Free Northerner misses the point about natalism and status

As is typical for conservative men regarding women and status, the blogger “Free Northerner” hazily realizes that having children is low status for women, but then doesn’t understand that the solution is not television shows promoting wealthy SAHMs.  I love me some Melania Trump as a role model, but her symbolic power as a First Lady would not be natalism, just nice to have.  

From the ridiculous blog post, an example of his cluelessness:

“It’s obvious that women want to work rather than procreate, but this is not because (most*) women particularly like working or because they prefer work to marriage and family. It’s not because housework is drudgery, most women who work do something similar to housework in their jobs.”

This is not true.  Most women who work do not do something similar to housework.  Since he’s just blindly asserting with no sources, I feel quite free to do the same, since it’s much more obvious that most work women do outside the home is not “housework-like”.

(section with feminism red herrings redacted)

Another example of his cluelessness is here:

“You’ve no doubt heard the blatant lie that motherhood is the toughest job in the world? Nobody could honestly believe taking care of a child is tougher than working in a coal mine or as an infantryman in Afghanistan, but everybody spreads that lie because it bolsters the low and declining status of women with children.”

This is not what he thinks it is.  It’s a way of asserting support without having to give support.  Nobody ever follows up this statement with offers to help the stay at home mother.  The statement is supposed to make her feel a sense of accomplishment for getting through the day at all and distract her from realizing that it doesn’t have to be as difficult as it is (which no, isn’t MOST DIFFICULT EVAR) and keep her from noticing she’s being prevented from defining stay at home motherhood as something serious enough to require society-wide support.  It also makes stay at home mothers come across as whining if they have any difficulties at all, since by definition it will never be the hardest job, they are told it must be the EASIEST JOB IN THE WORLD.

He continues to miss the point:

“Having children is low status, but even beyond that status games pervade all of motherhood. The mommy wars aren’t about whether children are better off being raised by their parents or by daycare workers, it’s about who gets good mother status points: stay-at homes or working mothers.”

No, it’s about who gets society-wide support at all.  Short answer: neither.  Longer answer: women who earn money can get some grudging public support since in America earning money is what humans do, and women who have private support but no public status can comfort themselves by downplaying their private support.

(more feminism red herrings redacted)

Anyway once he stops ranting about Jezebel columnists as if they’re average American woman, we come to the point where my blogging and his almost but not quite intersect.

“Having children is lower status than eduction, working, travel, or having status-giving interests. Being a stay-at-home mother is low status compared to being a working mother. Having many children is lower status than having one or two children. Having children young is lower status than having them once infertility hits.

This, more than anything, is why he have such low birth rates.”

This is more or less true.  Doing It All is higher status, relatively speaking, as well.  Travelling with kids, working at home with kids (and no childcare), homeschooling, etc.

Alas, we come to his idea of the solution to low birth rates.

“So, the answer to the fertility crisis is not tax changes, natalism benefits, or motherhood welfare. The way to get women to want to reproduce is to make children the ultimate status symbol.

Read the story of Leah and Rachel in Genesis 29 and 30. Having children was high status, so they did everything they could possibly to produce more children so they could win the status competition against each other.

We need to make it so that instead of the culture lauding whorish celebrities and woman CEO’s, mothers are celebrated. We need news reports to make glowing reports on women having their 6th child, rather than shows idolizing women who adopt foreign children or slutty daring dresses. When Mrs. Duggar has more status than Hillary Clinton, that’s when we will turn this ship around.

Sadly, we don’t control the levers of the culture-industry, so there’s not much we can do for society as a whole, but there are things you can do in your own little circles.

Make a point of praising women who have kids and their mothering skills. If a family is thinking of having another kid, make a positive comment. Praise young men and women you know who are thinking of young marriage, and otherwise encourage young people aroudn you to marry early. Let some disappointment slip out if people say ‘two’s enough for us’. Register some thinly concealed disapproval or contempt if someone says, ‘we don’t want children’. If you can smoothly do backhanded compliments or negs for the self-sterilizing, that would work too. And so on.

You’re working against the combined forces of the media, academy, bureaucracy, and culture, but you might be able to have some influence. Status is mainly an abstraction of a multitude of positive and negative social interactions. If you add to the interactions around you, elevating motherhood and deriding self-sterilization, you might indirectly change a few minds in your local communities. If enough people do it, maybe the trend could be reversed.

One warning, try to keep it subtle enough. Push too hard or too blatantly and you it might backfire if they get defensive or if you look like a jerk. You want to subtly influence their general perception of status, not come off as someone pushing a low status opinion.”

This is stupid because conservatives already do this and their birth rates are not very high at all.  Flapping your lips isn’t going to make the hard work go away.  You can admit that it’s hard to bring up children these days without resorting to false dichotomies about how it’s either ultrahard or supereasy.

It’s also stupid because one of the reasons mothering doesn’t have support is that conservatives, like everyone else WATCH TOO MUCH (@$(@)@)@* TV already.  It’s another way people have retreated from the public sphere as it’s gotten more polarized and combative.

So many people are in sick systems, commuting long distances to have somewhere slightly quiet to bring up a couple of kids, and they come home tired and tv seems like a relaxing thing.  And mom was home all day in the subdivision and blasting Veggie Tales was how she got dinner made at all and the upstairs cleaned.

Natalism is a society-wide project.  You can’t put up natalism rap videos and sit back and watch a hundred thousand five child families bloom.  That doesn’t work, conservatives have their own alternative tv and movies promoting motherhood and housewiving and yet, mysteriously, the birth rate keeps dropping.  Of course, Free Northerner doesn’t appear to know much about the reality on the ground of having three or more children.

Tax changes and motherhood welfare are actually LESS STUPID than his plan of sticking with what already doesn’t work.

As ever, totes open for mashed potato tossing in the comments.  And also discussion.

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117 thoughts on “Free Northerner misses the point about natalism and status”

  1. So many people are in sick systems, commuting long distances to have somewhere slightly quiet to bring up a couple of kids, and they come home tired and tv seems like a relaxing thing

    This is why the pro-natalism argument won’t work to bring forth millions of offspring in the next generation. When we live in a society for the hour-long commute to be the norm, living in areas where you NEED a car is the norm, and people living in isolation as the side-effect, people are NOT going to have more babies.

    There is no way we can outbreed ourselves from these problems. If anything (as you’ve discussed in the past), witnessing the stress from a mother Doing It All is more likely to be fertility-depressing, not enhancing.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. It is absolutely fertility-depressing. I did a lot of what he recommends and remain positive about babies, but I was never going to not be honest about the difficulties of child-rearing, pregnancies, natural childbirth, breastfeeding, etc.

    I just got done reading yet another book on how to “do it all,” Sidetracked Home Executives. Because in spite of the fact that I know I can’t, I don’t have any other options besides trying to try to do it all, so I keep looking for solutions. I read about them in FlyLady, randomly saw it at the library the other day, and decided to read it.

    After they describe their lives of chaos, and how they went from being able to manage a normal job but didn’t know what to do once they became housewives. They wanted to be attentive to their children but also became overwhelmed with everything. Anyway, they lay out their system, which literall requires writing down hundreds of tasks on notecards and then filing them and coming up with a pretty detailed 3X5 filing/calendar/delegating/note-taking system in order to keep up with everything. And after you do it they say in the book, “By now you’re feeling panicky with so many cards. you can be overwhelmed when, for the first time, you actually see what it takes to run a home.”

    Really? Sheesh, I thought it was the easiest job EVER. Man if it’s not like working in a dank, deep, dark mine, then shame on me for ever thinking to ask for a little help!

    No. There is a reason women don’t want to be us. It’s hard. Maybe it’s not the hardest but oh my gosh it doesn’t make it not hard. Maybe he should go check out the section at the library on home organization, or go read some FlyLady or S.H.E. Forums. Yeah right.

    Where are these jobs that women flock to where they are doing what we do at home, btw? Um…daycare workers? THEY don’t even do what we do. They do like half of it.

    Alright antsy kids need to be taken outside. At least I have a flipping yard.

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  3. I have a Duggar-sized bowl of mashed potatoes ready…Let us begin:

    1. I have to disagree that having children is low status–in much of the country, having some children is the entry price to having an adult social life. (And two is definitely viewed as being better than one.) It’s just that having 5+ children is not high status (outside of particular subcultures) and having a large family will isolate you from other families, especially if you insist that your whole family has to be invited everywhere together.

    2. There are women virtually killing themselves with fertility treatments and high risk pregnancies to have a baby, not to mention raising children alone. Women want babies–duh.

    3. TPC, have you seen the Queen of Versailles documentary? Life can be AWESOME with a large family when you have enough staff.

    4. TPC said: “I feel quite free to do the same, since it’s much more obvious that most work women do outside the home is not “housework-like”.”

    I’d take it from the other end and make the same argument for men. See, dads change oil, install shelving and mow lawns at home. That’s totally the same as being a mechanic or a carpenter or a landscaper, so why do the poor sweet dears want to leave home and go into the workforce?

    5. Nobody wakes you up in the middle of the night to mine coal and coal miners have a union. Also, coal miners presumably have set working hours, get sick days, and are eligible for worker’s comp.

    Nobody works year in, year out with no breaks as an infantryman in Afghanistan in the same way that Free Northerner wants women to be raising children non-stop for decades.

    6. The difference between women’s jobs and maternal duties is that you can (at least in a lot of positions) go home and forget about it until the next day.

    7. Regarding Rachel and Leah, was it really just status, or was there a horrible possibility that the loser in the childbearing derby was going to wind up a pauper once the patriarch died? In OT days, widows did not inherit from their dead husbands, a rather important motivator for lying back and thinking of Jerusalem as often as possible.

    8. Free Northerner said: “We need to make it so that instead of the culture lauding whorish celebrities and woman CEO’s, mothers are celebrated.”

    Even a casual perusal of checkstand literature demonstrates that “whorish celebrities” are celebrated largely as mothers. Plus, Kate Middleton would be in very hot water right now if she hadn’t provided the British public a couple of adorable moppets. And the tabloids are still on her case to do it again right away–hyperemesis gravidarum or no hyperemesis gravidarum.

    9. Free Northerner: “When Mrs. Duggar has more status than Hillary Clinton, that’s when we will turn this ship around.”

    The Duggar molestation scandal is a fairly large obstacle to that happening.

    The problem is, even without any ongoing molestation, nobody’s family is perfect, and holding up particular families up for praise and scrutiny is potentially really damaging to those families. Anybody with an ounce of sense knows not to expose their families to that.

    10. Come to think of it, our manosphere guys are very keen on keeping their women fit and slender. That isn’t very compatible with the non-stop childbearing plan and probably keeps also keeps a lot women from venturing to have larger families. The easy way to keep off the baby fat is to not have a baby…

    11. A lot of people who are ambivalent about large families feel that way because they know something about how the large family sausage is made (at least in some families): educational neglect, poor feeding, medical neglect, heavy use of physical discipline, and over-delegation of childcare to older daughters. No, thanks!

    12. TPC said: “It’s also stupid because one of the reasons mothering doesn’t have support is that conservatives, like everyone else WATCH TOO MUCH (@$(@)@)@* TV already.”

    Yeah. And another issue is that everything always looks pretty easy on TV (as they edit out all the boring stuff), so there’s no way that watching a large family on TV will be much preparation for having a large family of one’s own. In fact, it may cause huge disenchantment with the natalist project.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m going back to Free Northerner’s site. Lots of mashed potatoes left!

      13. Women want to procreate, but they don’t want to just procreate.

      14. Anything you have to do all the time and without the option of ever quitting is less fun than the same thing done part-time.

      15. Workers get to (to some extent) choose the type of work they do–if you don’t want to ever deal with human excrement in a professional capacity, you’ll do fine in 90% of jobs. There is some flexibility within homemaking with regard to adding frills, but the basics HAVE to happen. There is no no-poop version of parenthood, except by either being as rich as Madonna or by adopting older school-age children.

      16. For whatever reason (and I suspect some combination of hormones, inexperience and insecurity), the hottest areas of the mommy wars almost all involve very early parenting–observing current pregnancy taboos, natural childbirth, attachment parenting, breastfeeding, etc.

      There aren’t really any mommy wars of the same intensity over state versus private college.

      17. Spandrell is a smart cookie. ” As long as you can spend the socially acceptable amount of time and money on your children, having, say, 4 children is not low status at all. Plenty of rich women have lots of children. Having children is not low status. Lowering your standard of living is low status, and having children of course all-else-equal lowers your standard of living because you have to share your income with every additional kid.”

      Right.

      The pie of family resources is limited. The more slices that you cut, the thinner each slice is going to be.

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    1. Maea said:

      “I’m kind of tired of seeing single people write about marriage and family life as if they know how it’s supposed to work. Uh-huh.”

      AMEN.

      It’s especially nice when they’ve never read an actual book on the subject. How many of the guys who have housewifery all figured out have ever read a book on child development or household management?

      Liked by 1 person

  4. “Since he’s just blindly asserting with no sources,”

    I will point out that the excerpt you say has no sources has two links to full blog posts, each further linking to dozens of sources which show that what I wrote was exactly correct.

    As well, “society-wide support” is a form of status (unless you are talking about straight-up welfare). You seem to have a very narrow definition of status.

    I will also point out that conservatives do this to a limited degree (most support the feminist plan of get married after you have an education and a job) and they have a higher birth rate than other white group besides the Amish (who do it to an even greater extent).

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    1. Free Northerner said:

      “I will also point out that conservatives do this to a limited degree (most support the feminist plan of get married after you have an education and a job) and they have a higher birth rate than other white group besides the Amish (who do it to an even greater extent).”

      You know what’s funny when guys do it? Marrying a very young woman straight out of the parental home and then being astonished she

      — doesn’t know a whole lot
      –doesn’t know what she doesn’t know
      –doesn’t care
      –doesn’t want to live like a grown-up
      –is unfamiliar with how to run a home of her own
      –doesn’t respect your contribution very much
      –is weak at budgeting and doesn’t see the point
      –doesn’t really know the value of a dollar

      All of that is a totally predictable own-goal.

      If you want a woman who can do all that stuff, expect to marry a little older and expect to marry a woman who has had an education, a good job, and has a track record of taking care of at least a small apartment single-handed and managing her money wisely (which means she needs to have had some money of her own).

      Liked by 1 person

    2. I’d add marry a woman from a home and community that values homemaking, younger marriage, and family life. Chances are, these women are from communities which highly stress this lifestyle and they’ll expect the same from the suitor. There is a reason why these women can be so hard to come by. The parents spent too much time, sweat, and tears to see their daughters off with anyone.

      There is more to bringing back traditional lifestyles and family life than marrying young, having 2+ babies, and calling it good. All of these things come with a culture, and a community, two things people are too quick to overlook.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Maea said:

        “I’d add marry a woman from a home and community that values homemaking, younger marriage, and family life. ”

        One of my old friends went to Harvard and is very liberal BUT she is an excellent wife, mother, and homemaker as she’s from a famously domestic ethnicity and her mother is very gifted domestically and taught her everything. My friend also met her husband in college and they married young.

        I’m quite prepared to say that (at least in terms of childcare and homemaking) that my friend was a better catch than pretty much any Duggar girl.

        The thing is, it’s quite common these days for women to be go-getters in all areas of their lives–to be good students, conscientious employees, and zealous mothers. Or, conversely, to be sloppy students, lackadaisical employees, and careless mothers. It’s rather naive, I think, to believe that a young woman who couldn’t care less about school or work is going to make a fine wife and mother.

        It doesn’t work that way, at least not today.

        Liked by 1 person

    3. The birth rate is not significantly higher. I’ve looked at the data for the last half century, which you clearly have not.

      No, your definition of status is narrow and hopeless. I mean, you can keep telling yourself that there’s no fertility decline because of not enough tv watching by conservatives, or you can accept that yes, mothers should have a high status IN GENERAL if you want lots of children in a relatively high standard of living upbringing.

      You seem to be afraid that too many women will have status for childbearing and mothering while complaining about not enough white bebes. You seem to think symbolic gestures are plenty even as women who’ve actually had children tell you otherwise.

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      1. @ AmyP: Women going to college and working in their most fertile years is not a recipe for lots of babies.

        @ Maea: Exactly. Natalism requires a culture behind it.

        @ TPC: You’re wrong. White conservatives have more babies than other whites, it’s a simple statistical fact.
        https://jaymans.wordpress.com/2012/08/19/just-a-reminder/
        http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/Politics/story?id=2344929&page=1
        http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/baby-gap/

        As for the rest, I have no idea what you are talking about: I never said there was no fertility decline (my point is that there is a fertility decline that we need to reverse), I have no idea what you are talking about TV for, and my argument was that motherhood should have high status.

        @ Marissa: Exactly my point. Mothers, particularly stay-at-home mothers, need higher status. We need to eliminate the stigma of ‘not having a real a job’, and give motherhood status.

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        1. I didn’t say they didn’t have more children on average, I said it wasn’t statistically significant, as measured in the overall decline in total births, particularly higher-order births over time. I have posts discussing the birth data over time. Utah is a great example of my point, the birth rate keeps dropping, the state went from five or six children per woman to less than three rapidly. That’s a funny definition of success you have, to keep having fewer and fewer children slightly slower than more liberal folks.

          You give motherhood status by actually supporting domestic service and housewiving for life as socially acceptable. You were talking about tv shows being the way women would have moar baby, not anything that would practically increase births.

          Do you think that married women should be homemakers for life and not expected to earn incomes outside the home even when their children are out of the house? If not, why not, since it’s one of several baselines that would be more natalist?

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      2. Free Northerner1 said:

        “Women going to college and working in their most fertile years is not a recipe for lots of babies.”

        I wonder, though, is it really women holding things up? Let me give an example.

        Years ago, my husband and I got married at 25 and 22 respectively. We married young, but we were both in graduate school at the time and earning about $24k together (this was late 90s) and lived in a 1-bedroom apartment. I eventually bailed on my doctoral program and starting working, but my husband kept chugging on. He finished up his doctoral program in good time (5 years) and the minute he got a solid job offer with a salary in the high 40s, we started trying for a baby. We had our first child in about a year (he was 29 at the time and I was 27). I’ve been an SAHM ever since and we’ve had two more children (and fortunately, my husband makes a lot more than at his first job).

        So, where was the holdup in that story? It wasn’t my school or work–it was primarily the fact that my husband was in school and that even with us both bringing home an income, we had a fun-sized combined household income. In fact, we would have been able to afford a baby faster had I been a higher earner.

        Also, why only three children? Based on our start time, we could (theoretically speaking) have had twice as many children. Well, here’s why not:

        1. It’s really hard to be home with two little children at once or pregnant and home all day with a toddler.

        2. One of our kids turned out to have special needs.

        3. I don’t think our existing kids would be well-served by having more–among other issues, I have a tendency to seriously space out when pregnant. My big kids spent a lot of time in “self-care” during my last pregnancy and Baby Girl’s first year.

        4. We decided to go the private school route, and while we’re very happy with how that is working out for our kids, it is brutally expensive.

        5. As I mentioned elsewhere, I’ve been home 13 years and I have a three year old at home, which means that I have at least 15 more years of parenting ahead of me. That is 28 freaking years. While it’s been fun, I feel like I’ve been there, done that, got the t-shirt. I’ve counted it up, and even with “just” three kids, I have been changing diapers for 10.5 solid years, and no end in sight yet. (By 4, please God!)

        6. I really miss talking to adults.

        7. I’d like to have some disposable income again.

        Status has abso-blooming-lutely nothing to do with it, at least for me.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Well, status=support to my way of thinking in that I married a guy from a subculture where there were remnants of normalizing medium to largish (4-7 kids) families with mom staying home whether the kids were school aged or not. Everyone couldn’t achieve that of course, but it was the cultural baseline, so there was a lot of informal support from other women and the men still have a strong cultural push to be provider enough for mom to stay home and not have to make every penny squeal.

          Little things like the grocery store shopping carts being built to hold three toddlers instead of one or two. That’s what I think of when I think of status and society-wide support running together. When it’s that little bit easier to do stuff with more kids, women have more kids.

          Teaching household chores to both sexes so the guy knows what’s involved and can marry a woman who will meet his expectations (and also so he will have realistic expectations) is also one way my husband’s subculture had more kids than average.

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  5. One of the things that turns women off of having many children (necessitating housewifery) is the sheer contempt they sense from their own husbands or male relatives. These men might want women to stay at home because they know it’s best for children but they still don’t respect the position at all. I wonder if they think it’s really easy, or if they’re envious that mothers “get to” not have a “real” job? I get this far more from men than women. Most women are happy for me because they themselves want to mother their young children at home. It’s a blessing to be with them so young even though it is hard work.

    I mean, I know a guy who makes 300K and he wanted his wife, mother to three children under five, to do a part time job from home! “Sorry honey you’re just not contributing!”

    And other women see this and hear these things and take note. I used to be like that and swallowed the whole “they have it easy” swill. (I am a stay-at-home mother.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. One of the things that turns women off of having many children (necessitating housewifery) is the sheer contempt they sense from their own husbands or male relatives

      It makes me wonder why one of the reasons young women don’t want to marry is because they’d rather not be saddled with Doing It All Herself. On the flip side of the contempt is a zeal that’s entirely out of touch with reality.

      I think a lot of young men (or maybe men in general, idk) have these ideas of what a wife should be able to handle based on their own experiences of their own mothers. Or they have these ideas of what family life functions as based on their own experiences.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Maea said:

        “It makes me wonder why one of the reasons young women don’t want to marry is because they’d rather not be saddled with Doing It All Herself.”

        I think part of it is that women understand (correctly) that modern middle class parenthood is a big deal, and not to be lightly embarked on. Even “just” one child is a minimum 18 year commitment, and each additional child increases that number. We have “only” three children, I’ve been home 13+ years already, and since we also have a three year old, that’s a minimum of 15 more years of parenting that needs to happen. So, we’re talking nearly three decades of commitment to parenting. That is a big freaking deal, both in terms of time and financial commitment.

        Traditional people say silly things about how parenting doesn’t need to mean that your education stops or you can’t travel anymore, to which I say, HA HA HA HA HA! With regard to education, I have seen quite a number of fathers successfully get through doctoral programs, but it’s BRUTAL trying to combine a serious educational program with motherhood. Anybody who tells young women that they can easily get their bachelor’s degree when their kids are bigger is being unkind.

        With regard to travel, I suppose it all depends what one means by travel, but I’ve certainly had my wings clipped by the physical, time and financial demands of motherhood. I don’t regret it (I got to do a lot of international travel as a young woman) but it is what it is.

        “I think a lot of young men (or maybe men in general, idk) have these ideas of what a wife should be able to handle based on their own experiences of their own mothers.”

        One little problem with this is that it’s very, very unlikely that a guy will have a very nuanced view of his mom’s performance from when he was 0-3…So, even if he is an astute observer, most of his data will be from his own school years. If he’s evaluating his own wife’s performance with toddlers based on his mom’s performance when all of the kids were in upper elementary school, it’s going to end in tears.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Anybody who tells young women that they can easily get their bachelor’s degree when their kids are bigger is being unkind.

        If we do tell young women to get a college degree, then it’s the same thing as telling her not to get married.

        Which seems kind of odd, because college was considered a place where you should meet your future spouse. But then there’s the typical rhetoric about college girls “riding the carousel,” being sluts, being entitled, etc. IOW, young women seem to be damned if they do and damned if they don’t.

        It also makes no sense for unmarried/childless people to harass others into having children. What are they doing to contribute? What are they doing to promote the status of families? What are they doing to promote a culture of life?

        This is exactly why I don’t think parents should be seen as the enemy (which they often are in the ‘sphere). Sometimes parents don’t make the best decisions, but I’m not willing to go after them when they’re the ones doing the work.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. My husband’s willingness to be open about our household help has been influential in a positive way, so it is possible for men to take it in the other, more useful direction and make clear that they value the housewife role.

      There is definitely a strain of guys who think it’s “not contributing enough”.

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  6. Thank goodness we dames have single men with no children telling us what we want and why we want it! Life would be so confusing otherwise.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I would blame dogs as much as television…childless people and empty-nesters who feel the urge to nurture someone run out and buy a pet, rather than look around for a family to help out.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I had a coworker who’d get worked up whenever people tried to compare their dogs to children. He’d say gruffly “let’s get this straight– a dog isn’t a damn kid. I have kids, and I know.”

      rather than look around for a family to help out.

      We talk a lot about these things, but does this actually play out IRL? Are there many families who’re open-minded toward a non-blood-related person helping them? That’s like me telling a family with young children I’d be willing to babysit– I’d just get looked at funny and they’d think I wanted to kidnap their kid. Yeah, childless people aren’t always received very well until they’re much older. Much, much older where people feel sorry for them. Not when they’re young enough where people think it’s weird or have questions.

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      1. We’ve found it to be the other way around, they’re weirded out that we’re willing to give them a chance since I’m already here all day and can answer questions. There is a lot of regional and cultural stuff to navigate. Ah, the joys of diversity.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Here’s another example of what sort of total commitment modern parenthood means. Over the past thirteen years, it has never been the case that my husband and I have ever been able to leave for so much as a night alone together without at least some of our children at home. Occasionally, visiting grandparents have taken one child off our hands for a night or there’s been an overnight field trip that takes one child away, but that’s freakishly uncommon. I am currently scheming to get the more helpful set of grandparents to take our kids for a couple of nights so that my husband and I will be able to do a 20th anniversary trip BY OURSELVES, but I am not totally convinced that it is going to happen.

    They don’t make grandparents the way they used to…

    Given modern conditions, it’s possible to completely overwhelm your support network with your children. We’ve already done it, actually, even with just three kids. The more helpful set of grandparents isn’t up to all five of us visiting at the same time, so we’ve just been sending one parent and two older kids.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. And even just with day-time babysitting, I’m pretty sure that I’ve only left the less helpful grandparents alone with our kids at most once for two hours, and the kids were basically self-sufficient at the time (both big tweens).

      Even if they offered (which they wouldn’t), I’d be scared to leave a small child with the less helpful set of grandparents. They just don’t have the combination of vigilance, energy, and nurture that you need for caring for a small child.

      Plus, all of the grandparents (helpful and unhelpful), live a couple thousand miles away and are still working hard and even starting new, very time-consuming businesses.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. This is why people hire au pairs or babysitters. When the grandparents aren’t willing to help, or can’t, there’s a kid who’s willing to contend with children’s antics for pay.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. young women to get a college degree, then it’s the same thing as telling her not to get married.

    Which seems kind of odd, because college was considered a place where you should meet your future spouse. But then there’s the typical rhetoric about college girls “riding the carousel,” being sluts, being entitled, etc. IOW, young women seem to be damned if they do and damned if they don’t.

    College is still a good place for a woman to find a husband.

    Where are all of these men who can actually afford to support a SAHM and 3+ kids and are looking for wives that don’t even have bachelor’s degrees? I’ve read about them online, but I’ve yet to encounter them IRL.

    Teaching household chores to both sexes so the guy knows what’s involved and can marry a woman who will meet his expectations (and also so he will have realistic expectations) is also one way my husband’s subculture had more kids than average.

    I thought that this was normal for most until recently. Knowing how to do basic household chores is just part of being a competent adult around here. But now I’m reading about all of these men who can’t or won’t do household chores and expect a round of applause for washing a dish or doing some laundry. It’s sad because those types of men make not so great husbands and their sons will probably be the same way.

    Like

    1. My husband didn’t care about me having a bachelor’s degree (I don’t), but then he doesn’t have one either. That said, his other siblings married people with degrees or who got them over the course of the marriage. And they had degrees and/or professional certs.

      Like

      1. The degrees thing makes it really obvious how regional culture and/or faith/social groups make a difference with finding a spouse. I wonder if obtaining a degree now has become a new status marker, or if it’s a feature and plays a more coincidental role. Does that make sense?

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Nonya said:

      “College is still a good place for a woman to find a husband.”

      Yes. Or failing that, graduate school.

      “Where are all of these men who can actually afford to support a SAHM and 3+ kids and are looking for wives that don’t even have bachelor’s degrees?”

      Conceivably, you could find somebody pretty presentable without a bachelor’s degree overseas (although not in Eastern Europe, where educated women are quite common). But here in the US, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to insist on a woman without a degree AND whine about the fat tattooed single moms at the grocery store. Choose a lane, buddy!

      But, yeah, I don’t think they can actually afford a SAHM and 3+ kids. A lot of this talk is just window-shopping.

      “I thought that this was normal for most until recently.”

      I think there has been a general collapse in the home teaching of homemaking skills for both boys and girls because school kids have so much homework and so many extracurriculars. Plus, home economics is not necessarily available at school.

      Beyond the actual skills, it’s very important to give kids a sense of the general scope of what is happening at home. I often get the impression that the manosphere guys don’t really understand what’s happening at home…

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I often get the impression that the manosphere guys don’t really understand what’s happening at home…

        This happens to the women, too. Hence why we always joke about imaginary kids, unsaid second incomes, etc. It could be true a lot of guys don’t understand what’s happening at home, but for women what they think is happening isn’t really it. It’s like looking at the Matrix in two perspectives. Or, is it the same? It’s the Matrix, after all.

        Liked by 1 person

    3. Where are all of these men who can actually afford to support a SAHM and 3+ kids and are looking for wives that don’t even have bachelor’s degrees? I’ve read about them online, but I’ve yet to encounter them IRL.

      There’s clearly a huge disconnect between what’s touted online and what actually happens IRL. I can’t say for sure which group is more scattered, but I think a lot of it has to do with your social groups. I’ve seen men who have bachelor’s degrees marry women without them, and support 4+ children. I went to a more traditional parish (I’m Catholic) and met a family with 7 children. The father was the VP of the school. I believe STMA once mentioned her situation where she’s part of the social groups where men were looking for women who hadn’t attended college. She grew up traditional Catholic.

      Something also tells me a lot of what we see online’s probably coming from people who are experiencing a level of social isolation. I believe we’ve noted this before.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Maea said:

        “I believe STMA once mentioned her situation where she’s part of the social groups where men were looking for women who hadn’t attended college.”

        That’s not totally nuts if they have an obvious hunting ground (namely a trad parish).

        I reserve the right to gloat, though, if they want to complain about how their dewy 19-year-old bride has been bouncing checks…

        “Something also tells me a lot of what we see online’s probably coming from people who are experiencing a level of social isolation. I believe we’ve noted this before.”

        Yeah.

        There’s a lot of whining about “Churchianity.” No IRL church is ever good enough for them.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. I reserve the right to gloat, though, if they want to complain about how their dewy 19-year-old bride has been bouncing checks…

        I sincerely doubt that would happen because those men aren’t the type who’d want to give their wives full reins over finances. At least not right away.

        Like

      3. Maea said:

        “I sincerely doubt that would happen because those men aren’t the type who’d want to give their wives full reins over finances. At least not right away.”

        Then they’ll have to do all the bill-paying, won’t they? And write a check to the plumber and any other tradesmen.

        Like

      4. They would freak out about the day the 24 year old plumber who looked like Paul Rudd came over to fix the tub. That was the day I realized all guys under 30 look like kids to me now.

        LOL. Paul Rudd, very good choice.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. TPC said:

        “They would freak out about the day the 24 year old plumber who looked like Paul Rudd came over to fix the tub.”

        Speaking of tradesmen, here’s a classic Disney short with Goofy trading places with his wife for a day:

        Goofy gets smooched several times by deliverymen, and by the end, he’s quite enjoying it.

        It’s a great little historical document and it would make a nice little blog post all by itself: mom can barely drive, but there’s milk delivery, grocery delivery and dry cleaning delivery.

        Liked by 2 people

      6. One thing that gets missed in these discussions is how cutting edge tertiary education was just 100 years ago. There were certainly women who attended college, but that was considered exceptional even for the middle class.

        But the high school diploma was universal and mandatory, however.

        I also have serious reservations about college and grad school as a place for dating. I know I sure as heck won’t have the time for romance here, at least not until I get closer to the end of the ever lengthening tunnel. Not even sure how comfortable I am with the concept of romantic love anyways, but I am seriously focused more on career than anything else. Not sure how close I am to worrying about the classmates as love and marriage partners right now. One or two, perhaps.

        Like

      7. You are correct and I misspoke. If we are talking about society as whole you are definitely correct. Even 8th grade education was cutting edge in many countries at that time.

        I do think most middle class parents did require their children to pursue high school education, however. And this usually included daughters, especially in the most progressive families.

        Like

        1. I think most states have laws requiring mandatory high school education attendance, until the legal age is reached. Upon this age, some of these kids drop out.

          What is concerning is what would happen if say, these laws were reduced or lax and we had hoards of young people dropping out? Or in their case “finishing” high school? There aren’t a lot of jobs out there hiring people without a completed hs diploma or GED and I dread to think of what we’d do about the horny bored people in their teens. (shudders)

          If anyone suggests we have them get married to that I say pfffft (sputters). We’re having a hell enough of a time trying to figure out what to do with the ones in their 20’s.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Generally, however, one can get jobs without a diploma of any kind in the service sector. And those jobs are much more plentiful and attainable in my experience than jobs that make use of a college degree. Barbacking and cooking for example. In the latter case, the job offer would have provided electronic health cert training providing a transferable cert one can use in additional employment opportunities. The no skill barbacking paid better, however.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. How are those jobs conducive to providing a family of 6 a middle class life TODAY? See, I get that there are those kinds of jobs but if the idea is to promote communities with sane, productive people who get married at young ages and support families with multiple children, this isn’t a solution.

              Certifications are relevant as long as employers demand them, and schools offer them. Apprenticeships have it harder, as employers need to be willing to participate in the first place.

              Unless we expect the parents to work multiple jobs and have the kids grow up relatively unsupervised.

              Liked by 1 person

          2. One good approach might be an emphasis on technical certs.
            A lot of that could be done earlier (and much more rigorously).

            It is incumbent, however, that schools start providing that training.

            Liked by 1 person

      8. The threading is going to heck again…

        The mom from Cheaper by the Dozen had a doctorate earned in 1915.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lillian_Moller_Gilbreth

        Off the cuff, I think college education for men was very unusual in the US until the 20th century. My feeling is that it became a “thing” for men mostly starting in the 1920s.

        With regard to high schools, a lot of communities in the US didn’t even have one. My great-grandmother grew up on a homestead in rural Western WA (born late 1890s) and in order to attend high school, she had to go to boarding school in Pullman (!) WA. (She didn’t stick it out.) I believe my hometown high school was built in the mid-1920s–I’m not sure whether high school-level classes were available in the community before that.

        The history of higher education in the US is a little complicated because a lot of institutions weren’t technically colleges or universities early on–they might have been much more humbly designated as teacher training institutions, and obviously a lot of women were educated at such institutions even in the 19th century. I believe the same was true of nursing schools in the US–somebody correct me if I’m wrong.

        It is a relatively new thing that all vocational education is in the process of being sucked onto college and university campuses.

        Anymouse said:

        “I also have serious reservations about college and grad school as a place for dating. I know I sure as heck won’t have the time for romance here, at least not until I get closer to the end of the ever lengthening tunnel. Not even sure how comfortable I am with the concept of romantic love anyways, but I am seriously focused more on career than anything else. Not sure how close I am to worrying about the classmates as love and marriage partners right now. One or two, perhaps.”

        1. If your future profession is heavily tilted toward your sex, the work place can be be very grim compared to graduate school for meeting people of the opposite sex. At least in graduate school, you can meet people from other departments.

        2. If you find someone you like a lot, you’ll find time for them, even if it’s just hanging out together at the library reading together.

        3. If we’re talking about doctorate, I would discourage waiting until afterward. It really does not get better.

        4. One or two is a lot.

        5. I know a lot of married doctoral students with up to four kids (although it’s true the daddies seem to find it less distracting than the mommies do).

        Liked by 1 person

        1. We are talking about a Master’s degree but regardless, I am not sure how comfortable I am with it. Combining professional training with marriage prospects still feels weird to me. I also don’t really want to find a partner at work, either.
          Also, how does one judge the potential politics/morals of ones classmates? The one’s who are committed to gender studies are of course, kind of obvious, but I am uncertain on the others. I am actually pretty much uncertain about anyone. Having the same basic expectations (and preferably same religion) is kind of important. Hard to verify that on the modern secularized uni-campus, and none of the people I know are particularly religious in any sense. I have no time for anything not related to my professional field and language study, either.

          And anyways, are we talking about this in the context of a degree that is actually doable for a human being such as a History PhD, or something superhuman requiring both finance knowledge and near fluency in Chinese? I am very much in the latter program, and I am mostly concerned about surviving and not being terminated from my program, while finding a job in the finance or banking sector.

          I really think that it is best to use more dedicated channels, IMHO.
          The idea of college as being anything other than an exclusively male oriented institution is also a mistake of the late 20th century, I think. Finding a partner in college just is not that great of an idea. It is for education, and for job training in the case of technical institutions.
          And I would much rather be financially established before I worry about marriage.

          Liked by 1 person

    4. Anymouse said:

      “We are talking about a Master’s degree but regardless, I am not sure how comfortable I am with it. Combining professional training with marriage prospects still feels weird to me. I also don’t really want to find a partner at work, either.”

      An MA isn’t such a big deal time-wise, so I suppose there’s no harm in waiting.

      A campus offers wonderful opportunities in terms of free entertainment and culture, though–it’s never going to be less expensive to go out.

      “Also, how does one judge the potential politics/morals of ones classmates? The one’s who are committed to gender studies are of course, kind of obvious, but I am uncertain on the others. I am actually pretty much uncertain about anyone. Having the same basic expectations (and preferably same religion) is kind of important. Hard to verify that on the modern secularized uni-campus, and none of the people I know are particularly religious in any sense. I have no time for anything not related to my professional field and language study, either.”

      So you don’t go to young adult meetings of your particular denomination? Bummer.

      I don’t know about other religious groups, but Newman Centers can be a great resource for Catholics. I met my husband at a graduate/young adult book group at our Newman Center when we were both in graduate school at a secular university.

      “And anyways, are we talking about this in the context of a degree that is actually doable for a human being such as a History PhD, or something superhuman requiring both finance knowledge and near fluency in Chinese? I am very much in the latter program, and I am mostly concerned about surviving and not being terminated from my program, while finding a job in the finance or banking sector.

      “I really think that it is best to use more dedicated channels, IMHO.
      The idea of college as being anything other than an exclusively male oriented institution is also a mistake of the late 20th century, I think. Finding a partner in college just is not that great of an idea. It is for education, and for job training in the case of technical institutions.
      And I would much rather be financially established before I worry about marriage.”

      Well, I have my own reservations about undergraduate marriage. It’s unwise to marry a person who believes that food comes from the cafeteria, that money comes from student loans, and that rooms only need to be vacuumed at end of year clean-out… But graduate marriage is a fine thing. As the joke goes about infant baptism–I not only believe in it, I’ve seen it done. (And a good thing–a lot of people are pushing 40 before they finish their doctorates–if they all waited until they were done, they’d be old enough to be grandmas and grandpas.)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. A good point, but having time for anything other than Sunday morning is hard.
        I am really not a person with a whole lot of time. I probably should go to the Newman center, but I usually go to another Church, that unfortunately has basically no young people. The Newman Center liturgy is…different.
        There are other Churches, but they are much farther.

        I do go to many events, but they are mainly profession and academic related. They are nevertheless excellent presentations and opportunities. I have been to a good performance of Korean music by a department that handles Korean studies, but that was in the evening and I barely had time to go. Did get to talk to some acquaintances, mostly undergrads. Language classes are every day, so I mainly spend time with that, except on weekends.
        Perhaps I will have more time down the road…once I get a better command of language/complete this program, I can finally go down to 3 credit hours instead of 5.

        What frightens me is I might have to pursue a PhD in Econ if I cannot get a job with my degree(s). Hopefully, I can save the PhD for later, which will allow me to begin increasing earnings right away. Or even avoid it entirely, depending on what I want to (and can) do.
        I have a classmate who is pursuing a PhD in Chinese, and he has a wife and children, but he is a military officer and the government is funding this as part of his duties.

        But whatever I do, I want to make sure I can at least attain and ensure the lifestyle and sustainability that our hostess has attained, which will mean a comparable income to her husband. I am increasingly terrified to see the lives of the lower middle-classes, and the lumpen prole. Avoiding that hell is part of my concerns, along with avoiding the problems of the bourgeois (such as the various flavors of politicized feminism).

        Like

    5. I am increasingly terrified to see the lives of the lower middle-classes, and the lumpen prole.

      How exactly are their lives hell?

      Like

      1. Divorce, child abandonment/single parenting, the concomitant child support-shuttling back and forth. And all of this compounded with a low income. And for those who are propertied the gift keeps on giving when things go into probate.

        These are the lives of many of the people I have talked to and known, both when at bus stops and when working in low wage services. And the latter may yet be the case for my family, god-forbid.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I was going to say, that seems like a really harsh assessment. Do you really believe a lot of the devout Christians who only rely on 1 income with 4+ children are really upper middle class?

          Liked by 1 person

          1. We obviously should not generalize this to everyone, and the plural of experience is not data, but I do know a great many who have suffered this way. Obviously, not all of them were devoutly Christian. But a few were, (although perhaps overly romantic in sentiments).

            Obviously, religious sincerity mitigates against these problems. But one way of insuring the foundations of a sincerely lived life is ensuring the foundations that The Practical Conservative discusses.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. I completely agree with you about these people’s sad hideous lives. If you actually talk to regular people and hear the grotesque miserable details of joint custody and low wage work it’s enraging. And wanting to preserve yourself and your children from that fate is normal and healthy.

              Liked by 1 person

  10. Maea said:

    “This happens to the women, too. Hence why we always joke about imaginary kids, unsaid second incomes, etc. It could be true a lot of guys don’t understand what’s happening at home, but for women what they think is happening isn’t really it.”

    I have to put some of that down to malice and/or a desire for internet admirers, but yeah, I suspect there is wishful thinking among some women online and elsewhere with regard to to what extent they are actually “doing it all.”

    Liked by 1 person

  11. TPC, what can you share regarding the American childcare market? I’m possibly going back to work for financial reasons (oil and gas bust!) and my husband will have a lot of work training so we need childcare but not necessarily housekeeping. I’ve been considering…nice girl from my trad parish? Au pair? Live in nanny? Ever had live in help? It’s really our only option due to finances as we really don’t want to use daycare. Maybe our last hope would be Catholic daycare.

    Like

  12. I haven’t finished reading this thread, but here is what is actually going on.

    Having children all by itself has no status implications. As has been pointed out, what lowers your status is not having children, but lowering your lifestyle.

    Having children is going to lower your lifestyle for nearly everybody though so in a way it’s six of one half a dozen of the other, but everyone who is vaguely aware that things used to be different in the past intuits there is something more going on, and now I will tell you what it is.

    Having children used to either raise or lower your status *depending on whether you were married.* When society collectively decided to take no notice of legitimacy anymore, poor married mothers lost that status bump and everyone is now treated equally, as mothers of bastards, but we don’t treat mothers of bastards poorly anymore so maybe it’s a wash.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Having children used to either raise or lower your status *depending on whether you were married.* When society collectively decided to take no notice of legitimacy anymore, poor married mothers lost that status bump and everyone is now treated equally

      I agree with this. The rise in illegitimate children is especially significant in my generation (Millennials), and marriage means squat, too. In fact– I would go so far to say for Millennials, having a child out of wedlock seems to raise your status more than waiting until you’re married. Those people can say “I have a kid, I know what I’m talking about.”

      It reminds me how I went to a party once and a young woman there (26) was engaged, and had no children. Her hometown was a small, rural community where having a child OOW seemed to be the high status thing to do. She complained no one got married, and seemed to have no interest in it. She lamented how her relations and so forth rubbed it in her face how they were parents at a younger age, and she was childless. I remember her friend was trying to convince her to get married before she did anything stupid.

      It’s kind of depressing to see how messed up my generation is.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. One of his other blog posts is about his epiphany that “the economy” is just the aggregate total of billions of individual decisions

    dude, that’s deep

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I just found this:

    http://www.pbs.org/fmc/book/3education2.htm

    Some quotes:

    “Women predominated among high school graduates in 1900, earning 60 percent of the diplomas issued that year. Men were less likely to graduate from high school because so many of them entered the full-time labor force before or during their early teens. As the chart at the upper left indicates, the proportion of high school diplomas awarded to women declined to about half by the end of the century.”

    “While women received a majority of high school diplomas in 1900, post-secondary education was still reserved primarily for men. Women earned only 19 percent of bachelor’s degrees in 1900, but their share doubled to 40 percent by 1930 and remained at about that level in 1940. After World War II, however, the female share of bachelor’s degrees dropped sharply as male veterans flooded into colleges and universities under the G.I. Bill. Not until 1970 did women’s share of college degrees surpass the pre-World War II level. After 1970, however, women’s percentage of college degrees rose briskly, reaching parity in the early 1980s. As the chart at the upper right indicates, women received more than half of all bachelor’s and first professional degrees by 1990.”

    “The chart at the lower left shows the female proportion of master’s and first professional degrees. This includes not only the academic master’s degrees but also the major professional degrees such as M.D., D.D.S., M.B.A., and J.D. As with bachelor’s degrees, the female share was depressed as a result of the G.I. Bill, but by 1990, women received a majority of these degrees as well.”

    “The trend for academic doctorates was parallel, but women still constituted a minority of recipients at the end of the century. The doctoral degrees shown in the chart at the lower right are all academic, such as the Ph.D. in English. Women were awarded only 6 percent of all doctorates in 1900. This proportion peaked at 15 percent in 1930, then fell and remained below that level for more than forty years. After 1970, women earned a steadily larger share of doctorates, but men still predominated in most fields of advanced study.”

    Interesting.

    So, it doesn’t look like higher education was that much of a boy’s club in the US in the early 20th century.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Educational differences have played their part in the delay and/or absence of marriage and family life.

      I don’t foresee educational standards going back to 8th grade as the 12th grade equivalent. I think we’re well past that. What I think education needs to do is streamline and beef up k-12. Vocational/trade schooling needs to be more accessible and marketable, and allow people who could care less about Literature 110 get jobs and earn the income to support a family. Young people should’ve already learned about the content in Lit 110 before graduating high school.

      The problem is you can’t make employers not desire degrees. As I’ve said before, if employers demanded degrees in Interpretative Dance, you’d need to get it for the jobs. There’s a lot of push-pull going on but for the time being and the unforeseen future, they’re the ones doing the pushing.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yep.
        And the problem is, there are useful purposes for a liberal arts degree, including an ethnic studies degree. Human Resources work is an obvious example. There just aren’t enough jobs like that, however.

        Like

  15. OK–I’m giving up on the threading.

    Anymouse said:

    “But whatever I do, I want to make sure I can at least attain and ensure the lifestyle and sustainability that our hostess has attained, which will mean a comparable income to her husband. I am increasingly terrified to see the lives of the lower middle-classes, and the lumpen prole. Avoiding that hell is part of my concerns, along with avoiding the problems of the bourgeois (such as the various flavors of politicized feminism).”

    That’s all admirable. Some thoughts:

    1. Young couples often do do OK with a couple little kids on a small income. Things get tougher once they’re school age and you start realizing a) we bought a house in a slum–oops! b) we can’t afford a house in a better school district c) we can’t afford private school d) we can’t afford music lessons or any frills e) our kid needs the expensive kind of special ed f) our boy and girl can’t share a room indefinitely. Plus, little kids go from eating practically nothing to eating as much as adults, and their clothes go from costing very little to as much as adult’s clothes. And you start getting invited to birthday parties for classmates and you need to come up with a gift. There are a million little things like that as kids get bigger–$20 for a teacher gift, $5 for a junior high dance, the kids’ CCD charity boxes during Lent, the school Gala, a costume for history fair, etc.

    2. I don’t know that “politicized feminism” is actually really a thing in middle class family life, even in major East Coast cities. I lived in DC with little kids and it didn’t really come up. In those areas, the main focus is the struggle for survival as a middle class family–figuring out how to get your kid into a good public school when your local ones are bad, fundraising, volunteering, making your good school great, how gentrified is gentrified enough?, the traditional migration from the city to the suburbs, figuring out what to do when your child has a disability, etc. Those meat and potatoes issues swamp the more boutique concerns you see on the internet.

    For bourgeois parents, I think one of the greatest of temptations is just plain old selfishness–MY KID uber alles, and to heck with everybody else. We’ve all met the kind of parent who turns their kids’ sports or music into the family religion.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh, I agree…but those meat and potatoes concerns drive people to give support to the many questionable things their institutions (and neighbors) support. Using the word feminism was a mistake of mine…I feel like I am getting a bit imprecise in my terminology here. Perhaps I am using it to compensate for my studies, where accuracy and precision are important.

      But there are definitely more restrictions on acceptable thought in regards to family and sex, for both good and ill, among many of America’s leaders and investors. Nearly everything we discuss here really is a product of the modern way of doing things.

      Like

      1. Anymouse said:

        “Oh, I agree…but those meat and potatoes concerns drive people to give support to the many questionable things their institutions (and neighbors) support.”

        Not so much, I think, as it fuels a lot of pragmatically traditional living. I noticed this when we lived in DC and from following Northeastern parents online–in those areas, as a parent, you’ve got to suck it up and live very traditionally or your family will fall right out of the middle class. It’s an environment that punishes domestic irregularities very harshly:

        http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/14/fashion/weddings/new-jersey-has-lowest-divorce-rate.html?_r=0

        Similarly, in those areas, you often wind up with VERY liberal families where dad commutes into the city to his big job and mom is the domestic chatelaine, perhaps working, but primarily employed in keeping the kids on track.

        “Nearly everything we discuss here really is a product of the modern way of doing things.”

        I’d argue that the modern way of doing things is a response to modern conditions. And there isn’t so much one modern way as a number of different paths:

        1) the upper middle class/soccer mom/Tiger mom model

        2) the underclass model

        3) the low income large family religious model

        There are probably some other permutations, but those three options cover a lot of people.

        #1 seems to work pretty well…for the people that can afford it. It requires married parents and high commitment and probably no more than four children. A lot of people are trying to do it who can’t actually afford it, or who can only afford the budget version (which is still pretty good). Next, a lot of people are living #2. #2 only requires one parent and when there’s only one child it is possible to approximate #1. I have to note that poor US children actually look pretty good these days (clean and well-groomed), so it’s not a total failure. But, obviously, #2 is on a societal level a recipe for generation after generation of more of the same. Plus, somebody has to be functional enough to pay for it, so it’s not possible for everybody to follow the underclass model

        #3 is harder to analyze. I don’t have either the time or the knowledge to do it in great detail, but I suspect that at some point, the worldview starts resembling #2 more than it does #1. Poster all about the lincolns gave a personal account that sounded a lot like that. Plus, the amount of energy devoted toward education and cultivating children’s talents also often has a lot of resemblance to #2. How often does one hear that the only kind of education that matters is religious education? I hear that fairly often online from the less go-getting type of homeschooler.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Oh, I think your analysis is quite sound.

          But I am inclined to believe there is a connection between being liberal and being middle class in the sense you specified in #1, and the connection is economic rather than cultural. Of course, establishing what that connection is is harder. I can see the importance of limiting family size in such a context as a potential issue. Also, the significance of ethically questionable things in our economy may lead to compromise in that area as well.

          However, I do tend to think it is probably the best of all possible worlds at this time.

          Like

          1. Anymouse said:

            “But I am inclined to believe there is a connection between being liberal and being middle class in the sense you specified in #1, and the connection is economic rather than cultural.”

            I suspect it has at least something to do with the NE being historically very Catholic.

            Like

  16. On college as a place to meet a mate. Unless you do the traditional full time live on college campus thing, it gets difficult. My kid and I were just discussing this a few hours ago.

    In high school, she spent most of her time in junior college dual enrollment to get her AA super fast and for free. She wasn’t trying to get married at 17. In order to avoid debt, she enrolled in her Undergrad college’s evening program. She finished quickly mainly so that she could have that out of the way and marry should a prospect come along.Guess what her classes were mostly populated with? Much older people than her age group. No prospects readily available.

    She has a job now in a small office where again, the only other person her age is a 26 year old female wringing her hands because the guy she’s been dating for 3 years hasn’t popped the question yet. She’s only 21 and trying to figure out how to get herself in a better position to meet someone.

    I see absolutely no evidence that young women are unwilling to marry before age 25-26. Have attended 3 weddings in the past 3 years to young women under 25. One was 19. That is an upper middle class and higher phenom that is being projected onto the populace at large. When you look at what are typically presented as UMC values writ large, I have to wonder why that lifestyle and the choices connected to it are considered ideal?

    That’s not to say that money doesn’t matter. It does matter, and that’s not what I am referring to.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Elspeth,

      What a bummer.

      Could she do some sort of service thing? Domestic missionary/campus organization worker/service abroad/etc? Something that would help her meet a lot of nice young people. At church yesterday, there was a young woman speaking who was representing the Franciscan missions–I think she was some sort of long-term volunteer and she was adorable. When I was in college, there were also a lot of nice young adults working for InterVarsity. I did Peace Corps at that age. I didn’t meet my husband there, but it did give me a lot of experiences, friends, a lot of confidence, and I met my husband pretty much the minute I came back–a couple of my colleagues married locals. The negatives of Peace Corps service are 1) not perfectly safe 2) kinda liberal (but you mostly work with local people far far from HQ, so day-to-day it’s not really relevant) and 3) likely major racial insensitivity if the volunteer doesn’t look like the locals.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. I see absolutely no evidence that young women are unwilling to marry before age 25-26.

      The only conclusion is the types of women a lot of the manosphere authors want seem to be the ones unwilling to marry. I think you’re probably right with the projection part, but when you have a bunch of frustrated single guys, they’re going to think it’s because women don’t care for marriage or having a family overall.

      As far as your daughter, would it be possible to join an alum group or some kind of alum network?

      When you look at what are typically presented as UMC values writ large, I have to wonder why that lifestyle and the choices connected to it are considered ideal?

      Because being a prole sucks? Though I’m not sure there are as many people interested in having the perks of the lifestyle, as much as the security.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes. Security. That is the essential issue. As Elspeth has pointed out, UMC values are problem. It is just that it seems the best bargain at this point in time.

        Like

      2. I’m wondering if my definition of “prole” is skewed. I thought it just meant working class, as in, “we can miss 3, maybe 4 paychecks and be alright but overall we need our job”.

        That certainly describes us, and we live in a mostly white subdivision (that’s the standard for acceptability, right?), the schools nearby are decent although we don’t use them, we have two cars, and I stay at home. But still, since we really, really NEED my husband’s job I thought that made us working class, or “prole” as in proletariat, right?

        I suspect the definition of “prole” has been expanded to mean anyone who doesn’t project the image of middle class, which is why so many people don’t realize that in truth, they are proles too. LOL.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. I’m technically a prole, too. And I don’t really care.

          A lot of people are actually “proles.” While they can’t live out the so-called UMC values, they aren’t low-income, either. There’s also the aspect of behaviors and attitudes which are part of class, and by that definition not all proles who actually proles then.

          Liked by 2 people

        2. Elspeth,

          This is all complicated!

          1. In my book, being able to weather 3-4 months without a paycheck without hardship or loss of dignity immediately qualifies a family as at least middle-middle class. A lot of clearly upper-middle class families can’t do that.

          2. Up until retirement, at least 95% of us all really, really need our jobs.

          3. There’s a difference between income and class. I know a lot of graduate couples who are low income but obviously are carriers for upper middle class values. Meanwhile, there are other people who are high income who are not. (I think you can usually tell the difference by opening up their fridge.)

          4. Lifestyle tends to grow neck-and-neck with income and high income often means high cost-of-living, so there are families that are paycheck to paycheck on high incomes.

          http://www.huffingtonpost.com/moneytips/13-of-high-earners-live-p_b_8136770.html

          Liked by 2 people

          1. I said 3 or 4 checks. That’s 6-8 weeks. Proletariat is a wage earner. Working class. The new definition of prole is most certainly a social engineering trick. But yes, class matters and I know most people are referring to class ascwell as income when they speak of proles.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Most people can’t weather the loss of one or two paychecks, which is one of the reasons there’s such an obsession for many people with secure jobs at relatively low pay. They want the reliable paycheck to borrow against if anything happens because the easiest credit is the payday loan place, easier than credit cards.

              Like

              1. TPC said:

                “Most people can’t weather the loss of one or two paychecks…”

                Right.

                And this largely explains the low balances in retirement savings–a lot of people tap their retirement savings every time they hit a rough patch or need money for something, which is why their retirement savings never amount to much even though they are (theoretically) consistently contributing.

                The federal government, in its wisdom, heavily incentivizes retirement savings, while not incentivizing emergency savings. Hence, a lot of middle-class Americans have retirement savings but don’t have any emergency savings.

                Like

      3. Maea said:

        “The only conclusion is the types of women a lot of the manosphere authors want seem to be the ones unwilling to marry.”

        Very good. Or to add to that, unwilling to marry manosphere guys on manosphere terms.

        And really, who can blame them? What woman in her right mind wants to sign up for a career as a sandwich-making full-service sexbot? Who needs that?

        Like

        1. Well– I’m going to go out on a limb here and make the distinction between Christian manosphere and the manosphere. To be charitable, I don’t think all Christians believe everything is moral or acceptable from manospherian philosophy.

          There is still a problem with the Christian manosphere in terms of who has authority, submission, family life, and gender dynamics. I see issues with those all the time written from a guy who proclaims himself his own authority over his own household, or so he says after marriage. This kind of attitude works instinctively against patriarchy.

          I can see how a lot of devout young Christian women who were raised under a patriarchal home can find a lot of the stuff from these men IRL off-putting. Attitude means a lot, and you don’t always have to say much to convey it.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Maea said:

            “I can see how a lot of devout young Christian women who were raised under a patriarchal home can find a lot of the stuff from these men IRL off-putting.”

            I think there’s a big problem when:

            1. young Christian men know virtually nothing about homemaking, childcare and child development, or what makes an upper middle class home tick

            2. they believe (because that’s what they’re being fed 24/7 at certain websites we all know) that upon marriage they automatically get to become Grand Poobah.

            Nobody in those parts ever tells young guys–hey, why don’t you pick up a book on child development or a book on household management. They’re supposed to somehow know EVERYTHING automatically without making an effort to learn anything.

            What could possibly go wrong?

            Liked by 2 people

            1. My question is, what about the parenting they received? I refuse to believe all of their parents were complete dimwits and none of them learned a single thing. Were none of them raised to learn how to run a household, child exposure, observance of parent’s marriage, etc.?

              People aren’t raised like wild wolves or in some strange vacuum. Though, from reading the stuff online you start to wonder…

              Liked by 2 people

              1. It’s easy to not have kid exposure these days and no exposure to domestic skills. And observing other human relationships is obviously more challenging for men who have to resort to video game and movie metaphors to describe marriage, romance and dating.

                I guess I have to say from my perspective as an American-born and raised child of comfortable but profligate Boomers that yeah, we were raised in a strange vacuum. There was a lot of explicit refusal to teach us anything practical since we were supposed to go to college and become rich enough to pay other people to manage life for us. (Totally a view many Boomer parents who weren’t middle class held.)

                Liked by 1 person

                1. I was raised by immigrant parents, and I had no choice but to learn about the realities of family life. And yes, go to college too.

                  Like

                2. Indeed.

                  Additionally, being an only child definitely can reinforce the bubble. I got my exposure to the raising of small children from the neighbors granddaughter who I sometimes helped my mother babysit when I was under the age of 9. This also means my mother was much more involved than me.

                  When one reads accounts of male involvement in child-rearing and affection for children from the past, one can see things were very different.

                  I do think that in a handful of cases, the video game and movie metaphors are simply “geek-chic”. Like the guy on MPC who seemed to be referring to his wife as his “waifu”.

                  Liked by 1 person

                3. How common is it for middle class people to actually be raised in this kind of bubble? That seems odd to me. Kids had to get with the program, and I’ve spent my life primarily around middle class whites. These were parents who expected their kids to do chores, get good grades, participate in extracurriculars (as long as their grades were good and they didn’t get into trouble), had some responsibilities for siblings, and knew their mothers weren’t pseudo sexbots. A lot of kids had divorced parents, and were able to recognize the differences between married parents and divorced.

                  I find it very, very difficult to believe the younger end of the Gen-Xers and the Millennials were raised in a bubble, causing them to believe they’re exempt from many normal things about family life. I’m just not buying it.

                  My next conclusion is a lot of the people promoting this weirdness just believe they can create a reality incompatible with actual reality. The internet seems to be breeding distortion at an exponential rate.

                  Like

                  1. I think it’s more of a definitional thing. It’s not a “bubble”, it’s “not being raised by people in the middle class but who have middle class money and credit access”.

                    I was raised by people who had government jobs most of their working life and then went into business for themselves netting six figures. That kind of Boomer or Silent thinks they were “middle class”, but they just had huge incomes.

                    Conversely my husband was raised in a pro-marriage and SAHM culture, by non-middle class white people who wanted badly to become middle class and maintain it.

                    I guess fundamentally my husband and I aren’t middle class based on the definition you’re using and I know I have massive insecurity about it and concern about my children’s futures since I don’t know how to play that game at all.

                    Like

                    1. There are certain behaviors and attitudes relevant to the definition of middle class these guys don’t seem to understand or admit to. That’s what gets me. I think behaviors can function independent of income. For example, there’s a pattern of women promoting Doing It All as a middle class trait but women from another class may view homemaking more as a familial and functional role, rather than a marketable accessory. With men it could be the differences on what’s considered masculine, or the breadth and involvement of a father’s role in a family.

                      Honestly I don’t think anyone knows how to play the middle class game. A lot of the Boomers who consider themselves middle class don’t know how to play the game, as their parents might have been Depression Era cohorts.

                      It’s also interesting to note a Pew study makes the distinction of the middle class into four middle classes. There could be something about that.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    2. “…I know I have massive insecurity about it and concern about my children’s futures since I don’t know how to play that game at all.”

                      To some extent, contemporary parenting is pretty new, so very few people who are doing it actually grew up like that.

                      Liked by 1 person

                  2. Maea said:

                    “How common is it for middle class people to actually be raised in this kind of bubble?”

                    The thing is, it’s an ever-present temptation to just leave big kids stuck on their screens, rather than peeling them off, teaching them a chore, and seeing that they do the whole thing–and doing that over and over again. Obviously, it’s less trouble for everyone in the end to do that, but it’s tempting. Getting kids to do work is work, too, and at least a percentage of parents aren’t up to it.

                    “In the L.A. families observed, no child routinely performed household chores without being instructed to. Often, the kids had to be begged to attempt the simplest tasks; often, they still refused. In one fairly typical encounter, a father asked his eight-year-old son five times to please go take a bath or a shower. After the fifth plea went unheeded, the father picked the boy up and carried him into the bathroom. A few minutes later, the kid, still unwashed, wandered into another room to play a video game.”

                    http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2012/07/02/spoiled-rotten

                    I think a lot of the young manosphere guys are the ones that nobody peeled off their devices, or who deeply resented being peeled off.

                    Liked by 1 person

                    1. This is why people think my generation, along with Gen Z, are just a bunch of spoiled brats who are never willing to work a day in their lives. Apparently, we’re just a really entitled bunch.

                      Liked by 1 person

              2. Maea said:

                “My question is, what about the parenting they received? I refuse to believe all of their parents were complete dimwits and none of them learned a single thing. Were none of them raised to learn how to run a household, child exposure, observance of parent’s marriage, etc.?”

                Here are some non-controversial explanations (which also apply to girls):

                1. Small nuclear families

                2. lots of homework at “good schools” from an early age

                3. heavy extracurricular schedule

                4. lots of screen time (one of the herculean tasks of the modern parent is peeling kids off of their devices)

                5. lack of chores

                More controversially, I think it’s hard (especially for less social or more literal kids) to get a good read on their parents’ relationship. I’ve been out of my parents’ home for a couple of decades and I’m still figuring stuff out about their marriage and personalities. I saw them and their relationship very differently when I was a kid at home.

                Liked by 1 person

  17. More from the New Yorker article:

    “Not long ago, in the hope that our sons might become a little more Matsigenka, my husband and I gave them a new job: unloading the grocery bags from the car. One evening when I came home from the store, it was raining. Carrying two or three bags, the youngest, Aaron, who is thirteen, tried to jump over a puddle. There was a loud crash. After I’d retrieved what food could be salvaged from a Molotov cocktail of broken glass and mango juice, I decided that Aaron needed another, more vigorous lesson in responsibility. Now, in addition to unloading groceries, he would also have the task of taking out the garbage. On one of his first forays, he neglected to close the lid on the pail tightly enough, and it attracted a bear. The next morning, as I was gathering up the used tissues, ant-filled raisin boxes, and slimy Saran Wrap scattered across the yard, I decided that I didn’t have time to let my kids help out around the house. (My husband informed me that I’d just been “kiddie-whipped.”)”

    “So little is expected of kids that even adolescents may not know how to operate the many labor-saving devices their homes are filled with. Their incompetence begets exasperation, which results in still less being asked of them (which leaves them more time for video games). Referring to the Los Angeles families, Ochs and Izquierdo wrote, “Many parents remarked that it takes more effort to get children to collaborate than to do the tasks themselves.””

    http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2012/07/02/spoiled-rotten

    Liked by 1 person

  18. I know and have known many middle class parents who have unapologetically declared schooling as their kids’ “job” to the exclusion of all else except extracurricular activities. No chores (not even cleaning their own rooms or packing their own lunches as old as high school!).

    Because our kids were in Honors/AP classes, most of their friends thought they were very oppressed kids with slave drivers for parents because our kids were expected to do chores around the house. We had very young kids as well, and of our children’s friends, the only one who would not seem to find little children as an oddity was a friend who spent time with a young niece in her own house.

    Not only that, but a lot of the kids even seemed to have a hard time interacting with adults, save one Asian girl whose family home was multi-generational.

    I found it all highly strange, as it was very foreign to the way my husband and I were raised. Life skills, sitting for nieces and nephews, and chores were a normal thing for us. But they are not a normal thing for many kids today outside of families where their contribution is a necessity for the family to function.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah.

      It’s easy for life skills not to happen unless a) it’s a matter of pure survival that the kids have to pitch in or b) the parents are being very intentional about making sure that life skills are getting learned.

      We do a little of a) and b). When my husband is gone for business, the big kids just have to help with Baby Girl. I’ll tell them to take 15 minute alternating shifts while I bathe/clean up the kitchen/do laundry.

      On a routine basis, the big kids tidy rooms, play with Baby Girl, unload the dishwasher and our 8th grader cooks a little. When I think of it and there’s time to kill, I have the big kids put away their clean clothes. And I’m hoping to get the middle child cooking a little this summer. So far, they’ve had pretty much no heavy cleaning experience or experience running the washer and dryer or dishwasher, but we still have a number of years before the kids get released into the wild.

      There’s definitely a tradeoff between the oldest’s music and laundry. I don’t bug her to put away laundry, because I want her to do her music practice instead. So, her clothes tend to live in her laundry basket.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. I found it all highly strange, as it was very foreign to the way my husband and I were raised. Life skills, sitting for nieces and nephews, and chores were a normal thing for us. But they are not a normal thing for many kids today outside of families where their contribution is a necessity for the family to function.

      Yeah, I get that, too. People find it odd today to hear my parents babysit their granddaughter willingly. 0.o

      I think a lot of parents would have reasonable expectations with chores. In my household, I was expected to do 1-2 hours of chores each day, and then complete my schoolwork. More chores and errands on the weekend, too. I also went to high school with other kids from different social classes and families, and it wasn’t uncommon to hear about one person’s mom being a nurse and another person helping their parents with a cow show. Mowing the lawn and washing cars was common. Things must have really changed from when I was in high school!

      For some reason, I’m tempted to post a certain youtube clip from Russell Peters that could help part of this issue, but it might be offensive. lol

      Liked by 1 person

    3. Not only that, but a lot of the kids even seemed to have a hard time interacting with adults, save one Asian girl whose family home was multi-generational.

      I had another thought about this. A lot of kids now have a hard time interacting with each other, too. They’re too busy on their phones, or being immersed in activities that don’t stress communication and relationships. Too much screen time and not enough human time.

      It does make me wonder if this kind of upbringing is what makes a lot of young people in their early to mid-20’s waltz into the workplace thinking they can demand things they haven’t earned. I’ve been reading a lot of employment forums, and participate in networking groups and I hear a lot of crazy stories about 22-24 year olds acting like they own the place. These kids are always entitled, are completely CLUELESS, and don’t actually see a problem. At all. A lot of the people sharing these stories are older Gen-Xers or Boomers who are convinced all Millennials and Gen Z are self-absorbed. But in a way, a lot of them are.

      We now all see the fruits of the overpraising movement, the no-discipline movement, and the feeeelings-capade.

      Liked by 1 person

  19. This is all very telling. I am just so continually frustrated with the lack of understanding of what it takes to raise decent adults. It IS easier to not discipline (which really means, teach) your kids. It’s sooo much easier. And we (I) have made it a point to do it, and it takes a LOT OF TIME. It interrupts the day. It interrupts my daily tasks daily. It’s an “interruption” still to me. My husband grew up with a ‘peaceful’ home environment, compared to me, though pretty much everything was swept under the rug. I am consistently astonished when I ask him about his upbringing–it was so hands-off it is absolutely unbelievable to me. It makes discussions with MIL that much more taxing, honestly (i.e. “Why aren’t you doing things like THIS?”) I just cannot believe how uninvolved they were in his life–like, his actual, inner self. Since he wasn’t a problem kid they were just so hands off with him. My parents’ relationship and my home environment was not peaceful, but we had chores. We were expected to do dishes, laundry, “poop patrol, yard work, put clothes away, put clothes in the hamper, feed ourselves by a certain age…anyway, I say all of this because I am tired of being met with dumbfounded looks when I talk about why I didn’t get to go do this or that or wasn’t on time or whatever–I dunno, cause LIFE HAPPENS? Plus, no one can prepare you for the 24/7 task of being a mom. I have 2 friends who were full-time nannies before having kids, one of them who thought she just KNEW where I was going wrong–and then she had her own kid. Yeah, she found out what it’s really like after that.

    Sometimes, I seriously do not want to discipline my kids. My husband is, for obvious reasons, very reluctant to do the work of it, and yet, I know it needs to be done, but I know they need him to step in, and it is just this constant battle in my life. It just takes so much effort, time, and love and patience, and when you’re the only parent in the home that really cares about it, it’s like, okay–where is the downtime?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ugh Nicky, I can only imagine how frustrating it must be! You probably want to yank your hair out and I don’t blame you!

      I hope your husband is able to understand why his intervention is needed and why discipline is so important. You cannot be the only one who cares about it for the rest of your life. It will only be a disaster. I think you are in dire need of prayers.

      Like

      1. Maea said:

        “You cannot be the only one who cares about it for the rest of your life.”

        Right. If Mom does discipline and school work and dad just does fun, that’s not really fair to mom.

        Like

  20. Here’s a late thought about this part of Free Northerner’s post:

    “Make a point of praising women who have kids and their mothering skills. If a family is thinking of having another kid, make a positive comment. Praise young men and women you know who are thinking of young marriage, and otherwise encourage young people aroudn you to marry early. Let some disappointment slip out if people say ‘two’s enough for us’. Register some thinly concealed disapproval or contempt if someone says, ‘we don’t want children’. If you can smoothly do backhanded compliments or negs for the self-sterilizing, that would work too. And so on.”

    One of the reasons that I am very, very uncomfortable with guilting other people into having more children is that there are a lot of wild cards involved.

    Let’s say mom is unexpectedly laid up with bedrest or an otherwise bad pregnancy and has a couple of little children at home to take care of and no help–what then? Or what if the couple that I guilted into having another baby has a child with a serious disability and their marriage melts down under the pressure?

    I have become very neutral when other people talk about possibly having a new baby, because I have an ever-increasing personal Rolodex of examples of the various ways that things can go wrong.

    In the case of disability, I have become convinced that there is a case to be made for a “liberal” approach. It genuinely is the case that even a a single seriously disabled child is well-beyond the ability of an extended family to care for alone, let alone a small, isolated, financially-strapped nuclear family or single parent family. And that is particularly true since having a disabled child is inherently isolating–the parent of a disabled child both needs more support than average, but is less able than average to maintain the sort of social network that can bring support. Friends and family have a tendency to melt away in the face of serious need.

    The deal is, that if a couple rolls the dice and has a family of healthy, well brought up children, society benefits greatly, but if they roll the dice and have a seriously disabled child, that’s going to be all on them–society is not planning on covering their losses. And that’s yet another reason why a couple with two healthy children is going to be very reluctant to roll the dice again.

    I also have to add that having at least one special needs child is pretty much an inevitability in a large family, and it’s not that uncommon for a single family to wind up with three autistic spectrum children.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Maybe you hit on this, Amy, but then you have the couples who have suffered through multiple miscarriages; or the husband/wife who is dealing with a significant health issue; maybe Mom is now on a medication which really contraindicates another pregnancy.
      Guess my point is, I’m agreeing that throwing out the casual guilt-trip (a passive aggressive attitude if ever there was one) is really not productive. Most people actually aren’t all that laissez-faire (that I’ve personally known) about the number of children they have. There have been actual reasons for not having more than two or three which really had nothing to do with $$ per se.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Maeve said:
        “Maybe you hit on this, Amy, but then you have the couples who have suffered through multiple miscarriages; or the husband/wife who is dealing with a significant health issue; maybe Mom is now on a medication which really contraindicates another pregnancy.”

        Yeah.

        I don’t think I talked about that in this thread (although after 100+ comments, who knows?), but all of that stuff comes up regularly on CAF in our interminable NFP and family size threads.

        “Guess my point is, I’m agreeing that throwing out the casual guilt-trip (a passive aggressive attitude if ever there was one) is really not productive. Most people actually aren’t all that laissez-faire (that I’ve personally known) about the number of children they have. There have been actual reasons for not having more than two or three which really had nothing to do with $$ per se.”

        Right. Plus, it’s not going to be very effective coming from a single guy or gal when addressed to a married person with kids.

        Liked by 2 people

  21. Also, come to think of it, the shinier and more glamorous people try to make motherhood look, the bigger the crash of disappointment that young and immature new mothers are going to experience as they discover that it ain’t so.

    Checkstand celebrities make pregnancy and motherhood look darned good, but they nearly all have a million dollars worth of stylists, trainers and nannies making the magic happen. It’s a really bad idea to make those celebrities one’s aspirational model when one has only a tiny fraction of their operating budget.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Here’s another thought:

    It’s quite common among the usual suspects to beat up on single mothers who are doing a lousy job raising one or two children. However, if one or two children can completely overwhelm a single mother to the point where she is unable to do an acceptable job bringing up her children, why is it so hard to imagine that a married couple might be overwhelmed by two to four? That’s just arithmetic.

    Apologies for monopolizing the end of your thread!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The main difference is whether or not a community’s involved or aware of familial circumstances. A random person “encouraging” people to have more children without knowledge of the circumstances is different from someone who knows the family, and has general awareness of the everyday life. This person will know better than to stick their noses where they don’t belong.

      Another reason why random people have NO BUSINESS telling another family what to do. ESPECIALLY UNMARRIED CHILDLESS FOLKS. You people know who you are!

      Liked by 1 person

  23. Here’s an old but very relevant piece dealing with some German research on the devastating effect of new parenthood on happiness:

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/to-your-health/wp/2015/08/11/the-most-depressing-statistic-imaginable-about-being-a-new-parent/

    “In reality, it turns out that having a child can have a pretty strong negative impact on a person’s happiness, according to a new study published in the journal Demography. In fact, on average, the effect of a new baby on a person’s life in the first year is devastatingly bad — worse than divorce, worse than unemployment and worse even than the death of a partner.”

    “The study’s goal was to try to gain insights into a longstanding contradiction in fertility in many developed countries between how many children people say they want and how many they actually have. In Germany, most couples say in surveys that they want two children. Yet the birthrate in the country has remained stubbornly low — 1.5 children per woman — for 40 years.”

    “The consequence of the negative experiences was that many of the parents stopped having children after their first.

    “The data showed the larger the loss in well-being, the lower the likelihood of a second baby. The effect was especially strong in mothers and fathers who are older than age 30 and with higher education.

    “Surprisingly, gender was not a factor.”

    “”Fertility is a choice for most people in the developed world … [I]f the transition to parenthood is very difficult or more difficult than expected, then people may choose to remain at parity,” the researchers wrote.

    “Margolis and Myrskyla wrote that challenges of new parents that impacted their decision to have another fell into three categories. The first two had to do with health. Mothers reported physical pain and nausea conflicted with their desire to work. Fathers expressed concern about the medical issues of their partner. Second, complications during the birth also appeared to shape their decision to not “go through it again.””

    “The third category was the most significant and was about “the continuous and intense nature of childrearing.” Parents reported exhaustion due to trouble breast-feeding, sleep deprivation, depression, domestic isolation and relationship breakdown.”

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