SAHMs providing cheaper in-home daycare undermines their ability to remain SAHMs

Conservatives often provide infrastructure for the very systems and forces that work against them being able to live more normally. As I alluded to in a previous post, SAHMs providing daycare under the table for less than the big daycare centers for “extra money” just props up the potemkin status of mothers who also can’t afford to work except via this unwitting subsidy from usually conservative, usually Christian, usually white SAHMs.  Charging market rates would expose just how few women can really justify working outside the home full time and essentially reveal the lie that it’s more valuable/independent/whatever to do that two working parents setup.

This is one example of a larger pattern in which conservatives provide cover or support to systems that seek to destroy the conservative’s ability to live a normal life.  This example is particularly poignant because in some cases, the conservative women agreeing to this exploitation think it’s enough that they smack-talk the women paying them, as if spitting on their money afterwards means anything real when you’re going to keep taking it and not even charge market rates for all the trouble.

Another example of the larger pattern lies in this blog post from the husband of a conservative SAHM, where he is gloating that their household gets to free ride on people overconsuming for 1-2 children.  The thing is, though, if everyone had more children as they’ve chosen, then even the “upper middle class” wouldn’t have so many excess resources for them to partake of.  Conservative Christians providing cover for cancerous levels of consumption seems harmless, but it’s insidious.

These sorts of things feed into each other.  It’s not that hand me downs didn’t exist before mass ready to wear clothing, but one can pop open any number of books and see how all that worked when it was comparatively rarer to have “just” two children.  You sure weren’t going to have your six kids swanning around in fancy dress clothes from the doctor’s wife’s kids.  It’s different now, but these same sorts of people will cavalierly assert that we just need a “culture of life” to get the baby numbers back up again.  No, we have to be prepared to accept the potential tradeoff of not being able to consume as much, even with things like 3-D printing and nanotechnology.

Likewise, we need to seriously consider the implications of tolerating below-market SAHM childcare as acceptable fringe practice.  They should be asking market rates and they should be financially backstopped by their communities of affinity, blood and religion if doing that means they can’t get offers to provide the service locally.

SAHMs don’t save on childcare because working mothers don’t pay retail price for childcare.

Basically what it says on the tin.

Working mothers don’t pay retail rates for childcare. Like with formula feeding where people will cheerfully buy you formula but won’t help out with extra food if you breastfeed, people are more willing to help out with free or cut-rate childcare if you have any job outside the home, including SAHMs offering below-market childcare to working mothers.  Yep, that’s a thing, to be expanded on in an upcoming post.

Also, working mothers are pushier about getting those discounts. There was a fairly shocking story a few years ago about a working woman just shoving her kid at a neighbor she’d never met until that day so she could go to work. There was a more recent story in Florida (go Florida, earn that fark tag!) about a woman running a less than legal daycare with exotic poisonous snakes on the premises and a higher than legal kid/caregiver ratio. IIRC that daycare had a waiting list.

About a third of working women with children under 18 use gramma/auntie specifically among relatives for childcare.  This contributes to formula use in the United States.  If you throw in other relatives or friends helping with childcare, you get up to nearly 50%.  That’s working mothers’ access to discounted childcare: nearly half get it cheap or free from friends and relatives.  As for the half not using gramma or cousin Susy, daycare owners and nannies can tell you all the horror stories about delays on payment from double income households and single mother households.  But even when they don’t commit crime to get cheaper childcare, the tax system gives them and their employers thousands of dollars specifically to use daycare centers.

Basically the only working mothers who fork out retail prices are coastal women not living near relatives or friends who only put their kids in the right sort of diverse daycare center for childcare.  And sure, they pay for the privilege, but they a tiny sliver of all working mothers.

Women should stay home with kids as the societal norm.  It’s better for everyone.  But under the current social setup, women can kindasorta afford to work outside the home when their kids are little precisely because a lot of under the table subsidy is given to them to support that.  Little is gained from the kabuki theater of “Jane and her husband crunched the numbers and daycare is expensive and would leave her with only 5k per year, so that’s why she stays home with her kids.”  It’s kabuki because if Jane said she was going back to work because Joe’s hours were cut 40%, she would find a raft of free or nearly-free childcare mysteriously washing up at her doorstep that is completely absent for most conservative Christian SAHMs.  So Jane would earn a lot more than 5k per year in the first place.  And of course, kids age out of infant and toddler childcare anyway.

But the real hole in this common economic argument for mothers staying home with small children isn’t that society currently props up working outside the home with implicit and explicit support, it’s that when husbands make that argument, this is what they are saying to their wives, the mothers of their children.

“You get nothing for staying home except being with your children 24/7.  You get no break, you get no adult socialization, you get no relief or time alone.  I as your husband don’t really have the resources to properly support your administration of the domestic sphere.  I refuse to earn enough money for you to get domestic help as needed and I refuse to let you earn that money even though we just did the math and you totally would earn enough to pay for that support. I don’t value a comfortable home and a rested wife that much, because these things won’t happen if you stay home for several years or a decade plus having babies and never getting to use the bathroom alone, be treated as an adult by other adults including me or have a real family dinner you eat peacefully at a table.  And you should take this deal, and become an exhausted, overworked wreck, possibly even overweight and invariably with health issues because I’m waving the temporary issue of childcare costs for a few years in your face. ”

Because the subsidy to working mothers is mostly hidden and secret, people can pretend it doesn’t really exist.  But it is, right now, a crummy deal to stay home with little kids if you’re most women married to most men in America.  The money isn’t there to paper over the difficulties.  The family support is mostly absent among American-born folks who think nothing of moving cross-country for work.  And keeping up the pretense that “childcare/daycare costs” are such a breaking point just maintains the status quo for wealthier families who can afford to provide household help for their SAHMs and do.  It also limits family formation because a lot of women can see the acceptable fringe mothers at church who took the deal and had six or eight kids this way and they quietly contracept themselves into only having 3, 2, or even just one.

The current, real situation is that women get to be treated as adults as a default and norm if they work outside the home, no matter how many kids they have.  It’s just that the general anti-natal arrangement of society (car seats, for example, are no longer built-in to cars due to legal issues rather than safety problems) means not having that many as a working mother.  And to back this up, everyone (including SAHMs) falls all over themselves to make it easier for mothers of toddlers to hold jobs outside the home at even minimum wage income levels.

Anyway this is getting too long and wandering into the topic of how SAHMs contribute to the problem by providing cut-rate childcare, so I’ll just do a follow up post on that aspect of the matter.  Stay home because it’s worth modelling for your kids and grandkids, so that we can get back to a society where it’s normal and women aren’t isolated and alone who choose it.  It’s not saving that much childcare money, they aren’t toddlers forever and it’s still important to stay home after they age out of school-age or teenagerhood,  and done with real support, some money might well be spent anyway on occasional or regular domestic help depending on the relatives-nearby situation.  Sometimes economic arguments aren’t the ones we should be jumping for.

The IT industry is subversively conservative

This is why wages are pushed down, if all those married nerds with 4 kids were making twice or three times the money, it would be game changing in American society.  It’s not solely why wages are pushed down, but don’t think it’s not part of the game.  IT remains family supporting and male and continues to have a disproportionate share of conservative (personality-wise) men in it.  This is true even with IT guys totally bought-in to the whole “social justice” racket.  The conservative personality tendency still trickles out.  There’s also a ton of modelling traditional gender roles in their personal lives, even if they are married to a fellow techie/nerd.

Incidentally, this is why guilds would actually not be a bad idea in the long term, but that can be left to someone else.

Panglossian Chauvinism undermines normal living in America

Panglossian Chauvinism is how Americans continue to prop up and support disorder and abnormal beliefs as normal.  It’s also how conservatives unwittingly prevent any among them from developing robust and successful alternatives to the liberal status quo.

“Everything will work out in this, the best of all possible nations.”

This is why the right wing thinks voting will be useful under the current systems in place.  This is why we don’t have better alternatives to the current energy grid, or the current farming infrastructure.  It’s also why conservatives are not at the vanguard of making it less crummy to have children and grandchildren (and thereby great-grandchildren, etc.) even though they are among the few subcultures still bothering to bring said glorious blessings into the world at all.

Panglossian Chauvinism has people boasting in their frugality as they rely on astonishing advancements in container shipping and materials science but fancy themselves independent and self-sufficient.  The world of canning is but one example.

Panglossian Chauvinism also makes it impossible for Americans to understand how things work in other parts of the world.  It isn’t all crummy over in Western Europe, Canada and Australia/New Zealand.  But it’s not some technotopia of socialist love neither.  Panglossian Chauvinism is an American flaw, but I plan to come back to the specific manifestations of it among conservative-Americans.  Another day though.

ETA 2015:

That guy linked above is kind of weird, but he has some great insights about how to build real communities that are People First and not Stuff/Vehicles/Developers First.  In fact, I wish I’d stumbled across him a bit sooner, but his archive of city planning/history is worth reading and thinking about.  Overscaling appears to be part of America’s DNA.

Thai Lesbian is a search term, not an identity, Requires Hate/Benjanun Sriduangkaew edition

In Speculative Fiction Fandom, or SFF, there is an epic meltdown happening concerning a “Thai Lesbian” who was heavily promoted as an up and coming SFF writer.  It turns out this promising Thai Lesbian SFF writer was also a vitriolic, vicious, scatological blogger and tireless rebutter who ran a very popular and immensely rude speculative fiction review and critique blog.  And further, this person was a notorious troll on gaming and fan fiction forums for many years before starting the SFF review blog.

Now one might ask why I keep using that phrase instead of the usernames and publishing name associated with said Lesbian of Thai extraction.  It’s because that remains the primary knowledge social justice whisperer (hereafter SJW) SFF writers and fans have about this person.  I’ve looked (it’s a pretty deep, crazy rabbithole), and the professionals and wannabe professionals are willfully incurious about this person’s actual identity.

Good old petty bickering anon forums are here to help, the old standby of ye internets of yore.  On those forums random anons are discussing the actual background of this “Thai Lesbian” and it’s way more interesting than being told I’m supposed to like boring fiction because of who wrote it, except the people saying that literally refuse to view this person as anything but a search term.  The willful incuriosity of the SJWs is their secret weapon, not their relentless politicization of all aspects of life.  It takes a conscious effort to not learn who and what this Thai Lesbian really was, at least in terms of overall internet persona developed over 15 years of internetting.  Hint: This person was from Thailand, but since Thailand is a hugely diverse, politically complex country, that is utterly meaningless in terms of ethnic and cultural identity.

An example drawn from one of the many email-only interviews this Thai Lesbian did in its calm, cheery, up and coming writer gal persona:  The Thai Lesbian casually mentioned in one interview that she came from a specific region of Thailand that is notorious for being even more politically unstable and complicated than the rest of Thailand.  The interviewer, being quite willfully incurious, failed to even look the region up in wikipedia, as I did, because that would have led to some interesting questions about how one’s birthplace can inform one’s writing.  Instead the interview was pathetically bland, to a point where one couldn’t even make out what the topics of conversation were, because there weren’t any.  They just discussed the idea of having a writing process instead of, y’know, an actual writing process.

Also you are this surprised to learn that the Lesbian part went unremarked too, even though the ethnic groups in Thailand are extremely culturally conservative by SJW standards.

And you are also this surprised to learn that the SJWs are lamenting the crude and violent behavior of this persona while completely making up stuff about right-wing SFF writers, including declaring that they are still worse, because reasons.

As of this posting, the feeding frenzy is winding down for now, but the use of genuine abuse by a powerful individual towards less powerful individuals is still being used as a flimsy excuse to rant about the evil conservative SFF writers who are the real enemy.  Nothing has changed for the poor victims of this mean girl, except that they get to sit on the sidelines being mostly ignored.

I post this kind of curiosity because it’s an example of how leftists talk about important things but don’t care about them in practice.  The SJWs are right that where you come from and who you are inform your imagination.  My imagination is informed by my ruralness, my blackness, my Southern family history and my marriage to a Mountain Man who comes from a Scandinavian-influenced but uniquely American religious subculture.  The right wing folks laughing at this SJW dustup are missing an opportunity to subvert them because a lot of the right wing types are pulling out the old “I don’t see color”, “I treat everyone as an individual”, all that essentially pathological individualism which is itself uniquely American-cultural and hardly something shared round the world.  It’s so dangerous precisely because it cedes the ground of loving and practicing traditional living and honoring and respecting one’s ancestry and past to SJWs, who, as this fiasco reveals, just use talk about that to obsess over reducing people down to search terms and keyword-friendly phrases.

I’d like to see more conservatives talking seriously about identity and its importance.  It is important and we can’t keep letting the SJW types be the only ones who see its significance.  Because really, whatever madness this persona hath wrought, they are obviously much more than the search term being used to represent the totality of their online persona.  And so are the rest of us online and off.

Conservatives and Obama agree that women shouldn’t stay home

So Obama made some comments at a Rhode Island college on Halloween.  Amidst his usual pablum and recitation of Democrat party talking points, he threw out this little gem. “And sometimes, someone, usually mom, leaves the workplace to stay home with the kids, which then leaves her earning a lower wage for the rest of her life as a result.  And that’s not a choice we want Americans to make. ” Conservatives at various blogs and the fringier parts of the right-wing news media are complaining about this, but it’s all sound and fury signifying nothing.  They agree with Obama.  They certainly don’t want American women staying home with their kids either.  Conservatives just want a small, symbolic number of women to stay home as tribal fertility totems, but they aren’t interested in the average woman doing so.  Obama, in referencing the only women he likes, Second Wave feminists who didn’t think women should make the choice to stay home, is just saying what Americans support with their actions, including conservative Americans. What are some of those actions?

  • Encouraging women in higher education regardless of whether it would provide income potential.  White women have a negative earnings premium for finishing college, not a positive one. Sending a white girl to college reduces her lifetime earnings.  Since conservatives are overwhelmingly white, they might want to reconsider their zest for sticking their daughters in college.
  • Failing to support SAHMs with childcare and housecleaning help, and in fact pressuring them to work part-time in the home on top of all their other work.
  • Either saying daycare is evil (conservatives) or daycare will fix everything (liberals and progressives) without asking WHO STAFFS THOSE DAYCARES?  And who watches their kids, hmm?  Yeah, I thought so.  Daycare comes in a lot of flavors, some very bad (infant) and others potentially ok (toddler, if it’s local/neighborhood, as is usually the way of it outside the USA).
  • Encouraging female employment outside the home of childless and older women, i.e., driving the pool of other women who used to be there as part of the village for mothers at home out into cubicleland with nary a look back at the SAHMs left behind.

Americans do lots and lots of other things to make it nearly impossible for women to stay home with their kids, and especially stay home 4eva, but well, that’s past, present and future blog posts for other days.  Obama is pretty regrettable as a political leader, but the complete rejection of the domestic sphere in American society is far more regrettable and in that, conservatives totally have his back, same as the rest of the country.