September 5, 2017

"My mother was a judge, and I can tell you why I decided not to be a working mother..."

"... as a child I adored the stay-at-home and ethnic mothers of friends, women who were warm and welcoming and had time for me. As I got older I watched my mother work long hours and become burned out. My mother gave me many worthwhile things, including money, an education, and her curiosity. Yet as much I love and admire her, I wanted a different life. I wanted more time for myself; I wanted a warm home, filled with people and cooking and laughter."

This is the third-highest-voted comment on a NYT op-ed titled "The Best Era for Working Women Was 20 Years Ago." The comment continues:
Of course, there are burdens with my choice and trade-offs, as there are with all choices. Yet, many women in my social milieu have made similar choices. Our mothers had huge careers in the nineties, and we are stay-at-home parents. Some of my friends have deep problems with their mothers -- feeling they didn't get enough attention; feeling their mothers were selfish or hard or power-hungry, or all of those things.

I would rather see a world where people had more time for everything they love -- whether family or hobbies or art -- than see a world where more people are encouraged to increase the economy. Maybe fewer women in the workforce is actually a good thing. Maybe fewer men might be, too. We have only one life; hopefully we can both enjoy it and do something good with it -- not just work for money all the time.
By the way, the author of the op-ed, Bryce Covert (a woman), defines "best" completely in terms of the percentage of women who are in the workplace. 20 years ago, it was 60, and now it's only 57. We see that on a graph titled "Women in Retreat." But the same graph also shows: 1. Men were at 75% 20 years ago and 69% now, and 2. From 1950 to today, women's percentage has risen from 32% to 57% and men's percentage has fallen from 87% to 69%. Covert says:
We’ve spent a lot of time worrying about American men. Their labor force participation trend line has looked like a tumble down the side of a hill since the late 1950s. But all of this time, men have always worked at higher rates than women.
Covert presumes that what's "best" would be equal percentages of women and men out in the labor market. But what are the men and women who are not in the workplace doing? Let's say the numbers were equal and 25% of working-age males and females were not participants in the labor market. It would be hard to say what these people were doing with their time. They're not all going to be the warm and welcoming stay-at-home parents the comment-writer loves, and gender inequity within this group is much more likely and much more of a problem.

I don't think getting more people into the workforce is the ideal. I'd like to see people using their time on earth to do things that are constructive and beneficial. There are many possibilities, including the obvious one, caring for your own children, and the similar but less well-respected one, taking care of a household that is also lived in by another adult who is putting time into working for the household's money or by another adult who is disabled or elderly.

We should respect some of the working-age adults who stay out of the labor market, but others will be regarded as idlers (not to mention criminals). It's much harder for men to feel respected when they devote themselves to constructive, beneficial nonpaying work. I don't see much attention to changing that, so it's a more attractive option for women. Yet people like Covert would portray the option as unattractive for women too. That's perverse.

(And, yes, I know Labor Day was yesterday, and the article was basically the NYT's effort to get something Labor-Day-related on the front page. But I was interested in complaining about the perverse notion of what's "best.")

102 comments:

Curious George said...

"There are many possibilities, including the obvious one, caring for your own children, and the similar but less well-respected one, taking care of a household that is lived in by other adults who are putting their time into working for the household's money or who are disabled or elderly."

Don't forget making sammiches.

TML said...

What an awesomely small-thinking way to define "best." Utter nonsense. What if had been even more but the abuses had been far worse?

TML said...

more=higher to clarify.

Expat(ish) said...

My mom worked from about the time I could start pre-school because, well, going hungry or living with your parents were kind of her choices at that point. But she had a *very* traditional role - teacher. That meant we went to "work/school" at the same time and got off at the same time. She never aspired to administration because of the work hours.

Plus, bonus, we had summers off.

To me that seems about perfect.

-XC

rehajm said...

I would rather see a world where people had more time for everything they love -- whether family or hobbies or art -- than see a world where more people are encouraged to increase the economy

Cool. Just don't demand those sacrificing those things by participating in the workforce subsidize those people.

tim in vermont said...

It's much harder for men to feel respected when they devote themselves to constructive, beneficial nonpaying work. I don't see much attention to changing that,

Yeah, female hypergamy was never a thing, so these guys would get laid like crazy anyway, why doesn't somebody just tell guys that the way to satisfy the most primal drive in their lives does not require them to seek jobs with status.

I am sure that women get their motor running by seeing a guy without a paying job doing "constructive and beneficial work" that the would have to support by getting out in the workplace! Well, sexually attractive guys anyway. For the majority of us, we have to have a little bit of status of some kind going on to improve our position in the sexual marketplace, and I don't see anybody doing much about changing women, you know, reversing though hundreds of thousands of years of evolution that went into optimizing mate selection algorithms in the wiring of the female and male minds.

Ralph L said...

My job now is to keep my father hydrated and off the highways.

Laslo Spatula said...

The musings of women who CAN afford to not work.

What percentage of the population are they?

For the others: there are customers to be rung up, tables to be waited on and bedpans to be emptied.

I am Laslo.



Dickin'Bimbos@Home said...

I'm starting to twitch... and feel sick and nervous. Tim - I'm pretty sure that constitutes mind-crime.
Guards - seize him!

Kevin said...

By the way, the author of the op-ed, Bryce Covert (a woman), defines "best" completely in terms of the percentage of women who are in the workplace. 20 years ago, it was 60, and now it's only 57. We see that on a graph titled "Women in Retreat." But the same graph also shows: 1. Men were at 75% 20 years ago and 69% now

That reads as 12 points of male patriarchy and sexual discrimination in the workplace by today's rhetoric.

How are we going to get to the magic 50/50 gender split in all jobs and workplaces unless we get more women into the workforce and more men staying outside of it? And that's never going to happen unless men doing non-paying work are supported by women earning a living.

I don't think the idea was that women were going to work to support men who stayed at home. And yet that's exactly what must happen to satisfy the definition of "equality" by today's SJWs.

Kate said...

..."ethnic mothers of friends"... Trying to translate that from NYT speak to normal speech.

1) Brown women cook more food than white women?
2) Brown women have more babies than white women, with more household mess?
3) Brown women are on welfare, therefore not working outside the house, more than white women?
4) Brown women are more in touch with the pagan (even though they're Christian), which is cool and white people should emulate this?

James K said...

So our betters seek to define for us what is "best"? How about keeping out it and let people decide for themselves, and whatever they decide is more likely to be best. At least as long as the government isn't manipulating the decision by, for example, mandating paid maternity leave and the like.

Hagar said...

Amen!

James K said...

How are we going to get to the magic 50/50 gender split in all jobs

I've observed that women are terribly underrepresented in garbage collection, coal mining, and professional football. It must be sexism.

Laslo Spatula said...

When they count the numbers for women in the workplace I bet they don't include hookers.

That might even out the numbers.

There are a lot of hookers out there.

I am Laslo.

Laslo Spatula said...

Hooker is to woman as Coal Miner is to man.

Dirty jobs.

I am Laslo.

Fernandinande said...

James K said...
So our betters seek to define for us what is "best"?


Yes, they do.

At least as long as the government isn't manipulating the decision by, for example, mandating paid maternity leave and the like.

The federal government knows what's best for others, and acts on it:

Women At Google Face 'Extreme, Systemic' Wage Gap, According To Labor Dept. Suit

Men getting paid more for working more = bad.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

I'd like to see people using their time on earth to do things that are constructive and beneficial.

So, get a job? For most people having a paying job is constructive and beneficial. They are doing something useful and it benefits them in that it allows them to earn a living. I'm not saying that everybody needs to have a paying job. Staying home to look after kids or elderly is hard work and I respect that. But, the fact is that most people are not cut out for idleness and anyone who is able to not work so as to devote themselves to good works or whatever is being supported somehow. Perhaps from savings from previous paid work, but somebody's work is involved in keeping them fed, clothed, and sheltered.

But then I'm the kind of guy who thinks a good plumber does more for civilization everyday than a modern artist does in a lifetime.

LilyBart said...

I would rather see a world where people had more time for everything they love -- whether family or hobbies or art -- than see a world where more people are encouraged to increase the economy. Maybe fewer women in the workforce is actually a good thing. Maybe fewer men might be, too. We have only one life; hopefully we can both enjoy it and do something good with it -- not just work for money all the time.


That idiot Mark Zuckerburger talks like this too, saying people shouldn't have to work to live - they should be able to purse what is 'meaningful' to them. He proposes a 'minimum income' OK, genius, who's going to pay for that?

THIS is how prosperity ends - I don't mean with Moms staying home, I mean with people thinking they shouldn't have to work to pay the bills!

bagoh20 said...

If you are not working or living off your own savings, then someone else is working harder and longer to carry you. It's that simple. All the rest of this is just trying to distract yourself from that unflattering fact. Stop using people and forcing the most unselfish among us to sacrifice their time and freedom for you. Pitch in you slug.

William said...

Children growing up without money or status don't necessarily have happy childhoods. Adults with nothing to do are more inclined to cultivate their neuroses than a hobby........I've never had any trouble imagining a better life, but a best life was never within reach.

Fernandinande said...

Kate said...
..."ethnic mothers of friends"... Trying to translate that from NYT speak to normal speech.


The authorette (a white woman with Trump-colored hair) is virtue-signaling by misusing "ethnic" to mean "not white". She adored those not-white mothers because they were better than her white mother, who wasn't warm and welcoming and didn't have time for her.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EVX9fpIqO2g

bagoh20 said...

Encouraging sloth and selfishness is just about the most destructive thing you can do for us all. You might as well encourage heroin addiction or theft. It's the same result. Where will the extra resources come from to care for the people who truely cannot care for themselves if the healthy make themselves useless. Sloth when living in society is theft if you ask me.

The Drill SGT said...

Covert presumes that what's "best" would be equal percentages of women and men out in the labor market.

These same women who want more women in the workplace and by implication, fewer men are the same ones who bemoan the fact that there are no good men let.

They'll be even less happy when they get what they now define as "equality"



Etienne said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
DKWalser said...

My mother felt betrayed by her society and by her sex. When she married in the mid-50's, the prevailing view of society and her gender was that the best use of her time and energy was in being a wife, mother, and homemaker. It was a role that carried more societal prestige than that of being a doctor or attorney. So, she gave up being an elementary school teacher and focused on being a wife, mother, and homemaker. Her task would be to lay a firm foundation for society's future by teaching her children to be responsible members of that society.

Before her five children were grown, society's view had changed. Coming home from high school one day, I found her crying bitter tears. Where, she wanted to know, was the honor she'd been promised for raising a new generation of responsible adults? It seemed society in general, and other women in particular, were saying that she'd wasted her time. Instead of being 'lazy', she should have been working in an office, classroom, or factory -- anything but being a boring housewife.

I'm not sure why she cared so much about the views of other women she'd never met, but she did. She found it cruelly unfair that society's expectations would be altered overnight. She'd done what she'd been taught was honorable and, having done that thing, she felt condemned rather than honored.

James K said...

If you are not working or living off your own savings, then someone else is working harder and longer to carry you.

Yes, but to be fair, include housework and child-rearing under "work."

The Cracker Emcee Activist said...

I loved that she slipped "ethnic" in there. It was used as a shield word, to ward off accusations of white, middle-class privilege. We've come to a time where Leftists truly believe in charms and spells. Now, I'm not saying voodoo, because that would have racist implications. But I'm not not saying voodoo either, because I totally respect whatever kind of primitive, bat-shit, mumbo-jumbo your particular ethnicity might subscribe to.

Fernandinande said...

Even Latvians work more than USians - because they work until they have two potato.

Unknown said...

my wife staying at home probably save our marriage and our family. The years she worked and we took the kiddos to daycare were the worst of our marriage. We were tired, the kids were tired. We couldn't wait to just get them in bed. Once my wife decided to stay home everything changed. The best investment in US we ever made.

Birkel said...

Division of labor is icky.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

I'd like to see people using their time on earth to do things that are constructive and beneficial.

I'm not usually the sort of person to use the phrase, but if you are saying something like that, perhaps you should check your privilege.

The prevalent belief used to be that work had inherent value in and of itself. Now we are trending back to the Aristocratic view of work.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=br-ljup5Bow

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Trying to 'even' things up by percentages and judging whether you have done a good job may apply to widgets, but we are talking about people: men women and children who are not interchangeable parts. Humans have different goals, desires, skills, wants, needs and to arbitrarily state that X% should be working outside the home, or working in any occupation (STEM) is a recipe for unhappiness.

There is great value in having a stay at home spouse, wife OR husband. When you have children that value is multiplied. There is also some value in having both parents in the work force as it may create more resilient, independent children and create a family unit of teamwork instead of dependence. Each result will vary based on the "units" in the situation.

My mother worked as long as I could remember. She also worked in what was then considered a MAN'S occupation. One of very few women who were union printers and could operate a Linotype machine, a printing press, hand set type and all of the other things required in the pre-computer days to put out a newspaper. When computerization came in, she learned to read teletype tapes and adjusted to the new technology.

Did we wish we had a stay at home mom like our neighbor whose dad was a bank manager and his mom could be Donna Reed all day? Sometimes. On the other hand, we were given the responsibilities and freedom to be more independent. We had chores, rules, duties and were TRUSTED that we would perform. Trusted that we could be home alone and not burn down the house.. That we could cook some things for ourselves. And that we wouldn't be complete fuck ups. The dual income in the 50's and 60's allowed us to have more, do more as a family than others in the middle class neighborhood we lived in, whose mothers were SAHMs. It boosted us into the upper middle class.

We were proud of our mother and of our father too, of course, who was also a printer. They worked side by side in many of the various papers through the years and they were a team.

Being a team is more important that who works outside the home or who works inside the home. ( To be continued on the idea of teamwork.)

MadisonMan said...

Meanwhile, men keep working, earning the Daily Bread, so to speak.

I'm not complaining though. I love my job.

LilyBart said...

Funny thing is---this woman's grandmother and great grandmother were probably stay-at-home moms. In those days, SAHM's worked hard - as in labored hard - they didn't have lots of leisure time to pursue interests or run their kids all over town for soccer games.

- Meals were made from scratch and dished cleaned in the sink.

- Kids clothing were usually sewn by hand. (my mother made the bulk of my clothes until about Jr. High)

- Floors were scrubbed by hand, and rugs were dragged outside to have the dust beaten from them.

- Laundry was hung to dry, and ironed.

- Also, they grew a lot of their own food. Even in 'town' people often kept chickens for eating (my mother said this was true of her childhood in the 40's and early 50's)

If you were rich, you could pay someone else to do most of these things, but there were much fewer rich, or even middle class people than there are today. (middle class in the modern view of that word).

Sure, we could 'power down' our economy and stop chasing the almighty dollar, but our standard of living would decline, and more of this 'old fashioned work' would again be required. But, whatever, I guess. So this idea of pursuing interests? Think again.

Chris N said...

'I'd like to crush my enemies, see them driven before me, and hear the lamentation of their women'

-Conan B

'Let's share our own anecdotal experience, attach it to current trends, and throw some numbers on top of that so that we all agree'

-Some lady at The NY Times

Angel-Dyne said...

Seems to be the consensus here that keeping house and taking care of one's own children qualifies as slacking.

So, running a day care center to take care of other people's children while they work is productive, taking care of one's own children instead of getting a paycheck is slacking.

Running a housekeeping service to clean and run other people's houses while they're working is productive, but running one's own house is slacking.

Now, I understand why people don't want to support, say, stay-at-home mothers who fecklessly started families with no future-time orientation (no husband, no savings, just expecting earners-in-general to pick up the bill). Or couples who have children who would starve to death if they weren't fed by the state. I don't, either. But the idea that a traditional housewife, in not getting a paycheck, is for that reason a parasite on productive people, which is implicit in most of the comments here, is perverse. Oh, the libertarians among us don't mind traditional housewives, as long as they're parasitizing a consenting individual. That's the parasitized host's own business. But hey, she's still a parasite, who's a net drain on society.

I have a hard time seeing women like my late mother and late mother-in-law as anything but blessings to the society lucky enough to have these extremely hard-working and intelligent women as members, but, hey, their lifetime earnings from paid labor were pretty pathetic, so...

Contemporary American "conservatism". Lol.

Dickin'Bimbos@Home said...

The NYT - the paper for spoiled elitist a-holes like John Legend and his model wife.

Oh - those deplorables must make choices, and they are doing it wrong. They are not keeping up with their percentages.

bagoh20 said...

"Yes, but to be fair, include housework and child-rearing under "work.""

Of course, absolutley, but I don't find most people who advocate for guaranteed income or other free support are looking to work at home. Most are advocating a permanent paid retirement from birth so they can travel, sleep, hang out with friends and party. All those things are worthwhile pursuits as long as you pay for them yourself. If you have a spouse willing to work hard to cover you, then you can do whatever you want with your time, but unless you have small children to care for, there isn't much work to it, and it's still selfish, one-sided, and not very loving. No way around that.

LilyBart said...

Angel-Dyne said...
Seems to be the consensus here that keeping house and taking care of one's own children qualifies as slacking.


Its not 'slacking', but it isn't what is used to be. A couple of generations ago, people had fewer conveniences so cooking and cleaning were hard labor. And people had less money, so they had to do more for themselves. Ladies in my family spent a lot of time sewing clothes and keeping house.

Plus, lets face it - not all SAHMs are working super hard. I know many who're awesome ladies, keeping a neat house, cooking meals, gardening, volunteering, etc. These people are really amazing and I admire them. Perhaps you're one of these. But I also know a lot who park their kids in front of the TV or computer and pursue their own interests. Most of my SAHM friends take multiple exercise classes per week, are members of book clubs, have their nails done regularly, play tennis, etc. All this sounds really awesome, and sure they feel really buy, but it hardly classifies as hard work.

Personally, my ideal for the 'motherhood' years would be part time employment. Its not great for career advancement, but it is good for work/life balance.

EDH said...

But what are the men and women who are not in the workplace doing?

Papa was a rolling stone?

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Seems to be the consensus here that keeping house and taking care of one's own children qualifies as slacking.

I didn't pick up that inference in most comments here.

Curious George's first comment about "making the sammiches" was meant in jest (I hope) but to be serious the work of the at home spouse (male or female) is valuable in many ways including in cost savings. Every sammich made is less spent on other things. The work of running a household and especially one with children is not slacking. It is a LOT of work. Time consuming and sometimes tedious work that has to be done if you don't want to live like animals in filth and eating out of old pizza boxes.

Making the sammiches, packing lunches for the children, for your working spouse and making home cooked meals saves money, in addition, to being more healthful than fast food. The family dinner, even in a family without children, is an element of team bonding that has sadly gone away.

Household management, something that used to be taught in schools if not by family, is crucial to making the team function efficiently. All of those duties, chores, skills if not done by one of the team, has to be paid for in the form of hiring OTHERS to cook, clean, watch your children, take care of pets. The money wasted and not saved drains the resources of the team.

Granted, not all people like to shoulder the chores and duties of running a household. Not all people like to go to work outside of the home and grind away their life at some menial job. Some people are better at certain jobs, like cooking, than others and this should be taken into consideration when dividing up the duties.

The job of running a household comprises the same job skills as running any small or even large business. Time management. Efficient use of time, Multi tasking. Prioritizing job completions and timelines. Cost benefit analysis. Money management. Assigning duties to those team members who have the requisite skills. Making the work/home environment an inviting place to exist. Creating DOWN time for the team....can't be all work. Letting team members hone other skills (get a hobby, play sports, work on a novel while the children are sleeping). Vacation time to prevent burn out of the workers. Team building exercises. And so on.

I know all that sounds cut and dried, but in reality this is what a SAHM or Dad contributes while other team member are contributing elsewhere.

Plus it isn't all drudge work either in that many of the things required to be done can also be constructive, beneficial AND satisfy the individual's inner needs desires and be creative outlets. Gardening, painting, cooking, crafting, sewing, woodworking to name a few.

Sebastian said...

"All those things are worthwhile pursuits as long as you pay for them yourself." And there's the rub. The politics of the welfare state comes down to deciding who will pay for whose idleness, and how much.

Gahrie said...

THIS is how prosperity ends - I don't mean with Moms staying home, I mean with people thinking they shouldn't have to work to pay the bills!

It is what caused the downfall of the Spanish Empire.

LilyBart said...

...added to above: I've done both the SAHM and the Working Mom thing. I have experience on both sides of the Mommy Wars. I've had people actually ask me what the heck I do all day when I was at home. I know how that feels. And I've had SAHM's say just awful things to me because I worked outside the home. I know how that feels too. BTW, I felt that the harshest judgement coming from SAHM's when I worked was significantly worse than the reserve. Women can be awful to each other!

Being a conservative Christian working mother is the strangest thing, I've found. Nobody approves of you. Good thing I don't live for others' approval. If my kids were ever in trouble, or if I felt God telling me to quit, I would have resigned and come home. My kids are fine BTW, in college now - making straight A's - socially active (in leadership positions!).


TreeJoe said...

These articles are so intellectually lazy. They take one set of statistics, declare an insight, and then find anecdotes to support that insight.

How about what are the preferences - by gender (which used to be clearly defined externally and is now non-linearly defined intrinsically....but I digress) - for work and lifestyle? How have those changed over time? Are people self-actualizing to a higher or lower degree and THAT is what those trend lines represent?

There are ~2-2.5x more men not working today according to that "tumbled off a cliff" statistic. What are all those men doing?

rehajm said...

Julia could not be reached for comment.

Birches said...

There are many possibilities, including the obvious one, caring for your own children, and the similar but less well-respected one, taking care of a household that is also lived in by another adult who is putting time into working for the household's money or by another adult who is disabled or elderly.

A lot of mothers of my older kids' school friends have gotten jobs in the last few years because they don't have anything to do all day. I still have two at home and have no plans to get a job when the last goes off to first grade. When you have a lot of kids, as I do, there isn't time to get bored. Sure, I might get a run in every morning when the time comes, but housecleaning, laundry, meals and whatnot are not quick chores when there are 7 people in a household. I can't imagine having to come home from work and then cook, and then clean, and then make sure that your kids have done your homework. All of that is done by 5:30 at my house; I wouldn't trade it for the world.

David said...

"I wanted a different life. I wanted more time for myself; I wanted a warm home, filled with people and cooking and laughter."

Who doesn't? You also need someone willing to go to work to pay for it.

cubanbob said...

Idleness is fine as long its on your dime.

As for the complaint about wanting more time for themselves, there are 24 hours in a day. Not more. Not less. Choose the priorities for your time allocations.

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

I live a few miles from the destroyed towns of Port Aransas and Rockport, Texas. Teams of recently retired and flexibly-scheduled men go out there every day to labor in clouds of mosquitoes and 90 degree heat to clear lots, pile up debris, chainsaw apart trees, and help people salvage what they can from muddy yards full of the remnants of their lives.

But yeah, the fact that they are not working for money is a huge drain on society. They should totally do something useful like sell plumbing supplies for minimum wage at Home Depot.

Dickin'Bimbos@Home said...

THIS is how prosperity ends - I don't mean with Moms staying home, I mean with people thinking they shouldn't have to work to pay the bills!

More and more people DO think this, which is why idiocracy is just around the corner. Now, that will be a billion dollars, please. Where's your McCain-Feingold tattoo?

buwaya said...

"Throwing numbers on top of that" is a good description of what they have done. Its not being picky to insist on statistics that isolate the phenomenon better and remove other explanations, such as an aging population retiring, greater proportion of young people in (useless) higher ed, reduced employment through economic decline, all of which are huge factors in the reduction of the population employment rate.

I have no complaint about stay-at-home moms, this is an excellent thing. My wife stayed home for 20 years until the kids left the nest and she got bored. More women should, and for that matter they should marry earlier and have more kids.

But the analysis is pathetic. Like most of these things numbers are talking points.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

"I wanted a different life. I wanted more time for myself; I wanted a warm home, filled with people and cooking and laughter."

Who doesn't? You also need someone willing to go to work to pay for it

Yes. And this is the real problem. People want strangers who are working for their own families to pay for yours too. I'm willing to go to work for myself, my family but not for total strangers who are not even grateful.

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

Being a conservative Christian working mother is the strangest thing, I've found. Nobody approves of you. Good thing I don't live for others' approval.

Amen, sister. I don't work, anymore, but being a conservative (well, libertarian) Christian divorced and remarried stay at home mom is the strangest thing. Tons of churchy moms are afraid of me because I'm divorced (zomg it could happen to them too!!), are bemused by me because my children are (contrary to their expectations) not ruined and find me weird because I have wider interests than ladies' teas/essential oils and have to watch my dirty mouth and morbid sense of humor. Tons of non churchy people don't get why I don't work, why I am expecting my sixth child, why my husband married a woman with four kids and then had two more with her and why he happily works to support the lot of us. But like you say, who gives a shit what other people think? Our life works for us and anyone who has an issue with that can get bent.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

who gives a shit what other people think? Our life works for us and anyone who has an issue with that can get bent.

Applause!!!!!!

rehajm said...

An interesting and enlightening essay on costs and benefits of public policy decisions: How to Set Effective National Priorities

Of note: ranked nearly last in ROI is Disburse unconditional cash transfers.

LilyBart said...

cubanbob said...
Idleness is fine as long its on your dime.

As for the complaint about wanting more time for themselves, there are 24 hours in a day. Not more. Not less. Choose the priorities for your time allocations.


You're a philosopher! Very wisely said!

mockturtle said...

IHMMP says: Tons of churchy moms are afraid of me because I'm divorced (zomg it could happen to them too!!), are bemused by me because my children are (contrary to their expectations) not ruined and find me weird because I have wider interests than ladies' teas/essential oils and have to watch my dirty mouth and morbid sense of humor.

I don't know what church you attend but it may be the wrong one. Ladies' teas? Essential oils? WTF?

Mrs. X said...

My mother, an insane perfectionist, didn't work when I was growing up (though she later did). My brother and I were her work, and she tortured us (figuratively speaking). She needed something else to do. Once she was working, she became a kinder, more understanding person, but by then I wasn't living at home. Something about the small, closed system of the family can bring out a kind of craziness that doesn't play in the real world. This isn't to say I think all mothers should work, just that I wish mine did.

Stoutcat said...

"My mother gave me many worthwhile things, including money, an education, and her curiosity. Yet as much I love and admire her, I wanted a different life. I wanted more time for myself; I wanted a warm home, filled with people and cooking and laughter."

What? No "I wanted more time with my children, more time to help build a home and raise the next generation of responsible citizens"? Apparently this "different life" didn't include kids.

Also, wanting a "warm home" is all very well, but aside from inviting the other people and laughing, who gets to do the cooking and cleaning?

Freeman Hunt said...

I'm generally in favor of people not telling other people what to do.

mockturtle said...

As a child I felt sorry for friends with working moms, although they grew up perfectly fine with no apparent harm done. Many, if not most, women work from necessity rather than choice and today's economy is geared toward the two-income family making it difficult, if not impossible, for a mother to stay at home with young children.

I have suggested before that, if families remained intact [!!!] it would be ideal for the wife to bear children early in the marriage and pursue education and career later on. It would be healthier for children and mothers.

Having been married and divorced twice before my 40-year marriage to the love of my life, I'm in no position to lecture about divorce but it is far from ideal for the parties concerned.

Freeman Hunt said...

"Essential oils"--ha ha ha! Don't you know? Better than chemicals! Because they don't work due to chemical compounds; they work due to, I guess, Nature God Magic.

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

I don't know what church you attend but it may be the wrong one. Ladies' teas? Essential oils? WTF?

Lol. My church rocks, but when you have little ones you have to find the other moms of little ones, and they all go to these upper middle class evangelical churches which are full of these insufferable materialistic women who have nothing to talk about but planning parties, going on vacation and buying/selling each other's stupid shit (like oils and diet supplements and makeup and blah blah)

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

(cont)

Which is on topic because this is an example of people who are not terribly productive, but if their husbands are happy with them staying home and swapping Pampered Chef and Rodan + Fields and talking about high-end toddler clothes all day, who are we to judge?

Freeman Hunt said...

Media is always trying to push women around. "You women need to work outside the home. You women need to focus on STEM. You women need to care about this list of political causes."

How about you need to fuck off?

Jupiter said...

There was a time, not so long ago, when almost everyone had to work almost all the time just to make enough food to hold off starvation. Those days are gone, at least until the oil runs out or the Norks or Iranians bomb us back into the stone age. This means that from a purely alimentary standpoint, most humans are surplus. The work that used to go into production of food now goes into producing luxuries. Unless you think cell phones, airplanes and designer nails are necessities.

It is peculiar that women in large numbers began demanding to work outside the home at just about the same time most labor became surplus. I suppose it is possible that increasing mechanization made it possible for women to be as productive as men. But it never took much muscle to be a doctor. It may well be that "society" conspired to deprive women of paid labor precisely in order to force them into the one job that only they could do.

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

IHMMP: LOL! I hear you. ;-)

Ann Althouse said...

"I'm not usually the sort of person to use the phrase, but if you are saying something like that, perhaps you should check your privilege. The prevalent belief used to be that work had inherent value in and of itself. Now we are trending back to the Aristocratic view of work."

When I said I like to see people doing what is constructive and beneficial, I was thinking of paying and nonpaying work, in the labor market and outside of it. Some people work hard at things that pay but are destructive and malignant. I guess one could credit them with having a hard-work ethic. Rich and poor people fall in that category. I'm sure Bernie Madoff worked hard at what he did, and I assume it's hard work being an armed robber. I'd prefer these people to do nothing at all.

As for people who work hard outside of the job market and do good things, like take care of children, I like to see that. Are we better off if more women stay home with children, the disabled, and the elderly and provide competent and loving care or if more women take jobs in the area of childcare and health worker -- low paying, low status jobs. And I'm saying "women" for a reason, because these are things women tend to do.

I'm sure there's some benefit to making everything into a job, so we can see who's doing what and skim off taxes, but overall the work would be done better in many cases if families ran single-earner households. The social pressure to do otherwise is kind of a trick. Who benefits?

Jupiter said...

Freeman Hunt said...
Media is always trying to push women around. "You women need to work outside the home. You women need to focus on STEM. You women need to care about this list of political causes."

I can't say it often enough. If the *only* people who were allowed to vote in Presidential elections were married women, McCain/Palin would have won in 2008 by a landslide. Palin would be President today. The Left has a huge interest in destroying families so as to create "independent" women. "Independent" in this context means dependent upon the State, rather than upon the fathers of their children.

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

My non-productive time is spent at Althouse, but my lovely husband who allows me through his generosity to have non-productive time tells me all the time that Althouse is the salon of intelligent and diverse voices that I don't encounter in my normal SAHM life so it's time well spent.

Ralph L said...

IHMMP, you must have really done something right to get a man to marry 4 kids and you.

Write a book!

Ralph L said...

I assume it's hard work being an armed robber.
No, that's why they do it. Same thing with drug dealing.
They are dangerous, however.

rehajm said...

Bank robbery is one of the few professions where immigrants have an edge

Jupiter said...

It is probably safe to assume that a substantial fraction of the men who are not working are engaged in destructive criminal activities like drug-dealing, theft or robbery, while a similar or larger fraction of the women who are not working are "working girls". WHic his another reason to be far more concerned about men who are not working.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

Are we better off if more women stay home with children, the disabled, and the elderly and provide competent and loving care or if more women take jobs in the area of childcare and health worker -- low paying, low status jobs. And I'm saying "women" for a reason, because these are things women tend to do.

I think that we may be talking past each other. I do think we would be better off as a society if more people stayed home and provided that sort of care. And I think it shouldn't be thought of as low status. And I agree that it is indeed the sort of thing that women tend to do.

I also agree that not all work needs to be converted to "jobs."

However, I also think that our society is losing the concept of the inherent dignity of work.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

I'm sure there's some benefit to making everything into a job, so we can see who's doing what and skim off taxes, but overall the work would be done better in many cases if families ran single-earner households. The social pressure to do otherwise is kind of a trick. Who benefits?

I also agree with this. For most people with children the the financial benefit of both spouses working is minimal at best. Often it is a net loss, once the cost of childcare, transportation, etc are figured in.

Gahrie said...

but overall the work would be done better in many cases if families ran single-earner households. The social pressure to do otherwise is kind of a trick. Who benefits?

Professional and academic feminists.

Mountain Maven said...

Spare us the lies and propaganda of the NYT

Earnest Prole said...

The fascinating thing is how the feminism of upper-middle-class white women enshrines as its highest value the amoral top-dollar demands of free-market capitalism -- a world created exclusively by the worst kind of men.

Ann Althouse said...

""I wanted a different life. I wanted more time for myself; I wanted a warm home, filled with people and cooking and laughter."Who doesn't? You also need someone willing to go to work to pay for it."

It's just division of labor in a household that benefits everyone in it when it's done right. If the money-earning partner likes his job an d like getting out of the house and then returning to a warm, well-ordered home, what is the complaint?

Ralph L said...

likes his job an d like getting out of the house and then returning to a warm, well-ordered home, what is the complaint?
There's a substantial risk she'll become dissatisfied and take his kids, half his money and a good chunk of income.

Gahrie said...


It's just division of labor in a household that benefits everyone in it when it's done right. If the money-earning partner likes his job an d like getting out of the house and then returning to a warm, well-ordered home, what is the complaint?


I don't know. Ask a feminist, they're the ones complaining.

Gahrie said...

There's a substantial risk she'll become dissatisfied and take his kids, half his money and a good chunk of income.

So? That's his fault for being a splooge stooge.

Birches said...

Essential oils? WTF?

The bane of grounded SAHMs everywhere. Also, beach body coaches. Ugh.

Comanche Voter said...

My wife had a stay at home Mom--of the ladies who play bridge set in the 50's and early 60's. But my wife loved seeing her mother in the afternoon when she got home from school. And she wanted the same experience with our two girls--which we were fortunately able to provide. Our younger daughter was a fierce women's libber--who had a fit when her Mom went back to work when she was a rising junior in high school. It might be okay if other kid's Mom's worked--but her mother!!!!! Ah well, hypocrisy is just that. That said, my wife took a career hit by choosing to stay home with our children; a choice I enthusiastically supported. But I absolutely know--and admire, and am thankful for--the career sacrifice she made. A long marriage and raising a family is a partnership--and people's roles and contributions change from time to time. You do what you have to do. That said, what was right for us was just that--what was right for us. Other people, other times, other places may find some other solution that works for them.

Birches said...

I love the division of labor in our house. Most of my spouse's coworkers tell him that they are jealous of his life. Just guessing, but I tend to think we have more time for sex than two working parent households.

James K said...

I do think we would be better off as a society if more people stayed home and provided that sort of care.

Possibly. But I think we'd really be better off minding our own business and not judging others' decisions about how they order their lives. In most cases what is best for the individuals is best for 'society' (to paraphrase Adam Smith).

Ralph L said...

When my maternal grandfather wouldn't pay for his daughters' college (they'd just get married), my grandmother quit playing the organ and directing the choir for free at his church and went to the Baptist church for pay. Good thing, since my aunt is 93 and never married.

Char Char Binks said...

You know how those ethnic mothers are! I've heard jokes and seen movies about them.

mockturtle said...

I have a cousin in CA who has a busy career and her husband is a stay-at-home dad. I wouldn't like that but it works for them, especially as they have teen-age boys. He is a very good cook.

Fernandinande said...

Meanwhile, in the world of ethnic mothers:

Climate** threats drive India’s 'tiger widows' toward open jaws
"Unable to make a living from farming, women are forced back into the forest where their husbands were killed."

** Not really.

Kathy said...

I often read here that single earner households with kids are no longer possible. Fooey! I am in one, and I know at least 50 families in my circle of acquaintance who are. I know quite a few very low income families who make it work. Turns out, having a parent home can mean less expensive meals cooked from scratch, lots of work done by that parent instead of hired out, more thrifty shopping, etc.

I realize that choice isn't palatable to everyone, but it certainly isn't impossible. It's all a matter of choices.

iowan2 said...

I cant get past the stated goal of the family. I dont know what that stated goal is. I know what ours was. Raise 2 kids that performed at 100% of their capabilities. Academic, yes that's a given. But as humans, caring about others, growing as individuals, respecting others and earning others respect, finding and growing into spiritual beings. That was our stated goal. So Mom stayed home. Started working part time when they entered school, and moved into full time as they grew to be independent. Notice money did not enter into the equation when we were striving to attain our goal. So we drove used cars with over 100,000 miles did day trips and long weekends, week long driving vacations, every third year or so. We did just fine. We dont have $millions, but that wasn't our goal. (Oh, that was blue collar work$30 grand a year, with 700 hour of overtime.)

mockturtle said...

I think the financial problem with many couples is that they buy a house with two incomes then decide to start a family, finding that they can't make their mortgage payments with just one income. They could have bought a more modest house but nowadays many young couples want it all right now.

bagoh20 said...

"If the money-earning partner likes his job and likes getting out of the house and then returning to a warm, well-ordered home, what is the complaint?"

Right, but regardless of which role she plays, she eventually has a complaint. It's a woman thing. In the battle of the sexes, being openly satisfied is unilateral disarmament for the woman.

mockturtle said...

Bagoh, if women hadn't complained about the cold, men may never have invented fire. ;-)

Freeman Hunt said...

"In the battle of the sexes, being openly satisfied is unilateral disarmament for the woman."

You think? Could it be the opposite?