Light Manufacturing of Baby and Children’s Products

Conservatives could be producing pre-2012 BOB-quality strollers.  BOB is a high-quality brand of stroller that used to be metal framed, but is now plastic (but the price didn’t drop!)  I am pretty sure the CPSIA issues could be handled a number of ways, but the main thing is to actually be doing.  This could also be a way to incorporate the more functional aspects of the maker movement.  3D printing is useful for baby stuff like snot suckers and sippy straws that don’t fall apart from being made of cheap brittle plastic.

A quick note about the CPSIA.  This was a horrible set of regulations passed several years ago that has driven a lot of high-quality makers of children’s products out of business and wrecked the quality of many others.  This has been a heavy burden because a great deal of destructive testing is required and most of the useful exceptions are for the Chinese-produced goods that led to the legislation in the first place.  Many conservatives blogged about the issue and were able to lightly dent the problematic nature of the regulations in small, but non-trivial ways.

Anyway, despite the CPSIA, the opportunities are still there, just require some thoughtful planning and wargaming.

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Homeschool curriculum ideas

Just a few quick ideas.

  1. Accurate black history and accomplishments (yes, black people have Done Stuff, there is a world of notable achievements that may not be spaceships in Egypt but is also not all made up feelgood myths.)
  2. Accurate history in general.  True neutrality for basic histories of America (since I’m American).
  3. Accurate women’s history (cf. my post about the domestic sphere).  I’m not linking back to my post about continuity preservation in the domestic sphere because I don’t want to get further in the weeds of using one version of an idea to stand in for further refinements.  And there will be further refinements about why accurate women’s history is crucial to restoring normal life.  It’s more than just the domestic sphere, it’s providing children with an understanding of the tradeoffs that come when women have more or less hard power in a society.  And the tradeoffs that come from the various ways women wield their soft power.
  4. Honesty about how a lot of ‘traditional nationalism’ is warmed-over pap from the 19th century and no earlier.
  5. Making a curriculum out of the extensive home economics and household efficiency literature that is easily available and totally ignored, but adapted to modern living.  No, appliances aren’t your handmaidens.  But there are body and health-saving ways to do a lot of basic tasks.
  6. Real mechanical/technical information.  How to use an ax, for example.  That information is incredibly useful, but extremely difficult to find online, yet would easily lend itself to a well ordered curriculum.
  7. Proper science.  This lady is a great start (and covers more than just science!), but it’s not like there could be too many quality science homeschool curriculums.  Caveat for us Protestants– she is quite devoted to her Catholicism and her curriculums obviously reflect this.  Still, there is plenty of wheat available without getting into a doctrinal fistfight.

Bring back actual domestic engineering

Instead of having it be a sad joke to make SAHMs feel better about how low they are in status in modern society, conservatives could just pull all the old references about domestic efficiency and optimization and update them for life with dishwashers and iPads.  The lady-wife behind “Cheaper by the Dozen” was a groundbreaking engineer of the domestic, her entire life story is quite fascinating and an example of the memoryholing of women’s lives before Second Wave feminism.

There was much information that is not lost, but not accessed much about how to not overwork oneself or one’s household in performing domestic tasks, including after the industrial revolution’s labor-shifting devices were introduced.  There is already some “how to manage with dishwashers” domestic information out there.  The work of developing a corpus of the domestic is a wonderful use of the time of older conservative women, instead of silliness like starting the very wrongest kind of Tea Party.

Schedules are Important

Without schedules and routines, everything becomes a high-priority emergency. Every small problem blooms into a full on chaotic disaster. A general pattern arises, but not one of peace and productive living. Rather the pattern is one of chronic low-grade tension and unease, with intermittent adrenalin spikes followed by crashes into long-standing depressive episodes.

Having said that, though, schedules and routines are important because when their form is correct, they can allow for room to let go and be a little loosey-goosey. You have to schedule quiet time. You have to schedule rest. Our Lord schedules REST. It is an assigned day, and with the Israelites, there were many other assigned times to set the daily work aside and rejoice/relax.

This is what’s left out when conservative Christian SAHMs bustle around trying to find the perfect schedule to solve their problems of overwork and exhaustion. An ordered understanding of what schedules are would entail not burdening women with the idea that schedules are just about more and more and more tasks and filling up every second. You use schedules to build a routine, you use the routine as a baseline, and then you have something to retreat to when everyone is sick for weeks or there’s a big family emergency, or business travel, etc, etc.

Schedules aren’t supposed to be so strict the least deviation destroys the day. Schedules that accounted for what people can actually physically do would be quite limited by the crazy standards of American Christian SAHMland, but they’d be achievable and given how even among a lot of women raised in the church SAHM skills have been lost in transmission, having achievable standards would be a superior situation for everyone. Women could then teach the kids to help out, could meal plan, could organize the house in a more pleasing manner, could go hang out with some other SAHMs at high tea…just not all in the same day!

Schedules also cannot belong solely to an individual. That is to say, being orderly and having a routine at all is not truly possible without support from the external community, not just one’s spouse. It’s a total package, everyone has to recognize that home is part of the world just like work and school and church and that coffee place down the street and the grocery store, with rules and structure and form specific to it.

I was going to go somewhere further with this, but I think the takeaway is that the hestia is a real place, part of life as completely as any other physical locations and realms and only when it is part of an integrated life can a society and its communities support schedules and routines that vary with the needs of individuals but hold fast to broad general standards and expectations.

Abandon the Creeping Ayn Rand-ism

Basically, the instrumentalism of conservatives is maddening.  It is the case that there is much that is more valuable than rubies, and those small sweetnesses of life are sneered at by conservatives all too often because they don’t monetize well.  There really is a fixation on cash value for existing that I have certainly felt the bitter pull of, and it’s rampant in conservative circles.

A prime example is the cult of self-sufficiency/prepping, with its blissful disregard for the importance of community and infrastructure that make it possible to purchase barrels of wheat berries and ten thousand rounds of ammo for five different kinds of huntin’ gun.

Another example is the refusal to specialize, ironic given Rand’s heroes and heroines.  Or the push to get into “home-based” businesses that are pathetically obvious MLM scams.

Don’t get me wrong, the flipside, hiding one’s greed whilst claiming you are above money and petty worries about making rent has plenty of damaging aspects (like discouraging profitable investment and safe returns above 1% per annum), but at least there is a path to not requiring every aspect of life to be “productive” as in “makes that $$$$” if you go that route.  There is some room for things which don’t obviously monetize.

 

 

 

Live near each other. Build it if you have to.

Build triplexes, duplexes and other cohousing options that aren’t cramming 20 people into a 2 bedroom and do it with a couple other sympathetic conservative families.  This solves much of the SAHM isolation problem and the ‘who will play with the children’ problem.  Both are genuine and non-stupid obstacles for people desperate to live in real community again.

There are other ways to live near each other besides cohousing alternatives if one is open to not exactly living next door, but just in the same general area.  There is not any real obstacle to living in the same town or group of near-to-each-other neighborhoods.  For some reason, conservatives who don’t belong to a couple of very specific religious subcultures are the only ones who don’t think this way.

This is not a solution for everyone, family and community ties are the real obstacles.  But if you already have given that over, why not live among those like you in other ways?  Beats lamenting how such and such are pricing u out.

 

Domestic au pair and homemaking program

It could be more or less formalized, but training young women in the domestic, homemaking arts and giving them practical experience in childcare would be amazingly useful.

There are a number of avenues by which this could conceivably be enabled, not least as part of a general program of supporting women in their women’s work.

A model to start with would taking the system of the current international au pair program, and figuring out how to adapt it to the needs of young women who’d like to be keepers of hearth and home for their families and future husbands and families who could use the help of energetic girls in their late teens and early 20s.