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View Full Version : NY Magazine--The Retro Wife



vineyridge
Mar. 29, 2013, 08:01 PM
http://nymag.com/news/features/retro-wife-2013-3/?imw=Y&f=most-emailed-24h5

Comments?

I was appalled at the sheer ignorance exposed in the article.

superD
Mar. 29, 2013, 09:05 PM
This is partly why I will never have children. Say what you will but it is " expected" that the mother handle everything to do with the kids.

I can't stand when friends say they can't do something because of their kids. How about your husband watches them for a couple of hours??????

Gestalt
Mar. 29, 2013, 09:18 PM
While I don't agree all women are "better suited", I do believe one of the parents needs to stay with the kids. I don't know how children adapt to being dragged sound at all hours to baby sitters. People say "oh children adapt". Sure they do, we all adapt to our situation, but that doesn't mean they aren't paying a huge price.

I commend that family for finding a way to live on one salary. The woman sounds like a good mother. I just don't agree with her idea of the proper mother/father spiel.

danceronice
Mar. 29, 2013, 10:39 PM
Undistracted by office politics and unfettered by meetings or a nerve-fraying commute, she spends hours upon hours doing things that would make another kind of woman scream with boredom, chanting nursery rhymes and eating pretend cake beneath a giant Transformers poster. Her sacrifice of a salary tightened the Makinos’ upper-middle-class budget, but the subversion of her personal drive pays them back in ways Kelly believes are priceless; she is now able to be there for her kids no matter what, cooking healthy meals, taking them hiking and to museums, helping patiently with homework, and devoting herself to teaching the life lessons—on littering, on manners, on good habits—that she believes every child should know.

Oh. The horrors. She sounds so oppressed.

I'm not sure I could do that. At least, not well. Not because it's awful or a waste of an education but because not screwing up the future adult humans you're raising is kind of intimidating. More power to her--those kids will probably turn out a lot better than some I've had to deal with. And yes, history and biology bears out that generally, females are better suited to deal with offspring--that is how we evolved (not least because we're mammals and until very, VERY recently, you wanted an infant fed you were either nursing or you were wealthy enough for a wet nurse). That does not mean EVERY SINGLE WOMAN EVER SHOULD STAY IN THE KITCHEN OMG (as people who find stay-at-home mothers horrifying seem to be assuming), just that looking at human biology, human evolution, and human history, yes, generally "mom" is going to be the one more inclined to child rearing.

Not to mention (as the article does, one of the times I've seen someone writing from a feminist perspective acknowledge) that the idea that women CAN go out and succeed in something other than child rearing and taking care of the house does not mean that EVERY SINGLE WOMAN MUST WANT THIS, which is why Friedan doesn't resonate with everyone and a lot of women are resistant to being labeled a feminist. It carries with it the notion that you MUST believe women are EXACTLY LIKE MEN, can do anything men can, and beyond that they should NOT want to do anything traditionally considered feminine. From certain feminists there is the sense that "women should be free to choose, and are smart and capable--unless they make a choice to stay at home while their husband works because then they are mindlessly warped by patriarchal assumptions about women's roles and clearly cannot be making an informed decision." IOW, women are smart, strong, and capable, unless they disagree with me.

It's entirely possible to think a woman doing an equal amount/time/quality of works should be paid the same as a man doing the exact same thing and also think there is nothing wrong with women wanting to stay home with the kids because they WANT to, not because they've been brainwashed. (The longer I work, the more I understand why, down sides of children notwithstanding, someone with the chance would stay home instead of dragging themselves to work every day.)

Linny
Mar. 30, 2013, 12:33 AM
Well said, Dancer! ^^^

Taking on the challenge of rearing a family can be in many ways far more daunting than going out and dealing with a boss, clients and co-workers. At no time can you just decide to hit "send to voicemail" when you hear a little voice hollering "MOMMMEEEEE!"

hb
Mar. 30, 2013, 03:05 AM
"she is now able to be there for her kids no matter what, cooking healthy meals, taking them hiking and to museums, helping patiently with homework, and devoting herself to teaching the life lessons—on littering, on manners, on good habits—that she believes every child should know"

This sounds very helicopter-parenty. My mom stayed home when my sister and I were kids (and so did all the other moms at that time), but she didn't focus on us all day long, thank goodness. We learned life lessons running with a pack of neighborhood kids all day long in the summer and after school rest of the year. We'd go home for meals, then back out to play, then home at dark. We'd ride bikes, build forts, make up games, have conflicts and work things out. Kids that were a-holes got shunned by the herd until they shaped up instead of being told they were special by their overly involved parents.

Reading the first couple pages of that article makes me want to barf.

rustbreeches
Mar. 30, 2013, 07:23 AM
The article could have been about me. I left the career I loved because I was a single mom and couldn't make it happen on the money coming in. Took a job I loved that fell within my skill set, but it still wasn't overly conducive to child rearing. When Dh was just my future DH, this topic was discussed in depth. My mom had left the work force when I was a year old to raise us, started selling real estate when my sister and I went to school, then entered a different field once we were in junior high and reasonably self sufficient.

I knew I wanted to be a stay at home mom because frankly, if anybody was going to screw up raising my children it was going to be me. I wouldn't have married a man that wanted me to work and have more children and run a household, because I knew I couldn't do it. I lack the time management skills.

I like being the class room mom and coaching Battle of the Books. I love being able to go on field trips, and not have to call in sick if one of the little breeches is home sick. I admire women who work and have families. I don't see how they pull off what they pull off, week in and week out. I KNOW I couldn't do it.

We have a dairy farm. There are times when DH has promised he could do something or would be home at a certain time so I could do something, but when something goes wrong and animal welfare is on the line, guess what gives? If a part breaks on the feed wagon, he has to fix it and then feed, he can't just tell the cows he will feed them the next day. I scramble and find a back up plan. Often, if the weather is nice, I can leave the kids with him. He did an amazing job of covering when my child care plans changed at the last minute while I was out of state at a conference.



There is no way I could have a 'real' job and rely on him to take up the slack. He doesn't have a 9-5. He relies on me to keep things running smoothly at home while I rely on him to make enough to cover our needs.

It was a very well discussed decision we made, but I can honestly say we never fight. The only thing we ever fought about was his family and that has been resolved. We don't both hit the door at 6:30 at night tired and hungry and fighting about who has to bathe the kids, make dinner, fold laundry etc. Our 'jobs' within the family are clearly defined. He doesn't have to work inside the home, I don't have to work outside the home. Although I have worked on our dairy, and still do most of the hauling and 'gophering'.

What I find sad is that the people getting most upset about SAHMs are other women. We should all respect the choices we make as individuals and keep supporting each other. So what if a woman chooses to stay home, or work full time and have a nanny, or work and never have kids, or has a partner that wants to be a SAHD. Women went through hell not that long ago to give us the ability to make that decision for ourselves. I'm glad that I wasn't under the pressure many women faced in the 80's that they HAD to work and have a family (and large permed hair), or under the pressure that I had to have a family and stay at home like women in the 50's. The role I chose to play was entirely up to me.

vineyridge
Mar. 30, 2013, 09:21 AM
This will sound terribly harsh, but IHMO a 'traditional" housewife is nothing more nor less than an unpaid servant for a man who can afford such. There is NOTHING traditional about a non-working wife who can focus on children. The "job" that such a woman does has traditionally been the work of the servant class.

When I was coming along, it was understood that one HAD to choose between a "real" career and a life as unpaid servant. Now most people don't have that choice. Women have to work in an economy with a declining middle class. The world of the 1950's is long gone. Before then, if you could afford it, you had servants. If you didn't, providing food and clothing for your family was a full time job; and the children worked also. If you were a farm family without servants, the women and children worked right along with the men unless the woman was pregnant. Look at the lives of women in the 3rd world today; that was the life of the American woman in the past. If you weren't a farm family, the children were put to work as soon as they could be farmed out to help with family finances. In the history of the world, only very affluent societies could afford SAHMs. That will continue to be the case. With easy divorce, many women suffer when they lose the attractions that make a man willing to keep them.

While it's great that some can afford to have choices, IMO, those choices benefit only the male. Smother love is not good for either the mother or the child.

GotGait
Mar. 30, 2013, 09:30 AM
"The world of the 1950's is long gone."

I don't think it ever existed except in TV land. All of my grandmothers and their mothers worked AND took care of the house. My mom still works and is getting ready to retire in a few months. My baby sitter lived across the street and I was left with her at a young age. I grew up fine and my mom was a great role model on how to not put up with any shit. My dad was oddly "feminist" for someone born in the 1930's, but he grew up on a dairy farm with 9 brothers and sisters. His mother worked HARD.
Leave it to Beaver is mostly fiction.

ReSomething
Mar. 30, 2013, 09:35 AM
So? What is the point of working a FT job and having kids if you hand the raising of those kids to a "paid" servant? I didn't have kids to have them raised by somebody else. And backing oneself into the two income trap has it's drawbacks. I think that if it's a choice you make, a choice you CAN make, more power to you.

Arcadien
Mar. 30, 2013, 09:36 AM
I've come to agree kids are better off with one parent at home while they are young - up through grade, maybe middle school. I think dad's can be just as good at this as mom's and the decision should be made based on who can make the most $ &/or has best job security.

That said, once the kids are in high school, I think it's different. Unless the family is totally well off, the stay at home parent becomes sort of a drag on the full time working one. Get a part time job or even go back to work full time. There's college to get ready to pay for!

My only grief is when stay at home moms get their kids off to high school & college, still don't want to work, and start griping to me about how their full time working husband doesn't appreciate them anymore. Meanwhile, their husbands are griping to me about how she says she raised the kids, she should be able to buy a horse & just have fun now.

So maybe if the partners agreed to revisit the agreement every 5-10 years? Weight pros vs cons & make sure one partner isn't starting to resent their situation?

Definitely agree parent at home through grade school is better than day school or paid/non family sitters!

LauraKY
Mar. 30, 2013, 09:47 AM
What I think a lot of us are missing is that it's about choices. No one choice is right or wrong, it's only right or wrong for that individual family.

I chose to be a stay at home mom, I loved it and we could afford it. But that's not the right choice for everyone. My sister, for example, loved her job and could afford a live in nanny. That worked out well for her.

The families I feel for are those who don't have a choice. The parents who have to work two jobs just to keep food on the table and have to take the child care they find whether it's adequate or not. But then, that's not who the NY Magazine is talking about, is it?

Windsor1
Mar. 30, 2013, 09:57 AM
This will sound terribly harsh, but IHMO a 'traditional" housewife is nothing more nor less than an unpaid servant for a man who can afford such.

If the man in question is singlehandedly paying the mortgage, utility, and credit-card bills; the car payment(s); buying food and clothing; providing additional discretionary income for the woman's personal use, then she is hardly "unpaid." Those are exactly the expenses that require the rest of us to go out and earn a paycheck, and that is how she is being paid for her housekeeping and child-raising efforts, by having someone else cover all her living expenses.

And while it's true that a stay-at-home mother can't ignore a cry of "MOMMMEEEEE," nor can a woman who works in an office take a two-hour break in the mid-afternoon while the kids are down for a nap.

vineyridge
Mar. 30, 2013, 10:04 AM
You have to remember that until effective contraception women had no choice about having children. They were either unmarried servants, nuns, or mothers--if they lived through childbirth. Contraception is what has allowed choice at all.

Until WWII, there was a rule in our school district that female teachers could not be married and still work. I wonder if such a rule was commonly in place across the country, because teaching and social work were the only "professions" that welcomed women.

Windsor1, that is precisely what servants got in the past. Room, board, uniforms, health care, and a few dollars of spending money per week. The ones who made a career of being a household servant sometimes got pensioned off and sometimes didn't.

I personally don't mind adjusting my thinking from "unpaid" servant to "paid" servant without either job security or an independent pension.

MissIntent
Mar. 30, 2013, 10:09 AM
So? What is the point of working a FT job and having kids if you hand the raising of those kids to a "paid" servant? I didn't have kids to have them raised by somebody else. And backing oneself into the two income trap has it's drawbacks. I think that if it's a choice you make, a choice you CAN make, more power to you.

I don't have kids yet, but it's coming, and I often think about this choice. My mom stayed at home with my brothers and I, and for that I am grateful. But I don't think I'd be good at it. Just because they would be my kids would not mean that I would suddenly morph into someone extra patient and creative.

To me, day care or a nanny is paying someone to do what they are good at and I am not. If someone can spend 40 hours a week teaching my future kid, being creative, giving them opportunities, while I simply lack the abilities to provide that, I think I'd be a worse parent to try then to accept my own limitations. Simply being female doesn't mean I would be a good stay at home parent. I hope that when I have kids I retain the ability to let go of my ego and accept my own weaknesses instead of trying to convince myself and my family that I am the only one who can do this job properly.

Windsor1
Mar. 30, 2013, 10:19 AM
You have to remember that until effective contraception women had no choice about having children. They were either unmarried servants, nuns, or mothers--if they lived through childbirth. Contraception is what has allowed choice at all.

Until WWII, there was a rule in our school district that female teachers could not be married and still work. I wonder if such a rule was commonly in place across the country, because teaching and social work were the only "professions" that welcomed women.

Windsor1, that is precisely what servants got in the past. Room, board, uniforms, health care, and a few dollars of spending money per week. The ones who made a career of being a household servant sometimes got pensioned off and sometimes didn't.

See to me, that IS being "paid," or the equivalent of it. Whether you earn the cash to pay for those expenses yourself or someone pays them for you, it's all compensation for your efforts.

fordtraktor
Mar. 30, 2013, 10:25 AM
I am so tired of this ridiculous "debate." here we already see it -- working moms must not love their children as much, or want their kids "to be raised by someone else" -- how offensive. And SAHMs are lazy leeches who sit on the couch and take long afternoon naps -- again, how insulting.

I don't care what moms do as long as the kids turn out OK. I work. My child is loving, happy, growing and smart. He likes going to preschool, and learns a lot more there than I could teach him (I have no degree in early childhood education, and my idea of hell is a "playdate"). I am not at all worried about his development, nor do I believe "someone else is raising him." That someone else was welcome to have taken over this morning, when he woke up at 5 a.m. with a stuffy nose and cough.

No, it's my 38-weeks-pregnant self that comforts him when he's sick, disciplines him when he needs it, and snuggles with him any time he wants. My spouse is actively involved as a parent, and the burdens and joys of parenthood are and should be shared. My kid is not at all confused about who his parents are, and knows he's loved. As long as a SAHM's kid feels loved and supported and is provided for, that's great and I am happy for my friends who have chosen that path and find it fulfilling. Why do we always have to feel like someone else's perfectly valid choice is a threat to our own choices? It's not. Get some self-confidence, moms who feel like they have to judge the "other side."

War Admiral
Mar. 30, 2013, 10:26 AM
Gah. Kill me now.

ReSomething
Mar. 30, 2013, 10:29 AM
I don't have kids yet, but it's coming, and I often think about this choice. My mom stayed at home with my brothers and I, and for that I am grateful. But I don't think I'd be good at it. Just because they would be my kids would not mean that I would suddenly morph into someone extra patient and creative.

To me, day care or a nanny is paying someone to do what they are good at and I am not. If someone can spend 40 hours a week teaching my future kid, being creative, giving them opportunities, while I simply lack the abilities to provide that, I think I'd be a worse parent to try then to accept my own limitations. Simply being female doesn't mean I would be a good stay at home parent. I hope that when I have kids I retain the ability to let go of my ego and accept my own weaknesses instead of trying to convince myself and my family that I am the only one who can do this job properly.

I'm no super mom either. My choice was to put my child in daycare because she needed to learn to handle a group setting, but I also had to work. The packs of kids I recall and that hb mentions have been replaced by closed daycare groups, at least in my area they were.

vineyridge
Mar. 30, 2013, 10:30 AM
Fordtraktor, I agree with you in many ways. My only point is that having choices has only been possible for a very, very short time in the history of the human race and should be cherished and protected for as long as economic conditions exist that allow choice to be viable. Personal fulfillment is only possible to the (comparatively) rich.

Lady Eboshi
Mar. 30, 2013, 10:32 AM
In another thread I recently described parenting as being very like what's described in this article, since that's what I see all around me in the NYC area, and rather more obsessive than that!

Bunch of people tore me a new one. Go figure!

I'm glad there's still SOMEone out there who doesn't think they've just hatched out the first/last kid on earth.

I stayed single 'cause I could never have lived that life. I'd have been barking mad from boredom in 5 minutes.

fordtraktor
Mar. 30, 2013, 10:37 AM
Lady Eboshi, I agree I would have gone mad too. That is why I (1) selected a spouse who is fine with sharing the parenting role, and (2) we left DC for the midwest, where insane parenting like that article describes is not the norm. It certainly WAS the norm in our Bethesda neighborhood and I didn't want my kid to grow up like that, or to feel like he was somehow deprived because we were doing something different.

MistyBlue
Mar. 30, 2013, 10:45 AM
I think people took exception to the notion that ALL parents and parenting had to be exactly the same way as the helicopter weirdos in Fairfield County, CT.
There's a million ways to be a good parent. No one way is the "right way"...only the right way for that family.
Just as a working mom is not a bad mom, a SAHM is not a servant. Making broad statements like that only shows a narrow bias and the inability to see situations from any side not your own.

Windsor1
Mar. 30, 2013, 10:51 AM
And SAHMs are lazy leeches who sit on the couch and take long afternoon naps -- again, how insulting.

I don't know if you're alluding to my post with this (I didn't see any other comment that even remotely resembled it), but if you are you misread it. What I said about moms being able to take a two-hour break while the kiddies are napping doesn't mean I think that all moms actually DO that. But in an office that isn't even an option unless you're looking to get fired.

And my comment was also a direct response to another poster who seemed to suggest that office-job moms could simply hit "send to voicemail" and keep painting their fingernails or chatting with coworkers or whatever, which, frankly, is also kind of offensive. People in offices often have fires to put out, too. They just don't involve kids.

vineyridge
Mar. 30, 2013, 11:01 AM
Please explain the difference other than psychological between a SAHM and a servant.

fordtraktor
Mar. 30, 2013, 11:06 AM
Please explain the difference other than psychological between a SAHM and a servant.

Well, last time I checked servants get paid in cash. So they are more like working moms than SAHMs.

Windsor1
Mar. 30, 2013, 11:12 AM
Please explain the difference other than psychological between a SAHM and a servant.

1. A servant has an employer who hires, and can fire, him or her. On a related note, the servant's performance is presumably supervised and judged regularly, if not daily. You can say that a SAHM's performance can be judged by her husband, but you and I both know that's not the same thing. Most SAHMs are not going to be "fired" or divorced by their husbands unless the relationship's in the dumper anyway.
2. A servant works in someone else's home, not his or her own.
3. A SAHM is raising her own children, not tending someone else's.
4. A servant, as I believe you mentioned earlier, probably has to wear some kind of uniform or adhere to some kind of dress code. A SAHM can wear shorts, sweat pants, jeans, whatever.
5. Being a SAHM is a lifestyle choice. Being a servant is a means of supporting oneself independently. You can choose whether or not to be a SAHM in a way that you cannot choose whether or not to support yourself. Unless you want to be homeless.
6. A servant cannot take a break by plopping the kids down in front of the TV or putting them down for a nap. And before anyone goes nuts on me for this I am not saying that doing this is BAD THING, or that all SAHM do this to enable their own laziness. But SAHMs generally have that OPTION.
7. Servants presumably cannot run errands, exercise, grocery shop, pick up dry cleaning or take care of other personal business while they are "on the clock."

There are probably more, but that seems like enough to answer your question.

cowboymom
Mar. 30, 2013, 11:19 AM
I've pitched in on enough of these threads that it feels very repetitive to say much more.

Lady Eboshi nobody "ripped you a new one"; I think we pointed out that your description of parenthood that you extended across the majority was not accurate.

This board has a certain demographic and it really shows sometimes.

MistyBlue
Mar. 30, 2013, 11:53 AM
Please explain the difference other than psychological between a SAHM and a servant.


The inability of those in neither position to see any difference.

A SAHMom: The mom part means that there is a dad. BOTH parents made the children. The children are the full responsibility of both parents. A SAHM or SAHD means that one parent is doing their familial duties by contributing outside income and the other parent is doing their familial duties by raising the children and caring for the home. One duty or job does not nullify the other. Both provide necessities. The children are not the dad's children and the mom becomes a servant raising them for him. By comparing a SAHP to a servant is to say that the only power on the planet is money. And s/he who earns is holds the power.

In a responsible and mature household, if both parents make the decision for one to stay home and raise children (and usually then also take on caring for the household) then they are making the decision for the outside income to be pooled. They made the decision that the income coming in belongs to both. Many couples, even with both working, pool incomes. Many prefer to keep incomes seperate. Some prefer to pool a percentage of the incomes and keep seperate another percentage for individual discretionary income. None are right or wrong...each depends on that couples' choice.

And like anything else...it works in some couples and doesn't in others. Hence stating "in responsible and mature" households.

Nowadays there are many couples who, when they decide to have one stay home, have a plan and contract made up similar to a pre-nup to protect the spouse that stays home.

Stating that one is a servant due to someone who doesn't agree with this arrangement is immature and frankly silly. I was a SAHM for 10 years. I worked all before that and banked/invested a decent portion. (had a chunk of years horseless, quite easy to save without horses, LOL) I now work from home as my youngest is out of the nest. In the 10 years I was considered a SAHM, I was earning a portion of the outside income with the work I did in and around the house and raising the children. As much as my husband was earning it. Some went towards the children, some went towards the household, some was discretionary and some was saved. Just like anyone else. Had my husband decided to "up and leave" without warning (and there's usually warning signs) I'd have been fine financially. Because we *both* chose that lifestyle.

Now I can see if one parent decides that and the other is foolish, there could be serious issues for the SAHP. But if someone has never had a mature, responsible relationship and/or children...it's just as foolish to make pronouncements and judgements on something you haven't any experience in. Just like it would be to have had bad relationships or have seen bad relationships and assume everyone else has the same situation and judge them by your own personal past. It's also insulting to the working parent in a SAHP situation to infer that they're all dictators who view the SAHP as a servant.

rustbreeches
Mar. 30, 2013, 11:59 AM
This thread makes me sad. Nobody should be belittled for the choices they make, as long as those choices make the person and their family happy. We bemoan the loss of social values and personal responsibility, we bitch about teachers having to 'raise' kids for parents who don't care, but when a parent chooses to stay home and be the main care giver, we think them worthless. Nice.

mvp
Mar. 30, 2013, 01:29 PM
And yes, history and biology bears out that generally, females are better suited to deal with offspring--that is how we evolved (not least because we're mammals and until very, VERY recently, you wanted an infant fed you were either nursing or you were wealthy enough for a wet nurse).

I haven't finished the article yet. It pisses me off, so it I can only take 1-2 pages at a time.

But as a professional historian of evolutionary biology, and someone who has read On the Origin of Species more than once, and followed every major evolutionary argument for the last 150+ years, I'll remind you that this "women were evolved to do... wait for it... exactly what they do now" is specious. There is no logical way to know if this is true. It does, however, support one view of gender or another and that almost always has to do with money and politics. So beware purportedly neutral science weighing in!

mvp
Mar. 30, 2013, 01:32 PM
This thread makes me sad. Nobody should be belittled for the choices they make, as long as those choices make the person and their family happy. We bemoan the loss of social values and personal responsibility, we bitch about teachers having to 'raise' kids for parents who don't care, but when a parent chooses to stay home and be the main care giver, we think them worthless. Nice.

If you have the means to allow partners in a marriage to choose, that's fine. I do think the ultimate accomplishment of feminism would be to allow women to choose their role, even change that as she deems.

But let's be clear: This is a problem limited to the affluent. If you can't pay the family bills on one adult's income, everyone has to have jobs.

Historically. women have not been able to support one another across class lines.... rich women don't get on board with the issues that matter to poor women and perhaps vice versa, though we don't hear a hell of a lot from poor feminists.

paulaedwina
Mar. 30, 2013, 01:49 PM
I like the article alot. I also believe that the purpose of feminism was to give women a choice. You want to go out into the world and work -go for it. You want to stay home and raise your babies -go for it. You don't have to answer to anyone.

I will tell you from a public health perspective there are some interesting indicators -measures of risk for young people -nobody at home is a big one. Kids making decisions they don't have the skills to make. Another is family sit-down meals. Families that eat together talk to each other. Guess what gets really hard to do on a regular basis when all the adults are working?

So if any parent says to me -"I am going to quit my job and go home to raise my kids" I will say Amen.

What makes this hard; the nuclear family is a bill of goods -it is less than ideal for child rearing, and it is brittle. It is less than ideal because too few adults are responsible for care of children, care of each other, and financial support. For example, in Frederick MD when I was living there the median house price was 385K but the median income was 50K. It pretty much guaranteed that two incomes would be required to raise children in a regular house.

So if you happen to be female and you decide that you're going to stay at home and raise your children and take care of your family you have no explanations to make to me. More power to you, your children and your family will benefit.

Paul

MistyBlue
Mar. 30, 2013, 02:15 PM
If you have the means to allow partners in a marriage to choose, that's fine. I do think the ultimate accomplishment of feminism would be to allow women to choose their role, even change that as she deems.
They do that now.

But let's be clear: This is a problem limited to the affluent. If you can't pay the family bills on one adult's income, everyone has to have jobs.
Actually the SAHM stories read and heard about are on affluent families in affluent areas.
But there are more of them in much less affluent areas.

There is absolutely no need to be wealthy to afford to a SAHP. That is only required if the parents want to live a certain level of lifestyle in certain expensive areas.

There is absolutely no need for all the excess we deem necessary today. But if you do want all of it and live in an area with a high cost of living then you will probably require a double income if one of the incomes isn't hefty.

I know a couple farriers with SAHMs at home, a grocer, bunch of dairy farmers, a couple system analysts (with SAHDs), police officers, plumber, etc. Decent incomes but hardly considered affluent. Especially in CT. They have budgets and stick to them. They prefer their lifestyle for themselves.

mvp
Mar. 30, 2013, 02:21 PM
Please explain the difference other than psychological between a SAHM and a servant.

She gets paid more. Look, this is a job for the comparatively wealthy. Her standard of living is higher than the one I'd think of when you say "servant." You mean 19th/early 20th-century Britain, all Gosford Park or Remains of the Day style?

paulaedwina
Mar. 30, 2013, 02:25 PM
MistyBlue, I completely agree with you that you do not have to be wealthy to be a SAHP. You do have to have skills, however. Unfortunately, the kinds of classes that teach these skills (home economics, FFA, etc) are going out of style, or are the first on the block when the budget needs to be cut. So unless you are lucky enough to have learned this from your own parents or guardians, you have a heck of a learning curve ahead of you.

Paula

ezduzit
Mar. 30, 2013, 02:33 PM
OP, you have a very jaded view of the stay at home wife/mom. Taking your opinion out a little farther: an employed wife/mother is STILL the unpaid slave of the husband because most women do the bulk of the housework and child care. The only difference that she has a second job which pays her money.

I never considered myself unpaid. My husband had a talent for going out and making money...not a lot, but enough. He paid all the bills AND recreation. I mean, after all, his was the only money coming in. He was generous to a fault. This is what he did FOR our family.

My contribution was that I made it EASY for him to go to work. I cared for our home, the children, made sure he had clean clothes to wear, made sure there were healthy meals for everyone, made his breakfast and lunch (he always brown bagged it). These were the things I did FOR our family.

I always felt I was a very important part of making it all work smoothly. I NEVER saw myself as a second-class citizen or an unpaid slave. I saw myself as a vibrant, creative woman who happily spent my days doing whatever I wanted to do...including going trail riding with the kids after school. And sitting down to cookies and milk after school. That interim between the school bus and going out to play provided the kids and me with an intimate time to talk about the day, school, kids, plans, hopes, dreams. I wouldn't have missed that 30 minutes for all the world. I was able to be intune to them and notice when things were off; to question them gently to understand whether there were serious problems going on or just kid stuff. I think that is missing for today's kids. There's nobody to talk to or to listen to them. It's no wonder they behave the way they do.

I wouldn't have missed having that time at home for all the money in the world, awards, promotions or anything.

Remember the next time you go to work...you're just a slave to your employer. The only you get in return for your effort is money.

mvp
Mar. 30, 2013, 02:36 PM
I don't think you have to be wealthy to be a SAHM, either. And there are many, many middle class, working class and poverty-level families doing that.

In fact, for many folks the arrival of a second kid and paying daycare for two babes forces the decision to have one parent become the SAHMan/Woman.

Reading the article though, I don't think the discussion involves the families who are doing this due to economic necessity. The question is whether or not women with graduate degrees and careers should have the option to pour themselves into the SAHM role.

Of course they should, but man, oh, man these people are the uber-parents. What a narrow and silly conversation about feminism if it's going to revolve around the legitimacy of a woman who crochets animal ear hats for her kids and blogs about parenting in addition to doing it. IMO, that's not a fight worth fighting... especially since it leaves the huge disparity between men and women in pay, stereotypes and career advancement and "also ran" issue. That one arguably does more to hurt women of all tax brackets than does, say, the loss of legitimacy for the woman who makes sure her kids eat only homemade baby food.

In addition the "women are just like men" rather than "separate but equal" is a result of continued gender bias. Who said the man was the standard of comparison in the first place? So when the author writes, "Why can't be be girls rather than girls trying to be boys?" she's feeling the limitation of making men the standard version of "human." Oh, and by the way, what kind of female idiot with a husband and children wants to be a 'girl'? She's a woman and should aspire to be if she wants to help her own cause.

vineyridge
Mar. 30, 2013, 02:38 PM
She gets paid more. Look, this is a job for the comparatively wealthy. Her standard of living is higher than the one I'd think of when you say "servant." You mean 19th/early 20th-century Britain, all Gosford Park or Remains of the Day style?

Well, I was going to say that the working hours are also much longer and sex is usually not included in the normal servant job description.

Actually, I was thinking more of the servants in The Help, which are the ones with which I am personally familiar. I agree that this is a job (SAHM) for the comparatively wealthy. It's also very new in the history of the world. The disappearance of a large class of people "in service" is very recent--within the last century, maybe even the last half century. Traditionally the mark of wealth was servants. The job duties that stay at home parents perform have traditionally been transferred to servants as soon as wealth allows.

I should also point out that in other cultures, family units are multi-generational, with elders, workers, and children all in the same household. We don't have that any longer, and it's a tremendous loss to our society and our children.

I've just finished reading Pedro Martinez by Oscar Lewis again. It's eye-opening about the life of women in a pre-industrial, lower class setting. The world in the article is not normal.

ezduzit
Mar. 30, 2013, 02:38 PM
Mistyblue, you nailed it right. Our income determined our lifestyle. We put 2 kids thru college without student loans and DH never made more than $75k a year.

We didn't have toys or lavish vacations; no mani or pedi (the horses got those regularly ;-) . We ate at home and took lunches to work. Didn't have cable. Weren't any cell phones. We set up house keeping in 1966 on $6k a year. Banked all my pay so we never got used to having it. That gave us a down payment for a house.

ezduzit
Mar. 30, 2013, 02:45 PM
Paulaedwina, I think the housing market FOLLOWED the dual incomes. I see it as a domino effect: women go to college and run up student loans. Then they have to get a job to pay back the loans, if nothing else. Then they get married and can afford a more expensive house.

If people stayed in single-income housing and did not buy the higher priced houses, builder would build smaller, more affordable homes.

It's all in what a woman wants to work toward: a big home with a mortgage to match; or, a relaxed, slower way of life staying home with her children.

ezduzit
Mar. 30, 2013, 02:46 PM
So well said and absolutely true.


This thread makes me sad. Nobody should be belittled for the choices they make, as long as those choices make the person and their family happy. We bemoan the loss of social values and personal responsibility, we bitch about teachers having to 'raise' kids for parents who don't care, but when a parent chooses to stay home and be the main care giver, we think them worthless. Nice.

ezduzit
Mar. 30, 2013, 02:54 PM
I DID take a 2 hour nap when the kids were sleeping or before they go home from school. My day started @ 5:30 a.m. and ended around 10 at night. Nothing wrong or shameful about recharging the batteries half way thru. And sometime I did NOTHING all day but read or knit or ride my horse. I usually had my *weekend off* it just was the traditional Sat/Sun arrangement. I don't see why so many people on this subject are so judgmental.


I don't know if you're alluding to my post with this (I didn't see any other comment that even remotely resembled it), but if you are you misread it. What I said about moms being able to take a two-hour break while the kiddies are napping doesn't mean I think that all moms actually DO that. But in an office that isn't even an option unless you're looking to get fired.

And my comment was also a direct response to another poster who seemed to suggest that office-job moms could simply hit "send to voicemail" and keep painting their fingernails or chatting with coworkers or whatever, which, frankly, is also kind of offensive. People in offices often have fires to put out, too. They just don't involve kids.

rustbreeches
Mar. 30, 2013, 02:55 PM
Wow, people think I'm affluent! Who knew??? I feel we are solidly middle class. People in NYC probably think I'm poor white. I totally agree with Ezduzit. My efforts in the home are what make it possible for my husband to work the long hard hours he does.

There are trade-offs. I no longer get mani-pedis every month like I did when it was just DD and myself. But DD takes skating lessons. I grow or barter for lots of our fruits and veggies. I bartered meat for a western saddle for DD. Part of being a grown up means having to make decisions about what is important and what is just window dressing

But I also am able to volunteer in the community and school way more than if I had to have a job. I am the parent that always has a car load of kids headed somewhere simply because I don't have to get off work before going to an activity. I'm never off work. We have an employee right now that owns a home and is supporting a wife and 3 kids on right around $40k/year. His wife could work, but loves being able to volunteer in the school, and take care of her family. They have one older car they paid $3000 for.

You don't have to have cable, you don't have to have an i-phone, you don't have to have the latest, trendiest clothes. Our big splurge this year was a new infant carrier/ stroller for the one due in June. Living on one income doesn't mean that the income has to be huge, but it does mean that you can't try and keep up with the Jones.

I don't understand the need to belittle people for choosing a different path in life

ezduzit
Mar. 30, 2013, 02:57 PM
Are you suggesting, via this question, that you REALLY DON'T KNOW the difference????

How sad that you can't envision a mutually satisfying marriage; that you can't envision true commitment where neither party has put up barriers for their own protection.

How pitifully sad. Your generation has lost so much. :(

ezduzit
Mar. 30, 2013, 03:08 PM
Sorry, forgot the quote from OP. My comments are in response to her comment that personal fulfillment is possible only for the comparatively rich.

That is so COMPLETELY NOT TRUE! I can't understand your reasoning that money is the only thing of value while we are alive.

Are you actually saying that personal fulfillment is NOT possible unless a person is *comparatively rich*? Wow, talk about looking down your snooty nose on the *comparatively poor* people of the world.

In your world, maybe, money is all that matters. But in other worlds, personal fulfillment is measured by other things like time spent with children, being there to comfort your child yourself, giving of yourself with love to make someone else happy or comfortable.

Thru all generations there have been women who worked and women who didn't. I'm not getting your point about choices being a relatively new development.

mvp
Mar. 30, 2013, 03:15 PM
Paulaedwina, I think the housing market FOLLOWED the dual incomes. I see it as a domino effect: women go to college and run up student loans. Then they have to get a job to pay back the loans, if nothing else. Then they get married and can afford a more expensive house.

If people stayed in single-income housing and did buy the higher priced houses, builder would build smaller, more affordable homes.

It's all in what a woman wants to work toward: a big home with a mortgage to match; or, a relaxed, slower way of life staying home with her children.

Yes, the first wave of feminism in the early 1970s helped women work outside the home and that contributed to the ability to buy more house. At the same time, women also gained admission to colleges that had previously been closed to them.

But I don't think borrowing heavily for college was common in that generation-- for men or women. Therefore, I don't think you can lay blame for the invention of the McMansion at the feet of women who somehow illegitimately wanted to go to college.

One thing that equality in education and the work force did do for women was allow them a way to leave an abusive marriage. Cultural bias against the battered wife aside, it really was hard to leave if you couldn't pay the bills for you (and often the children you took with you). And *that* didn't mean that a landlord would rent to you as a single woman or divorcee.

In the present-- the era of borrowing beyond reason for higher education--- I see men and women doing that equally.

ezduzit
Mar. 30, 2013, 03:15 PM
Rustbreeches...love your comment.

I remember one year, it was a 30-something anniversary, we decided to get shutters for our house. We'd been putting it off because of the expense. That was our splurge.

Another anniversary it was the gas logs for the fireplace.

After that it became a fun thing to get something for us together, something lasting...not like a dinner or vacation...something we would look at every day and remember.

pal-o-mino
Mar. 30, 2013, 03:16 PM
As far as day care, I also didn't think I'd make a great parent and put my daughter in day care. I also thought it would be good for her to be around other kids. Big mistake. Day care workers get paid by the hour and have who knows how many kids to watch. Looking back now, I wish I had just kept her at home. Nannies may be different, but then why have a kid if it's going to be with a nanny all day long.

ezduzit
Mar. 30, 2013, 03:20 PM
mvp, I didn't mean women were not legitimate in going to college. For those who have their heart set on a particular career, of course it goes without saying.

I feel now, tho, that a lot of people...men and women...are going to college without any real hope of getting a job that requires a degree. I cringe everytime I hear that "every one is entitled to a college degree". No, not everyone should go to college.

ezduzit
Mar. 30, 2013, 03:22 PM
I'm curious as to why so many women think they won't be *good* mothers before they've had children. And, if you don't think being a mother is something you're going to like, why have children?

It's sort of like boarding out a horse when you have perfectly good farm at home.

vineyridge
Mar. 30, 2013, 03:25 PM
Almost all children in the past and many now are not planned. Sex has traditionally equalled children even when they were unwanted.

When much of the world survives on $3 a day or less, all of the people posting here are affluent.

Since we've turned job training over to the educational establishment, everyone needs to go to some level of college. Well, maybe retail clerks don't need training to work, but skill training is barely available these days outside of school. The majority of 4 year college/university students today are in nothing more than glorified vocational training. That training used to be provided through apprenticeships and still is in much of the world.

mvp
Mar. 30, 2013, 03:38 PM
mvp, I didn't mean women were not legitimate in going to college. For those who have their heart set on a particular career, of course it goes without saying.

I feel now, tho, that a lot of people...men and women...are going to college without any real hope of getting a job that requires a degree. I cringe everytime I hear that "every one is entitled to a college degree". No, not everyone should go to college.

So why does this complaint about the borrowing whippersnappers of today matter in a thread about a retro-brand of feminism? I may be wrong, but the pieces in your earlier post implied that uppity women without the means to buy a college degree outright drove up the cost of houses.

mvp
Mar. 30, 2013, 03:41 PM
I'm curious as to why so many women think they won't be *good* mothers before they've had children. And, if you don't think being a mother is something you're going to like, why have children?

It's sort of like boarding out a horse when you have perfectly good farm at home.

I don't know, either. My mom-- who has two degrees and a career and raised her kids-- is of the "you'll figure it out" persuasion.

I thank her for that. It would suck to have children (or take up any career) and think, "Oh man, I'll fail at this." The "competitive parenting" thing is so damaging to everyone!

Between my momma's idea and the trash you can see on Jerry Springer, know that you will do just fine at raising your kid.

mvp
Mar. 30, 2013, 03:43 PM
When much of the world survives on $3 a day or less, all of the people posting here are affluent.

Hold up! I don't have kids and a huge, huge part of that is because I know I can't afford them. I make more than $3 a day, but I don't make enough to have children in the sense that I can fund them all the way into a pretty good launch into adulthood. To me, that's the definition of raising kids so if you don't have the dough, you shouldn't have the kinda-kids.

ezduzit
Mar. 30, 2013, 03:49 PM
I'm not communicating clearly on my point about how borrowing forces one into having to be employed.

I was blessed to be in a generation that got married and had kids. We didn't over-analyze it...it's just what we did. I didn't think about what it took to be a good mother. It was just one day at a time, lots of love and common sense. I think my generation, the last of the 1950s generation, had it pretty easy. We sure didn't have to deal with all the angst I see these days. Nothing was laid out in front of us...it was just day to day with the man we loved and our families.

vineyridge
Mar. 30, 2013, 03:49 PM
I was just responding to the "plumbers and policemen" who are able to afford housewives.

ezduzit
Mar. 30, 2013, 03:55 PM
Are you intentionally demeaning to wives of first responders? I find the phrase "afford housewives" really feeds into your housewives are slaves mentality. Have you forgotten that people get married because they love each other? That they decide how their family will operate based on mutual love and respect? You obviously see wives as things that are bought by the men who can afford it. A very dark ages vision.


I was just responding to the "plumbers and policemen" who are able to afford housewives.

mvp
Mar. 30, 2013, 04:02 PM
I'm not communicating clearly on my point about how borrowing forces one into having to be employed.

I get it, but it has no bearing on women's contribution to the problem or whatever brand of feminism we'd like now. Again, that's for the simple reason that both genders borrow for higher education equally... as far as I know.

With respect to the end of the 1950s "we'll figure it out one day at a time," and modern angst, I think the huge problem is that we in the Western World got really rich after WWII, raised out expectations for "what counts" as creating a good family life, then ran out of money... then credit. Now, perhaps two generations removed from the last time anyone "knew how to be poor," adults are wigged out about how to match their well-funded childhoods with their kids.

It's going to be a bumpy ride.

ezduzit
Mar. 30, 2013, 04:17 PM
That's just it. The credit, the borrowing, the need for revenue, working moms. It's all so over the top. Ordinary people are spending tens of thousands on weddings, vacations, designer clothes, jewelry. Of course it take 2 incomes...especially when added on top of student loans. I see disaster ahead for a generation that won't be able to save for retirement because they are paying of debt, a generation that will be saddled with higher and higher taxes because of the U.S. debt. And that scares me. Not for me...I'll be dead. But for adults everywhere. How on earth can anyone get back to being content to be "poor".

My dad was a mechanic at a dealership...blue collar, 8th grade education. I guess we were poor despite having a home, enough food and clothing and bills paid. No frills, tho. I don't think anyone of today's young adults would consider that to be a good thing.

Yes it will be a bumpy ride. I don't wish for my kids to have it *better* than I did. I hope they have the skills to cope with where ever life leads them. If they have that, they will always be prepared.

A little off topic, I guess.

vineyridge
Mar. 30, 2013, 05:39 PM
This statement is also very narrowly limited to a culture and time. It's not inevitable. How do you factor in divorce? Something like 50% of marriages end in divorce these days?

I fail to see how pointing out that plumbers and policeman are relatively affluent is demeaning.

Just so you'd know, the first and trial issue of MS Magazine had as its cover article one by Judy Brady called "I want a Wife." http://womenshistory.about.com/od/feministtexts/a/i_want_a_wife.htm Article is here. http://www.columbia.edu/~sss31/rainbow/wife.html And another called "The Housewife's Moment of Truth." http://womenshistory.about.com/od/feministtexts/a/housewife_moment.htm My whole life seems to have been influenced by that issue. I suggest you read the articles.



Are you intentionally demeaning to wives of first responders? I find the phrase "afford housewives" really feeds into your housewives are slaves mentality. Have you forgotten that people get married because they love each other? That they decide how their family will operate based on mutual love and respect? You obviously see wives as things that are bought by the men who can afford it. A very dark ages vision.

cowboymom
Mar. 30, 2013, 07:24 PM
The 50's also really pushed and sold the happy SAHM and working father as a way to get women back in the home and out of the jobs they were holding down that were needed when soldiers came home. And I personally think too that after two world wars our population was pretty happy in general to focus on home life. I think it's unfortunate that it trapped some women in the net that didn't WANT to go back home or some that wanted careers. It seems a lot now it's gone the other way and there's something wrong with a woman that DOESN'T want a career. I think people should do what works for their family.

danceronice
Mar. 30, 2013, 07:35 PM
This statement is also very narrowly limited to a culture and time.

...says the person whose view of what women's options were until they invented the Pill seems bizarrely limited to a very narrow Western, upper-class view from only a few periods in history. (Really, nuns and mothers?)

Obviously, you're one of the "feminists" who alienates women from the term. And if you were seriously THAT influence by "Ms Magazine" you probably ought to seriously reevaluate your worldview. (If you need help, start be repeating "NOT EVERY WOMAN WANTS THE SAME LIFE AS I DO. THIS DOES NOT MAKE THEM BRAINWASHED SLAVES.")

nlk
Mar. 30, 2013, 07:55 PM
I didn't read everyone's responses BUT this is something that really lights my fire.

Personal opinion, this is what is wrong with the up and coming generation.

So many mothers organize and plan every single part of their kids lives. They are there for their every whim and want and need. These children don't learn to entertain themselves, they learn that someone is ALWAYS there for what ever they want.

So instead of learning to be self reliant these children ( and mothers) are 199% dependent on someone else ( and this goes on into adult hood for BOTH)

Personally I have the best of both. I own my own business so I don't have to rely on baby sitters or day care. My children are with me but I do work and as they get older they have to be more and more self reliant. It's expected. They have to play outside and with other children. NOT ME!!! ( not that I don't love, enjoy and entertain my children just not all the time. )

vineyridge
Mar. 30, 2013, 08:01 PM
Okay. Maybe I'm limited to Western Culture. Please enlighten on what other choices were available to women in cultures around the world throughout history, besides motherhood and celibacy. Prostitution? Slavery? Both of the latter often resulted in motherhood whether willingly or not.

I'm asking about the norms for women, not the rare exceptions.

Just be thankful that you live in a time when women have the choice to dependent on someone else instead of being forced into it.


...says the person whose view of what women's options were until they invented the Pill seems bizarrely limited to a very narrow Western, upper-class view from only a few periods in history. (Really, nuns and mothers?)

Obviously, you're one of the "feminists" who alienates women from the term. And if you were seriously THAT influence by "Ms Magazine" you probably ought to seriously reevaluate your worldview. (If you need help, start be repeating "NOT EVERY WOMAN WANTS THE SAME LIFE AS I DO. THIS DOES NOT MAKE THEM BRAINWASHED SLAVES.")

JER
Mar. 30, 2013, 08:12 PM
Please enlighten on what other choices were available to women in cultures around the world throughout history, besides motherhood and celibacy. Prostitution? Slavery?

viney, please. Opportunities abounded for women. In some cultures, you could be an alewife, and just about anywhere in the world, a woman could be a witch.

Canaqua
Mar. 30, 2013, 08:20 PM
viney, please. Opportunities abounded for women. In some cultures, you could be an alewife, and just about anywhere in the world, a woman could be a witch.

You could be a midwife ;). An alewife is a fish.

HillnDale
Mar. 30, 2013, 08:29 PM
Look, OP, you're obviously attached to your point of view. I could use your logic to argue that we are ALL poorly compensated suckers traded in the marketplace and bought and sold by each other. In that context, I could illustrate that MANY of us find agency for ourselves in our lives and have throughout history. If you are willing to look at historical figures from that perspective you would see countless of examples of women who had great power, influence and personal fulfillment in their lives. It is, of course, evidence of sexism that those rather common stories weren't in our text books, but they are still very much part of recorded history.

For me, one of the sad turns of contemporary feminism is the defining of the well-lived life as one that is stereotypically masculine: you need to be the boss and in charge of others, you need to have money, you need to spend most of your time away from your family, you need to be self-promoting and pushy and if you watch movies, you should probably also find self-worth based on your ability to win at hand-to-hand combat, fire bazookas without evidence of kick back and wear a lot of armor. That's so silly! and not the most useful value system regardless of gender.

JER
Mar. 30, 2013, 08:34 PM
You could be a midwife ;). An alewife is a fish.

Alewives brewed beer and ran taverns (alehouses) in the middle ages.

The Village Ale-Wife: Women and Brewing in Fourteenth Century England (http://www-bcf.usc.edu/~judithb/documents/JMBvillagealewife.pdf)

SendenHorse
Mar. 30, 2013, 08:51 PM
Regarding this story-is this just another form of competition?

They want a pat on the back for being great moms because they do all these extra things. Does that seem a little strange to anyone else?

If they want to crochet their own hats for the kids, great. But pioneer women did those sorts of things in the 1800-1900s, etc. So what? Is the kid going to be happier because of it?

I think its great if they want to stay home and they have the financial means for it, but don't brag or expect praise for it. Its their choice. I think its a bit strange to be that overboard with their kids. Its a strange sort of hyper-focus that I don't really understand???

I can see how some people want to be a SAHM, its not my thing, but I don't get why it has to be some "movement" or cause that needs validation. Just do it and enjoy your family. Is that so hard?

I just wonder if they are proving something here just as they feel the need to prove something at work?

What would they do if they get divorced, or DH becomes ill? Child support/alimony is great but they could be really at a disadvantage if they don't have a career. Call me pessimsitic but counting on DH is a little unrealistic. (I'm happily married but part of the reason I have a career is that reality).

lonewolf
Mar. 30, 2013, 09:06 PM
For what it's worth, I thought the article sucked. It provided very few actual statistics to prove this is actually a trend, and then went on to draw very broad sweeping conclusions about gender roles based on a couple of anecdotes.

Sorry, but I just don't think genders should have roles. Being a woman does not define who I am. Maybe each gender has some natural tendencies that guide us towards certain choices more often, but we should not slide back into saying what a woman should or should not do based on possessing female organs.

That would be a step backward. I did not need to read 7 pages of that crap.

MissIntent
Mar. 30, 2013, 09:10 PM
I'm curious as to why so many women think they won't be *good* mothers before they've had children. And, if you don't think being a mother is something you're going to like, why have children?

It's sort of like boarding out a horse when you have perfectly good farm at home.

Maybe I made this point badly earlier, but I don't think I'd be a bad mother, I think I'd be a bad SAHM. I think giving up something I enjoy (my job) to spend all my time doing something I don't think I'd be good at (small child entertaining) would be a bad fit for me. To me it's more like sending my horse to a trainer - yeah, I have the ability to ride him, but the trainer does it better and I'm happier with the result.

cowboymom
Mar. 30, 2013, 09:17 PM
So don't have a kid???

If you don't think you'd like to ride a horse, train a horse, and spend money on a horse I would recommend not having one.

Guin
Mar. 30, 2013, 09:31 PM
Paulaedwina, I think the housing market FOLLOWED the dual incomes. I see it as a domino effect: women go to college and run up student loans. Then they have to get a job to pay back the loans, if nothing else. Then they get married and can afford a more expensive house.

If people stayed in single-income housing and did not buy the higher priced houses, builder would build smaller, more affordable homes.

It's all in what a woman wants to work toward: a big home with a mortgage to match; or, a relaxed, slower way of life staying home with her children.

Wow. I didn't have any student loans. I went to work when I graduated so I could live in an apartment and pay my bills. I got married and we BOTH paid the bills and the mortgage on our two-bedroom, one-bath ranch house. I had kids and went back to work part-time so the kids could go to daycare three days a week so I wouldn't go fruitbatting-insane being alone in the house all day with children by myself. When they got old enough for regular school, I worked to pay for private school tuition because our public schools suck.

You're welcome to come over to my tiny little house and tell me all about my big McMansion - in your weird little dreams.

loshad
Mar. 30, 2013, 09:37 PM
So don't have a kid???

If you don't think you'd like to ride a horse, train a horse, and spend money on a horse I would recommend not having one.

Allow me to point out that even with the best that medical science has to offer, sometimes pregnancy happens. And when pregnancy happens, a husband and wife have some choices to make. My husband and I chose to have a kid, despite never having planned to have a family.

Now, our son is well loved and a joy, but I have no intention of staying at home with him all day. I am not suited to it and -- for the nine or so months that I did it -- was completely depressed and terribly unhappy. I am a much better parent when I am out of the house doing what I love every day. He is out of the house playing with other kids (goodness knows where that kid gets his extroversion), getting lots of love and attention from the ladies at day care. He's happier and I'm happier.

I don't work because of money -- most of what I make goes to savings, retirement, and Losh Jr's college fund. We'd have pretty much the same lifestyle either way.

There are women who are great at the stay at home mom thing. I'm really glad they're happy and doing what they love. You guys rock, and do a tough job with no sick or vacation days.

However, that isn't for me and it isn't for a lot of other women out there.

It is as ridiculous to suggest that working women don't love (or shouldn't have) their children as it is to suggest that SAHMs are parasites. Neither is true and both positions make their proponents look like asses. And not the cute kind you get to stick in the field because Dobbin needs another friend.

There are a tremendous number of studies out there on childrearing and different styles' effects on children. I can show you just as many that indicate that the children of working women are better adjusted, friendlier, and more independent as I can demonstrating the same with SAHMs' children.

It is the height of foolishness to fight amongst ourselves about this. The thing is, we all make choices for our families. We all try to do what is best for our families. For some of us, it's working outside the home. For some of us, it's working inside the home. While we all believe our way is the best, I'm going to continue to be all :rolleyes: at those of you who insist that having an seriously depressed and anxious mother would be better for my kid just because I'm at home. YMMV.

cowboymom
Mar. 30, 2013, 09:44 PM
No. I disagree, b/c I think that if you have a child you should be prepared to care for it 24/7. It's a luxury if you can hire help in all circumstances but you could have a special needs child or any number of variables (twins) and if you are going to be able to give 100% if necessary, you shouldn't go there. You might HAVE to give that much, you might HAVE to devote everything to that child. Some kids need more than others. If you're going into it knowing that you're not going to give 100% you're already running a risk.

loshad
Mar. 30, 2013, 09:56 PM
No. I disagree, b/c I think that if you have a child you should be prepared to care for it 24/7. It's a luxury if you can hire help in all circumstances but you could have a special needs child or any number of variables (twins) and if you are going to be able to give 100% if necessary, you shouldn't go there. You might HAVE to give that much, you might HAVE to devote everything to that child. Some kids need more than others. If you're going into it knowing that you're not going to give 100% you're already running a risk.

So, let me get this straight. You're saying that, when hubby and I found ourselves very unexpectedly preggers, I should have had an abortion because I don't choose to adhere to your definition of childrearing? Instead of having a happy, well-adjusted kidlet and a happy well-adjusted mother you'd prefer some kind of arrangement where everyone is miserable? Because that is seriously asinine and judgmental to a degree I can't even fathom, even coming from you.

cowboymom
Mar. 30, 2013, 10:00 PM
?? Calm down-I'm saying when you have a kid you never know what you're getting. You should be ready to care for what you get in a kid. Some kids need 24/7 care. In some cases you need to be there for it.

GingerJumper
Mar. 30, 2013, 10:10 PM
My mother made the decision to stay home with my younger brother and I when I was in kindergarten. After it became apparent that I had serious learning disabilities (and that my brother was a little prodigy), she chose to homeschool us. My dad did everything he could to support her and Be A Dad. Now that we're older (I graduate HS this year, brother is a sophomore), she uses the time she used to spend chasing us around the house to volunteer and help out families in need in our community, and still to be our mom.

She is a very strong, selfless person, as is my father. Parenting my brother and I has not been easy, and their selflessness in regard to us is something I will never, ever be able to thank them enough for.

That said, it's definitely not for everyone, and I can DEFINITELY see how it could be used by an abusive/controlling man to keep the woman "in her place." I have met a few families where that was the case and was absolutely appalled.

Lady Eboshi
Mar. 30, 2013, 10:13 PM
Sorry, forgot the quote from OP. My comments are in response to her comment that personal fulfillment is possible only for the comparatively rich.

That is so COMPLETELY NOT TRUE! I can't understand your reasoning that money is the only thing of value while we are alive.

Are you actually saying that personal fulfillment is NOT possible unless a person is *comparatively rich*? Wow, talk about looking down your snooty nose on the *comparatively poor* people of the world.

In your world, maybe, money is all that matters. But in other worlds, personal fulfillment is measured by other things like time spent with children, being there to comfort your child yourself, giving of yourself with love to make someone else happy or comfortable.

Thru all generations there have been women who worked and women who didn't. I'm not getting your point about choices being a relatively new development.

In the area referenced by this article, there are increasingly two strata of society:

The "Comparatively Rich," and the "Working Poor." Not much in between.

Lady Eboshi
Mar. 30, 2013, 10:16 PM
You could be a midwife ;). An alewife is a fish.

Naw, an alewife is a gal who DRINKS like a fish. :winkgrin:

rustbreeches
Mar. 30, 2013, 10:19 PM
I think there are some rampant misconceptions here about what SAHMs actually do. In real life. In the rest of the country, not some little suburban enclave back east, or a trendy neighborhood in San Francisco. As far as letting my kids play with the herd of neighborhood kids, well, they are SOL. No neighborhood, no kids. We have to import for play dates, which the suburban kids love because they get turned loose on the farm. A pile of cotton seed will keep them occupied for hours

I think there are sucky working parents, and sucky stay at home parents and good working parents and good stay at home parents. I've seen examples of all

vineyridge
Mar. 30, 2013, 10:20 PM
Personal fulfillment is a luxury, pure and simple. When it's a choice between food and unfulfilling work, guess what. Rational people choose unfulfilling work. You can only seek fulfillment when basic needs are met.

vineyridge
Mar. 30, 2013, 10:24 PM
My mother graduated from college in the middle of the depression and went to work for as a bookkeeper/secretary for $2 a day. Her brother graduated during the depression and went to work as abookkeeper for $50 a week. Lets just say my mother's life choices were very limited by her wage earning capacity.

I read the full article that JER posted and the conclusion was that alewives were wives first and foremost who brewed commercially to add to the household income. In areas where men didn't have other options, they dominated the commercial ale trade. Women's commercial activity gave them no special status, but male brewer status was enhanced.

mvp
Mar. 30, 2013, 11:40 PM
Are you intentionally demeaning to wives of first responders?

Take it easy! I think viney named "plumbers" as well as policemen to mean people who make middle-of-the-road salaries, not those in the financial industry who are well paid like the husband in the article.

Luseride
Mar. 31, 2013, 06:45 AM
She lost me in the second paragraph about girls playing with dolls. So I did not play with dolls but I think I did good job raising my boys.

Second point, if I was at home all day laundry would not be everywhere. I work about sixty hours a week and clothes may need to be put up at some point in the day but they are put up the day they are washed.

ezduzit
Mar. 31, 2013, 10:01 AM
I had a boy and a girl. There were dolls, trucks...all kinds of toys available. He played with trucks. She basically didn't play with dolls or trucks. When she got her pony she was in the barn. When he got his computer, he was in his room.

His husbandly duties now include cooking, shopping, and hustling the kids around.

Her duties are about the same. Each has a spouse who fills in the gaps that are left.

I pretty much stayed out of their choices.

MissIntent
Mar. 31, 2013, 12:33 PM
?? Calm down-I'm saying when you have a kid you never know what you're getting. You should be ready to care for what you get in a kid. Some kids need 24/7 care. In some cases you need to be there for it.

So I shouldn't have kids if I can't be a SAHM?

Wow, so much for women's choices...

cowboymom
Mar. 31, 2013, 12:45 PM
No, that's not what I said. Read again please.

I said you might end up being a SAHM whether you think you want to be one or not. You're saying you don't want to be a SAHM and I'm pointing out having kids can bring unexpected circumstances so you should be prepared for that.

Megaladon
Mar. 31, 2013, 12:55 PM
"The world of the 1950's is long gone."

I don't think it ever existed except in TV land. All of my grandmothers and their mothers worked AND took care of the house. My mom still works and is getting ready to retire in a few months. My baby sitter lived across the street and I was left with her at a young age. I grew up fine and my mom was a great role model on how to not put up with any shit. My dad was oddly "feminist" for someone born in the 1930's, but he grew up on a dairy farm with 9 brothers and sisters. His mother worked HARD.
Leave it to Beaver is mostly fiction.

I just wanted to touch on this because not too long ago my dad gave me a paper copied from a 1955 Housekeeping Monthly article titled "The Good Wife's Guide". Some of the crap written in it is INSANE! I'll highlight a few:

"Listen to him (husband). You may have a dozen important things to tell him, but the moment of his arrival is not the time. Let him talk first--remember, his topics of conversation are more important than yours."

"Don't ask him questions about his actions or question his judgment; You have no right to question him."

"Arrange his pillow and offer to take off his shoes. Speak in a low, soothing and pleasant voice."

"A good wife always knows her place."

I feel really bad for the women of this era, the demands placed on them. I think it's great now that we do have a choice about careers and family. :)

headsupheelsdown
Mar. 31, 2013, 01:32 PM
To me, day care or a nanny is paying someone to do what they are good at and I am not. If someone can spend 40 hours a week teaching my future kid, being creative, giving them opportunities, while I simply lack the abilities to provide that, I think I'd be a worse parent to try then to accept my own limitations. Simply being female doesn't mean I would be a good stay at home parent. I hope that when I have kids I retain the ability to let go of my ego and accept my own weaknesses instead of trying to convince myself and my family that I am the only one who can do this job properly.

This. I think that SAHM's are great, and I did stay at home the first year with my son. But having to work, I had to come to terms with putting him in daycare. I lucked out in that we live near a major university that has a lab school. There is a normal regular staff, but then there is a fresh new gung ho college kid interning in child care every semester. When they are toddlers, each child has his own intern, now that they are in preschool, it is a 1:3 ratio. These interns think of the most utterly amazing things for the kids and they have a whole university of departments at their disposal. They get cooking demonstrations(my 4 year old loves calamari and actually can make a mean tzatziki sauce), the music department provides regular intimate concerts, they do projects with grad students from the science department, they get readings in literature, they plant a big garden in a huge grassy play yard. It's amazing and I would have to spend tons on money and time trying to expose and enrich him they way they do. It's so amazing.

I think that there are a lot of women that are great SAHM's and I also think that if you need to/want to work, there are arrangements out there that can be found that can make it possible. I do feel guilty on days when my son really wants to sleep in and I have to get him up and go, though....

You just decide what is right for your own unique family and your unique set of circumstances.

MissIntent
Mar. 31, 2013, 01:52 PM
No, that's not what I said. Read again please.

I said you might end up being a SAHM whether you think you want to be one or not. You're saying you don't want to be a SAHM and I'm pointing out having kids can bring unexpected circumstances so you should be prepared for that.

My reaction is to you saying I should not have kids if I don't WANT to be a stay at home mom. I didn't say it could never happen, I said I don't want it. Fortunately, my husband is also open to the idea of being the one to say home if it were required.

I also get the idea that you think I should not be a parent, and I think you're crazy, so perhaps we should just agree to disagree on this one.

Cielo Azure
Mar. 31, 2013, 03:34 PM
Vineyridge,

LOL -Please explain how having to work for someone else in servitude, in order to give your money to someone else to spend is the superior "job". It is the working parent -who is the servant, you have it ALL back-asswards! LOL!

As someone who has done both, I KNOW that being at home and mentoring/raising children and keeping a family/household going-is SO much more rewarding than being the one who has to have a boss and has to have the financial responsibility of a family.

Vineyridge -I remember your extremely angry posts in another thread about how it was all those "stay at home" mom's faults that women get paid less than men in the workplace...
It is hard to know quite how to respond to what you write -I would hope that your posts are meant as a joke but I don't think you mean them as such...

ezduzit
Mar. 31, 2013, 03:42 PM
Ceilio, I fear some women have had very bad experiences or witnessed very bad situations in order to become so tilted in their thinking.

It's a world in which they can't comprehend and loving marriage or a true commitment. When everything has to be boiled down to looking over your shoulder to make sure you're not taken advantage of, then it isn't a marriage. And if the only validation in life is earning money, then it's an empty life.

I can understand the OP. I also think it is a sad view of the world.

MoonoverMississippi
Mar. 31, 2013, 04:20 PM
You know, the arguments going on are quite interesting; everyone seems quite sure that their circumstances, their geographic area, their personal circumstances are the norm, therefore their idea of what is "right" is correct, and the rest are wrong, or outliers.

There is no "right way" or "right opinion" that fits everyone or every circumstance.
It's interesting that a bunch of horsepeople (who, for the most part, can agree that not every horse can/should be trained and handled exactly the same way) feel strongly that parenthood/SAHM/childrearing can and should be the same for everyone and that their way (shaped by their circumstances and raising) is the only "right way".

danceronice
Mar. 31, 2013, 04:37 PM
So I shouldn't have kids if I can't be a SAHM?

Wow, so much for women's choices...

I'm not seeing why people (unless they're coming in violently defensive) can't get what she's saying--if you have a kid, you may find you do not have a choice about how much you devote to them. That kid may need at least one adult with it 24/7 because sometimes they aren't perfect healthy and adhere precisely to the child-rearing guide about physical and metal "normality" and development. Both parents need to be ready to change their lives a lot, and with some children that might mean changing completely. Heck, there are children (a small, small statistically minority) who have become so ill or who are so different developmentally that BOTH parents have to completely restructure their lives including giving up full-time work. You don't get to put in a pre-order and there's no PPE on kids, and you don't get to give them back if they don't turn out exactly like you want. People who AREN'T ready to accept that, or who cannot think of ANY reason they would EVER "stay at home" for their children because their personal wants are that important to them probably shouldn't have kids. They're an even worse "impulse buy" than live animals.

vineyridge
Mar. 31, 2013, 04:51 PM
You know, I don't remember ever blaming the disparity in earnings between men and women on Stay At Home Mothers. If you find it through search, please let me know. I do know that many women have been forced to be stay at home parents BECAUSE of the earnings disparity, since working away from the home involves significant expense if there are children and often the female earnings don't cover them with enough left over to make it financially reasonable.. I use the term "forced" advisedly.

I also personally experienced employers who would hire a male over any female because the man needed the job for his "traditional family". Women on the other hand were thought to only work to have something to do before going into a "traditional marriage", or were likely to quit over pregnancies, and weren't a good long term investment for the employer. Women's earnings were also lower for the same work for the same reasons. The same reasoning used to apply to slots in professional schools like medicine and law. Now both are heavily female, thanks to a change in attitude.

The history of women in the workforce has been one of boom and bust over time, just as unions have been boom and bust, usually booming during wars and busting afterwards.

Fact is that women need to keep constantly fighting to retain what they have achieved.

BTW, if working outside the home is such a terrible thing, why do men not stay at home more? One of the interesting points in JER's article on alewives is that men were commercial ale producers only in places where there were not other "outside the home" jobs for them. Their preference was outside work where possible.


Vineyridge,

LOL -Please explain how having to work for someone else in servitude, in order to give your money to someone else to spend is the superior "job". It is the working parent -who is the servant, you have it ALL back-asswards! LOL!

As someone who has done both, I KNOW that being at home and mentoring/raising children and keeping a family/household going-is SO much more rewarding than being the one who has to have a boss and has to have the financial responsibility of a family.

Vineyridge -I remember your extremely angry posts in another thread about how it was all those "stay at home" mom's faults that women get paid less than men in the workplace...
It is hard to know quite how to respond to what you write -I would hope that your posts are meant as a joke but I don't think you mean them as such...

mvp
Mar. 31, 2013, 05:20 PM
Fact is that women need to keep constantly fighting to retain what they have achieved.

This is the real danger in the "Retro-Wife"'s retreat from feminism that secured something closer to wage equality.

As I read the article and assume that the author is somewhere in her 30s, I see some naivete. She didn't grow up during the worst of the pre-feminism era. As far as bailing on her career and finding more fulfillment as a SAHM, I see that as someone just growing up and changing her mind-- bucking the system that encouraged her to develop a career. The generation before her did that in reverse.

The problem, however, is economic. While rich white women can afford to choose, poor women cannot. And when they are paid .77 on the male dollar, they really can't if their husband isn't making a lot of money.

As each generation gets poorer (as demographers think has happened for anyone born after 1975), what will happen to this author's children? Chances are they will not be able to repeat in their families what she did in hers. And mom didn't help because *she* didn't help the cause of producing wage-equality for women.

It would suck if her daughters found themselves still working for .77 on the dollar.

katyb
Mar. 31, 2013, 05:37 PM
I've worked full time, part time, and stayed home in my 22 years (so far, still have 7-8 to go) of parenting. It's possible to be a great (or terrible) parent in any of those situations.

I was appalled, however, by the description of the retro mom's house. If she is home full time, why can't she keep the place neat? My husband sure managed that, when he was the stay home parent. So much for her impressive suitability.

SaturdayNightLive
Mar. 31, 2013, 06:31 PM
Ceilio, I fear some women have had very bad experiences or witnessed very bad situations in order to become so tilted in their thinking.

It's a world in which they can't comprehend and loving marriage or a true commitment. When everything has to be boiled down to looking over your shoulder to make sure you're not taken advantage of, then it isn't a marriage. And if the only validation in life is earning money, then it's an empty life.

I can understand the OP. I also think it is a sad view of the world.

I think statements like this are what cause some to dislike SAHMs or at least become defensive around them.

ezduzit, your condescension it truly grating and I'd like to suggest that you get over yourself.

Stay at home or go to work, I don't think it really matters. But if you were truly happy with the choices you've made in life, you wouldn't feel the need to attack the choices of others.

On an unrelated note, I think this article has turned out to be manufactured. One of the subjects of said article has come forward and said that the quotes were taken out of context and she was lied to about the subject of the article during her interview with the author. I'll see if I can track down the article I read...

JGHIRETIRE
Mar. 31, 2013, 08:50 PM
I think how you feel about it depends on your SO - if he/she doesn't appreciate what you do, it makes it so much harder to do. Since most people don't seem to think that raising your children is a "real job".
I stayed home for 8 years with my kids. I agree with you that the after school time sitting at the kitchen table were some of the best times ever. I had some amazing conversations with my kids over that table.
I did go back to work and then I quit again to take care of my Dad.
At this point, the youngest is in high school and I'm trying to re-invent what I'm going to do as my 3rd???? career?


OP, you have a very jaded view of the stay at home wife/mom. Taking your opinion out a little farther: an employed wife/mother is STILL the unpaid slave of the husband because most women do the bulk of the housework and child care. The only difference that she has a second job which pays her money.

I never considered myself unpaid. My husband had a talent for going out and making money...not a lot, but enough. He paid all the bills AND recreation. I mean, after all, his was the only money coming in. He was generous to a fault. This is what he did FOR our family.

My contribution was that I made it EASY for him to go to work. I cared for our home, the children, made sure he had clean clothes to wear, made sure there were healthy meals for everyone, made his breakfast and lunch (he always brown bagged it). These were the things I did FOR our family.

I always felt I was a very important part of making it all work smoothly. I NEVER saw myself as a second-class citizen or an unpaid slave. I saw myself as a vibrant, creative woman who happily spent my days doing whatever I wanted to do...including going trail riding with the kids after school. And sitting down to cookies and milk after school. That interim between the school bus and going out to play provided the kids and me with an intimate time to talk about the day, school, kids, plans, hopes, dreams. I wouldn't have missed that 30 minutes for all the world. I was able to be intune to them and notice when things were off; to question them gently to understand whether there were serious problems going on or just kid stuff. I think that is missing for today's kids. There's nobody to talk to or to listen to them. It's no wonder they behave the way they do.

I wouldn't have missed having that time at home for all the money in the world, awards, promotions or anything.

Remember the next time you go to work...you're just a slave to your employer. The only you get in return for your effort is money.

lesyl
Mar. 31, 2013, 11:08 PM
HB -

I am with you on the letting the kids be semi-feral. I try to instill that same in ours by not responding to his every request and sending him outside.

That and chores - we had urban chickens so he would have chores. My DH does work at home and it has been great to have that someone knows what your up to parent. Not in the hovery way, but just that someone is around.

With that, to each their own, and the parental involvment may or may not mean that the kids lack social skills and a sense of place.