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.

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5 thoughts on “SAHMs providing cheaper in-home daycare undermines their ability to remain SAHMs”

  1. “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.”

    I’m not really clear what your critique is here.

    Obviously, a lot of things in the economy and culture would be different if most families had 5-6 kids. It wouldn’t surprise me if one of these was that the used kids clothes market was much less awash in the cast-offs of the semi-well-to-do.

    So?

    Making use of those upsides that exist in the economy we actually have doesn’t “provide cover” for the levels of consumption that exist in our society. It simply deals with the fact that those levels of consumption are there. (Nor is it without precedent. There was a huge resale market in Victorian London, because the extreme inequality meant there was always a market from the cast offs of those who didn’t like to wear old or worn clothes.)

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  2. Where I live – in Germany – there is certainly a growing number of mothers who spend more money on their 1-2 children, than they would, if they weren’t able to comfortably resell their brand clothes for good money on internet platforms.

    It’s a painful realization, because I like to pick up those fancy crumbs for my loved ones myself – but Lady is right again. We *are* providing cover for the shopping addicted doctor’s wife.

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  3. I’m not sure I agree that large families taking expensive hand me downs (or even buying them used) from richer families of one or two children are providing cover. It’s not as if these families are going to immediately wake up and change their ways if larger conservative families stop taking their goods.

    And given the cost of dressing 5 or 6 kids with new, well made items I suspect that families with such leanings would simply have fewer kids if they had no options to dress and provide quality items for them at below market costs. Wouldn’t that create less normalcy than we already see amongst Christians?

    Clearly I’ve been pondering this the past couple of weeks.

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      1. I agree that we shouldn’t see this sad state of affairs as normal or something to take personal advantage of.

        I suspect though that we probably won’t be able to avoid taking it for granted. It will require a rather broad transformation of circumstances culture wide for this to NOT continue as the status quo.

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