands.

Trey

Unknown said...

There is absolutely no reason that the spouse in the job-free position needs to be the wife.

Sorry, this is absurd. As a married mother of three children (one still nursing) who works full-time with a husband who stays at home to manage the household, I can absolutely say that when the children are small, it makes infinitely more sense for the mother to be home with them. Try toting around a breastpump for months on end and then tell me there is no reason for the mother to stay home.

Jay said...

Oh, my. I'm not going to try to say everything that's wrong with that. I'll just say:
There is absolutely no reason that the spouse in the job-free position needs to be the wife.




Which is something Taranto never said.

You can get into trouble using big ideologies to make those decisions.


But of course modern feminists did the opposite of that.

Think for yourself!


Except when you don't 100% accept feminist dogma, you're belittled and ostracized.

Get your own life in order.

Coming from liberal Madison where big government is here to solve all your problems.

So in sum, we are given yet another data point where modern feminism is an craptacular failure and the response consists of nothing more than a cop out and generalities.

Nice.

Pogo said...

The traditional economic unit of the family is a grave threat to all governments, hence their desire to smash it to pieces.

Their tools have included outright coercion and even murder (see: Mao, Pol Pot), but nanny statism has worked far better, once it discovered they had a friend in feminism.

Problem is, it didn't replace that team with anything useful.
Just cash and services.

And it otherwise created a clustefuck of social problems.

Seems like people are rediscovering families.
I hope so.

But expect the gubmint to fight any resurgence tooth and nail, via taxes, freebies, rules, regulations, and appeals to feminism, racism, anti-religious fervor, and envy.

Pookie Number 2 said...

There is absolutely no reason that the spouse in the job-free position needs to be the wife.

That's technically true, but one has to ignore an awful lot of common sense to pretend that the traditional model generally works better than the "let's-pretend-all-men-and-all-women-are-identical" model.

Of course, people should be free to live their lives however the heck they want to. Unfortunately, that doesn't insulate them from the consequences of making bad decisions in the service of unrealistic assertions of how the world works.

Pookie Number 2 said...

"generally works"

s/b

"generally doesn't work"

Oops

tim maguire said...

I was a stay at home dad for 2 years before returning to a $60,000/year job. The effect on my family's finances has been virtually nonexistent.

After taxes, I have less than $40,000, of which almost $30,000 goes to child care (in NYC, believe it or not, this is about as cheap as quality care gets). Throw in increased transportation and dry cleaning costs, and the many things I used to do that we now pay someone to do and we come out about even.

There will be real benefits in the future (the child will enter public school this fall and I was in danger of becoming unemployable), but for now, shifting from 1 income to 2 has been a significant step down in the quality of life of my family with little benefit to our bank account.

You don't need to be rich to decide a second income is not worth the hassle. In fact, if you have children, you practically have to be rich to comfortably afford 2 incomes.

Roux said...

My friends wife worked but hated it and once he earned enough for the family she quit. She was basically working extra to pay taxes and her work expenses.

MarkW said...

"In fact, on average, the costs that arise from having a second working spouse just about cancels out the added income."

Not in our case, certainly. We have two incomes but could live on only one of them, meaning a great deal of financial security and peace of mind. Also one of our jobs is lower paid, but with a high level of job security and benefits. The other one is higher paid, but riskier and more variable from year to year. It makes for a good, balanced 'portfolio'. And my wife finds her career very rewarding (though also quite frustrating at times -- like most careers)

And don't factor child care in too heavily -- unless you have a huge brood, the kids aren't preschoolers all that many years, but if the wife is out of the labor force during that time, her chances of ever restarting her professional career (and professional level income) are significantly harmed.

MnMark said...

"There is absolutely no reason that the spouse in the job-free position needs to be the wife."

Other than the biological/genetic/hormonal differences that make little boys like to play with guns and trucks and to conquer and build things, and little girls to play house and dress-up...and make men and women have similar general differences.

Men generally tend to be happiest when "conquering" new territory or defending the home territory - bringing home resources, etc. Women tend to be happiest building a loving, warm home, raising children, and building social connections. That's just the way it is. To ignore those differences is just willful, ideology-inspired ignorance.

chickenlittle said...

The traditional economic unit of the family is a grave threat to all governments, hence their desire to smash it to pieces.

Two married earners do pay more in taxes. Growth in taxes used to fuel growth in government services so I see your point.
But nowadays governments no longer feel constrained to nor limited by actual revenues so I'm not sure where we're headed.

Alex said...

Feminism wants to teach my 12-year-old daughter that successful women like Sarah Palin are undeserving, ungrateful, stupid women, that deserve no respect.

You betcha! Every young girl should learn from the example of Sarah Palin's college experience. Fleeing from Hawaii because of her ingrained racism, going to 4 other colleges to get a measly degree in journalism.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Only wealthy women can afford to be feminists.

edutcher said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
edutcher said...

What DBQ said. The rich ones could have "careers". The poor ones had to go out and get a job.

TCB-n-a-Flash said...

Feminism wants to teach my 12-year-old daughter that successful women like Sarah Palin are undeserving, ungrateful, stupid women, that deserve no respect.

I try and teach my daughter to think independently, and that she deserves respect from ALL men (and women), starting with her father.


You broke the code.

Leftism is about mindless obedience. Teach your kids to think for themselves and they'll never be Lefties.

yashu said...

Actually, Sarah Palin is a great example and vindication of some of the *good* parts of, let's say, classical feminism (analogical to "classical liberalism"-- let's say "classical liberal feminism"). And her example corroborates some of Althouse's points here.

Which is why the Lefties hate her so.

carrie said...

I say bravo. Feminists decided in the 60s or 70s that a woman's worth should be measured by her pay check. You didn't get paid to be a stay at home mom, so you were worthless if you were a stay at home mom. I'm glad that there are now women who are strong enough to rebel against that idea because it was wrong and, imo, led to many women leading miserable lives.

fleetusa said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
traditionalguy said...

Wealth has always had a definition. It means not having to work for the income needed to live.

Instead of working, the wealthy "live only off interest and gains earned off ownership of capital, but not the capital itself."

That is why Romney only pays a 13% tax rate. He never works, and he never will work.

The male ego likes to say they are "Investors" because it sounds as if they do some work.

Working for your income is always middle class. As Doctor Zhivago told the Party apparatchiks, " I have always worked."

Since 2008, traditional middle class earners have withered away, BUT there is a blossoming replacement Middle Class which are Government Agency positions. That is what ObamaCare, EPA Harrassers, and Regulators in DC and Federal Buildings everywhere are all about.

The Crony System the Dems and RINOs are putting in place rewards friends and punishes everyone else. The Chicago Way is Mafia protection racket run as facade of a noble government.

The Obama Dream is to re-erect the Tax Rate Barriers that prevent a middle class earner from jumping up into another wealthy man or woman.

And only early Ronald Reagan has ever lifted a finger to lower that barrier.

pduggie said...

"There is absolutely no reason that the spouse in the job-free position needs to be the wife. "

Social pressure and expectation aren't reasons?

Women making free food for babies for the first year isn't a reason?

Scott M said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Scott M said...

Women making free food for babies for the first year isn't a reason?

If only they could extrude free diapers as well. The would end both this debate as well as the one between Darwin and God.

bagoh20 said...

"There is absolutely no reason that the spouse in the job-free position needs to be the wife."

Is there anyone involved in these situations who is not the woman or solely concerned about her. Isn't there another sex they used to have? What were they called? I forget.

ed said...

Well it's been an interesting discussion so far. And then shows up Alex to drop a turd into the punchbowl.

Congrats!

raf said...

...stop being envious of everyone else...

The secret of happiness. Or, at least, contentment.

Alex said...

Envy is part of the human condition. From the first time that Og saw Ugg had a better hand axe.

Alex said...

Nothing I said about Palin is a lie. All true. She had to flee Hawaii because she couldn't stand the diversity.

Scott M said...

Envy is part of the human condition.

I had a Marxist landlord once (yes, you read that correctly) who maintained that it's impossible to know what the human condition is because there has never been an outside observer. Of course, this was the same bearded gentleman that thought children weren't "people" until they understood their own rights, but what they hey?

Alex said...

Scott - I'm sure the USSR was filled with Marxist landlords too. A landlord is a job, not a philosophy.

I Callahan said...

You betcha! Every young girl should learn from the example of Sarah Palin's college experience. Fleeing from Hawaii because of her ingrained racism, going to 4 other colleges to get a measly degree in journalism

Grow up, Alex.

Scott M said...

A landlord is a job, not a philosophy.

Property manager is a job. Landlords are property owners. Besides, his vanity plate (you read that correctly) was KMARX.

Alex said...

Scott - how did you make his fortune?

Pogo said...

@Scott M

Cognitive dissonance actually bothers very few people.

Alex said...

Really cons - explain me why Sarah Palin should be emulated vs Sandra Fluke. Look at Ms. Fluke, so highly educated and treated like a darling in the media. That's the example for all the girls!

Alex said...

Pogo - we all engage in cognitive dissonance. Like all those men with beer bellies refusing to lose weight and pounding down another double-double.

Scott M said...

Scott - how did you make his fortune?

Que?

Rialby said...

Ann, you're acting like such a woman lately.

Unknown said...

Does this post make Althouse a lefty? No I think it makes her a reasonable thinking person who has some depth and clarity of thought. Something that is usually absent from both left and right advocates who think only with political emotions.

Triangle Man said...

Only wealthy women can afford to be feminists.

The rest can't afford not to.

deborah said...

I'm not a fan of Dowd's column; too cutesy, but this is a great article about women, dating, and finding a husband.

This quoted section asks, will women who don't seek education and a place in the workforce, but instead marry well-off men to take care of them, be in need of a second sexual revolution:

Having boomeranged once, will women do it again in a couple of decades? If we flash forward to 2030, will we see all those young women who thought trying to Have It All was a pointless slog, now middle-aged and stranded in suburbia, popping Ativan, struggling with rebellious teenagers, deserted by husbands for younger babes, unable to get back into a work force they never tried to be part of?

It's easy to picture a surreally familiar scene when women realize they bought into a raw deal and old trap. With no power or money or independence, they'll be mere domestic robots, lasering their legs and waxing their floors - or vice versa - and desperately seeking a new Betty Friedan.


http://www.nytimes.
com/2005/10/30/
magazine/30feminism
.html?pagewanted=print

chickenlittle said...

@Alex: Your Titus face is showing through your mask today @ your 3:55 & 3:56.

Just sayin'

Unknown said...

Feminism is just a counterweight to 50's chauvinism. Truly successful women avoid feminism and recognize the flaws NOW hangs onto. The times they are a changing. Men have re defined themselves into hip hop or metrosexuality. Women still mostly define themselves by the men they associate with or not with men at all. a large contingent of women are single mom's poor, and dependent on handouts. The men are temporary beings that pass through their lives as a form of immaculate conception. They vanish like a ghost.

Rugged independence inside a government monopolistic container designed to keep people as poor households and as victims.

Hagar said...

Some years ago the sisterhood was also up in arms about some very successful women CEO's with young children who decided their kids were more important and needed them more than their firms, so they quit for the time being at least, and went home to stay with their kids till they grew up.

Unknown said...

I'd like my wife to work and have us make more money. But we decided it was important for the family to have a close connection to the kids. I would have stayed home and liked it, but she actually does a much better job of kid rearing. neither of us are interested in social experiments that make politicians and scientist feel good about their innovations on the family structure. In fact we think those make our life harder if they consume tax dollars. I will be the primary kid care giver if she needs a longer break, otherwise I support her wisdom.

Unknown said...

removing taxes from tips is probably the best way to improve the lot of women in the US as a whole. That lets women leverage themselves up the income brackets

David said...

I do like the statement that women are "casting off the chains of work."

If the guy married to an affluent woman casts off the chain, he usually gets called a slacker and a leech. If he casts off the chains and the wife is not affluent, he is a cad and a failure.

I was a traditional hubby. At one point I should a little chain relief by asking my then spouse to consider a job. No dice, sucker.

Of course when she became an ex wife, her lack of work force experience gave her a deeper reach into my wallet for a much longer period of time.

Actually, I don't regret it but it does seem a little strange sometimes.

Trashhauler said...

My daughter is the income producing partner in her marraige. It wasn't planned that way, but her career was clearly the superior one and when twins came along (and later one more), it made economic sense for her husband to stay home and take care of things. It's working out and they clearly love one another. The kids are clean, well-dressed, healthy and happy.

But I see the strain on my daughter and nothing her husband does can completely lift the burden. He works out to stay in shape and is going to night classes. And I wonder if I am seeing the future.

David said...

"But I see the strain on my daughter and nothing her husband does can completely lift the burden. He works out to stay in shape and is going to night classes."

The poor thing. She is doing what men are expected to do as a matter of course. Perhaps it's hard. Or maybe it's just life.

Phil 3:14 said...

Getting their MBA and MRS degree at the same time!

Trashhauler said...

She's not complaining, David. She's not the type. Neither am I. That's why I paid all that tuition.

I was just pointing out the odd way things turn out sometimes.

Penny said...

Trashhauler, you are seeing the future, and the past, to David's point.

Working is stressful. Raising a family is stressful. Doing both at the same time is even MORE stressful. Doing it as a single parent must be even more stressful than doing it as a couple. What about the working single parent who goes to school at night to better themselves? And those that do all that while caring for an aging parent without the means to take care of themselves?

It's life! And stress is a normal part of living. If you can't take the heat, stay away from fully experiencing life!

Forget working. Go to school instead.

Forget getting married. Live in your parent's basement instead.

Forget having kids. Who wants to be a single parent after the divorce?

Forget about taking care of your parents. Because, frankly, they never should have had you in the first place. Parents are friggin' idiots who thought they couldn't live the "American Dream" without...

YOU!

Penny said...

Go figure?

Cause I can do without YOU, just fine.

Ann Althouse said...

BTW "There is absolutely no reason that the spouse in the job-free position needs to be the wife" ≠ There is no more reason for the job-free spouse to be the wife than the husband.

Read it again and think about "needs to be." I'm saying the job-free spouse absolutely does not NEED to be the wife. There may be many more cases where it works out that it's better for the wife to be the job-free one. I'm not disputing that.

Penny said...

I don't need to read it again.

If you had a point to make that seemed to miss your mark, Althouse?

Tomorrow is another day, Scarlet.

Popville said...

You go girl!

John Lynch said...

I don't agree with Althouse, at all. Or rather, I agree that she's right about how things should be.

Men can't stay home in our culture without paying a very high price.

Men are expected to work, not just by other men, but by women. Women don't marry so they can support their husband and they do not like abdicating child rearing.

A man who stays home will lose friends and respect, and may face pretty severe career consequences. Employers understand women staying home before reentering the work force but men look like deadbeats.

Althouse's logical argument makes sense, and it would be nice if the world worked that way. But it doesn't.

When my wife was pregnant I tried to get a full time with benefits position with my employer. I got passed over, which left only my wife's benefits for all of us. Her base pay was about the same. So, I stayed home and took some classes. Seemed like a logical economic decision at the time.

As a consequence-

1. I lost friends.

2. I limited my future employment. Even with the degree I earned I had this several-year gap in my employment history. It's not a good thing in this economy. As a result, I'm driving pizzas. Ironically, I'm the best pizza driver they've ever had.

3. I got disowned by my father. My sister got everything when he died. That cost my family a lot of money.

4. I felt like a loser even though my wife and I agreed that it was the right thing to do.

So, no, I don't recommend that men stay home with children. However fair it should be it simply doesn't work very well in practice.

People say that men should be able to stay home, but they don't mean it.

Jeff with one 'f' said...

Women now have choices. They can be married, not married, have a job, not have a job, be married with children, unmarried with children.

Men have the same choice we've always had: work, or prison.

-Tim Allen

Harold said...

Well, I've read through all the comments, and there is nothing said that I haven't read elsewhere on this and similar subjects.

I work outside the home, my wife is a housewife and mother. For 33 years now. She worked before we had our first child.

We now live in rural America, though in NY, and have lived on both coasts and in the middle of the country. And we see the same things wherever we have lived.

The kids who do best in school? Mom's at home, Dad works. The kids who do worst? Being raised by a never married Mom- and even worse if kid has siblings with different baby daddies.

The kids most active in Scouts, Masterminds, chess clubs, drama clubs, and any other non-sport activity are from two parent families. Sports? A mixture, especially football. Grand hopes of winning that football lottery...

Sure, some single moms, some families where Mom works and Dad stays at home, the kids will turn out better then average. But don't bet that way.

I have had relatives who died as millionaires. All had one thing in common- no kids. Kids are a financial drain in modern society- but needed if society is to continue to exist. Kind of a conundrum, isn't it?